Tag Archives: Dave Schultz

Flyers And Parties And Such

This, from 119 years ago –

old

This from much later –

party

Not many more days until Christmas, which means there’s a good chance you’ve either been or will be going to a Christmas party.

A time to put on your best sweatshirt because it’s important to look nice while heading across the room to where the booze is.

I myself like Christmas parties much better than Halloween parties. Ever since I showed up at a Halloween party and was the only one with a costume. With Christmas parties, there’s no costume. Except for the lampshape on the head after drinking DKRFSB.

I’m almost comfortable at Christmas parties. In fact, all I ever worry about are small things like foreign objects hanging from my nose, holes in my socks, and saying something I’ll regret for the next fourteen years.

Other than that, pretty darn comfortable.

Habs in Philly Thursday night.

And speaking of Philly – This, from Feb. 11, 2010:

PK Called Up

PC_070623subban-pk_n

PK Subban has been called up to play in Philadephia Friday night. This is terrific news because the young buck is considered a keeper and part of the future of the Habs blueline, but it also reminds us that it’s a little bit like pre-season in Montreal right now, with guys being called up and sent down and others called up etc.

It’s never boring with the Montreal Canadiens.

And this, from Feb. 17, 1974

 

Fight Thoughts

I’ve wondered off and on over the years about how I really feel about fighting, and I’m asking myself again with all the buzz about the George Parros incident. It seems I’ve always leaned towards fighting.

But I can’t stand the goon stuff. The guy who can only fight and not much more. And I’m not smart enough to figure out the staged stuff.

I just think that many who are now clamoring for a total ban on fighting didn’t mind at all seeing someone like Wendel Clark and Marty McSorley getting into a beauty. Or Larry Robinson teaching Dave Schultz a big lesson.

The Broad Street Bullies won two Stanley Cups through thuggery and scrapping with a serious amount of talent thrown in for good measure. But it was the Canadiens, who played the non-mugging kind of game, who put a stop to the nonsense in Philadelphia. Great hockey trumped fighting. And a good Larry Robinson fist to Dave Schultz’s face.

That was some serious goon stuff the Bullies were dishing out back then. And it went on every night in the WHA too. I think both have played a major role in the evolution of goonery.

Remember those sensational games in the 1987 Canada Cup when Canada and Russia met in the finals and Wayne Gretzky set up Mario Lemieux for the winner in game three with less than two minutes to go? There was no heavyweight goon on either team. No staged fights. But that wasn’t real life. It was a much anticipated Canada-Russia match up when the rivalry had meat on its bones.

But if the rules would’ve allowed, maybe a good tussle between Rick Tocchet and Sergei Svetlov would have added to the lore. And many who now say they want fighting out of the game might have whooped and hollered back then if some nastiness really had cropped up.

I don’t think fighting will ever end, even if someone dies from it. But somehow it has to be curbed and the only good solution I’ve heard so far is from Bob McCown on Prime Time Sports who suggested the NHL make it so goons must be paid the league maximum, which is about $12 million or so a year. How many teams would carry one then?

The sight of George Parros trying to sit up with that concussed look on his face was disturbing to say the least. But George was hired to be the muscle, to add an element the Canadiens haven’t had and were going nowhere without, and it’s a tough job that can have some dark moments. I can’t imagine doing this job. I have a really sensitive nose.

I was happy to see George signed, and I just got finished saying we need goons out of the league. But if he could be a preventive measure, dropping them in only the truest of situations, without the staged stuff, and throwing in some hard work that results in a scoring chance now and again, then what’s wrong with that?

So is it fighting or no fighting that I want? I want the Wendel Clark, Larry Robinson, Clark Gillies kind of fights. No staged stuff. Just an honest disagreement now and again that helps our team win.

Dick And Danny Do The Game

It’s the magical combination of Danny Gallivan and Dick Irvin as the Habs and Flyers battle on May 16, 1976. Montreal would win 5-3 on this night, sweeping the Flyers to win their 19th Stanley Cup.

