Tag Archives: Gilbert Perreault

Elite Perreault

The Buffalo Sabres, the team the Canadiens meet tonight, boasted one of the greatest players in the game, the magnificent Gilbert Perreault, who could dangle and dazzle with the best of them.

Nowadays, it’s almost as if he’s become a bit of a forgotten superstar for some reason, which is an absolute shame. The guy was amazing.

After starring for the Montreal Jr. Canadiens in the late-’60s, he would play 1191 games, all with Buffalo, scoring 512 goals and adding 814 assists for 1326 points, and in 1990 was inducted into the Hockey Hall of fame.

He would’ve looked just excellent in a Habs uniform.

This big Gilbert Perreault bobbing head doll is a whopping 3- feet high, is one of only 100 produced, and stands in the showroom of Classic Auctions in Montreal, where I once worked.

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A Deep Hole Dug In Moscow Opener

Part 9

The cameras panned the Palace of Sports at Luzhniki in Moscow, where fans, the majority men and soldiers, stared hard at the ice and at the long-haired Canadian players swooping around. What were these fans thinking about these foreigners? They saw the long hair, they saw Esposito and others they recognized. They would scan the stadium, watching the Canadian fans whooping and hollering, and they must have wondered.

Of course they were curious, because in 1972, long before perestroika and glasnost (restructuring and openness), this was a novelty of the first degree. Westerners live and in colour, something not often seen in their closed country, and names they knew only slightly glided around the ice below. To have seen NHL games in their homes meant sporatic action on television, with announcers who droned on, in the middle of the night broken up periodically by agriculture commercials and speeches from Leonid Brezhnev and other stonefaced leaders from the Politburo. The Russians definitely didn’t have Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet, or TSN going for them back then.

Opening night, game five in Moscow meant serious business. At this point, three Canadian players had decided to go home. Vic Hadfield, told he probably wouldn’t see any action in Moscow, felt he should be preparing for the NHL season with his Ranger teammates. Jocelyn Guevremont’s wife, who had come along with her husband on the trip, fell ill and needed to enter a hospital back home. And Rick Martin said he felt pressure from Sabres boss Punch Imlach to return and be with his Buffalo teammates. Gilbert Perreault would do the same shortly after.

Canada had won just once in Canada, and to lose again meant having to win the final three, which seemed as remote a possibility as seeing Lenin scratch himself in his Tomb at Red Square. It would take a miracle, even if Canada could somehow pull it out on this night and narrow the gap.

During the opening festivities on this night, young Russian ladies skated out with flowers, and as one came near Phil Esposito, a petal fell off the stem and floated to the ice. When Espo was introduced, he stepped on the petal and fell flat on his rear end, to the smiles and laughter of the crowd and both teams. He did an exaggerated bow, seemed to be fine about the whole thing, and maybe we were more embarrassed than he was. Regardless, to show the high esteem the Soviet players held for our captain, Vladislav Tretiak would say years later that Espo did this on purpose to lighten things up for his tense teammates. It might have worked, but it certainly wasn’t on purpose. (see video below).

Maybe it was the 3000 Canadian fans cheering and blowing their horns and making such wonderful noise, but Team Canada came out with bounce, and late in the first period, J.P. Parise (father of Zach), converted on a Gilbert Perreault pass and Canada found themselves in the lead. At home we cheered, but we needed more. We’d seen in the past that leads can evaporate quickly against this Machine.

Early in the second period, Bobby Clarke shoved one past Tretiak, and the 3000 Canadians at Luzhnicki and 15 million back home cheered again. We liked what we were seeing, and we liked it even more when Paul Henderson made it a lovely 3-0 lead. Take that, you Russians.

It was heady times going into the third period. It would be such a beautiful win, a win for NHL and western hockey superiority, and a narrowing of the gap. Unsmiling Russian fans would be impressed by the NHLers. Soviet players might get nervous. It was perfect.

But Yuri Blinov scored and suddenly we weren’t so giddy. But although Henderson once again gave us a three-goal lead to allow us to breathe again, Ken Dryden mentioned later that, “We played stupidly. Instead of continuing the forechecking tactics that had worked so well in the first two periods, we stayed back and let the Russians take the puck to us.”

Anisin beat Tony Esposito to narrow the gap to 4-2, and then, just eight seconds later, Shadrin scored and it became 4-3. At this point, we needed a pill. Maybe some Anisin. And maybe we needed something much stronger than Anisin when Alexander Gusev’s shot was tipped by a Canadian player over the shoulder of Esposito, and the game was tied with still nine minutes remaining. The Soviets then won the damn thing when  Vladimir Vikulov scored the winner.

