Tag Archives: Broad St. Bullies

Finally Lapointe

The news that Guy Lapointe’s number 5 will join Bernie Geoffrion’s in the rafters is terrific and overdue.

Guy Lapointe was one of the greatest defencemen to ever wear the CH. He was part of the “The Big Three” with Serge Savard and Larry Robinson in those 1970s glory years when no other team came close to having such a trio, combining skill and muscle to help win games and take no nonsense from the Broad St. Bullies or anyone else who might have tried.

Add the smart, great skating, hard shooting Lapointe to the mix of big farmboy Robinson, who could skate, dominate and was physically intimidating, and Savard, who swooped, swirled, and made the right play like poetry in motion, and you’ve got “The Big Three”, a threesome other teams knew they were in deep against.

Serge Savard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986 and his number 18 was retired in 2006.

Larry Robinson was inducted into the Hall in 1995 and his number 19 sent to the rafters in 2007.

Guy Lapointe was inducted in 1993 and his sweater will soon join his fellow blueliners. So deserved.

0075The Globe and Mail called Ken Dryden’s The Game, “the sports book of the year, or maybe the decade, or maybe the century.” Dryden took us into the inner circle of the late 1970’s Montreal Canadiens, when they were the best team in hockey, poised to win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup. It’s a great book, written with humility and intelligence, and I know many of you have already read it. I just wanted to share a few things that I really like.

I’m sure Ken Dryden had a little smile on his face as he wrote about Lapointe, affectionately know as “Pointu”, who Dryden says in the early to mid-1970’s, except for Bobby Orr, was the best defenceman in the NHL.

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Here’s some excerpts from “The Game” regarding Guy Lapointe”

“In the shower, (Yvon) Lambert is singing. Lapointe grabs a bucket and tiptoes to the bathroom sink like a cartoon spy. He fills the bucket with cold water, and peers around the corner of the shower. Lambert is still singing. Lapointe winds up; we hear a scream. Lapointe dashes back into the room and quickly out again, dropping his bucket. Lambert, still lathered up, races after him, screaming threats. Losing his trail, Lambert stops to pick up the bucket, fills it, and resumes his search. Finally he finds Lapointe hiding in a toilet stall; he backs him into the room. Naked, sobbing, pleading pathetically, Lapointe falls to his knees, his hands clutched in front of him. Lambert winds up to throw the water, then stops: in Lapointe’s hands are Lambert’s clothes.”

“The laces to my skates have been shredded into macaroni-size pieces too small for knots to hold together. I look up at a roomful of blank faces. Before I can say his name, Lapointe, who cuts my laces twenty or twenty-five times a year, though I have never seen him do it, gives me an injured look. “Hey, get the right guy,” he shouts.”

“Hey Reggie (Houle),” he shouts, “That was a helluva play ya made last night.” Houle goes silent; we begin to laugh. “Yup,” Robinson continues slowly, drawing out each word, “not often ya see a guy on a breakaway put it in the crowd.” Lapointe snaps down his newspaper. “Don’t let it bother ya, Reggie,” he says sympathetically. “No harm done.” Surprised, we all look up. “The goalie just woulda stopped ya anyway,” he says, and we all laugh harder.

“Ah, I’m full,” Lapointe announces, wiping his face with napkin. “Anybody want my ice cream?” Shaking their heads, murmuring, everyone says no. Finally, after looking around, certain that no one else wants it, “Um, yeah sure,” I say tentatively, ya sure ya don’t want it?” Lapointe shakes his head, and hands it to me. I take a bite. Before I can taste what I’ve eaten, the room explodes with laughter – sour cream with chocolate sauce.

“Calisse, now I done it,” he groans. “Kenny, who’s a good lawyer? I need some help.” He looks genuinely worried this time.
“Call a guy named Ackerman,” I tell him earnestly.
“What?” he says. “Ackerman,” I repeat louder, and suddenly I know what’s coming next. “I’m not deaf,” he says indignantly, and walks away laughing.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It (Parts Two And Three)

For the last eight Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup wins, from 1971 to 1993, I managed to save the front pages and laminate them. (Although one, from 1977, is an inner page).