Period one (30 min.) and period three (42 min) are included here, and we see the Cup awarded. Just wonderful, and thanks to my old buddy Rugger for sending it along.

Period One:

Period Three:

Fist Hitting Face Can Be Good And Bad

Like most every other kid, I got in my share of neighbourhood scraps which usually involved a lot of wrestling, a headlock or two, some serious swearing, and a taunt from the other kid that he saw my sister naked or something equally lowdown, which led to more wrestling, headlocks, and swearing. 

But I hate real street fights.

I hate the thud of angry fist meeting nose or teeth. It’s like Rocky pounding away at slabs of meat in the slaughterhouse. It’s a sound that lingers in my memory bank for years.

Years ago I was standing in a busy crowd with my ex-wife, and a car pulled up to the curb, a guy got out, went over and plowed a guy standing near us right in the face, and then got back in his car and drove away. There was that sound. That sickening sound. And a decade ago I was standing in front of a pub waiting for a taxi and a guy stormed out and drilled this fellow in the face standing beside me. Probably some girlfriend issue, I thought. But it was that sound again. Tightened fist meeting slab of meat.

I don’t like this. What about the make love, not war sort of thing? I’ve also seen my share of bar fights and it interrupts my drinking.

But I sure as hell miss good old hockey fights.

It’s mostly just peace and love now in the NHL. Very few fights are fought, especially in the playoffs when players don’t want to risk getting thrown out. It’s gone. Everybody’s happy. But people still say they remember fondly when Larry Robinson and Dave Schultz went at it, or John Ferguson with every other heavyweight in the league, or Dave Semenko teaching some dude a lesson after harrassing Wayne Gretzky.

Many fans, the majority I guess, plus the league powers-that-be, said fighting was stupid and there was little place for it in the modern game, and it’s become almost non-existant now. Truthfully, I miss it. It was always just part of the game in my world, and I happened to enjoy a good dust-up immensely. Think Habs-Nordiques. Flames-Oilers. Legendary Habs-Bruins or Habs-Leafs wars. Fists flying and nosebleeds and gloves all over the ice.

I miss that stuff. Maybe it’s only me.

  

Frank Selke, who managed first the Toronto Maple Leafs and then the Montreal Canadiens back in the days when players took care of business and someone like Dan Carcillo would have his jaw wired up in no time flat, had this to say about fighting in hockey in his great 1962 book, “Behind the Cheering.”

“Any time a certain game promises a grudge fight, or features some player who is know to be on the warpath, fans are more determined than ever to get into the game. I am not defending roughhouse. I am merely stating that it does not kill the spectator value of a sport as so many would have us believe.”

Mr Selke also added, when talking about his army battalion team playing Owen Sound in the Northern Ontario Hockey Association:

“We won our first game with Owen Sound by seven goals, but lost to them on their own ice by eleven. The fact was that, while some of my players were eager to play rough hockey on their home ice and would fight ferociously there, they became embarrssingly meek when it was time to fight the enemy on his home territory. That caused our downfall at Owen Sound. But from that time forward, I never retained a player in any of my lineups who showed the white feather at any time.”

Game Day Gazing. I Know What’s Going To Happen

Once again, while you’re snuggled in your beds tonight, I’ll be at work, giving 110%, working for the man, bringing home the bacon.  The complete opposite of a famous hobo in the Dirty Thirties who said no hobo should ever work until everyone else has found employment.

It’s just a roundabout way of saying I won’t be seeing the game until after it’s been over for a few hours.

But it’s no problem. I know what will transpire. I looked within myself and saw how it’s all going to go down in game one of the Habs-Flyers series.

“In the end, as the buzzer sounded at the Wachovia Center, Flyers VP Bobby Clarke was so incensed he slashed a popcorn vendor across the ankles with a broom stick. And retired goon Dave Schultz threatened to cause havoc in the press box until Larry Robinson, sitting not far from him, told him to settle or down he’d once again pulverize him.

Montreal appeared rested, and although playing with vim and vigour, managed just one goal in the first period. However, they did blast several shots off Dan Carcillo’s face, which more than made up for the lack of goal production. Dominic Moore took advantage of a Flyers ‘too many men on the ice’ penalty, and the Canadiens struck first.