5-4 Russia. We were perfectly aware of what this meant. A miracle would be needed, and we weren’t so sure it would happen. But something extremely important had transpired during this game five loss. Canada seemed in better shape and showed more drive. They had outplayed the Soviets before things collapsed in the third period, and they seemed to have found a way to hogtie the enemy with furious forechecking. Team Canada knew, even in losing, that they weren’t out of it yet.

The Canadians were beginning to feel better about themselves, but they were in a deep hole.

Uproar In Game Four

I think it was after this game that my father began cheering for the Russians, which pissed me off to no end. But I can see why, I guess. He also can’t stomach Alan Eagleson, whom he thinks is equal parts son-of-a-bitch, P.T. Barnum, and arrogant bullshit. He’s probably right.

Team Canada not only lost the final game in Canada by a score of 5-3, but they lost in boorish and undisciplined fashion, and many people, including my dad, are fed up with what is transpiring. Bill Goldsworthy, who seemed to have lost his mind, sat in the penalty box while the Russians scored twice. Frank  Mahovlich sat on Tretiak and wouldn’t let him up for about 30 seconds. It was frustration bursting at the seams, from both the Canadian players and the fans, and the Vancouverites showed no patience whatsoever.

So much for that laid-back West Coast.

The Vancouver crowd booed and jeered lustily, showing in angry, deafening fashion that they weren’t one bit crazy about the roughhousing of such a beautifully disciplined Soviet team that just wanted to play hockey. The crowd was frustrated at their team’s inability to display much of anything, although there was one moment to cheer about when Gilbert Perreault danced in in classic style and banked one off a Soviet player and in behind Tretiak. But overall, Vancouver was such a low point, to say the least. That damn Tretiak is sensational and simply killing us, and possibly our guys are now psyched out so much they may never recover in time to make at least a half-decent showing in the remaining four games.

Canadian hockey has just taken another major hit, maybe even more so than game one.

It was a nasty night. Canada’s record at home stands at one win, two losses, and a tie. Life sucks. And then Phil Esposito came out after the game and reminded everyone it wasn’t all that great for him and the boys either, which you can see in the video below. Later on, Frank Mahovlich, in Ken Dryden’s book Face-Off At The Summit, would mention that “after the seeing what the Russians did to to us at our game in Canada, I’m afraid nothing in sports is sacred anymore. If someone gives them a football they’ll beat the Dallas Cowboys and win the Super Bowl in two years.”

Now it’s on to Moscow for four games. It’ll be good for the team to get out of Dodge, especially after realizing that many Canadian fans aren’t admiring them so much right now. It’s going to take some kind of serious miracle to pull this one out, even to look somewhat respectable.

Below, cuff links and tie clip, presented to Canadian players from C.C.M., one of the many sponsors of the tournament.

Hometown Heroes

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Two fine hometown boys, Hall of Famers Gilbert Perreault (inducted 1990) and Mr. Beliveau (inducted 1972).

Perreault was born and raised in Victoriaville, Quebec (pop. 43,462), and Jean moved there with his family when he was six.

From the HHOF’s “One on One”I was a Montreal fan,” admits Perreault. “The Canadiens were our main team in the NHL. They had so many great players. I admired Jean Beliveau. I watched him a lot. I liked his style, I liked the way he moved and I liked his stickhandling.

Anyone who saw this great Buffalo Sabres star play knows just how how talented he was, with an extraordinary slickness when it came to handling the puck, just like Jean. Simply an incredible player with the Sabres from 1970-71 to 1986-87, notching 512 goals and 814 assists along the way (1326 points in 1191 games).

Perreault starred for the Montreal Junior Canadiens for three seasons before joining the Sabres, and when you see him with the Junior Canadiens (as in the Youtube video below), it’s a definite reminder that he would’ve looked good in a Habs uniform.

Thanks to Kathleen in Maryland for sending me the picture above  via Twitter @bflosenrab, and she adds that her sources say it was taken in good old Victoriaville.

Three-Foot Perreault

The Buffalo Sabres, the team the Canadiens meet on Wednesday evening, once boasted one of the greatest players in the game, the magnificent Gilbert Perreault, who could dangle and dazzle with the best of them.

Nowadays, it’s almost as if he’s become a bit of a forgotten superstar for some reason, which is an absolute shame. The guy was amazing.