Part one was just a few days ago. This is part two and three -1976 and 1977

It was their 17th Stanley Cup, a beautiful, delicious four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers. How sweet is that? Sweeping the Broad St. Bullies, the goons who had slashed and punched their way to the two previous championships. But this time, real hockey prevailed over thuggery.

All in all, it was the Canadiens plumbers who made things happen. At least for the most part. Bob Gainey, Jim Roberts, Doug Jarvis, and Doug Risebrough proved just how important blue-collar guys can be. The team had Lafleur and Shutt and the boys, but the lesser-lights shone. “Really, the plumbers did the job for us in this series,” said Steve Shutt. “But when we needed the goals, the two big guys (Lafleur and Perter Mahovlich) came through.”

Lafleur and Mahovlich weren’t having a sensational series up until the final game and the plumbers stepped up. But both Lafleur and Mahovlich scored goals in the third period to ice the thing and to prove that singer Kate Smith, the Flyers’ lucky charm, wasn’t such a lucky charm after all.

Kate was there in person that night to sing the anthem, usually it was a recording, but even her live and in colour wasn’t enought for the thugs from Philly. And in the dressing room, the Habs sung God Bless America in a good-natured jibe to the singer.

It had only taken Montreal 13 games from start to finish in these 1976 Stanley Cup playoffs, sweeping Chicago, taking out the Islanders in five games, and then the four-game dismissing of the Flyers.

Some Flyers fans thought it might have been different if their team had been healthy. Rick MacLeish didn’t suit up, and Bobby Clarke and Orest Kindrachuk played but weren’t 100%. And Wayne Stephenson was between the pipes instead of number one, Bernie Parent. But even coach Fred Shero admitted that his team, althought they might have prolonged it slightly, would have lost anyway. “If we’d had everybody healthy, I suppose we might have lasted longer, we might have made it close, at least.” said Shero. “But on the other hand, I imagine that if we had been able to play better, Canadiens might have played better too. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they could.”

And to make all Habs fans giddy, Shero also went on about how good the Habs actually were. “These are guys you can’t ride off the puck. They’re immune to normal forechecking. You put pressure on most defences and they fall apart. They cough up the puck or throw it away. These fellows never panic. They just won’t give up the puck. They’re always in control.”

And Shero wasn’t finished being nice. “And my God, they’re all like forwards besides. That’s what you’ve got to have on your defence in the NHL today. You can put Robinson, Savard or Lapointe up front and they don’t look out of place at all.”

The last word goes to Bobby Clarke. “We were beaten by one great hockey team, the best in many years.”

And now, 1977

In the spring of 1977, as I was on the verge of getting married for the first time, Jacques Lemaire scored the overtime goal to give his team their second straight Stanley Cup in this late 1970’s run, and it was done with a lovely four-game sweep against Don Cherry and his Boston Bruins. Is this one of the reasons you hate the Habs, Don?

It had been quite a year for this dominating bunch. Montreal only lost eight times in 80 games and racked up a record 132 points. Nobody was going to beat them in the playoffs. You didn’t have to be Kreskin to figure it out. In fact, the team swept the Blues, took out the Islanders 4 games to 2, and then swept the Bruins. Fourteen games in total, and very similar to the 13 it had taken them the year before.

Guy Lafleur won the Conn  Smythe trophy for playoff MVP and managed nine goals and 17 assists throughout. But he had this to say: “It’s my third Cup and it’s always nice, but it’s not the same excitement. I don’t think I’m the best player. It’s just that everything went well for me.”

Jacques Lemaire was the quiet hero on this ride. His teammates had told him to shoot more, and on this night, he delivered with the overtime marker. “Why shouldn’t I be happy,” said Lemaire. “I’m on a holiday. I’m on a holiday starting now. It’s about time. It still is Lafleur and Shutt, except tonight. Tonight was a mistake. They said, shoot the puck, you look good.”

Coach Scotty Bowman had this to say about Lafleur and Shutt. “They play more like Europeans. I’m not knocking the NHL style of play, but the Europeans make more plays on the move. That’s what Lafleur and Shutt do.”

