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Thread: Canadiens legend 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion dies

  1. #1

    Canadiens legend 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion dies

    Canadiens legend 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion dies
    Updated Sat. Mar. 11 2006 12:01 PM ET

    Canadian Press

    Bernard (Boom Boom) Geoffrion said he invented the slapshot as a youngster, swiping at pucks on a rink in a churchyard near his home in Montreal.

    Others have also claimed the invention, but there is no question that Geoffrion was the player who popularized the shot that would give him his nickname.

    Geoffrion died in an Atlanta hospital on Saturday of stomach cancer. He was 75.

    Bernard Andre Joseph Geoffrion, born on Feb. 16, 1931, was dubbed Boom Boom by sportswriter Charlie Boire of the Montreal Star while he was playing junior hockey for the Laval Nationale in the late 1940s.

    One boom was for the sound of his stick striking the puck; the second was for when his rocketing shot hit the boards.

    The shot, combined with his speed and competitive temperament, made Boom Boom Geoffrion one of the most dangerous goal-scorers of his era.

    Geoffrion scored 371 goals in 14 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1950s and 1960s and another 22 goals in a two-year comeback with the New York Rangers from 1966 to 1968.

    He was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

    Geoffrion was known as much for his outgoing personality and love of practical jokes as he was for scoring goals in his time with the star-studded Canadiens of the 1950s.

    During road trips, Geoffrion would sometimes join a band onstage at a nightclub to sing a tune or two, and he appeared on television shows in Quebec, usually singing joke songs.

    As teammate Jean Beliveau described it in his biography My Life In Hockey: "Nowadays it's called karaoke. Back then we had another phrase for it: big ham."

    His teammates were so used to his mischief that in 1958, they thought he was playing a trick as he writhed on the ice after a minor collision during a practice and were shocked when he was rushed to hospital to have his spleen removed.

    It was the first of a string of injuries and illnesses that would mark his career as a player and a coach and follow him into retirement after he settled in Atlanta with his family in the 1970s.

    Geoffrion battled ulcers that cut short coaching stints with the expansion Atlanta Flames and the Rangers and led to surgery in 1968 to remove part of his stomach. In the 1990s, he survived prostate cancer and muscular degeneration, an illness that reduced the vision in his right eye.

    But in his youth, Geoffrion was superbly gifted player who arrived in the NHL at a time when the Canadiens were amassing the NHL's greatest dynasty of all time, which won five consecutive Stanley Cups between 1956 and 1960.

    Geoffrion and Beliveau made their NHL debuts together during a brief call-up from their junior teams in a 1-1 tie with the Rangers in 1950, with Boom Boom scoring his first NHL goal. Another Canadiens great, Dickie Moore, also played his first NHL game that season.

    Geoffrion joined the Canadiens full time the following season and won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 1951-52, when he scored 30 goals.

    He was booed by Montreal fans for winning the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring leader in 1955, but cheered for winning it again 1961, when he was also named the league's most valuable player.

    That season, he became only the second player in NHL history after teammate Maurice (Rocket) Richard to score 50 goals in a season.

    Richard was at the root of his booing six years earlier.

    The Rocket was leading the NHL scoring race - on pace for his first Art Ross, when he was suspended for the final three games of the season and the playoffs for a stick-swinging incident with Boston's Hal Laycoe.

    In the following game against Detroit, Montreal Forum fans rioted over the suspension.

    Many fans also wanted Geoffrion, who trailed Richard by two points, and Beliveau, who was three points back, to let up so Richard could win the scoring title.

    Beliveau said Geoffrion, a "sensitive guy who was concerned about his public image," fretted over the predicament until defenceman Doug Harvey told him: "We're going for first place, Boom, so there's no question of shooting wide of the net."

    Geoffrion ended the season with 95 points, one more than Richard, who even Boom Boom considered an idol. When he was presented with the Art Ross before the opening playoff game against Boston, the fans booed.

    It was not his last disappointment with the Canadiens.

    In 1961, he was said to be hurt when his teammates elected Beliveau ahead of him as team captain.