Jaroslav Halak was fine but didn’t appear quite as sharp as in previous games. But he was still better than Michael Leighton, Ron Hextall, and Bernie Parent combined.

Carcillo, althout outwardly feisty, refused to fight Travis Moen, Hal Gill, and Ryan O’Byrne on different occasions, and said later he would have clobbered them if he didn’t have that nagging paper cut problem and if there had been more teammates in the vicinity. 

Canadiens continued their strong play well into the second, but a roughing penalty to Brian Gionta for pulling Carcillo’s pants down allowed the Flyers to set it up, and big Chris Pronger fired one that deflected off Carcillo’s face to tie the game.

For the next while, Philly took it to the Canadiens, momentum was on the Flyers side, but they couldn’t solve Halak. Scott Hartnell was also given two minutes for being such an ugly son a bitch but the Habs couldn’t capitalize.

In the third, with the Flyers still forcing things, Marc-Andre Bergeron shot a low shot that went through everyone’s legs and over Daniel Briere’s head, right onto the stick of red hot Mike Cammalleri, who made no mistake.

Late in the game, Maxim Lapierre, who has had a fine playoff thus far, scored the insurance marker after Dan Carcillo took a penalty for diving while he was still on the players bench, and the Habs win 3-1 to take game one.”

This, I’m sure, is what will happen. Late tonight, when I get home after giving 110% working for the man, I’ll watch the real game and report back.

Habs Fix The Fog

Many of you may recall Fred “The Fog” Shero, who coached the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970’s, a team known as the Broad Street Bullies, a team full of thugs and madmen like Dave Schultz, and a band of rogues captained by stickman Bobby Clarke. It was also a team the Montreal Canadiens finally put out of its misery by playing real hockey and taking the Cup away from these villains which begat a four-year Cup run in Montreal.

Montreal showed everyone, especially Shero, that real hockey, not goonery, was the way to go.

Little facts that you may or may not find helpful:

Shero also liked to put quotes on the dressing room blackboard, like “Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.”

And, “Win today and we walk together forever.”

His NHL career was less than spectacular:  145 games, six goals, 14 assists, 137 penalty minutes.

Shero’s son is Ray Shero, General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Anyway, all this is beside the point. I just wanted you to see what Shero looked like when he was a player. That’s him on the left during the 1948-49 season, with Lynn Patrick in the middle and Allan Stanley on the right.

It’s Not A Controversy. It’s Just A Team Trying To Do Well

net

The goaltending thing in Montreal isn’t a controversy like the media is playing it up to be. Whether it’s perfectly okay to wipe Jarkko Ruutu’s smile off his face with a sharpened blade might be considered a controversy. Letting the Leafs play in the NHL could be considered a controversy. Awarding Dave Schultz the Lady Byng trophy when he roamed the ice for the Broad Street Bullies would have probably been contoversial.

But all Montreal is doing is going with the guy who has been in nets when the team is winning a few games. It’s not that difficult. My sister might have come up with the same strategy.

Carey Price will be back in nets soon. He’s not creating any controversy by threatening to go to Russia or demanding a trade. He’s just sitting on the bench for now. And it’s not because Jaroslav Halak has been standing on his head that he remains in goal. The team has rebounded because the forwards and defence are beginning to gel, are finding their place, have become more comfortable around teammates who were recently strangers, and are finally beginning to understand what coach Jacques Martin is asking them to do – that is, take care of the defensive aspects, get the shots-against down, and don’t leave the goalie hanging out to dry.

All of which they didn’t do in Vancouver.

If Price was in nets for the last four games, they might have won like they’ve won with Halak. They’re just playing better hockey as a team, and it’s been good for Halak. But he’s just been good, not great so far. He’s been there and done the job, but his timing is right too. He’s the guy in nets when the the boys in front of him decided to play a little.

There’s no controversy. If we heard Price ranting and raving, then there might be. But he’s a team player and he understands the situation.

