Rabid Habs

#26: Who Wore it Best?

A couple of weeks ago, we brought you the third edition of “Who Wore it Best?”. The majority of voters chose Saku Koivu, former Montreal Canadiens captain, as the winner of #11: Who Wore it Best? – a series featuring Habs jersey numbers.

In this fourth edition, we’ll take a look at the most notable Habs players who wore #26.

Number 26 – (Bill Baker, Jesse Belanger, Pierre Bouchard, Gerald Brisson, Sylvain Blouin, Paul Curtis, Pierre Dagenais, Jude Drouin, Normand Dupont, Josh Gorges, Terry Gray, Jacques Laperriere, Craig Laughlin, Gary Leeman, Keith McCreary, Jim Montgomery, Mats Naslund, Dan Newman, Larry Pleau, Phil Roberto, Jim Roberts, Leon Rochefort, Martin Rucinsky, Yves Sarault, Bryan Watson)

Josh Gorges – D (2006-2014): Signed as a free agent by the San Jose Sharks in 2002, Josh Gorges made his NHL debut in the 2005-06 season. Despite some early success, Gorges struggled when playing more minutes – which many attributed to his small size and lack of strength. In February 2007, Gorges was traded to the Montreal Canadiens along with a 2007 first round pick (Max Pacioretty) in exchange for Craig Rivet and a 2008 fifth round pick (Jason Demers). A responsible defensive defenseman, who blocks more than his fair share of shots, Gorges demonstrates strong leadership skills on and off the ice. On July 1, 2014, Marc Bergevin shocked Habs fans by trading Gorges to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2016 second round pick. Many Habs fans would have picked Josh Gorges to be next in line for the Habs’ captaincy.

NHL Totals –
Regular season: GP (560) G (14) A (84) Pts (98)
Playoffs : GP (68) G (0) A (9) Pts (9)

Mats Naslund – LW (1982-1990): Nicknamed “Le Petit Viking”, Mats Naslund holds the record for most points (110) in one season by a Montreal LW, the very first Habs player from overseas (source: Habs Legends). Selected by the Montreal Canadiens at the 1979 NHL Entry Draft (37th overall), Naslund was also the first European-born player to ever play for the Habs. Leading the team in scoring during the 1986 playoff run, Naslund and the Habs captured the Stanley Cup against the Calgary Flames. Naslund ranks 12th on the Habs all-time scoring list, with 612 points in 617 regular season games. After playing four seasons in Europe (1990-1994), Naslund returned to the NHL to play for the Boston Bruins in the lockout shortened season, 1994-1995, and then retired from hockey.

NHL Totals –
Regular season: GP (651) G (251) A (383) Pts (634)
Playoffs : GP (102) G (35) A (57) Pts (92)

Martin Rucinsky – LW (1995-2002): Selected 20th overall by the Edmonton Oilers at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Martin Rucinsky joined the Habs on December 6, 1995. He was involved in the trade that sent Patrick Roy to the Colorado Avalanche. A native of Czechoslovakia, Rucinsky captured the Gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics – he later won a Bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. In his NHL career, he has played for eight different teams – St. Louis Blues being his last stop (2007-2008). Rucinsky has since been playing in the Czech Extraliga league.

NHL Totals –
Regular season: GP (961) G (241) A (371) Pts (612)
Playoffs : GP (37) G (9) A (5) Pts (14)

What do you think? Who was the best player to wear the #26 for the Montreal Canadiens? Take a second to vote in our poll.

Go Habs Go!

[yop_poll id=”5″]