Sunday, March 13, 2011

Born in Verdun, Part of the French Connections Dies

         Richard Martin dies of heart attack, @ 59 years old,..yikes !!.....   I helped install a stereo in Rick Martin's car while I worked at a Texaco station at 3rd & Champlain in Ville Lasalle , He just bought himself a white trans-am with the huge bird decal on the hood,.this was his treat for himself when he was signed by the Buffalo Sabres,,,,,making the NHL was a big deal, (still is) but a local boy was neat to see....he was a bit cocky ,but hey a young guy making (in those days,big dough) I guess he could act cocky if he liked, he sure could play hockey with a great shot......RIP --RICK.


Former Sabres great Rick Martin dies

CBC News
Rick Martin, the first 50-goal scorer for the Buffalo Sabres and a member of their famed French Connection line, died Sunday.

Martin, who was 59, suffered a heart attack while driving in western New York state, according to numerous local media reports.

He was an NHL star in the 1970s with 384 goals and 317 assists for 701 points in 685 games, all but a handful with the Sabres.

During that time, Martin combined with fellow French Canadians Gilbert Perreault and René Robert to give Buffalo the top line in the league for a time, and they helped lead the Sabres to the 1975 Stanley Cup final in just their fifth year of existence.

"Rick was not only one of the greatest players in franchise history, he was a great friend to the Sabres organization and the entire community," the team said in a statement.

Martin is survived by a wife and two children.

Born in Verdun, Que., Martin starred with the Montreal Junior Canadiens and was selected fifth overall by Buffalo general manager Punch Imlach in the 1971 NHL amateur draft. The Sabres claimed longtime contributors Craig Ramsay and Bill Hajt in the later rounds of that draft.

Martin was such a precocious talent that after a 44-goal rookie season with Buffalo, he was part of the Canadian contingent selected for the Summit Series against the Soviet Union. Although he never played in the famous 1972 series, he did score three times for his country in its triumphant Canada Cup win four years later.

Martin scored 52 goals in consecutive seasons for Buffalo, including in 1974-75, when he contributed seven goals and eight assists in 17 playoff games as the Sabres eventually lost in six games to Philadelphia in the Stanley Cup final.

Perreault and Martin were former teammates in junior hockey with the Junior Canadiens, but the pair had a spat in 1975-76, leading coach Floyd Smith to break up the line for a while.

The French Connection was done for good after 1978-79, when Robert moved on to the Colorado Rockies.

Martin was mostly healthy through nine NHL seasons, but his body began to betray him. He was traded to Los Angeles but played just four games with the Kings and was finished in the NHL before his 31st birthday.

There was acrimony for several years with the Sabres, as Martin, the team and insurance companies were entangled in several lawsuits. Martin claimed he was given an improper diagnosis for a knee injury by the team doctor, and that he was pressured by Scotty Bowman and others to return to the lineup too soon after the injury, leading to a premature end to his career.

Martin won an undisclosed amount in 1994 against the estate of the late team doctor.

He settled in the Buffalo area and had business interests in the community. In recent weeks, Martin joined Perreault, Robert and other former Sabres to help welcome new owner Terry Pegula.


Richard Martin
Born: July 26, 1951
Verdun, Quebec

  • Member of Team Canada 1972, Canada's Team of the Century
  • Set a rookie goal scoring record with 44.
  • Combined with Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert to form the feared French Connection for the Buffalo Sabres.
  • Injuries forced him out of the game early.
  • Scored 384 goals and 701 points in 685 games.


Les F said...

here Martin scores the 3rd goal against the Soviets in 1976......Perreault got the 2nd goal ...blah blah blah

Martin also scores the 4th goal,.then Robert scores the 5th goal ,that makes the Whole French Connection scoring.......................Cheers !! HF&RV

Les F said...

Lookout Here Comes the French Connection..........................

Cheers !! HF&RV

Les F said...

Rick Martin, a member of the Buffalo Sabres' famed French Connection line in the 1970s, died after being involved in a one-car accident on Sunday. He was 59.

The team announced Martin's death in a statement before Sunday's game against the Ottawa Senators. New York State Police said Martin died in a one-car crash earlier in the day in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence.

Sports has lost many athletes way too soon. We list a few.
Police said an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

''Rick was not only one of the greatest players in franchise history, he was a great friend to the Sabres organization and entire community,'' read a statement released by the Sabres. ''The thoughts and prayers of the entire Sabres organization go out to his wife, Mikey, and their two sons, Corey and Josh.''

The Sabres were planning to hold a video tribute to Martin prior to the game.

Martin was selected fifth overall by the Sabres in the 1971 draft, and immediately made an impact on the team the following season when he scored what was then an NHL rookie record 44 goals. From LaSalle, Quebec, Richard (Rick) Lionel Martin played left wing on a line centered by Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert, which was eventually dubbed The French Connection.

He spent 10-plus seasons with Buffalo before his career was cut short by a severe knee injury during a game against Washington in November 1980.

He was traded to Los Angeles during the 1980-81 season, and only played four games for the Kings through the following season.

Martin finished with 384 goals and 317 assists for 701 points in 685 career NHL games. He added 24 goals and 29 assists for 53 points in 63 career playoff games.

He was a five-time 40-goal-scorer, and twice surpassed the 50-goal plateau, when he had 52 in each of the 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons. Martin's most productive campaign was in 1974-75, when he had a career-high 95 points (52 goals, 43 assists) in 68 games.