And last word to Don Cherry. “It’s hard to believe we kept outshooting them and still can’t win a game. I still say the whole thing boiled down to those three defensemen.”

Part Two Of A Glimpse Into The KHL

St. Petersburg SKA, sitting high in the standings, boasts several players who had careers in the NHL. Alexei Yashin, Maxim Afinogenov, Sergei Zubov, Evgeny Artyukhin, Sergei Brylin, and Evgeny Nabokov, all seasoned ex-NHLers, play here, although no Canadians are on the squad.

I think for most North Americans, living and playing in Russia can be a trying experience, but Vityaz Chekhov has five Canadians on their roster – Darcy Verot, Josh Gratton, Kevin Lalande, Chris Simon, and Brandon Sugden. (An interesting story about Brandon Sugden can be found here –  Brandon Sugden)

Vityaz Chekhov are also considered the Broad St. Bullies of the KHL, a tough, scrapping bunch, although on the night Denis went, they behaved themselves and won.

The Kontinental Hockey League clubs play for the Gagarin Cup, named after a true Russian hero Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut who became the first human in outer space and who is, according to my wife, possibly Russia’s most beloved hero of all time. Lord Stanley was Canada’s Governor General and donated the Stanley Cup, but Yuri Gagarin was a pioneer cosmonaut during the Cold War. For Russians, there’s no comparison.

How Sweet It Is!

Years ago Orillia had two pool halls, the Top Hat and Dino’s.

The Top Hat was a dark, dingy, filthy, smelly hole full of non-desirables who spit and fought and blew snot out their noses. Dino’s was new, bright, with beautiful tables, and it was a fine place to go and play pool after skipping school. And on weekends, Dino’s was the source to find all the good parties in town.

Just a nice place, unlike the cave-like Top Hat.

The Philadelphia Flyers are the Top Hat. An unlikeable herd of greaseballs with thugs with names like Powe and Shelley. Even players who can actually play, like Scott Hartnell and Mike Richards, might as well have worn black leather jackets and swung chains. And the whining from these dudes reminds me of my kids when they were about six and had to go to bed before they wanted to.

Gawd I wish we had another Larry Robinson to make these guys get down on their knees and plead for mercy.

Try as these Flyers may to intimidate and disturb and live up to the reputation of their forefathers, the ridiculous Broad Street Bullies, all they are are players who manage to hurt and push around and attempt to be the toughest kid on the block.

But they still have to play hockey, and sometimes their sleeziness backfires. Like tonight, as Carey Price and the boys shut’em down 3-0, never backed away from the rough stuff, buried their chances, and continue their merry way up the ladder to success.

A week ago analysts said it was going to be tough-going for the Habs after playing far too many weaker teams to begin the season. Now wait, the experts said, the Habs have to face the formidable Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, and Philadelphia Flyers. Just watch them fall back to earth with a thud.

How wrong they were. The Canadiens beat the Canucks 2-0, the Bruins 3-1, and the Flyers 3-0. And throw in the Carolina Hurricanes for good measure, a team we pounded 7-2. ‘Nuff said. And this shutout tonight against the Flyers comes directly after Andrei Markov goes down for the count.

Just a fine display, although the Canadiens were outshot 41-28 by the greasy swines. Power play goals by Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta nailed the coffin shut. Tomas Plekanec also scored and skated miles. Maxim Lapierre showed jam by taking on the low-life Powe and although he didn’t exactly win, he won in my book.

Travis Moen played a fine and aggressive game and also provided tidbits of offence. Gionta, along with his power play goal also had two assists. And PK Subban was all over the place and it’s only six more months or so before he’s announced as Rookie of the Year.

If the Habs meet up again with these greasers in the Conference final as they did last year, things will be different.

Random Notes:

Scary moment when Jeff Halpern hit the boards, his helmet came off, and his head hit the ice as he toppled over. He seemed to be alert as he was led off and here’s hoping all’s well. It doesn’t surprise me when one or two guys get hurt playing the Flyers, who, by the way, have tremendously ugly uniforms.

Carey Price – I am as dust under your feet.

Next up – Thursday, when Sergei Kostitsyn and his Nashville Predators come to town.