    And after two final seasons marked by knee injuries, Geoffrion was asked by owner David Molson to retire and accept a two-year stint as coach of the Canadiens top farm club, the Quebec Aces.

    After guiding the Aces to pair of first-place finishes, he was told there was no room as coach in Montreal because the legendary Toe Blake was still running the team and he was offered a job coaching the Montreal junior Canadiens, which he considered a demotion.

    Geoffrion said later he suspected the coaching jobs were a ruse to get him out of the way so they could bring up junior sensation Yvan Cournoyer. He opted to return as a player with the Rangers.

    After two seasons, New York boss Emile Francis named him coach, but he had barely got into the job when his ulcers forced him into surgery.

    He got another chance at coaching in 1972 with the expansion Flames and led them into the playoffs in only their second year of existence in 1973-74. But the following season, health problems led to his removal after only 52 games.

    Geoffrion finally got the coaching job he always wanted in 1979 when the Canadiens asked him to replace Scotty Bowman, who left for Buffalo in a huff after being refused the general manager's job.

    His son, Danny, played for Montreal that season, but Geoffrion lasted only 30 games and 100 days on the job, stepping down over what he called interference from management. Blake was still with the team as a vice-president and Claude Ruel, who replaced him, was also with the team.

    Danny Geoffrion went to the Winnipeg Jets the following year and retired in 1984 after playing in Japan.

    Finally, Geoffrion returned to Atlanta with his wife, Marlene, who is the daughter of former Canadiens great Howie Morenz. They had three children.

    And at long last, well after teammates like Richard, Beliveau and Harvey had their numbers retired, the Canadiens raised Geoffrion's No. 5 jersey to the rafters on Saturday evening - the day of his death.

    But he never lost his attachment to the Canadiens.

    "I wish things would have been different, but I have no regrets," he said in 2003. "I got to play for my favourite team. I got to play with my boyhood hero, the Rocket. I had some success and the team had some great success."

  2. #2
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    I sat next to the Boomer last fall, on a flight to Mtl. I didn't speak to him as much as i would have liked to, but he made me feel like we had been friends for years. A true gentleman he was. It's so sad that he had to pass away on the day his hockey jersey was to be retired. How he looked forward to this day, and he'll never live to see it. He should have been honored decades ago.

  3. #3
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    One of the greats of the past when hockey was played for the game and not for the pocketbook as it is today. A true gentleman in every sense of the word and he will be missed.

    So sad that he passes on the day that the Habs finally woke up and decided to retire his sweater. Reminds me of the Charles Shultz, creator of 'Peanuts' and a great hockey fan as well. Passed away the day his last strip was in the papers after 50 years....

    RIP Boomer, maybe you can show Sparky Shultz a few tricks on the ice in heaven!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Holliday
    I sat next to the Boomer last fall, on a flight to Mtl. I didn't speak to him as much as i would have liked to, but he made me feel like we had been friends for years. A true gentleman he was. It's so sad that he had to pass away on the day his hockey jersey was to be retired. How he looked forward to this day, and he'll never live to see it. He should have been honored decades ago.

    Doc,

    All those guys were gentlemen, not like the modern assholes who think they are worth millions and whine about it all the time.

    And yes, "Boom-Boom" should have been honored a long time ago.

    GG

  5. #5
    I don't like the way the habs are doing things. They wait too long to retire the numbers. Boum-Boum should have been retired years ago.. of course. If we all know that the number will eventually be retired, why wait until the guy is in his 50s or 60s (or 75 in Geoffrion's case). That way we'll be less than likely to honor someone who just passed out.

    Geoffrion was a true gentleman and had he not played at the same time as Richard and Beliveau, he might have been as big a star. I hope the Habs learn from the mistake of waiting too long.

  6. #6
    Canadiens management were obviously trying for the irony award rather than the class award - another example of how and why this once noble organization has fallen into the sewer during the last two decades.Why on earth did these idiots wait until the great (the GREAT!) Boom Boom Geoffrion was 75 years old - didn't these morons have an inkling that people sometimes DIE at that age?

