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-   -   Was anyone around to witness the 1976-77 team? (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=516547)

Al Bundy* 05-14-2008 12:49 AM

Was anyone around to witness the 1976-77 team?
 
Since today was the 31-year anniversary of the Cup-clinching win for arguably THE greatest Hab team of all, I'd like to find out if any of you fans were around to witness that season.

What was it like to see so much greatness, depth, winning, etc?

(I'm referring to the 60-win, 132-point team)

SherbrookeW 05-14-2008 01:23 AM

Yes, indeed, recall the team and the entire season as though it happened yesterday. Must have seen ten or so games at The Forum that year, and as many of the rest on television as one could then -- and heard pretty much all the rest on radio: CFCF had the games then, with the matchless Dick Irvin doing the play by play (he was,of course, the color man on the tv broadcasts, with the peerless Danny Gallivan doing play by play.THe difference between "matchless" and "peerless"? Hard to define, but they defined it. Irvin was matchless for analysis; Gallivan for the narration of drama.)
The thing to focus on in understanding that team, getting a picture of them, was that they could play any way at all. By far the finest skating team in the league (Lafleur, Lemaire, and lesser but still potent lights like Wilson and Tremblay) they were also the finest defensive team in the league. (YOu have heard of Bob Gainey;what is hard to understand for those who didn't see him play was what a great skater he was; a bit like Chris Higgins now, if Higgins would settle for being a defensive forward, which is not a bad idea.But there was also Jarvis, an ironman who NEVER made a mental error, and Rejean Houle, replacing Jim Roberts, who didn't either, back then. His trading days were yet to come.) The defense remains the finest ever assembled on a single team: Robinson, Lapointe, Savard...any one of them could dominate; Lapointe is probably the least remembered of the three, but he was the finest point man of his time-- on several occasions he caught a flying puck with his glove, without closing his hand on it, droped it and fired all in one motion. Robinson , above all, must have been (apologies to Orr, and to Potvin , and to whomever else you want to name) the single best defenseman ever to play the game, in the sense that he could do it all: the best skater at his position, he was also the hardest hitter, and never dropped a defensive stitch.
But what one can't convey is their style: Lafleur, helmet-free, swooping down right wing and then making a quick circling turn back to make a pass, the opposing team backing off in uncertainty; Steve Shutt, all spaniel-quick steps and sudden, laser shot; Jacques Lemaire, who was said to posses the hardest shot in hockey but turned himself into a relentless two way center. And the passing, crisp, short, exact. There's a video on Youtube of a slightly later edition of that team, the next year I suppose, against the Maple Leafs, on the power play, and as Dick Irvin says on the video, it looks like something you would send out to youth hockey teams.
And I haven't even mentioned Ken Dryden , who played a style that no one would think of playing now -- swooping down sideways like a mermaid on a plinth -- but never gave up a bad goal that I can recall in Stanley Cup play. And all the time, their expressions were never jubilant or taunting; they always had a look at once proud and slightly hangdog , as though they were not particularly proud of winning but HATED losing. Oh , yes, that was the greatest hockey team ever assembled , at least outside the world tournaments; stronger than the eighties Oilers on defense by several leagues; incomparably deeper than the eighties Islanders-- they would have skated rings around the nineties Devils and utterly shut down the current Red Wings. No, just the best, and still a shining memory.

Ohashi_Jouzu 05-14-2008 01:44 AM

I was close. Born mere hours before the final horn sounded and the lads raised the Cup (wonder if Mom was watching Hockey Night in Canada in her room that night?). I.E. today is my birthday.

GNick42 05-14-2008 02:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Al Bundy (Post 14104103)
Since today was the 31-year anniversary of the Cup-clinching win for arguably THE greatest Hab team of all, I'd like to find out if any of you fans were around to witness that season.

What was it like to see so much greatness, depth, winning, etc?

