A birthday for former Montreal Canadiens captain and speediest of right wingers Yvan Cournoyer, born in Drummondville, Quebec, on a Monday of this very date in 1943. That makes him 79: happy birthday to him. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982, he was a star, of course, of Canada’s 1972 Summit Series triumph. Cournoyer won 10 Stanley Cup championships over the course of his 16-year Habs tenure, scoring a bucket of goals, including a career-high 47 in 1971-72. He scored 43 in 1968-69, none of which came on the Saturday night of January 18, ’69, at Montreal’s Forum, when (above) he loosed a shot on Chicago Black Hawks’ goaltender Denis DeJordy, and beat him high — only to be denied (below) by a crossbar. Montreal won the game all the same, by a score of 3-1, getting goals from Claude Provost, Serge Savard, and Bobby Rousseau. Kenny Wharram scored for Chicago.
(Images: Fonds La Presse, BAnQ Vieux-Montréal)
Later on, in 1972, Ab McDonald would captain the original WHA Winnipeg Jets, but he was a distinguished veteran by then, with a 15-year NHL career behind him. He got his start in 1957 in Montreal, winning three straight Stanley Cups with the juggernaut Canadiens before a trade took him to Chicago in 1960.
Born in Winnipeg in 1936, McDonald died there on Tuesday. He was 82.
The Stanley Cup followed him to Chicago in 1961, when the Black Hawks surpassed Montreal in the semi-finals before defeating the Detroit Red Wings for the championship. Rudy Pilous was the Chicago coach that year, as he was in the fall of 1962, which is when he posed here, above, with McDonald ahead of the Black Hawks’ home opener. By then, McDonald was a member of the Scooter Line, skating the left wing alongside centre Stan Mikita and right wing Kenny Wharram. McDonald made subsequent NHL stops in Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis before taking his talents back home to Winnipeg. Bobby Hull was the big noise then and there, of course, though a court challenge kept the Gilded Jet out of the Jets’ first game in New York on October 12, 1972. With Hull benched (he was also the Winnipeg coach that year), McDonald took it upon his 36-year-old self to poke Jean-Guy Gratton’s pass by goaltender Gary Kurt to open the scoring in the Jets’ 6-4 win over the hometown Raiders, and register the first goal in franchise history.