Serge Savard was at my workplace yesterday to sign a bunch of stuff, and because he was quite busy I really didn’t want to interrupt him. But I managed to chat with him a bit anyway.
I told him that not only did I follow his career through his many years as a Hab, but also during the 1972 Summit Series when he was a member of Team Canada.
He was friendly and more than happy to talk a bit about the Summit Series, mentioning that he wore number 23 in the series instead of his usual #18 because Jean Ratelle had seniority.
Serge didn’t play game one in Montreal when the Soviets shocked almost everyone with their 7-3 win, but Serge said he wasn’t surprised, he’d played against Russian teams as a junior, and he knew they were good. And he still disagrees about not dressing for that big game one.
“They decided to go with some slower guys like Don Awrey, who was conservative and would be down often from blocking shots, when I think a guy like me who was a bit more offensive should have played. I knew they were fast, and I would’ve been a better fit.”
Serge also brought up a point he seemed pretty darn proud of, and I don’t blame him. “Every game I played we didn’t lose. Four wins and a tie. I didn’t play in game one, had a bad foot for game four in Vancouver, and they rested me in Moscow for game five. But then I played the last three over there.”
I asked him about the magnificent Valeri Kharlamov. “One of the best ever,” said Serge. “I even got him into the Hall of Fame”! (Serge is an inductee selector). He also thinks Alexander Yakushev should be in the Hall.
It was cool to chat with a guy who has his name on eight Stanley Cups as a player and twice as Habs GM in ’86 and ’93, and who also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1969, was GM of the Habs in the mid-1980s, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986, and was awarded the Order of Canada.
He also wears a big honkin’ Stanley Cup ring on his finger.
That was it. A handshake and I was off to give my usual 187% again. I went back down later and he was gone.
I also found out that on my day off last Friday, Serge’s teammate on the Habs and Team Canada, HOFer Guy Lapointe, was in the office.
Plus – A Joke Serge Played on John Ferguson
After game 8 in Moscow in 1972, Fergie, who was Team Canada’s assistant coach, went around the dressing room and had all the players sign a stick that he planned on mounting in his den when he got home.
When the team got back to Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau was there to meet them and Fergie followed Savard through the reception line. Trudeau and Serge shook hands, and then Serge said to Trudeau, “By the way, Mr. Prime Minister, look what John Ferguson has brought you from Moscow – an autographed stick.”
Savard took the stick from Fergie’s hand and gave it to Trudeau.
Fergie never got it back, although Trudeau’s office called him after hearing about the joke and offered it back. But Fergie said Trudeau could keep it.