(I'm referring to the 60-win, 132-point team)

It was a great era for sure. Especially, for a teenager like me, hockey was my life at the time. I've never imagines the dominance of a team like the '70s Habs. They dominated the league not just in the season but in the preseason, post season and every game in between. Very few games were even as close as the score inticated. Well coached, speed and talent, no helmets so the hair flying Lafleur, Dryden with his stellar goaltending, the big three...a defense no team has ever came to matching.

Put together with the magic of the Forum, arguably the two best broadcasters of all time(Irvin/Gallivan), it took things to a whole nother perspective. I honestly don't think hockey will ever reach a pinnacle like that for another team

Phil Parent 05-14-2008 03:06 AM

The thought that always comes to mind.

The '77 team. Imagine the payroll of the same team today in a non-capped world.

Rickkins 05-14-2008 06:00 AM

I was there....:)

Canadiens1958 05-14-2008 06:26 AM

1976-77 Canadiens
 
The 1976-77 Canadiens were the best team of the four consecutive Stanley Cup teams from 1976 - 1979.

In retrospect what was most impressive was that they were a relatively young team - only Jim Roberts was at the end of his career. Some of them - Ken Dryden and Jacques Lemaire did retire earlier than expected. This started a trend since the dynasties that followed - Islanders and Oilers were young teams as well.

Others have outlined their achievements and attributes so I will not repeat, but will add that for a team that dominated they had great versatility - Chartraw, Bouchard, Roberts could play forward and defense, while a number of the forwards could play two positions - center and one of the wings.

beowulf 05-14-2008 06:32 AM

I was like a year old so don't remember much....:sarcasm:

RC51 05-14-2008 07:01 AM

I watched it all.

Habs set a record. The Habs lost exactly 8 games of 80 games played and then lost 2 of 14 playoff games so that's 10 games lost in 94 games played that entire year.

Now that's what I call a record:handclap:

ed ible* 05-14-2008 07:06 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Best team ever!

ed ible* 05-14-2008 07:15 AM

I read this in a sports magazine somewhere and it showed how great the canadiens were to other teams......The Flyers had a great team that year as well and they went on a streak of something like 29-2 and never gained one point on the Canadiens......Now that is greatness.

mcphee 05-14-2008 07:32 AM

The 70's teams were always just a little bit in transition. Every year, Pollock and Bowman seemed to tweak something, keeping the team fresh.

I think 76-77 was the year that Lemaire replaced Peter Mahovlich on the Lafleur line. That was the year that you'd watch the game, Mtl could fall behind by a couple and you never really believed that they would lose. I don't recall any doubt at any point that year. In the end I don't remember the cup as being particularly dramatic, it was that expected.

78 saw an upstart Bruins team put up a helluva fight in the finals, everyone knows about 79, but the 76-77 team was just on another level.

Ice Poutine 05-14-2008 07:34 AM

I was 19-20 years old at the time so i saw it all. Imagine; losing only 8 games in in entire season these days.

Kachino 05-14-2008 07:38 AM

I wish I was alive back then for that... My brother-in-law always talk about that season...

Canadiens1958 05-14-2008 07:47 AM

Upstart 1978 Bruins???????????
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mcphee (Post 14105033)
The 70's teams were always just a little bit in transition. Every year, Pollock and Bowman seemed to tweak something, keeping the team fresh.

I think 76-77 was the year that Lemaire replaced Peter Mahovlich on the Lafleur line. That was the year that you'd watch the game, Mtl could fall behind by a couple and you never really believed that they would lose. I don't recall any doubt at any point that year. In the end I don't remember the cup as being particularly dramatic, it was that expected.

78 saw an upstart Bruins team put up a helluva fight in the finals, everyone knows about 79, but the 76-77 team was just on another level.


1978 Bruins were an upstart team????????????????. Bucyk was over 40. Ratelle,
Cheevers were approaching 40. Cashman,Marcotte, Doak,Rick Smith, Park,Doak,Schmautz were 30 or older.:shakehead

Maybe if compared to the 1967 Leafs.

Beakermania* 05-14-2008 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ice Poutine (Post 14105044)
I was 19-20 years old at the time so i saw it all. Imagine; losing only 8 games in in entire season these days.

