Canadiens to retire No. 12 twice

MONTREAL -- Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer played such an
important part in the storied history of the Montreal Canadiens. So
it's fitting the team will twice honor the No. 12 they shared
during nearly 30 years.
Hall of Famers who won 16 Stanley Cups between them, Moore and
Cournoyer will become the first Canadiens to have the same jersey
retired when their number is raised to the Bell Centre rafters
before Saturday night's game against Toronto.
"You need players like them to win the Stanley Cup and they
certainly deserve this great honor," says Canadiens great Jean
Beliveau, whose No. 4 was retired shortly after his 10th Stanley
Cup win in 1971. "They earned it through their hard work. I think
both of them were great, great team players so I had the good
fortune to play with both of them."
Moore won two NHL scoring titles and six Stanley Cups with
Montreal -- including a record five straight along with Beliveau
from 1956-60 -- while playing for the Canadiens between 1951-63.
Cournoyer, who was handed Moore's No. 12 as a rookie in 1964,
was a member of Cup-winning teams in six of his first nine seasons,
the first five with Beliveau as captain.
"I always respected No. 12," says Cournoyer, whose career
ended after his 10th championship following two back operations.
"There were pictures in the room of people who had played for
Montreal and I knew what (Moore) had done before, so I wanted to
continue the good work."
Nicknamed "Roadrunner" because of his breakaway speed,
Cournoyer captained the Canadiens to four straight titles himself
from 1976-79.
"He turned out to be a great hockey player with a lot of
achievements," Moore says. "I'm very happy for him. He carried it
very, very well."
Cournoyer and Moore played through pain and injuries. Moore, who
recalls coach Dick Irvin asking him if he was tough enough to wear
two-time Cup winner Murph Chamberlain's number, won his second
straight Art Ross Trophy in 1959, leading the league in scoring
despite playing the last two months of the season with a cast on
his broken hand.
"Another year he had a shoulder problem," Beliveau says.
"Those who were there will remember him skating towards the bench
and having the trainer replace the shoulder that had come out of
its socket. Both of them loved this game. The team record was more
important to them than their personal record."
Maple Leafs assistant coach Keith Acton was the first of six
players who wore the number following Cournoyer's retirement.
Toronto center Darcy Tucker, who wore it in 1997-98, was the last.
Moore particularly enjoyed seeing the number on Mike Keane, who
wore No. 12 when Montreal last won the Stanley Cup in 1993.
"I'm not the player of the caliber of Dickie Moore or Yvan
Cournoyer, but I just tried to basically not embarrass the number
and hopefully I didn't do that," says Keane, who also won Cups
with Colorado and Dallas and is now playing with Manitoba of the
AHL. "I always felt very special wearing No. 12. It is very cool
knowing that a number that I wore is never going to be worn
The number is the first in a series that the Canadiens intend to
retire during the seasons leading to the franchise's centennial in
2009. The team will retire Bernie Geoffrion's No. 5 before a game
against the New York Rangers on March 5.
"I think I'm just starting hockey again, I'm so nervous," says
Moore, who shared each of his six Cup wins with Geoffrion. "It's a
nerve-wracking position, really, to be honored in such a manner."
In addition to Beliveau, Montreal previously retired Howie
Morenz's No. 7, Maurice Richard's No. 9, Henri Richard's No. 16,
Guy Lafleur's No. 10, Doug Harvey's No. 2 and Jacques Plante's No.
"It's a dream to play for the Montreal Canadiens, and I made it
in my life," Cournoyer said. "Now at the end of the dream you
have the ultimate and your number is retired."