Saturday, December 01, 2007

Habs Goalies: Murphy, Evans, and Binette

After Jacques Plante joined the Canadiens and solidified the team's goaltending duties for the next decade, other goalies rarely had the opportunity to play. Some teams began carrying two netminders in case of poor play or injury and the Canadiens would soon follow the trend.

When playing in Montreal, the Canadiens had several goaltenders in their system to choose from. During road games, it was a different story, and the Habs would then take a goalie on loan from the opposing teams.

Three goaltenders who appeared for Montreal in the early 1950's were Hal Murphy, Claude Evans, and Andre Binette. Here's their short profiles.

Hal Murphy 1952 - 1953

Goaltender Hal Murphy came up through the ranks of Montreal's minor-hockey system in the 1930s and 1940s and joined the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QSHL in 1950. He was moved to the Montreal Royals in 1952-53.

During the 1952 season the Canadiens came calling as they needed a one game fill in replacement for the injured Gerry McNeil.

Murphy got his chance to shine on November 8, 1952 and the Canadiens went on to beat the Boston Bruins 6-4 that evening. It was a short one-game career for the diminutive goalie, but he always cherished that one opportunity and often joked that he left the league undefeated.

Murphy played three games with the OHL's Ottawa Senators in 1953-54 before leaving the game as a player at the age of 26.

Claude Evans 1954 - 1955

Born in Longueil, Quebec, on April 28, 1933, goaltender Claude Evans spent three seasons with the Montreal Nationale before turning pro with the International Hockey League's Cincinnati Mohawks. Evans put up All-Star numbers for the Mohawks leading the league in games played with 60, wins with 43 and shutouts with five. A busy 1953-54 saw Evans suit up for four different clubs, but by the following season Evans had reached the NHL.

Though most of his season was spent with the Montreal Royals of the Quebec Hockey League, Evans was called up to replace the injured Jacques Plante and played four games with the Canadiens between November 13 and 18. Evans had an even 2-2 record, but was returned to the Royals after the stint.

Evans remained in the minors for two full seasons before signing as a free agent with the Boston Bruins in 1957-58.He returned to the NHL in March of that year playing one game for the Boston.

An All-Star the next year, back in the QHL, Evans never made it back to the big leagues. He played three more years, the majority with the Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League before retiring following the 1960-61 season.

Andre Binette 1954 - 1955

Goalie Andre Binette was known for his lightning fast reflexes while playing junior hockey with the Trois Rivieres Flambeaux of the QJHL.

In 1954, Binette was called up from the Montreal Royals by the Canadiens to replace injured starter Jacques Plante. His only NHL experience came on November 11, allowing four goals in a 7-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Binette continued to play hockey for another three years with Shawinigan Cataracts (QHL), Cornwall Colts (EOHL), Troy Bruins (IHL), Clinton Comets (EHL), Toledo Mercury's (IHL), and the Chatham Maroons (NOHA).

Following the 1957-58 season, Binette called it quits but was enticed to come out of retirement four years later by the Montreal Olympics of the QSHL. Binette became the teams number one netminder, bringing them all the way to the 1962 Allan Cup. During the playoffs, Binette recorded eleven wins and five loses, while recording four shutouts and a 2.60 GAA.

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