And if HF had been around at that time I'm sure we would have had the same posts after all 8 losses....

Trade Lafleur; why isn't he a 70 goal scorer??

Play Laroque instead of Dryden....

Pollock :shakehead

Bowman is a terrible coach....

We don't have enough grit....

Megaforce 05-14-2008 07:56 AM

Enjoyed Sherbrooke W's posts and agree on all fronts.

The management had a real knack of finding good players to keep it going, Larouche, Mondou really stepped up.

Some of the teams we played back then, Detroit, Washington, were hopeless. When your team is good it sometimes seems like we're winning just because the opposition is really weak.

Dryden's book has some good descriptions from inside the locker room, how they'd be really vigilant in discouraging joking around in the locker room when they were playing hopeless teams.

You'd often hear people criticize Dryden, saying he wasn't such a great goalie, and that Bunny Larocque should get more ice time, at least that's what my old friend Pierre Fortin would always say and I'm thinking he got it from the Journal de Montreal, Jacques Beauchamp or something.

Gros Bill 05-14-2008 07:57 AM

Boy, I wish I could have been around back then. It must have been really something.

Ice Poutine 05-14-2008 08:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brieremania (Post 14105114)
And if HF had been around at that time I'm sure we would have had the same posts after all 8 losses....

Trade Lafleur; why isn't he a 70 goal scorer??

Play Laroque instead of Dryden....

Pollock :shakehead

Bowman is a terrible coach....

We don't have enough grit....

You're quite right! :laugh:

"Lemaire sucks!"

"Only 5 players in the all star game; we're losers."

"Lafleur got only 4 trophies this year, is he slacking off?"

mcphee 05-14-2008 08:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 (Post 14105095)
1978 Bruins were an upstart team????????????????. Bucyk was over 40. Ratelle,
Cheevers were approaching 40. Cashman,Marcotte, Doak,Rick Smith, Park,Doak,Schmautz were 30 or older.:shakehead

Maybe if compared to the 1967 Leafs.

Upstart in terms of giving Mtl a tough series. That was the Jonathan/Bouchard fight year, in G4, I think ? G5 turned when Mario Tremblay flattened the Bobby Schmautz. Mtl was a bit panicked after G4, or at least it seemed that way.

Going into the series, I don't think many expected 5 games, let alone 6. Obviously they weren't a young team, but they weren't expected to be that tough an opponent that particular year.

Melvin Udall 05-14-2008 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Al Bundy (Post 14104103)
Since today was the 31-year anniversary of the Cup-clinching win for arguably THE greatest Hab team of all, I'd like to find out if any of you fans were around to witness that season.

What was it like to see so much greatness, depth, winning, etc?

(I'm referring to the 60-win, 132-point team)


It was incredible.

Quite simply, you just expected the Habs to win every game they played.
Yes, it's impossible to win them all, but they were absolutely THE greatest team of that era, maybe in any sport!

The Habs had so much roster depth at that time, story "has it" that Habs management had Jean Beliveau (retired by then) ask (Hall of Famer to be) Yvan Cournoyer if he would consider retiring just to make room for some of the younger players coming up from the Habs AHL farm team!

I believe it was that season when Habs' goals for was more than 2x their goals against!

mcphee 05-14-2008 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gros Bill (Post 14105143)
Boy, I wish I could have been around back then. It must have been really something.

Sundowning again ?

otto bond 05-14-2008 08:20 AM

I was born in 77. Does that count?:sarcasm:

Gros Bill 05-14-2008 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcphee (Post 14105250)
Sundowning again ?

This early in the morning, it's called raising the flag. Be honest, McPhee, was I there in 76-77? The 70's are a bit of a haze for me.

mcphee 05-14-2008 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gros Bill (Post 14105362)
This early in the morning, it's called raising the flag. Be honest, McPhee, was I there in 76-77? The 70's are a bit of a haze for me.

They sort of happened quickly ehh ?


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