Tag Archives: Larry Robinson

Turk Says Dryden’s Overrated

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In Derek Sanderson’s 2012 book “Crossing The Line” that I got at the St. Hubert Library, he says Ken Dryden was overrated, which we’ve all heard from time to time. At least I have.

Sanderson talked about how the Bruins were the better team against Montreal in 1971, but they shot themselves in the foot. Boston didn’t take the Canadiens seriously. He didn’t really talk about Dryden’s accomplishments, he only mentioned that the young goalie had arrived on the scene, had only six games under his belt before the playoffs began, and proceeded to somehow get his body in the way.

He sort of mentioned that the Habs eliminated Boston, but he didn’t go near the Habs winning the Cup after beating Chicago in the finals, and Dryden being awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. We wouldn’t expect him to. The book’s not about the Habs.

When you put it all together though, it’s a magical piece of hockey lore. Maybe not so much for Bruins fans I guess. They probably hate the story.

Turk Sanderson says this: “Dryden was highly overrated, in my opinion, but he was the first big goaltender. He covered the top of the net so well, and when he dropped and spread, he covered a lot of ground in the bottom part. You’d turn to shoot, and he would have that area covered because of his size. It took us a while to get used to that. It created problems we had never seen before.”

Sanderson goes on to say, “Dryden didn’t provide the stellar goaltending everybody continues to talk about. You could score on Dryden. He wasn’t that good; he was just different.”

Sanderson is saying that Dryden wasn’t a good goalie, he was just a big goalie. But Sanderson was a Bruin for many of the years when they played against each, and he might still have Habs/Bruins issues.

Dryden was in goal for game 8 when it was for all the marbles so Harry Sinden must not have thought he was overrated. And Sinden coached Sanderson. Dryden also collected 6 Stanley Cups during those days, but maybe a much lesser goalie might have too considering the team up front with Lafleur, Robinson, Lemaire et al.

Like I said, I’ve heard various people say over the years that Dryden was overrated but I tend to not think much about it. I just wonder if there are many other players who played against him, like Sanderson did, who also feel he was overrated. And if lots do, does that mean he was?

As an aside, Sanderson also says Cam Neely was the greatest right winger to ever play the game.

 

Dryden’s always had a bit of a reputation for not being overly-enthusiastic about signing autographs, and here’s a great exampleWindsor Star.

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:

Devils Still Breathing

The New Jersey Devils edged Los Angeles 2-1 in a feisty and puck-bouncing game five, with pucks rattling off goal posts, sticks slicing people’s faces, and Martin Brodeur being great and also lucky. So the series continues, with L.A. now holding a slight 3-2 game advantage, and feeling not quite as good about themselves as they were a couple of games ago.

The Stanley Cup remains packed away, until Monday at least. I’m hoping it goes seven. (please see previous post Drama-Hoping for more on this).

It’s a bad/good situation for Kings’ owners Philip Anschutz and Ed Roski Jr. Bad because their team can’t close it off, and good because it means another home game with a whole bunch of extra big-time dollars to be stuffed into their pockets from ticket and beer sales. Sometimes losing pays off in a big way.

L.A. players have to be nervous, and the Devils now find themselves with some serious hope. This is much better than a sweep or a five-game series. And from this Hab fan’s perspective, it’s always nice to see camera shots of Larry Robinson behind the bench. Kind of chokes me up.

Have you noticed that with all the beards out there, everybody looks the same? It’s like two teams full of Smith Brothers. I’m starting to dislike the beard thing. I’ll bet the wives are too. Maybe players need something new for playoff tradition, something that doesn’t make them all look alike. How about not showering for the playoffs? At least they wouldn’t have to worry about fans and media bothering them.

It’s also worth noting that if New Jersey really wants to climb all the way back, the Devils trainers might want to give Ilya Kovalchuk some smelling salts. Or at the very least, a good swift kick in the ass.

Roy, Robinson, Gretzky, Messier – In Ottawa

On Friday, September 19, 1986, the Montreal Canadiens played an exhibition game against the Edmonton Oilers at the Ottawa Civic Centre.  I lived in Ottawa at the time but sometimes, as was the case here, real life gets in the way and I had to work and couldn’t go. Just like the time I had a couple of front row seats for Roy Orbison at the National Arts Centre and was out on a truck run, got back late, and missed that too.

But my buddy Frank and his son Robin went to this Habs-Oilers clash, and brought me back a program.

This was a charity event for the Canadian Cystric Fibrosis Foundation, and two beauty teams went at it that night. Montreal had won the Stanley Cup that previous spring, and boasted Patrick Roy in nets, along with guys like Bobby Smith, Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, Bob Gainey, Chris Chelios, and Stephane Richer.

The Oilers were pretty well in a class by themselves. They had won the two previous Cups, in 1984 and 1985, and the two after, in 1987 and `88, with a lineup of Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri etc.

Edmonton won the game that night 8-3, so maybe it was good that I missed it.