After starring for the Montreal Jr. Canadiens in the late-’60s, he would play 1191 games, all with Buffalo, scoring 512 goals and adding 814 assists for 1326 points, and in 1990 was inducted into the Hockey Hall of fame.

He would’ve looked just excellent in a Habs uniform.

This big Gilbert Perreault bobbing head doll towers a whopping 3 feet high, is one of only 100 produced, and stands in the showroom of Classic Auctions.

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Summit ’72 – Opening In Moscow – Game 5

The cameras panned the Palace of Sports at Luzhniki in Moscow, where fans, the majority men and soldiers, stared hard at the ice and at the long-haired Canadian players swooping around. What were these fans thinking about these foreigners? They saw the long hair, they saw Esposito and others they recognized. They would scan the stadium, watching the Canadian fans whooping and hollering, and they must have wondered.

Of course they were curious, because in 1972, long before perestroika and glasnost (restructuring and openness), this was a novelty of the first degree. Westerners live and in colour, something not often seen in their closed country, and names they knew only slightly glided around the ice below. To have seen NHL games in their homes meant sporatic action on television, with announcers who droned on, in the middle of the night broken up periodically by agriculture commercials and speeches from Leonid Brezhnev and other stonefaced leaders from the Politburo. The Russians definitely didn’t have Hockey Night in Canada or TSN going for them back then.

Opening night, game five in Moscow meant serious business. At this point, three Canadian players had decided to go home. Vic Hadfield, told he probably wouldn’t see any action in Moscow, felt he should be preparing for the NHL season with his Ranger teammates. Jocelyn Guevremont’s wife, who had come along with her husband on the trip, fell ill and needed to enter a hospital back home. And Rick Martin said he felt pressure from Sabres boss Punch Imlach to return and be with his Buffalo teammates. Gilbert Perreault would do the same shortly after.

Canada had won just once in Canada, and to lose again meant having to win the final three, which seemed as remote a possibility as seeing Lenin scratch himself in his Tomb at Red Square. It would take a miracle, even if Canada could somehow pull it out on this night and narrow the gap.

During the opening festivities on this night, young Russian ladies skated out with flowers, and as one came near Phil Esposito, a petal fell off the stem and floated to the ice. When Espo was introduced, he stepped on the petal and fell flat on his rear end, to the smiles and laughter of the crowd and both teams. He did an exaggerated bow, seemed to be fine about the whole thing, and maybe we were more embarrassed than he was. Regardless, to show the high esteem the Soviet players held for our captain, Vladislav Tretiak would say years later that Espo did this on purpose to lighten things up for his tense teammates. It might have worked, but it certainly wasn’t on purpose. (see video below).

Maybe it was the 3000 Canadian fans cheering and blowing their horns and making such wonderful noise, but Team Canada came out with bounce, and late in the first period, J.P. Parise (father of Zach), converted on a Gilbert Perreault pass and Canada found themselves in the lead. At home we cheered, but we needed more. We’d seen in the past that leads can evaporate quickly against this Machine.

Early in the second period, Bobby Clarke shoved one past Tretiak, and the 3000 Canadians at Luzhnicki and 15 million back home cheered again. We liked what we were seeing, and we liked it even more when Paul Henderson made it a lovely 3-0 lead. Take that, you Russians.

It was heady times going into the third period. It would be such a beautiful win, a win for NHL and western hockey superiority, and a narrowing of the gap. Unsmiling Russian fans would be impressed by the NHLers. Soviet players might get nervous. It was perfect.

But Yuri Blinov scored and suddenly we weren’t so giddy. But although Henderson once again gave us a three-goal lead to allow us to breathe again, Ken Dryden mentioned later that, “We played stupidly. Instead of continuing the forechecking tactics that had worked so well in the first two periods, we stayed back and let the Russians take the puck to us.”

Anisin beat Tony Esposito to narrow the gap to 4-2, and then, just eight seconds later, Shadrin scored and it became 4-3. At this point, we needed a pill. Maybe some Anisin. And maybe we needed something much stronger than Anisin when Alexander Gusev’s shot was tipped by a Canadian player over the shoulder of Esposito, and the game was tied with still nine minutes remaining. The Soviets then won the damn thing when  Vladimir Vikulov scored the winner.

