Old-Time Hockey Photos

How Tough Was It To Make The 1970s Montreal Canadiens?

Between 1975-76 and 1978-79, the Montreal Canadiens won four successive Stanley cup titles. the 1976-77 Habs lost just eight regular-season games.

“We had every component,” former Canadiens winer Steve Shutt said. “Goaltending, defense, offense, toughness – whatever was required.

Shutt, a 60-goal scorer for that 1976-77 club, won’t say it was the greatest team in NHL history.

It certainly was the best team I ever played for,” Shutt said, leaving the decision in the hands of others.

He did acknowledge one fact of life about playing for those great Montreal clubs.

“Our practices were harder than a lot of our games,” Shutt said. “Our line (Shutt, Guy Lafleur and Jacques Lemaire) would go against (Bob) Gainey’s line. We didn’t get checked like that in a game.”

If you think they had it tough, imagine the guys who were trying to crack that lineup.

1975-76 Nova Scotia Voyageurs were Montreal’s AHL farm club. They finished in first place in the Northern Division with a 48-20-8 record and won the Calder Cup title.

Yet only three players off this team – center Pierre Mondou and defensemen Brian Engblom and Gilles Lupien – managed to crack the Montreal linep and become part of this Stanley Cup dynasty.

Forward Mike Polich did get up to Montreal for one regular-season and three playoff games. But he went on to play three full seasons for the Minnesota North Stars. Forward Paul Woods went to the Detroit Red Wings, playing five seasons and 501 games with that franchise.

Forward Ron Andruff was a three-season player for the Colorado Rockies. Forward Glenn Goldup spent six seasons with the Los Angeles Kings.

But none would know what it felt like to be part of hockey’s greatest teams of their era.

“People always ask for a defining moment from my career, but for me, it was just being fortunate enough to play alongside those great players,” Shutt said.

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