Joe And Big Bird Ball

I’ve learned to not get too excited about rumours until they edge closer to fact, but I sure like the idea of Larry Robinson coming back to Montreal as coach or assistant coach. Apparently he’s just waiting to be asked. So Mr. Bergevin, ask him please.

I also like the “Evander Kane coming to Montreal” rumour, not only because he was a 30-goal scorer this year in Winnipeg, but also because I could finally see “Kane” on the back of a Habs’ sweater.

And speaking of Robinson:

In Ottawa in the 1970’s, there was a tremendous fastball team called Turpin Pontiac who were one of the best ball teams in Canada. I used to love going to games involving Turpin and other teams from the great Ottawa Valley Fastball League. It was really fine ball, played by guys who executed like poetry in motion.

Turpin had a glasses-wearing pitcher named Joe Belisle who looked like Dennis the Menace’s father. He seemed to weigh about 140 pounds, with his pitching arm much bigger than his other arm. This was a guy who threw mostly 1 or 2 hitters, with many no-hitters added for good measure. And the other teams such as Hull Volant were certainly no slouches so Joe always had his work cut out for him, and more often than not got the job done in classic fashion..

Joe was well-known in the Ottawa area, but not quite as well-known as one of his teammates. There was an outfielder, a big, strapping long-ball hitting red-headed farm boy named Larry Robinson, who, after ball season had ended and the air grew chilly, played defence for the Montreal Canadiens.

Ottawa Ousted

And there goes Canada’s last hope. The Sens lose 2-1 to New York in game 7.

Milan Michalek should be made to change numbers. He missed three or four great chances from about 15 feet out during the Sens’ torrid charge with about six minutes remaining, and he reminded no one of the Rocket, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Hull, who also donned the famous number. There were times in minor hockey when I would have a conniption fit if I couldn’t get number 9.

Michalek should wear 83 or something instead.

The Sens are dead, although they played a fine series from what I saw and read, and they should be proud of themselves. They showed the hockey world they’re a really good team and should enjoy a fine season next year, maybe just six or eight points below the Habs.

Thus far, L.A. has surprised many by thumping the Canucks in just 5 games. Washington has ended Boston’s mediocre one-year run as Cup champs. Phoenix has taken out the Hawks in 6 games and if the Coyotes go deep, Gary Bettman is going to have wet dreams. Detroit is gone after 5 games against Nashville, home of the Kostitsyn brothers, and Hal Gill, who has yet to play in the post season. St. Louis clobbered the Sharks in 5 games, and the one game I was able to see, in a restaurant, there were a ton of excellent fights. And Philadelphia put a bushel full of pucks behind Marc-Andre Fleury, including 8 twice, in their 6 game elimination of the heavily-favoured Pittsburgh Penguins.

And last but not least, New Jersey took out Florida 3-2 in double overtime of game seven, and I can’t really say why but I had almost no interest in seeing either team carry on. But I guess it’s fine the Devils won because Larry Robinson is an assistant coach, and who doesn’t like Larry?

All in all it’s been a good opening round, mainly because Boston lost. And I still have no idea who will or should win the whole thing.

Into The Drink


Darth sent this picture quite awhile ago but I couldn’t bring myself to put it up. Until now that is. I hope there’s enough lifeboats.

A 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. What, the Habs didn’t win? Seriously?

Question: Who would you consider the better defenceman – Tomas Kaberle or Bobby Orr?

Isn’t Kaberle fantastic! Except for that time in the first period when he was so mesmerized by a slow-moving puck that he forgot to reach his stick out to clear the little black thing, and presto, into the net it went. And his long shots are the kind goalies prefer in practice. The ones they can see and stop and not get hurt by. But otherwise, him or Orr?

Wait a minute, that’s ridiculous. You can’t compare Kaberle to Orr. Orr was the best ever. I don’t know what I was thinking.

What about Kaberle and Larry Robinson?

I’m re-reading Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and there’s a passage in there where Kerouac and Neal Cassady are in a bar and a guy named Gomez is wandering around trying to pick up chicks. I don’t know how their Gomez made out, but I sure hope he scored more than our Gomez.

The Canadiens played with blood, sweat and tears. Okay, there was no blood. And so what that it only looked like sweat and tears and their faces were wet because they’d poured water on them. And exciting! Whew! I’m only now just recovering.

Hey, I’ve only got so many decades left and if I die before they become a great team again, I’m going to be pissed.

Rene Bourque notched a shorthanded goal, which was the Canadiens’ first goal against Washington in 260 minutes, or about the length of time it takes Brad Marchand to read a comic book.

Random Notes;

Those shots of Dale Hunter behind the Caps bench gave me a queasy feeling in my gut. The Habs and Quebec Nordiques enjoyed the most vicious rivalry in hockey, and Hunter was front and centre of it all. He was a nasty piece of business. Actually, a dirty, miserable prick.

Sunday, the boys are in Sunrise, Florida to take on the Panthers. Are you excited?

