The Montreal Canadiens will host a press conference tomorrow to announce that they will retire number 5 in honor of Guy Lapointe, who had a long and very successful career with the Habs.
A member of the famous “Big Three” on the Canadiens blue line throughout the 1970’s along with Larry Robinson and Serge Savard, the trio helped lead the Habs to an unprecedented six Stanley Cup championships in the decade.
Lapointe made his debut with the Habs in the 1968-69 season and played 777 games with the team before being dealt to the St. Louis Blues in 1982 in exchange for Sergio Momesso.
In those 777 games with the Habs, the defenseman scored 572 points, the second most by any defenseman in the long history of the Montreal Canadiens, and the 16th most points by any Hab. The only defenseman to score more points in a Habs sweater was Lapointe’s long time teammate Larry Robinson.
Lapointe was always in the shadow of the literally and figuratively bigger Robinson, but scored more than 20 goals three times in his career, something Robinson never accomplished. Lapointe was possibly the best offensive defenseman in the rich history of the Habs, and still holds the record for most goals in a season by a Habs defenseman with 28. He ranks first, third and fourth in most goals in a season by a Hab blue liner, only interrupted by Sheldon Souray’s 26 goal campaign in 2006-07.
Lapointe’s number 5 is already retired by the Canadiens organization in honor of Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, and will be shared between the two, just like number 12 is retired for both Yvan Cournoyer and Dickie Moore and 16 is split between Henri Richard and Elmer Lach.
It is quite a testament to the great players that have played for the Montreal Canadiens in the past that three numbers are retired for more than one player. Most organizations don’t have three numbers retired at all.
Lapointe was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993, and will now rejoin his fellow Big Three members in the rafters of the Bell Centre.