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01-21-2013, 04:03 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Billy Harris also had a more hockey mature roster lead by the likes of Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull with a deep supporting cast - Ralph Backstrom, J.C. Tremblay, Pat Stapleton, Gerry Cheevers, and other seasoned players.
You are 100% correct here. That veteran lineup however began to struggle as the series went to Moscow. The older players as a whole were not as effective on the big ice (although Gordie Howe and Ralph Backstrom did play superbly in Moscow.) Frank Mahovlich and Johnny McKenzie were particularly ineffective over there. They just couldn't keep up.

Going back to the officiating it was shocking that Ralph Backstrom, one of the classiest, calmest players received a 10-minute misconduct in Game 5. Valery Kharlamov kicked his skates out from underneath him and Polish referee Waldo Szczypak who was watching the play didn't call a penalty. Backstrom cussed him out and received a misconduct for that. I quoted Ralph in my book on page 137 "He (Kharlamov) kicked the feet from right out from under me, and right in front of the ref. I couldn't believe it. That's when I got mad and said some things to him. It turns out he speaks English. That's the first misconduct I'd had in 12 or 13 years. I don't remember the last one. I'm not very proud of that."

That misconduct was a killer for Team Canada as the Backstrom, Gordie Howe, Mark Howe line was Canada's only effective line that night. With the exception of them and Gerry Cheevers, who played one of his greatest ever games in net, the rest of the team was totally flat. The misconduct broke up Canada's only good line that night.

Craig Wallace

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