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August 06, 2017

Hockey Heroes: Jean Guy Talbot

During his prime, defenseman Jean-Guy Talbot was an excellent outlet passer who provided physical play in his own zone. His career lasted 1,056 games with five different clubs but he was best known for winning an amazing seven Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens.

Born in Cap de la Madeleine, Quebec, Talbot was a junior star with Trois-Rivieres and Shawinigan before playing senior with the Quebec Aces. After scoring 34 points for the club in 1954-55, the talented rearguard was placed on the QHL's first all-star team. He gained a regular job on the Montreal Canadiens' blue line in 1955-56, ultimately replacing the great Butch Bouchard. It was excellent timing, as Talbot enjoyed Stanley Cup success in each of his first five NHL seasons.

Talbot was an integral part of the Canadiens' transition game until 1966-67. Learning from Doug Harvey and Tom Johnson's influence, his consistent play at both ends of the ice was crucial when the Habs had to replace the likes of Rocket Richard, Harvey, and Bernie Geoffrion in the early 1960s. After scoring 47 points in 1961-62, Talbot was voted on to the NHL first all-star team. He also played a notably important role on Stanley Cup teams in 1965 and 1966.

When the Canadiens wanted to go with younger players like Serge Savard, he was left unprotected in the 1967 Expansion Draft. The Minnesota North Stars claimed him then flipped him to the Detroit Red Wings four games into the 1967-68 season. Before the end of the season Detroit then sent him to the St. Louis Blues. His puck handling and experience helped that expansion club reach the Stanley Cup finals in each of their first three seasons beginning in 1968. He would round out his career mentoring the raw rookies on the expansion Buffalo Sabres in 1970-71.

Following his playing days, Talbot became a coach. He coached the Denver Spurs to the WHL championship in 1972 then worked behind the St. Louis bench on an interim basis in 1972-73 and 1973-74. He also coached the New York Rangers in 1977-78 and was replaced after the club posted a disappointing 30-37-13 record. He would return to Quebec to work in the promotions department of Carling O'Keefe Breweries in Trois-Rivieres.

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