Tag Archives: Summit Series

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.

Joe And His New Book

If one would take the highway north from Powell River, where I live, to Terrace, where Joe Pelletier lives, it might only take six or seven hours.

If there was a highway.

Unfortunately, the road up the west coast ends just 30 kilometres north of Powell River, so to get to Terrace you have to go south to Vancouver and then head up through the interior, and you’re looking at about 18 or 20 hours instead of six.

But one day I’d like to make the trek. Because I’d like to meet and talk hockey with Joe Pelletier.

When I first started this blog four years ago, one of the first things I did was contact Joe, a well-known hockey historian, author of three great websites Greatest Hockey Legends, Hockey Book Reviews, and 1972 Summit Series, where he’s included several photos of items from my own Summit Series collection.

I asked Joe to please have a look at my blog and give his feedback and advice, because I really didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning. I was only just learning what a blog was at the time. He had a look at what I had done up to that point, and he told me I had a nice site and it looked really good to him. I was grateful, and we’ve kept in touch off and on ever since. Even now, he offers encouragement, saying I should write a book about the Summit Series.

Joe has a brand new eBook, just released, called Pucks On The Net, and all the necessary details, along with a brief look at Joe himself, can be seen here, at Pucks On The Net. It’s looks fantastic, and I’m wishing nothing but the best for this fellow from Terrace, just six hours up the road.

If there was a road.

Two Great Stars Speak To Each Other. Even Though They Couldn’t Speak To Each Other

 

Those dastardy Russians. We knew they were good before they played their first game of the 1972 Summit Series. But we didn’t know they were THAT good. And they brought a ringer with them.

 His name was Valeri Kharlamov, and he was an unbelievable player. So good, in fact, that Bobby Clarke broke the guy’s ankle with a slash in game six of the series to finally stop him.

 Assistant coach John Ferguson had directed Clarke to do this unforgivable sin. “I called Clarke to the bench, looked over at Kharlamov and said, I think he needs a tap on the ankle. I didn’t think twice about it. It was US versus THEM. And Kharlamov was killing us. I mean, somebody had to do it.”

 Jean Beliveau was in Moscow in 1972, and this photo, which used to belong to Beliveau and now belongs to me, shows him and Kharlamov having a nice time, although Kharlamov didn’t speak English and Beliveau, I’d be willing to bet a case of Molson’s on, doesn’t speak Russian. But it looks like they were enjoying each others company anyway.

 Sadly, the great Russian star was killed, along with his wife, in a car accident in 1981.

Canadiens Fall To The Devils. Only A Couple Of Brain Farts Were The Difference.

At least they got a point out of it.

 

Goerges Laraque said before the game that it would be a low-scoring affair, just by the nature of the Devils’ game – tight, neutral zone trapping, few goals – and Georges was absolutely right.

 

The problem was, snakebitten Alex Kovalev, instead of breaking out of his 15 game scoreless streak, took an ill-timed penalty with 28 seconds left in the third period, and the Devils’ Zach Parise, on the power play in overtime, scored to win it 2-1.

 

And that’s that. They could’ve won but didn’t. Earlier, Tomas Plekanec took a penalty to start a Habs power play, which killed that of course, and who knows, it could’ve been the difference. 

Carey Price was solid. The grinders were good. The team had their chances and all in all, continue their good play which they started about four games ago.

 

Mostly though, I want to talk about Alex Kovalev. Everyone says he’s underachieving, he should be traded but it’s too late because the team wouldn’t get anything for him now, etc. etc.

But Kovalev is still a strong force out there. He’s not dogging it, he’s working hard. He sets up his linemates on a regular basis. He has certain leadership qualities. He does things with the puck most others can’t do. And he’s coming oh so close.

 

And it’s not like he’d done nothing. He sits third in team points with five goals and 14 assists for 19 points in 25 games, two behind Andrei Markov and three behind Saku Koivu.

 

I believe in Kovalev. I believe he’s a crucial member of the team, and I take with a grain of salt everything I read in hockey forums about what a non-factor he’s become. If I saw him dogging it, with lacklustre and uninterested play, I’d be in these forums to, calling for Gainey to trade the guy.

 

But I think he’s going to snap out of this soon. It’s not for lack of trying, and seriously, the guy must be losing sleep over what’s going on now for him.

 

Of course it’s not only Kovalev that fans have been screaming blue murder about. Guillaume Latendresse and Patrice Brisebois are favourite whipping boys. So is Sergei Kostitsyn and Mathieu Dandenault. And of course Ryan O’Byrne.

 

Maybe some of these fans can lighten up on Kovalev for awhile and concentrate on tying Plekanec to the stake instead. I think it’s his turn.

 

Game Notes.

 

Matt D’Agostini scored the lone Habs goal for his fourth in three games since being called up. I looked up the name D’Agostini in my Italian dictionary and it means “air freshener being sprayed in a drab, musty room that needed to be freshened up.”

 

Zach Parise, who scored the winner in OT for the Devils, is the son of Team Canada ’72 role player JP Parise. Parise Sr. made a name for himself when he was called for a penalty in game eight of the series in Moscow, lost his mind, and raised his stick like he was going to decapitate officials Rudy Batja and Josef Kompalla. He didn’t follow through but it was quite a sight.