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NHL Centennial News

NHL Centennial

Greatest NHL Uniforms: 1944-47 Montreal Canadiens

NHL.com Columnist Dave Stubbs says famous jersey was near, dear to his heart

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / NHL.com Columnist

The battle to be named Greatest NHL Uniform is raging, with fans having until Dec. 31 to make their picks from 100 entries.

From now until the end of the year, NHL.com staff writers will be weighing in with their favorites. Today, NHL.com Columnist Dave Stubbs explains why the uniforms worn by the Montreal Canadiens from 1944-47 are his favorite.

 

[RELATED: Vote now: #NHLGreatestUniforms | Top 10 leaderboard]

 

This legendary Montreal Canadiens jersey is before my time (though some would argue that), but it is dearest to my heart because of the icons who wore it. The familiar "CH" has been on the front of the Canadiens' jersey since 1925-26, interrupted only briefly before that.

But this heavy bleu-blanc-rouge (blue, white and red) wool sweater was the one worn by the legendary "Punch Line," the preeminent offensive trio of the 1940s: left wing Toe Blake, center Elmer Lach and right wing Maurice "Rocket" Richard. In 1944-45, Richard wore this jersey to become the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season, turning the feat in 50 games. Lach, Richard and Blake finished 1-2-3 in the NHL scoring race that season.

Every year it was worn by the Canadiens, goaltender Bill Durnan would win the Vezina Trophy. These jerseys, with the "CH" a little thinner and more streamlined than the crests that would follow it, were far from indestructible. They would be slashed into a ragged mess by sticks and skates, the torn wool put back together by the trainer's darning needle. But that made them all the more magical. This "sacred flannel," as Canadiens fans called it, was the sweater worn with brilliance by Rocket and Elmer and Toe.

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