Mario Tremblay

Mario Tremblay was a real solid contributor to perhaps the strongest team in all of hockey history. But he is better remembered as a controversial broadcaster and for his coaching role in Patrick Roy's departure from Montreal.

Tremblay was one of five first round draft picks of the Canadiens back in 1974, joining Cam Connor, Doug Risebrough, Rick Chartraw, and Gord McTavish in a mixed bag of hockey talent.

Tremblay and Risebrough found instant chemistry, and were on a line with Yvon Lambert for much of the 1970s. Together the line helped Montreal capture 5 Stanley Cups in that decade.

Tremblay and Risebrough were in many ways identical, providing Montreal with a relentless one-two punch whenver they were on the ice.

Tremblay was a physical player, unafraid of bigger foes and reckless in throwing his body around. The fiery and short tempered Tremblay was a great competitor who burned to win, although sometimes he took a few too many liberties with his stick.

Regardless, his attitude definitely was infectious on the Montreal bench. Whenever coach Scotty Bowman wanted to give his bench a jolt of energy, he was sure to call on #14 for a shift.

Tremblay was strong in the corners, but the best part of his game was his ability to make plays with the puck once he retrieved it. Hockey has a lot of hard working pluggers who are willing to fight for loose pucks in high traffic zones, but the best are separated by the ability to do something with the puck once they get it.

Tremblay was fast on his skates and able to throttle by most defenseman. He would dart in and out of traffic, often stealing the puck. He was definitely more of a shoot-first, pass-second type player. he boasted a howitzer of a shot and was also good at finding loose pucks and rebounds in scrums in front of the goalie.

The native of Alma, Quebec spent his entire playing career with the Canadiens. In 852 games he scored 258 goals and 584 points. He added another 20 goals and 49 points in 101 post season affairs.

After retiring as a player Tremblay was a natural broadcaster. Very outspoken and opinionated, the "French Don Cherry" was a regular on French radio and television broadcasts and an array of sports talk shows.

In 1995 Tremblay walked away from his comfortable life as a broadcaster and became, surprisingly, the head coach of the Canadiens despite having never coached at any level of hockey before that.

Tremblay's coaching days were short, as he was dismissed in 1997. Yet his record was respectable at 77-63-25, and he set a NHL record by winning his first 6 NHL games.

Yet Tremblay will always be remembered for his role in goaltender Patrick Roy's departure from Montreal.

On Dec. 2, 1995, during Montreal's 11-1 home loss to Detroit, Tremblay wouldn't allow Roy to come out of the game, and forced him to give up nine goals on 26 shots before finally removing him at 11:57 of the second period.

Roy was infuriated and later told the Montreal press that Tremblay had "humiliated" him and demanded to be the traded.

The tension between the two had been building. As a broadcaster Tremblay was one of Roy's few critics. And the two had been involved in several arguments at practice in the days before the Detroit game.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP