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04-18-2013, 11:27 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Country: Canada
Posts: 352
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Here is another flop from the 1974 series for Team Canada - Mike Walton.

Has there ever been a greater disappointment for Canada in a series. Granted, as I point out in my book "The Forgotten Summit", Walton was very streaky, moody, and considered tough to coach. He showed flashes of brilliance in the NHL but was never a steady performer. However in the 1973-74 season he led the WHA in scoring. Had a great regular season and playoff.

But things "went off the rails" right away with Team Canada. He showed up to camp unmotivated. He had mediocre camp and started the series centering the 4th line between Paul Henderson and Bruce MacGregor. Walton had a solid Game 1 picking up an assist on a power play goal by Bobby Hull. He played well in Game 2 with one exception. He was pulled down on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. Now Walton was “deadly” on breakaways. Chico Resch once said Walton was the most feared opponent he ever faced on a breakaway. On this penalty show Walton came in on Tretiak, and instead of trying one of his great moves he simply fired a slap shot that Tretiak easily stopped. After the game Tretiak called it “a very primitive attempt.”

After Game 2 Walton’s game simply fell apart. He was average in Game 3, played poor in Game 4, Helsinki and Gotenburg (although he scored on a rebound against Sweden in Gotenburg ) and then in Game 5 he played so badly it looked like he had simply given up. He sat out Games 6 and 7 and went through the motions in Game 8 accomplishing nothing.

Team Canada 74 was really counting on him and he was a total failure. Outside of maybe Frank Mahovlich in 1972 and 1974 has any Team Canada played failed in a tournament as badly as Mike Walton did in 1974?

Craig Wallace

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