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    Well at least they didn't wait till Larry Robinson reach golden age before retiring his sweather.
    Thank god. Now lets hope they retire no.23 .

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo
    Well at least they didn't wait till Larry Robinson reach golden age before retiring his sweather.
    Thank god. Now lets hope they retire no.23 .
    Say what? Robinson's number was never retired. Here is a list of retired numbers:


    1 Jaques Plante
    2 Doug Harvey
    4 Jean Beliveau
    5 Bernard Geofrion
    7 Howie Morenz
    9 Maurice Richard
    10 Guy Lafleur
    12 Dickie Moore
    12 Yvan Cournoyer
    16 Henri Richard
    99 Wayne Gretzky (Retired by NHL)
    Last edited by Doc Holliday; 03-12-2006 at 04:47 AM.

  9. #9
    Right now, the numbers they should retire, in my opinion:
    19-Robinson
    23-Gainey
    33-Roy
    29-Dryden
    5-Lapointe (why they did not retire it at the same occasion as Boum-Boum makes sense today)
    18-Savard (the big three is a hockey legend, they should all be retired the same night)
    21-Carbonneau (He might never be a hall of famer but he dominated defensive play for quite some time, he's also been one of the habs best captain ever)

    Question mark
    24-Chelios: did he play long enough to be retired as a hab?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by joelcairo
    Canadiens management were obviously trying for the irony award rather than the class award - another example of how and why this once noble organization has fallen into the sewer during the last two decades.Why on earth did these idiots wait until the great (the GREAT!) Boom Boom Geoffrion was 75 years old - didn't these morons have an inkling that people sometimes DIE at that age?
    It's sad to see that the Habs waited till only after his death to retire his number, but, according to Team990, the primary reasons why boom boom's number hadn't been retired yet was because of a long-standing rift between he and the organization. This dispute apparently raged on particularly at the time when the team's previous adminstrations were in place, like that of Correy. Todays organization, headed by Gilette and co, had basically nothing to do with all the controversy. In any case, it's really sad that the guy died before his number could be retired. I guess it must have been an uneasy moment for the Hab's organization yesterday despite the celebration.

    fml

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Holliday
    Say what? Robinson's number was never retired. Here is a list of retired numbers:


    1 Jaques Plante
    2 Doug Harvey
    4 Jean Beliveau
    5 Bernard Geofrion
    7 Howie Morenz
    9 Maurice Richard
    10 Guy Lafleur
    12 Dickie Moore
    12 Yvan Cournoyer
    16 Henri Richard
    99 Wayne Gretzky (Retired by NHL)

    They haven't retired it yet,but it's in their plans.
    Sad thing is(once again),Larry would've like to see his dad witness the ceremony but unfortunately he passed away last year.
    The Habs plan to retire numbers till the 2009-2010 season.It will mark the team's 100 th Birth day(1909-10).
    With all due respect I don't think Chelios is worthy of it.

  12. #12
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    I am too young to have remembered seeing Geoffrion play, but I do remember him after his playing days appearing in a rather funny TV commercial (probably back in the late 1970s). I can't remember the specifics of it, just that it was humorous.

    I do remember seeing Larry Robinson play, and he was a great player who should have his number retired.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-12-2006 at 09:52 AM.

  13. #13
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    Boomer did a few commercials for Miller beer.If I remember correctly John Madden was also part of those pub.Before that, Boom Boom was a truck driver for Miller!
    He had a great sense of Humour and was good at practical jokes.

  14. #14
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    Cosmo,

    You are right, they were Miller Lite commercials as I recall, and the point of the commercials was for those sports celebrities to poke fun at themselves. I just can't recall the specifics of the Geoffrion commercial but I think it was one of the funnier ones.

    I think this ad campaign may have been right at the time Miller was first putting their Light Beer product on the market. I think they may have been the first major beer company that came out with a light beer and then everyone else followed suit.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 03-12-2006 at 10:21 AM.

  15. #15
    There is a poll on rds web site about whose jersey should be retired next. The choices are: Savard, Robinson, Gainey, Dryden and Roy.

    Dryden is currently slightly ahead fo Robinson.

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