Saturday, 2 February 2013

Carbo in the Final: 1986

This is the first in a series of five posts about Carbo's five trips to the Stanley Cup Final:  1986, 1989, 1993, 1999, and 2000.  First up, his trip to the Final in 1986, which resulted in his first Stanley Cup win.

There were a few stories in the 1986 playoffs.  First, the elimination of the Edmonton Oilers -- Stanley Cup Champions the previous two years -- which took many people by surprise.  But the bigger story, I think, was the Canadiens' rookie goaltender Patrick Roy.  He made his first appearance in net for the Habs in February 1985 and began playing regularly the following season, winning the starting job in the playoffs.  He would become the youngest Conn Smythe winner ever, at age 20.  

That Habs team had many young players, along with the veterans Bob Gainey (the captain) and Larry Robinson.  Guy was in his fourth season with the team.  Up to this point, he was the Canadiens' Molson Cup winner in 1983-84 and had scored the first of two career hat tricks.  In the 1985-86 season he achieved his career high in assists (36), and appeared in all 80 games.  In the playoffs, he notched a total of seven goals and five assists.

The Canadiens also had a new coach that year, Jean Perron, who in the playoffs confined his players to the team's hotel when they weren't playing or practicing.  Because of this, the players dubbed themselves "Alcatraz," and had T-shirts made of their new moniker.  There's a photo of Claude Lemieux, Gaston Gingras, and Serge Boisvert on the team plane returning from winning the championship in Calgary, celebrating while wearing their Alcatraz shirts.  Boisvert has a rose tucked behind his ear.

Before facing the Calgary Flames in the Final -- an all-Canadian matchup -- the Canadiens would first defeat the rival Bruins (in three games -- back then the division semifinal was a best-of-five series).  They would then knock off the Hartford Whalers in the division final (in seven games -- the Whalers' division semifinal victory in the previous series was the team's lone playoff victory before the move to Carolina), and the New York Rangers in five games in the conference final.

Carbonneau, Roy, and Lemieux after winning the conference final.

In the Stanley Cup Final, five games were played -- three in Calgary and two in Montreal.  The Canadiens would defeat the Flames by a score of four games to one.  After winning, they traveled all night on a returning flight to Montreal where they were greeted at Dorval Airport by an enormous crowd.  In the parade, the team traveled in convertibles and were mobbed -- the decision was then made in 1993 to have the Habs greet the Montreal faithful on raised floats for their protection and security.

Guy (behind Chris Nilan) in the Stanley Cup parade.

Nominated for the Frank J. Selke trophy for the first time that year, Guy would lose to Troy Murray.  His time as the league's best defensive forward would come.  But in 1986, at the age of twenty-six, he was a Stanley Cup Champion.

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