Tag Archives: Kate Smith

Big Years, Yes They Were

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).

Using info from the papers, here’s a couple of my recaps, first from 1976, and then 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 helped made things happen in a big way. 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, although 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.”

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.”

Flyers Make It Interesting

Claude Giroux, who would have looked mighty fine in a Montreal Canadiens uniform, scored at 5:59 of the first overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 win and are now back in the series.

This is a great thing whether you want the Flyers to win or lose. Hockey needs an excellent Stanley Cup finals, not a four-game sweep or a five-game, one-sided affair.

The series now sits at 2 games to 1 for Chicago and Kate Smith is preparing a massive bump and grind routine with the sign man for game four on Thursday.

Giroux comes from Hearst, Ontario, birthplace of fine Habs forward of the 60’s and 70’s, Claude Larose.

Kate Needs To Do More Than Just Sing

If the Flyers lose this upcoming game three, Kate Smith’s going to have to do more than just sing “God Bless America” when the Hawks and Flyers meet in game four.

Kate’s going to have to slowly remove that huge dress of hers to a bump and grind and somehow come down from the scoreboard, gently remove Jonathan Toews’ jockstrap, and twirl it around her head as she clings and sways from a pole.

If she can do all that, the Flyers just might have a chance to extend it a little.

I Wonder If Kate Even Liked Hockey

Frankly, I like hearing Kate Smith sing ‘God Bless America’ in Philadelphia. I like the fact that tradition is upheld, even in Philly, and old Kate been’s singing this tune, alive and dead and off and on, since the Broad Street Bullies of the early and mid 1970’s terrorized the league with their thuggery.

I also love the idea of the Flyers getting smoked after Kate revs up the crowd. Kate couldn’t stop the Canadiens all those years ago, and hopefully she can’t do it now.

I remember Kate Smith from long before the Philadelphia Flyers came into existence. She sang on the Ed Sullivan Show many times, this oversized plain Jane with the terrific pipes and substantial glittering dresses you could have made a four-man tent out of, and she belted out the tunes loud and clear through our old black and white TV.  She was a long-established star by the time the Flyers embraced her, and I’m sure the team is mighty thankful they latched on to this big mama because not only have they had success when she sings, but they’ve created a special moment reserved only for the Flyers and their fans.

Kate’s record at Flyers games over the years is an impressive 81 wins, 21 losses and three ties. She’s not perfect, although Flyers fans think she is, and it’s a lovely thing indeed when the Flyers get spanked with her there, even though she’s been dead since 1986.

There also may be three separate occasions where opposing players have tried to add levity to the situation and throw the Flyers off  by presenting flowers to Kate as her song finished. Ed Westfall of the New York Islanders appparently did it, and I’ve read that Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr of the Bruins and Serge Savard of the Canadiens did the same on other nights.

When I hear Kate belt out God Bless America, it reminds me that tradition is a wonderful thing and the old broad could really sing. And it also reminds me of how great it is when the Flyers lose after she does.

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.

 

Philadelphia Steals Game Three. Carey Price Struggles And Provides Serious Drama For Game Four

 GAME 3

Kate Smith singing God Bless America didn’t win the game for the Philadelphia Flyers. She hasn’t since 1975. No one on the Flyers won the game for the Flyers.

Montreal won the game for the Flyers.

The Habs were ineffective during an early-game two man advantage. They held a big edge in play in the first period. They hit three posts. Carey Price, looking shaky, was replaced by Jaroslav Halak in the third, and the team responded by outshooting Philly 16-2. But it wasn’t enough, losing in the end 3-2, and the team is now down two games to one. They need game four so badly, there’d better be focus, concentration, commitment, no late-night dinners, no over-doing the beer or wine, and a good, reasonable curfew these next two nights.

They couldn’t score. Mind you, they got two on the power play when slow-poke Derian Hatcher took a five minute major in the third. And they stormed the Flyers net for most of the third. But they had gotten behind early in the game, and it was too much to come back when Biron is playing like he is.

And most disturbing of all, Carey Price, for far too many games now, has been only pretty good at best. Not great. Not Ken Dryden, or Terry Sawchuk, or Roger Crozier, or Jacques Plante. He’s just been Carey Price, which, in this playoff year, has not been outstanding. It’s a concern because we need Price to be the second coming of Plante and Dryden, and no one less.

So the question is. Can Carey Price make his name this year in the Stanley Cup playoffs, or are these chapters yet to written?

Game four is Wednesday night, and will the questions be answered. Is the power play back? Will the Kostitsyn’s play better. Where is Mike Komisarek? Will Martin Biron look human? And will Carey Price rebound and deliver?

Game note:

Kudos to Robert over at Eyes on The Prize. Robert has a fantastic Habs site which he continues to tweak, and the photo of him sitting at the Habs press conference table is brilliant. (You can click on Eyes on the Prize over in my blogroll).