Canadiens’ left winger won four Stanley Cups from 1976 to ‘79
By Pat Payton
When the touring Montreal Canadiens Alumni team came to St. Marys recently and put on an impressive display of skill, skating and puck movement, it was easy to see why Montreal has won more Stanley Cups (24) than any other NHL team.
Six players on the Canadiens Alumni squad that night have hoisted Stanley Cups and coach Yvon Lambert won four in a row (1976-79) as a member of one of greatest teams ever assembled (by GM Sam Pollock). Just a few of Lambert’s Montreal teammates were: Guy Lafleur, Yvan Cournoyer, Steve Shutt, Jacques Lemaire, Peter Mahovlich, Bob Gainey, Mario Tremblay, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe, Larry Robinson and Ken Dryden.
During the Canadiens’ memorable stop at the PRC, the Independent had a chance to sit down with Lambert, who talked about the great Montreal teams he admits being fortunate enough to play on in the 1970s.
Nine years with Lafleur
“I played nine years with Lafleur,” Lambert said, quickly relating one of his fondest memories. “We won four Cups in a row in the late 1970s. It was a great, great team. In 1976-77, we lost only eight games all season, including the playoffs . . . those are great, great memories.”
That Canadiens team is regarded as possibly the best NHL team in history, going 60-8-12 under coach Scotty Bowman.
He said winning the four consecutive Cups are very special when he reflects back on his career. But he said the championships didn’t come easy. “You had to work so hard to win a Stanley Cup,” he recalled. “After you win one, everybody wanted to beat us. We had a target on our backs.”
In his first three years in the NHL (1972-75), Lambert had Henri (the Pocket Rocket) Richard as a teammate. Richard has won more Cups (11) than any other player in league history, and Lambert recalled learning a lot from the the veteran centre. Richard played on only two teams in his entire hockey career — two years with the Montreal Jr. Canadiens and 20 in a row (1955-75) with the NHL Canadiens before retiring.
–Yvon Lambert played his Junior hockey in his home-town of Drummondville, then went to the Nova Scotia Voyageurs (Canadiens AHL farm team) for a couple of seasons.
–A left winger, Lambert was originally drafted by Detroit Red Wings. He played 10 NHL seasons, twice scoring over 30 goals and scoring more than 20 five times.
–Today, Lambert, 68, lives in Montreal and coaches the Canadiens Alumni team. He played on the team up to six years ago. Lafleur also retired from playing on the Alumni team about the same time.