 

 

Darth Was At The Game

A huge thank you to Darth for sending along some pictures and his thoughts on the Habs-Detroit game that he was at last night. As you can see from the pics (at the bottom), he sat behind the net and up a ways, and I think this is a great view. For myself, I like sitting behind the net. It’s a chance to see oncoming rushes, the play going the other way, and all that goes with the breakout, the defence setting up, and goalies getting ready.

I would also like to say at this time that if any of you are at a Habs game and would like to send pics and a few words like Darth has, please do so. I would really appreciate it and would always post what you send. I love the whole idea of it.

Here’s Darth. He apologizes for the quality of his pictures but I’m absolutely happy with what he sent:

“There were a lot of Detroit fans there last night. Way more than Bruins fans when we have a Montreal/Boston game.

Erik Cole. Wow. This guy is fast. TV does not do him justice. If you think he’s fast on tv, well – you’ve seen nothing. This guy flies down the ice. He’d be right at home with the greats we’ve had. I could easily see him with the 50s-70s Habs. It’s almost like he has rockets in his skates. He’s strong too and along with Pacioretty you can see what a big difference size makes. Cole has been an excellent addition to the team. If the whole team had his drive, we’d be top in the league every year and serious Cup contenders every year.

Seeing Emelin score was awesome! Glad I was there to see a historic moment. They really teased him during the break about it (his fellow players). The crowd roared when he scored. People love him here.

Gomez: I can tell you that one problem he has is inconsistency. This guy does not play a full 60 minutes. No way at all. He does show moments of actual talent but most of the time he disappears. There will be long stretches where you don’t even “see” him on the ice. But every once in a while he’ll suddenly show up and doing something great…then he’s gone again.

I’m not sure how it looked on TV but I can say Detroit looked very half-assed for the first half of the game. They can certainly move though. They’ve got some serious puck skills but last night they weren’t clicking until it was about 6-0. Then they seemed to really come alive. We slacked off a bit though. We should not have let those 2 goals in. The reason they did was because they let the game get away from them – they backed off too much. Everyone in the crowd got nervous. A lot of people were expecting Detroit to actually tie it which I think could have happened considering how much we slacked off.

PK has got some amazing talent. Seeing him go up the ice is incredible Dennis. But does he ever need discipline. This is why Robinson would help. He is going to be a big superstar one day and I hope it’s in Montreal. If he can reign in his stupid moments we’ll see one of the most amazing d-men in hockey.”

One Last Extra, Extra – A Great Year -1978

I’ll bet you’re tired of this. Well, don’t fret, this is the final installment of “Extra, Extra, Read All About It.”

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).

This final chapter looks at the great Habs Cup win in 1978, which was a lovely time indeed if you were a fan of the bleu, blanc, et rouge.

Serge Savard, after his team had had sailed to their third straight championship in 1978, lit a big cigar and reflected. “It’s something pretty special to be a Montreal Canadien, you know. We want to keep that role and the good things that go with it. But we have to work to do it because of those kids.”

And what kids were Savard talking about? Kids who played a large role in the winning of this Cup, youngsters like Pierre Mondou, 22, who assisted on two big goals in the final game a 4-1 win over Boston. It would be Mario Tremblay, 21, who didn’t play in the final until the fourth game, and scored twice. And it would be other young fellows like Brian Engblom, Gilles Lupien, Rick Chartraw, Rod Schutt, Mike Polich, Pat Hughes, and Pierre Larouche. 

And seeing these young guys play their hearts out was the motivation for the team to not rest on their laurels, not stand still, and not pat themselves on the back. There was no complacency on this team.

Scotty Bowman spoke about it afterwards during the celebration. “Having the extra guys who could play for just about any NHL club really helps in the motivation department,” said the coach. “We only have one player (Larouche, obtained in a trade with Pittsburgh) who ever played for another team.”

“Our farm system produces kids who want to play for the big club – and the guys with the big-league jobs know it. The kids are hungry, they have their agents pushing them and it makes a healthy situation.”

Larry Robinson won the Conn Smythe in this 1978 playoff year, his second in three years, (the other being in 1976), and he was awarded a brand new Ford Thunderbird from Sport Magazine for his efforts. “It’s an honour, of course,” said Robinson, “but the key to this team’s success is that it’s a real team and what one guy does is no more important than the contribution of another player.”

Montreal in these playoffs first met the Detroit Red Wings, eliminating the Wings four games to one. The Habs then swept the Leafs four straight before taking out the Bruins in the final, four games to two.

They would win one more Cup the following year before things eventually began to unravel.

Some final few words about Larry Robinson winning the Conn Smythe goes to Don Cherry (coach of the Bruins). “He deserves it,” said Cherry. “There’s nothing he can’t do. There were many four skaters on four situations in this series and at those times there was no stopping him.” 

Thanks for reading this series. Now I can hardly wait to write about our next Stanley Cup, happening next spring.