Top: Oldest Habs players

Tuesday, 22.10.2013 / 10:22 AM

13) Francis Bouillon (38)

The only current Hab to make the list, Francis Bouillon defied the odds by cracking the Canadiens roster as an undrafted player in 1999. The smooth-skating defenseman is still going strong, currently participating in his 14th NHL season. Now in his third tenure as a Hab and 11th year in Montreal, Bouillon turned 38 on October 17th.

12) Henri Richard (38)

Boasting a record 11 Stanley Cup titles to his credit, captain Henri Richard played well in his final NHL campaign in 1974-75 before retiring and handing over the “C” to linemate Yvan Cournoyer. The “Pocket Rocket” was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.

11) Maurice Richard (38)

Maurice Richard had the rare opportunity to go out on top. After registering 35 points in 51 regular season games in 1959-60, Richard helped the Canadiens capture their fifth consecutive Stanley Cup title, a record that may never be broken. The customary three-year waiting period for Hockey Hall of Fame admittance was waived for the incomparable “Rocket” Richard, who was inducted in 1961.

10) Jack Laviolette (38)

A mainstay of the pre-NHL Montreal Canadiens, the skilled winger and defenseman was one of the original Habs in 1909, pulling triple duty as player, coach and general manager. He took to the ice for Montreal’s inaugural season in the NHL, his last as a professional. For the role he played in shaping the early years of Canadiens history, Laviolette was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.

9) Georges Vezina (38)

One of the NHL’s first star goaltenders, the Chicoutimi, QC native had a reputation for being “cool as a cucumber” between the pipes, which explains the nickname he was given early on in his career. With Vezina around, no other netminder tended the Habs’ goal for even a single game between 1910 and 1925. After falling ill with tuberculosis, Vezina passed away in March 1926 at just 39 years of age. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 1945. Today, the Vezina Trophy is given annually to the top goaltender in the NHL.

8) Robert Lang (38)

One of the biggest scoring threats on the power play in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Czech centerman starred in Pittsburgh, Washington and Detroit before joining the Canadiens in 2008. Putting his 6-foot-3 frame to good use, Lang started his lone season in Montreal with a team-leading 39 points in 50 games before a suffering a severed Achilles tendon that ultimately ended his tenure in La Belle Province.

7) Patrice Brisebois (38)

At the time of his retirement in 2009, Brisebois was the team’s final link to its Stanley Cup conquest of 1993. A mobile, two-way defenseman, Brisebois broke into the league as a 20-year-old and played all but two seasons of his 18-year career in Montreal. He is still a member of the Canadiens organization, working in player development and sharing his pro-level experience with Habs prospects.

6) Mathieu Schneider (39)

Re-acquired by Montreal in the spring of 2009, the veteran power play quarterback returned to the team with which he won the Cup 16 years earlier. Schneider contributed 17 points in the final 23 games of the 2008-09 season, including five with the man advantage. A third-round selection of the Canadiens in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, the New York City native split one final NHL season between Vancouver and Phoenix before hanging up his skates in 2010.

5) Didier Pitre (39)

After joining the Canadiens in 1910, Pitre’s francophone heritage and speed quickly led him and his linemates to be nicknamed “The Flying Frenchmen”. Playing alongside Jack Laviolette and Newsy Lalonde, the Valleyfield, QC native helped lead the Habs to their first ever Stanley Cup title. At age 38, Pitre was converted into a defenseman because of the backlog of strong forwards on the Canadiens’ roster. He served in this new role for two full seasons before retiring in 1923. Pitre was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.

4) Doug Gilmour (39)

While the Kingston native played for six teams during a storied 19-year playing career, he is perhaps best remembered by Canadiens fans for his role in the team’s stirring 2002 playoff run. Though Jose Theodore stole the show with his remarkable play, and captain Saku Koivu brought the fans to their feet with his successful comeback from cancer treatment, it was the wily Gilmour who paced Montreal, leading the team in regular season assists (31) before putting up ten points in just 12 playoff games.

3) Jean Beliveau (39)

Like Maurice Richard 11 years earlier, Jean Beliveau captained the Habs to a Stanley Cup title in his final NHL season. Over a 20-year playing career, Beliveau scored 507 goals and chalked up 1,219 points in 1,125 games. He saved 76 of those points for the 1970-71 regular season, good for the team lead. While rookie Ken Dryden walked away with the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after helping the Habs beat the Bruins, North Stars and Blackhawks, Beliveau’s role on the winning squad cannot be understated.The 14-time NHL All-Star led the team with 16 assists in his final 20 games as a professional.

2) Gump Worsley (40)

Traded by the New York Rangers to the Canadiens as “punishment” for trying to start a players union, the stocky 5-foot-7 goaltender instead had the best years of his career in Montreal, winning the Stanley Cup four times in seven seasons and also claiming the Vezina Trophy in 1968. With a reduction in playing time due to the emergence of youngster Rogatien Vachon, the 40-year-old Worsley decided to join the upstart North Stars and played well into his forties.

1) George Hainsworth (41)

Due to NHL rules at the time that stifled offensive aspects of the game, George Hainsworth made league history with his stingy play, establishing several goaltending records that will likely never be matched. Taking over for the late Georges Vezina in 1926, Hainsworth allowed fewer goals than any netminder in the league for the next three seasons. In 1928-29, he posted a record 22 shutouts and a 0.92 goals-against average in just 44 games. Interestingly enough, the Habs recorded 22 wins that season. The two-time Stanley Cup champ left Montreal for Toronto in 1933, before returning to the Canadiens for the final four games of his career in 1936-37.

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