Lafleur Rose To The Occasion

Did he ever rise to the occasion. Six straight seasons of 50 or more goals, including 60 in 1977-78. And back in his two junior years with the Quebec Remparts, he racked up 103 and 130 markers respectively. He was hockey’s marquee attraction, both in junior and the bigs. He was  Wayne Gretzky before Wayne Gretzky (with apologies to Bossy, Dionne, Perreault  et al).

Remember about 15 years ago when Lafleur was a spokesman for Viagra? Just an excellent choice. He was tremendous at getting it up (over a sprawling goaltender), rarely fired blanks (560 regular season goals and 7983 assists in 1127 games), and always played hard.

He was a guy who walked softly but carried a big stick (sometimes Koho, sometimes Louisville, or Sher-Wood, or Chimo), and we would see him wind up for the big shot or use his great wrist action as he terrorized opposing goalies and who often put the game to bed almost single-handedly.

Sometimes Lafleur would sulk because he couldn’t get a raise (he once threatened to sit out a game in Toronto during a money dispute), he felt he wasn’t loved and was getting the shaft, and would say that nobody was going to screw him. He threatened to not perform, basically telling his team, “Not tonight, I’ve got a headache.”

But in the end, Le Démon Blond, despite all the ins and outs, would come through magnificently. And being a hard-core smoker throughout most of his career, you can be sure he enjoyed a nice smoke after an evening of using his stick.

Flower was a hard man to keep down, that’s for sure.

He was an excellent choice for Viagra.

7 thoughts on “Lafleur Rose To The Occasion”

  1. He was a joy to watch back in the day when a premium seat at the Mtl. Forum was $15.00…a beer was $2.50 and a hot dog was maybe $1.50…seeing him play on the Forum ice was a lot different than an isolated shot on TV….you could just watch him and wonder at his movements on the ice…reading the play and planning his next move…it was great!…and his teammates at that time weren’t too shabby either.

  2. Ed, Guy’s biggest fan, I think, was Dick Irvin. Dick loved the way he played. I saw him live only a handful of times when I’d come down from Ottawa for a game. In the early years after I first moved to Ottawa I’d take those bus charters to games on weeknights, by myself. It was a bit lonely, but I was seeing the beginning of the dynasty with Lafeur becoming a superstar. I used to line up at the Ottawa bus station and the Forum tickets were always high up, which was maddening.

  3. I saw him play his first game at Maple Leaf Gardens on Sept. 25, 1971. Leafs had a 2-0 lead but blew it and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. He centered the Big M and Cournoyer. Lafleur didn’t contribute anything but he played with a helmet on. Legend says once he took it off his game changed. Bowman blamed the lethargic play to his team traveling by rail and foregoing the afternoon skate. Dryden stood on his head to keep the score a tie. Plante and Parent played in net for the Buds. Lemaire and Houle scored for the good guys.

  4. Great stuff, Billy. Did Plante play that night, or Parent? I can remember his first game, and I remember exactly where I was and who I was with. It was a be deal because of all that hype. I also remember several years later talking about how things changed when he took the helmet off. Then he really became the Flower.

  5. Both Leaf goalies played that night. Parent wasn’t at the morning skate due to sickness but played anyway. I still have the ticket stub. Lol

  6. Billy….thanks for bringing up the helmet…i was going to mention it in my original comment but wasn’t sure if i had remembered it correctly…so i didn’t.
    It was great to see him skate down the ice with the air blowing his hair back…a man on a mission.

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