Martin's 382 goals are most by a Sabres' left wing, and rank second on the team list. He also ranks second on the team with 47 game-winning goals, while his 695 points rank third. Martin also holds the Sabres record with 21 three-goal games.

The French Connection is recognized at the Sabres' arena with separate banners honoring all three players hanging together from the ceiling.

The line was most recently reunited last month, when the three attended a news conference announcing Pennsylvania billionaire Terry Pegula's official purchase of the team. They were invited to attend at the request of Pegula, a longtime Sabres fan.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Les F said...

Here is a direct link to a Montreal Gazette story about Rick Martin,.
Cheers !! HF&RV

Guy Billard said...

How come Rick Martin's name did'nt come when I made a list of hockey players from Verdun a couple of years ago. He should have been one of the first on my list. I read in the Gazette article that he went to Mgr Richard school, that's the school on Galt between LaSalle and Wellington. and played his local hockey in LaSalle. I have added his photo in my album no. 13 with the french connection trio.

Career statistics Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1968–69 Montreal Junior Canadiens OHA 52 22 21 43 27 — — — — —
1969–70 Montreal Junior Canadiens OHA 34 23 32 55 10 — — — — —
1970–71 Montreal Junior Canadiens OHA 60 71 51 122 106 — — — — —
1971–72 Buffalo Sabres NHL 73 44 30 74 39 — — — — —
1972–73 Buffalo Sabres NHL 75 37 36 73 79 6 3 2 5 12
1973–74 Buffalo Sabres NHL 78 52 34 86 38 — — — — —
1974–75 Buffalo Sabres NHL 68 52 43 95 72 17 7 8 15 20
1975–76 Buffalo Sabres NHL 80 49 37 86 67 9 4 7 11 12
1976–77 Buffalo Sabres NHL 66 36 29 65 58 6 2 1 3 9
1977–78 Buffalo Sabres NHL 65 28 35 63 16 7 2 4 6 13
1978–79 Buffalo Sabres NHL 73 32 21 53 35 3 0 3 3 0
1979–80 Buffalo Sabres NHL 80 45 34 79 54 14 6 4 10 8
1980–81 Buffalo Sabres NHL 23 7 14 21 20 — — — — —
1980–81 Los Angeles Kings NHL 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
1981–82 Los Angeles Kings NHL 3 1 3 4 2 — — — — —
NHL totals 685 384 317 701 477 63 24 29 53 74

Les F said...

Hello Guy, that school you mention is where I spent many an hour skating & playing hockey, the school had it's own rink every winter , that the brothers would keep watered etc etc ......the rink was shared by everyone, the brothers used to use it later at night,that's when it was neat to use that rink they left the single light that hung at center ice hanging from an electrical wire the brothers would string across the yard,..sometimes I know they 'forgot' to turn off the light if there was still a few of us kids out there,skating around,....................................Cheers !! HF&RV
as for you question as to why you didn't have him on your list, perhaps it's because he was more noted for playing hockey in Ville Lasalle,.........or there is a mass conspiracy to deliberatly have him not on your list...........hahahahah Cheers !! HF&RV

Les F said...

This is the most recent story to come out of the Montreal Gazette: about having a bad day Rene Robert has his brother die of a heart attack in Montreal , then hears of his old linemate dying of the same cause......strange!! Anyway here is the Gazette article: BTW:that's Bobby Orr that Martin is skating around.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Former Buffalo Sabres star winger Rick Martin has died after a heart attack at age 59.

Martin, who was born in Verdun and grew up in LaSalle, was a member of the most fabled line in Buffalo Sabres history, the French Connection.

Reports indicate Martin had a heart attack while driving his car in Clarence, a Buffalo suburb.

He was a star for the Sabres in the 1970s and combined with fellow Quebcers Gilbert Perreault and René Robert to give Buffalo the top line in the league. The French Connection carried the Sabres all the way to the Stanley Cup final in 1975 — in only the fifth year of the franchise's existence.

It was a doubly tough day for Robert, who'd heard earlier in the day that his older brother, Réal, had died of a heart attack in Montreal.

"It's like a bad dream," Robert told the Buffalo News on Sunday afternoon. "First my brother, then my left-winger. I lose Rico (Martin). I tell you what. This one is going to be tough for everybody in Buffalo.

"It's too bad. (Sabres new owner) Terry Pegula just put us together. He told us, 'You guys are going to be here now until you die.'"

Perreault, the famous line's centre, said was watching hockey at his home in Victoriaville when he heard the news.

"It's sad news," Perreault said. "It's a reminder that you never know in life. I mean, he was 59. That's young, and he always seemed to be in such good shape.

"I hadn't seen him much in the past 20 years, but you don't forget all the years you played together. We were together since my days in junior. I stayed at his house for a year. Oh, Rick was a guy with all the jokes. He was funny and people really enjoyed being in his presence. He was a great golfer, too. That was his passion after hockey."

Martin finished his career with the Los Angeles Kings in 1982, but outside of the four games on the west coast, Martin was exclusively a Sabre.

In 685 games, he scored 384 goals and added 317 assists. In 63 playoff games, Martin tallied 24 goals and collected 29 assists.

Steve Gladwish said...

Thanks Les

I had forgotten he was from Verdun.. A great hockey player...

Jeff O said...

Great article! Help remember seven here.