We could see him very soon because it’s not hard to understand that he needs to get some games in. And when we do see him, hopefully we see a solid netminder. Wouldn’t it be something if both our goalies did a huge job and we were absolutely comfortable and content when either started a game?

Carey Price, if his fragile confidence doesn’t take many more hits, is the future of the team. At least this is what’s expected of him. Most understand that, including Halak. I’m sure everyone’s fine with this. Although it’s human nature to want to be the number one guy, which of course Halak would want. But you can’t always get what you want.

And thank goodness for Halak. He’s been steady, he’s been good, and from time to time he’s been lucky. He’s done all that has been asked so far. And Price will do the same.

As an aside: Now I’m reading about the possibility that the Habs are showcasing Halak to make a trade and I don’t buy it.  Make the Price the go-to guy like before, when he’s still trying to find himself?  If they are, I’d be surprised. Unless, of course, they plan on bringing in another solid goalie as part of the big, overall deal.

 It’s all too much. My brain is hurting.

Habs Win Biggest Game Of Their Year

  Past and present members of the Philadelphia Flyers pose in this recent photo. From left to right, Dave Schultz (in white dress), Bobby Clarke, Scott Hartnell, and little Beaver Briere (injured), smile for the camera.

 

And now – About the game!

See what happens when the referee doesn’t call 11 straight penalties and you play some firewagon hockey?

 

If the Habs would’ve lost in poor fashion tonight (see Tampa Bay and Washington games), their slump would have gone from bad to Ottawa Senators bad. And that’s bad. But instead, the team came out tonight against a strong Philadelphia Flyers club and skated away with a good and tremendously important 5-2 win.

 

Alex Kovalev scored again for his second in two nights, young Matt D’Agostini notched his fifth, and Sergei Kostitsyn, recently in purgatory, also scored.

 

So it was a huge game in many ways.

 

And even though I’m quietly celebrating this big win, I’m also doing a slow burn about commentator Mike Milbury. It’s one thing if he doesn’t like Alex Kovalev. But it’s another to personally slander him, to say he only tries 15% of the time, that he doesn’t work hard, is selfish etc. Milbury just went on and on and finally play-by-play guy Jim Hughson stepped in and started defending the Russian, saying how much he liked his play.

 

I think Alex Kovalev always works hard. Maybe he hasn’t scored a lot lately but he’s consistently grabbing assists. And if you’re asissting on goals, you can’t be considered selfish, can you?

I also thinks Kovalev cares and that he carries about him a typical stoic Russian manner, that’s all.

 

Mike Milbury’s always been a mouthpiece. A lot of what he says I like but he shouldn’t get personal like that if he’s not in the dressing room and on the ice with the guy and doesn’t really know how Kovalev is.

 

Game Notes:

 

Buffalo on Saturday and Carolina on Sunday make the trek to Montreal to take on the new and revived powerhouse Habs. That’s the way it’s gonna be from now on – powerhouse Habs.

Kate Smith Was One Of The Better Players On The Flyers

 This is Kate Smith. Born 1907 in Virginia, died 79 years later in 1986.

Kate used to sing God Bless America at Philadelphia Flyers games in the 1970’s. Sometimes she was on tape, and from time to time, she actually showed up live and in the flesh. The Flyers won two Stanley Cups with her singing, and they thought she was their good luck charm.

Kate was one of their best players. At least more civilized than Dave Schultz and his fellow goons who took thuggery to a new level, something which the much more talented players around the league were not accustomed to. It’s pretty hard to show your skills when you’re looking at a sucker punch when you least expect it.

And she was much better looking than the Sign Guy with his frizzy hair who held up silly signs for every occasion during Flyers home games.

This gangsterism lasted a mere two years. The Flyers tried it in the 1975/76 series against the Habs and learned quickly that muscle and skill is much better than just muscle. Schultz and the boys were no match for Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, and of course Lafleur, Lemaire, Shutt, Dryden et al. Montreal took over, and this ridiculous reign of terror came quickly to an end.

And the Flyers have done very little ever since.

So it wasn’t Kate Smith. It was simply that Montreal showed the Flyers how real hockey was played.