The Canadiens didn’t pile up 100 years of history without the blood, sweat and tears of the over 750 players to have ever worn the uniform. From the likes of Donald Audette to Zarley Zalapski, there are former Habs scattered all over the world. Although many hardcore Canadiens fans can rattle off the career accomplishments of hundreds of their old heroes, the question remains: what are these guys up to today? On the hot seat today: Brian Engblom.
Where are you currently living?
I’ve been living in the suburbs of Denver, CO, for 14 years now.
What are you up to these days?
I’ve been working in television for a while now. Nowadays, I’m the color analyst for the Jets on TSN and I also do some work for NBC. Towards the end of my playing career, people started telling me I should look into a career in broadcasting. I didn’t give it a lot of thought, but I did some radio and I got an interview to become a TV analyst and it all started from there. Doing the Jets games has been great since I’m actually from Winnipeg. They were looking for somebody with a Winnipeg connection and since I’ve been in the business for almost 20 years, it helped a lot. It’s been a tremendous experience so far; the arena is amazing and the fans are really into it.
How many times per year do you lace up the skates?
I haven’t played in about 10 years. I retired because I had surgery on my neck; it fixed a lot of the problems, but not everything. As soon as I start playing hockey, I have a lot of problems with my neck and my shoulder; it’s just not worth it. I really miss playing but I got over that a long time ago.
Have you stayed in touch with any of your former teammates?
I bump into a lot of them since some of them are still working in the NHL. I see Larry Robinson every once in a while. I see Doug Risebrough on the road sometimes. When I get into Montreal I see Mario Tremblay, Rejean Houle and a lot of the guys. It’s great to be able to catch up with them from time to time.
Do you still follow the Canadiens?
I follow the whole league, but I keep an eye on Montreal to see what’s happening over there. I love the city of Montreal and I love going back whenever I have a game to cover. I remember when I worked for ESPN couple years ago, I was very happy that they sent me to cover the last game at the Forum. That was really special for me and a terrific experience.
Do you still have your Stanley Cup rings?
I still have them. I wear them quite a bit in the winter, not in the summer because I’m either golfing or working outside in the yard. I wouldn’t want to lose one!
Other than your rings, what’s your favourite piece of Canadiens memorabilia you own?
I wasn’t a big collector, but in some ways I should’ve been more! I would have to say the miniature Stanley Cups with everybody’s name on them we received are always fun to look at.
Is there a particular game from your career with the Canadiens that stands out the most?
Game 7 against Boston in 1979, the “Too Many Men” game where we ended up winning in overtime. I hear about it all the time because I know they replay it a lot! Every time they play it, somebody will call me or text me or send me an email telling me that they’re showing the game somewhere. It was just so incredible to go through that; it was such a tough series. The Bruins played very well and they wanted to win even more since we won the Cup the previous year. When we saw the call, it was surreal; we couldn’t believe they made a mistake like that! When Flower Yvon Lambert scored in OT, you could see the look on the Bruins’ players’ faces saying, “Not again”.
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