One for Big Bird

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Larry Robinson has a new favourite moment from his Hall of Fame career with the Montreal Canadiens.

"Picking a favourite moment is like eating a can of beans and wondering which one gave you gas," joked Robinson, who had his No. 19 retired and raised to the Bell Centre rafters before last night's game vs. the Senators.

"The first Stanley Cup was great, the first time I stepped on the ice as a 180-pound rookie, meeting my idol, Jean Beliveau. We could stand here for hours and talk about all the great times we had.

"But I'd have to say my favourite moment is now."

The native of Marvelville, just south of Ottawa, became the 13th member of the Canadiens illustrious cast to have his number retired.

CLASSY HABS' TEAMS

He was joined on the ice by his family and was introduced by New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, who has become a mentor and close friend to Robinson in his post-playing career.

"I know some people questioned my choice of Lou," said Robinson. "He studied the Montreal Canadiens teams and the class they had on and off the ice and he said, 'if there's one team I'd like to use as a role model for the team I had to look after, that would be it.' "

After the speeches, Robinson shook the hands of the players from both the Canadiens and the Senators, who watched the ceremony.

"I was very touched. I wanted to make a point to go to them," said Robinson. "I thought it was very classy of both teams and I appreciated it very much."

Robinson said he wished his late parents and brother, Brian, could have been on hand for the ceremony.

"I would have loved to have my mom, dad and brother here, but that's a part of life. Other people have more tragedies and are worse off than I am," he said.

Robinson said the most emotional moment of the night was seeing the banner bearing the No. 19, which was presented to him by Habs captain Saku Koivu and alternates Chris Higgins and Alexei Kovalev, raised to the rafters.

He thanked Mark Messier, who gave a long and tearful acceptance speech when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, for showing him what not to do.

"I've got to send a thank-you note to Mark. If you let your emotions get to you, it can be awfully hard to get through it. I had some many things going through my mind. I just tried to stay focused."


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