5-4 Russia. We were perfectly aware of what this meant. A miracle would be needed, and we weren’t so sure it would happen. But something extremely important had transpired during this game five loss. Canada seemed in better shape and showed more drive. They had outplayed the Soviets before things collapsed in the third period, and they seemed to have found a way to hogtie the enemy with furious forechecking. Team Canada knew, even in losing, that they weren’t out of it yet.

The Canadians were beginning to feel better about themselves, but they were in a deep hole.

 

 

Summit ’72 – Training Camp Begins

Forty years ago, on this day, August 13, 1972, they strolled into their first day of training camp in Toronto confident and somewhat annoyed that their summer had been cut short. They had been summoned from their cottages and golf courses and barbeques to prepare for a series of four games in Canada and four games in Moscow against a Russian squad which had run ragged over Canadian amateurs in the past, and it was time to correct this problem.

Most of the Canadian players were out of shape but it was fine, because they had almost three weeks to be ready. All they had to do was cut down on the beer, get through some push-ups and three intra-squad games, and they’d be fine. No one knew what the Russians thought about things, but it mattered little. We hoped they were nervous, we licked our lips in anticipation, and Phil Esposito and the boys lit their cigars and joked with reporters.

One coach and just eight of thirty-five Team Canada ’72 players knew what it was to face the Russians – coach Harry Sinden had been a star defenceman with the Whitby Dunlops when they defeated the Russians in the 1958 World Championships, and had been with the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen in losing in the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley. Ken Dryden had been a member of the Canadian National team just before it was disbanded in 1970. Defenceman Brian Glennie had been part of the losing Canadian National team at the 1968 Olympics at Grenoble, France, centre Red Berenson had been on the 1959 World Champion Belleville MacFarlanes. and defenceman Rod Seiling was a Nat during the 1964 Olympics at Insbruck, Austria.

Mickey Redmond, Bobby Orr, Serge Savard, and Gilbert Perreault had all faced various Russian teams during their junior careers.

That was it. No one else on Team Canada had a clue. All they knew was that they were expected to win eight straight against the so-called amateurs from Russia and they figured they would. They were NHL stars, for goodness sakes. How hard could it be?

On September 2, 1972, game one in Montreal, these Canadians, still not in game shape, would find out they were in a heap of trouble.

Forty years ago. What a series it was.

Throughout September I’ll be posting examples from my collection of Summit Series memorabilia, along with chatting about the series as we go along.

 

 

Dudley Comes Aboard

Rick Dudley has been lured away from Toronto to assist Marc Bergevin in Montreal, and it’s another step on the road to respectibility for our wounded bunch. I remember Rick Dudley as a player, especially with Buffalo in the 1970’s when he’d wear a headband, and he was a solid and important guy on a team that boasted the French Connection – Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, and Rene Robert.

Now, with the GM and assistant GM in place, I suppose naming a coach is next, and with each change that is made, I get excited because I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to this team. I expect them to win the Stanley Cup every year, and it’s probably a bad thing that I do.

Brian Burke in Toronto had asked that Dudley not take part in the June draft with Montreal, considering he knows all of the Leafs trade secrets, and that’s fair that he sits on the sidelines. Although it’s kind of neat when we see Burke’s blood pressure rise, and I’m not sure we want to know any of Toronto’s trade secrets anyway.

The full story about this Dudley hiring can be seen right here.

 

A Great Player Goes Too Soon

 

Rick Martin, one-third of the great French Connection line in Buffalo, (number 7 in the photo), has died in a one-car accident. He was just 59.

Martin spent three years with the Montreal Junior Canadiens, from 1968 to 1971, where he lit it up as a young star. He, along with mates Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert, would have looked just excellent in a Habs uniform. (That’s Robert and Perreault with Martin in the photo, along with new Sabres owner Terry Pegula).

Myself, and I’m sure all hockey fans, give heartfelt condolences to the Martin family. He was a great player.

Montreal’s Not The Only Team With Problems. How ‘Bout Those Sabres?

Really interesting story in the Buffalo News about Rene Robert and his point-blank shots at the Sabres organization. You see, Montreal’s not the only team with problems.

