Jean-Guy Talbot - Born July 11, 1932 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec is a retired Canadian ice Hockey defenceman and coach.
Talbot played junior Hockey for the Trois-Rivieres Reds and the Shawinigan Cataracts before playing senior Hockey with the Quebec Aces from 1952 to 1954..
After scoring 34 points for the Shawinigan Cataracts, now in the QHL in 1954-55, the talented rearguard was placed on the QHL's first all-star team.
Talbot then gained a regular job on the Montreal Canadiens' blueline in 1955-56 season and enjoyed Stanley Cup success in each of his first five NHL seasons, a feat shared only by teammates Henri Richard, Claude Provost and Bob Turner. Led by Rocket Richard and Jean Beliveau, the Montreal Canadiens won the first of five consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1955-56.
“I didn’t know anything other than what it was like to win it all every year those five seasons,” Talbot said. “That had to be one of the best teams of all-time. A whole group of us (12) stayed together for all five Cups.”
Talbot broke in as the Habs No. 5 defenseman and had great blueline role models in Doug Harvey, Butch Bouchard and Dollard St. Laurent. He was known for physical play and being an adept passer from Day 1.
Talbot was an integral part of the Canadiens transition game until 1966-67. His consistent play at both ends of the ice was crucial when the Canadiens had to replace the likes of Rocket Richard, Doug Harvey, and Bernie Geoffrion. After scoring 47 points in 1961-62, Talbot was voted on to the NHL first all-star team, and was selected for five all-star games in all (1957, 1960, 1962, 1965 and 1967). Talbot also played an important role on Stanley Cup championship teams in 1965 and 1966.
When the Canadiens wanted to go with younger players like Serge Savard, he was left unprotected in the 1967 Expansion Draft. The Minnesota North Stars called his name in the draft, but ended up trading him to the Detroit Red Wings four games into the 1967-68 season. Before the end of the regular schedule, Talbot was picked up by the St. Louis Blues. His puck handling and experience helped the club reach the Stanley Cup final three straight years beginning in 1968.
It was with the Blues that Talbot was involved in one of the seminal moments in Hockey history. In overtime of the 1970 final, Talbot was checking Bobby Orr in the corner when a give-and-go with Derek Sanderson resulted in Orr firing the puck past St. Louis goalie Glenn Hall. As Orr got lofted into the air off the stick of Blues defenseman Noel Picard, Talbot had a front-row seat. Watch it on YouTube and you’ll see No. 17 Talbot in a white helmet cruising behind the Blues net.
“I had the best vantage point of all,” Talbot said. “It all happened right there in front of me.”
Talbot retired in 1971 after lending his expertise to the young defence on the expansion Buffalo Sabres.
Over the course of his career, Talbot played 1,056 games, scoring 43 goals and adding 242 assists for 285 points. He also collected 1,006 penalty minutes.
Talbot became a coach after retiring. He coached the Denver Spurs to the Western Hockey League / WHL championship in 1972 (The Spurs became the first professional sports team in Colorado to win a championship - The Lester Patrick Cup) then worked behind the St. Louis bench on an interim basis, replacing Al Arbour who had been fired from the position. He held the position for two years, resigning in February 1974. Talbot signed on as head coach for the New York Rangers in 1977, taking over from John Ferguson, with whom he had played during his tenure with the Canadiens. As coach of the Rangers, Talbot was known for wearing a warmup suit behind the bench during games, rather than the normal business suit worn by most coaches.
“I asked (GM) John Ferguson ‘Will you let me wear a tracksuit during games? They’re looser and more comfortable. After a game, I take a shower and it feels good to put on a clean, dry suit instead of one that’s damp from the sweat.’ I think John felt bad for me so he didn’t argue with it. He let me do it for the last half of the season.”
That turned out to be one of Hockey's biggest fashion faux pas.