Top 15 Controversial Moments in Montreal Canadiens History

The Montreal Canadiens are not only the most storied hockey team ever assembled, but without a doubt one of the most storied sports teams in the history of God's green earth.

They may have 24 Stanley Cups, but perhaps no National Hockey League team has undergone so many controversies before.

Everyone knows how passionate the Canadiens' fanbase is, but many of them have brought up plenty of controversies that have been linked to this franchise for ages.

Of course, former coaches, general managers, and obviously players have been part of the controversies in this history.

We all know about the Richard riots as well as--more recently---the ever-lasting run-ins P.K. Subban seems to have with certain teams and fans. Wherever Montreal goes, controversy seems to always follow them.

It's definitely part of this franchise's history, but not all of the controversial events can be placed upon the blame of Montreal.

They're just always involved in it. Somehow or someway, they'll make headlines with stories that you don't see every day.

Here are the 15 biggest controversies in the history of the Montreal Canadiens.

15 Bruins Fans Attack P.K. Subban on Twitter

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

When P.K. Subban scored the overtime winner in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final against the Boston Bruins, the victory for the Canadiens was troubled by ignorant trolls from Twitter.

Subban was riddled with racial slurs from a number of Bruins fans on social media after the game. Of course, it was a small bunch out of the millions of Bruins fans in the world.

Still, this was one of the worst things any sports fan could say they came across. If it were possible to ban those fans from watching hockey again, it would be great.

14 Booing Carey Price

During the 2009 playoffs, the Canadiens were on their way to being swept out of the first round by the Bruins.

Though it was an ugly way to lose, Habs fans should have remained passionate and loyal to their team.

Instead, the fans booed goaltender Carey Price heavily as he touched the puck, and Price couldn't help but take a shot at the fans in the fashion we had seen years earlier.

13 P.K. Subban's Mispronunciation

Everyone knows Pernell Karl Subban goes by his initials which we pronounce "Pee-Kay."

However, the Association pour le soutien et l’usage de la Langue française (ASULF) was actually fed up with the way it was pronounced.

They ended up sending a letter, asking French sports broadcasters to pronounce his name in the French way of speaking P.K.

12 Canada's Team

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Habs are often referred to as "Canada's Team." That would be fair to say in some instances, with 24 Stanley Cups and being one of the oldest franchises in sports history.

However, the reality is any hockey fan can take one of the seven Canadian NHL teams and call it "Canada's Team." The Toronto Maple Leafs have just as big of a following as Montreal Canadiens.

Even the Ottawa Senators could make a case for being "Canada's Team," since they play in the nation's capital.

It's best if the Habs, along with all Canadian NHL teams, try to play away from the label of being the most popular team in their country.

11 Dislodgegate

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

I'll be honest, I came up with that name. The incident has never been referred to as Dislodgegate.

When the Canadiens and Bruins met in the aforementioned 2014 Eastern Conference Semi-Final, the Habs led by a goal late in Game 3, with the series tied 1-1 at the Bell Centre.

P.K. Subban appeared to intentionally dislodge the net, which is a penalty shot by rule. Whether or not he did it remains to be seen, but he got away with it.

The Habs won the series in seven games. Had Boston gotten the right call, they would have had a chance to tie the game, send it into overtime, win, and ultimately win the series.

10 Chanting During Mark Reeds' Moment of Silence

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When the Habs and Senators met in the opening round of last year's playoffs, Ottawa was playing for assistant coach Mark Reed, who had recently passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.

Sadly, a number of Habs fans elected to do the "Go Habs Go!" chant during a moment of silence for him.

9 The Long Stick

The Canadiens faced off against the Los Angeles Kings in the 1993 Stanley Cup Final. Though the Habs won the series in five games, they could have very well let it slip away.

Trailing 1-0 in the series, they were down 2-1 late in Game 2 and faced a strong possibly of going down 2-0 and back to Los Angeles for the next two games.

Canadiens' coach Jacques Demers was able to get the officials to deem Kings' Marty McSorley as having an illegal curve on his stick.

You know the rest. Eric Desjardins ties it late, wins it in overtime, and the Habs win three straight to capture the Cup.