Robert unafraid of criticizing Sabres
One-third of the French Connection calls out Golisano, Quinn
By Bucky Gleason
NEWS NHL COLUMNIST
You think you’re frustrated with the Buffalo Sabres? Rene Robert feels your pain and then some. The only difference between you and him these days is, well, the former right winger played on one of the famed lines in NHL history and his No. 14 hangs from the rafters at HSBC Arena.
Well, it’s up there for now, anyway.
To say he’s frustrated is an understatement. Robert has grown increasingly angry and disgusted from watching his former team, your favorite team, miss the playoffs in two straight seasons after building a contender. He also wanted fans to know they weren’t alone.
“If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t say a word,” he said. “I’ve been frustrated for I don’t know how many years. I want nothing other than to see this team to succeed and do well.”
He certainly cares.
Passion during a telephone conversation last week poured from Robert, one-third of the high-flying, hair-flowing French Connection in the 1970s. Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Robert had one of the best lines in NHL history and helped the Sabres reach the Stanley Cup finals in 1975.
Robert, 60, whose number was retired in 1995 during a ceremony in Memorial Auditorium, said he was ostracized two years ago for criticizing the Sabres on the radio. Sabres minority owner Dan DiPofi, their chief operating officer, said alumni privileges that include free tickets and access to a private suite were revoked for Robert’s behavior, not his opinions.
“He had been treating people in our box office rudely and being a bit of a jerk,” DiPofi said. “We do things for the alumni that’s a basic way to thank them for things they do for us in the community. He had been rude to people in our office and expecting things when he wants them. [Sabres Alumni President] Larry Playfair was consulted on it every step of the way, and he was completely on board with it.”
Regardless, the spat is not what infuriates Robert. It’s the hockey.
“I’m not looking for a handout,” he said. “I live very well. I’m sure I’m going to take another slap for this, but I really don’t give a [darn]. Sometimes, people have blinders on when it’s time to listen to the truth. But how many years can you go on before finally saying, “[The criticism] is right’? I just want them to know the truth.”
Robert’s beef is with majority owner Tom Golisano and his second-in-command, minority owner Larry Quinn, whose decisions contributed to the Sabres becoming the first team in history to win the Presidents’ Trophy for having the NHL’s best record one year and missing the playoffs in the two years that followed.
“For years, they’ve been looking at me like I’m [ticked] off and I’m grumpy, but that’s not it at all,” Robert said. “They always have excuses for why they don’t win. If Golisano has no interest in hockey and wants to nickel and dime everything, sell the team to someone that’s interested in winning.
“The fans of Buffalo deserve better than what they’ve been getting. I’m frustrated. I speak my mind when nobody else does. [Former teammates] are afraid that the Sabres will get mad at them. I don’t care because I don’t work for them. I’ll tell people the truth.”
Blunt, opinionated, brash, outspoken and, many believe, accurate.
That was Robert’s reputation as a player, and not much has changed. Several former Sabres players who were reached last week agreed with Robert’s assessment but did not want their names used. They didn’t want to get caught up in controversy or involved in a feud with management.
Publicly, Robert stands alone. Privately, he has plenty of company. Several ex-teammates supported him and called for changes at the top. Golisano, the billionaire once praised for rescuing the Sabres from bankruptcy, is now being criticized in hockey circles for not making a strong enough commitment to winning.
“Rene is going to tell you what’s on his mind, and he has a [funny] way of putting things,” one ex-Sabre said with a laugh. “He always had a bit of a chip on his shoulder but usually, when it comes to hockey, he’s right. And he is right. I agree with him. I know a lot of guys out there feel the same way he does.”
Quinn did not return a telephone call Friday. Several former Sabres believe Quinn should be removed from daily operations related to personnel and replaced by someone with more hockey knowledge and experience. Robert recalled a conversation with Quinn a few years ago like this:
Robert: “What’s your background, Larry?”
Quinn: “I’m a land developer.”
Robert: “Do you think I could do your job?”
Quinn: “No, I don’t think you could.”
Robert: “Then what makes you believe you’re a hockey man?”
Quinn said immediately after the season that the entire organization would be evaluated from top to bottom.
The Sabres announced Friday that General Manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff would be retained. The Sabres still have not had their season-ending news conference announcing possible changes.
Ruff is coaching Canada in the world championships in Switzerland. He has not spoken publicly since the season-ending win over Boston. Robert believes Ruff and Regier were placed in difficult situations.
“If Golisano wants to retain the team and continue as an owner, he needs a president that knows the game of hockey,” Robert said. “Get a guy that runs the business aspect, get a general manager that’s given a budget to play with, carte blanche to trade whoever the hell he wants, and go from there.
“If you look at the organizations that have been successful, you don’t see owners getting involved in hockey decisions. You hire people to do a job you’re not capable of doing. Until proven wrong, you let them do their jobs. If they can’t, you get rid of them.”