Hockey Loses A Good One

Long-time NHL referee Lloyd Gilmour, a highly-respected individual who handled the 1976 Super Series game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Moscow Red Army in which the Russians left the ice for several minutes to protest the thuggery from the Broad Streeters, died last Wednesday, August 11, 2010.

Joe Pelletier at Greatest Hockey Legends has all the details.

Below is my brochure from Gilmour’s one-time popular restaurant, Nanaimo Harbour Lights NHL Restaurant, signed by Gilmour, although I was never there. A friend was and brought it back for me.

In one of many testimonials for Gilmour, a fellow who worked at the restaurant when he was a teenager asked Gilmour who was better – Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr. Gilmour replied that Gretzky couldn’t carry Bobby Orr’s jock strap.

 
 
 

And this is what the fuss was about when Red Army played the Broad St. Bullies during Super Series ’76, with Gilmour at the helm as referee.

Bad Luck For Dan Lucas To Be Picked By Those Broad St. Bullies

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Some say Dan Lucas, left, was the best player ever to come out of Powell River, and that’s saying a lot because there’s something in the water here that produces world-class athletes. We’ve a captain of the Canadian National soccer team; an ex-Olympian track star; Roy Gerela – once a kicker for the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers; now-deceased Gary Lupul, who played for the Vancouver Canucks; Micah Aivazoff, who was with Detroit and Edmonton; Brad Bombardir won a Stanley Cup in New Jersey and went on to the Minnesota Wild; plus all kinds of junior stars and ex-pros from a variety of sports. Powell River also wins its share of provincial championships, and the Powell River Regals have won the Allan Cup three times.

But Lucas is right up there. His problem was he was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970’s when they were the Broad St. Bullies, and Lucas didn’t play this rough-tough style at all. He had lots of skill, just not the ambition to play that certain style. He would’ve been much better off elsewhere, like Montreal, but the Habs were so strong back then he might not have had much of a chance anyway.

This is him when he played for the Sault Greyhounds. One linemate named Gretzky went on to a fairly substantial NHL career. No idea about Paul Mancini.

Lucas ended up living in Maine, and married a Miss Maine. In my book, that’s pretty good consolation for not being a Broad St. Bully.

Al Jazeera, A Fan Mugging, Bin Laden, And Some Excellent Excuses For The Habs

I think it’s important that you should know that:

The Middle-East newspaper Al Jazeera prints the NHL standings.

This is the paper that Bin Laden and his band of bearded brutes use when they want to send a message to the wicked west.

Is it possible that Bin Laden reads the NHL standings?

Could Bin Laden be a Habs fan?

This is my own opinion, but I would have to guess that Bin Laden grew up cheering for the Broad Street Bullies, is now rooting for the Bruins, and also likes Sean Avery.

I wonder if Bin Laden and his greasy pranksters clip the standings out of the Al Jazeera sports section and have a hockey pool every year.

There’s a rink in a mall in Dubai where locals skate and play hockey. Maybe Bin Laden and pals get together at 11:30 Wednesday nights for their beer league game.

IN OTHER NEWS:

In a shocking display of poor sportmanship, the Boston Bruins have refused to let the Montreal Canadiens win easily, which explains why several Montreal Canadiens still haven’t arrived for the series. “I haven’t tried because I thought Boston was supposed to not try,” explained Montreal forward Christopher Higgins. “Somebody should have told me.”

 “It’s not right,” added Michel Ryder. “They’re skating fast and checking us and everything. Boston’s not playing fair. They’re cheating.”

“Nobody told me it was going to be hard,” complained Tomas Plekanec. “And anyway, I was really good in the regular season, and now you want me to be good in the playoffs too?”

IN EXTRA OTHER NEWS:

A Montreal fan got beat up in Boston the other night. It’s impossible that he may have deserved it. Okay, so maybe he was wearing his Habs jersey, and maybe he was yelling “Go Habs Go” at the top of his lungs, and maybe he told these Bruins fans that their team sucked, and maybe he was drunk and got right in their faces, and maybe he drooled all over them, and of course he wasn’t loud and obnoxious on someone else’s turf.