8 Get Out, Rangers

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

When the Canadiens and Rangers met in the fierce 2014 Eastern Conference Final, plenty of controversy ensued.

From Chris Kreider running over Carey Price and taking him out of the playoffs to Michel Therrien kicking the Rangers out of practice, this one had it all.

During a Habs' practice, Therrien ordered observing Rangers coaches to leave, claiming they had an agreement in place that no side would so such a thing.

7 Booing the American National Anthem

On numerous occasions over the years, a small amount, (key word, "small") of Habs fans have booed the American National Anthem.

This is disturbing on many levels. The Habs have American players. The NHL is ran by American, Gary Bettman. American NHL fans don't boo the Canadian national anthem.

Former Habs' player, coach, and general manager Bob Gainey even had to ask his fans to stop doing it back in 2009.

6 Milan Lucic's Threat

I think you get the whole picture: The 2014 Eastern Conference Semi-Final was loaded with controversies.

Well, this was one of the worst yet. When the Canadiens finished off the Bruins in Game 7, the teams did the traditional handshake line.

Of course, Milan Lucic from the Bruins had to act like a child when he reportedly ushered threats at Dale Weise, threatening to kill him next season.

5 Randy Cunneyworth Controversy


During the Habs' forgetful 2011-12 season, head coach Jacques Martin was fired, and Randy Cunneyworth was interim coach.

The only problem? Cunneyworth didn't speak French, and it caused major controversy in the city.

Quebec's Culture Minister expected the situation to be fixed, fans protested outside the Bell Centre and threatened to Boycott Molson products, and Cunneyworth himself had to vow that he would learn the language.

4 Arrest Chara!

Everyone remembers Zdeno Chara's infamous hit on Max Pacioretty back in a 2011 regular season meeting.

Chara hit Pacioretty along the stanchion of a bench, and Pacioretty was lucky to not have suffered a broken neck.

The hit was as dirty as it came, though Chara proclaimed he didn't mean to, it's pretty obvious he had every intention of hurting Pacioretty.

Chara avoided suspension, but the Montreal Police Service actually had a criminal investigation into the matter, though nothing came out of it.

3 Running Patrick Roy Out of Town

Habs fans still haven't gotten over this one.

Goalie Patrick Roy backstopped the Habs to Stanley Cup titles in 1986 and 1993, and it was obvious he was the franchise's icon.

Sadly, the Habs made a toxic decision to keep him in goal during a 1995 home game where he allowed nine goals in an 11-1 loss at home to the Detroit Red Wings.

The fans, like the aforementioned Price incident, sarcastically cheered after an easy save, and he mockingly put his arms up to celebrate. He then told management once he was pulled he had played his last game in Montreal.

The Habs got almost nothing in return when they traded him to the Colorado Avalanche. Roy backstopped the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup titles and made them a powerhouse for nearly a decade.

As for the Canadiens, they went through their worst stage in franchise history and haven't reached the Final since trading him.

2 Maurice Richard Punch

This controversy led to number one on the list, so it's critical you closely follow the details of this one.

Habs' legend Maurice Richard got into an ugly altercation against the Boston Bruins in a 1954 away game.

Richard was high-sticked by Hal Laycoe, and went to fight him after a bad cut on his face. Even though Laycoe was about to be penalized, Richard tried fighting him, and the referees tried restraining him.

Richard lost his cool and punched referee Cliff Thompson twice in the head, knocking him on the ground.

1  1. Richard Riot


The biggest incident in Montreal Canadiens history, without a doubt.

After Richard's attack on Thompson, league president Clarence Campbell suspended Richard for the remainder of that season.

The Habs' faithful didn't take it kindly. When Campbell appeared at the Montreal Forum following Richard's suspension, a riot began in the arena and was carried out across the city.

Thousands of dollars worth of property damage occurred. Dozens of people were injured and 100 people were arrested. Thankfully, Richard willingly accepted the punishment and it led to peace from the fans.

Canadiens' fans did one funny thing out of this: Campbell was not related to the popular canned-soup company, but they made a bunch of canned-soups honouring Richard's name to mock Campbell.

But was all of this necessary because of one athlete's inexcusable actions? Definitely not. That's why this takes the top spot on the list.

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Top 15 Controversial Moments in Montreal Canadiens History