Fabled Firebrand Doug Harvey, one of the NHL's great defensemen, provided the spark for the Canadiens' dynasty

February 03, 2003

Doug: The Doug Harvey Story
by William Brown
Vehicule Press, $13.95

For decades, whenever the Sudbury (Ont.) Wolves scored a goal on
their home ice, a stuffed wolf would emerge from behind a curtain
while a loud howl sounded over the loudspeakers. Playing an
exhibition game at Sudbury in the 1950s, the Montreal Canadiens
jumped to a 5--0 lead before the Wolves scored. Out came the
canid. Montreal defenseman Doug Harvey gazed at it, and after
play resumed he promptly shot the puck past his own goaltender
and into Montreal's net. "Sorry, Toe," he said to coach Toe
Blake, "but it was worth it to see that wolf again."

Harvey, an off-ice hellion who responded to Blake's decree that
players be in bed by 11 p.m. with, "Gee, Coach, do we have to
stay up that late?" is considered the second-best defenseman
ever, behind Bobby Orr. But Harvey's place in history has faded
over the years. He was one of eight future Hall of Famers to lead
the Canadiens to six Stanley Cups, including five in a row from
1956 through '60. If Maurice (Rocket) Richard served as
torchbearer for that dynasty, it was Harvey who lit the flame.

"The Rocket was there to score goals," teammate Jean-Guy Talbot
told author William Brown, a Montreal sports historian. "[But]
Doug Harvey was the one who controlled the game." In a time when
penalized players remained in the box for the full two minutes no
matter how many goals were scored, Harvey's superb quarterbacking
on the power play sometimes set up two, even three goals per
advantage, forcing the NHL to revise the rule. "He could put the
puck up your backside and take it out again, and you never even
knew he was around you," said Detroit Red Wings forward Bill
Dineen.

Athletic excellence came so easily for Harvey that the Canadiens
at first mistook his relaxed style for laziness and nearly traded
him. Loyal, rebellious, playful and charitable, he was a leader
on and off ice, and his generosity extended beyond the dressing
room. He emptied his pockets for the needy, boarded kids at his
summer hockey camp, lent his car to strangers and, during a
transit strike in 1974, even gave rides to commuters when he was
supposed to be ferrying his daughter to prewedding appointments.

Along with Detroit star Ted Lindsay, Harvey challenged ownership
in the 1950s in a failed attempt to start a players' union.
Friends suspected that his activism provoked the Canadiens to
trade Harvey, then 36, to the New York Rangers in June '61. Named
player-coach, he directed New York to a playoff berth in '62 but
quit his bench duties after the season. Released by the Rangers
in '63, he wandered through the minors until asked by the
expansion St. Louis Blues to assist coach Scotty Bowman. Together
they guided the Blues to the '68 Cup finals, which the Canadiens
swept.

The Hall of Fame selection committee unconscionably refused
Harvey admission when he became eligible in 1972, and he declined
to attend his subsequent induction in '73. At odds with those who
ran the sport, he drifted in and out of contact, and Brown
believes he suffered from an undiagnosed bipolar disorder
accompanied by alcoholism. In 1985 the Canadiens retired his
number 2 and hired him as a scout. Four years later, at 65, he
died of liver disease. Brown concludes in this sympathetic,
well-researched book that Harvey was largely free from
bitterness, having lived the way he dominated hockey--at the pace
he chose.

COLOR PHOTO: VEHICULE PRESS HAB HEYDAY The good times in Montreal ended with a trade to the Rangers, and Harvey began to fade on and off the ice. B/W PHOTO: AP [See caption above] COLOR PHOTO: ALBION PRESS

Unmasked Man
Was Glenn Hall the best goalie ever?

The Man They Call Mr. Goalie
by Tom Adrahtas
Albion Press, $16.95

QUESTION: WHO'S the best netminder ever--Jacques Plante, Patrick
Roy or Terry Sawchuk? The author says it's Glenn Hall, an 11-time
AllStar. Plus, Hall--not Roy--invented the butterfly style of
goaltending that Adrahtas writes "was visionary and is more alive
in the NHL of the new millennium than it was when he first
employed it to howling criticism in the 1950s."

What's more, it's safe to say that no netminder will break Hall's
NHL record of 502 consecutive regular-season games played. Hall
played those games without a mask too. Whether he enjoyed that
streak is another matter: So keyed up that he routinely vomited
before and between periods of nearly every game, Hall came to
believe that he wouldn't perform well unless he threw up.
--S.H.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)