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02-02-2014, 11:35 AM
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Too much confidence, too little preparation

Originally Posted by BadgerBruce View Post
Head Coach Harry Sinden was operating a lumber business when Eagleson offered him the head coaching gig. He hadn't coached the Bruins since the 69-70 season, and wouldn't appear behind an NHL bench again until 1979. Yes, he had Whitby Dunlops experience from 1958, but you'd never know it. Assistant coach John Ferguson had been retired as a player for a full season when Sinden tried to convince him to participate in the series as a player or player-coach. He possessed zero coaching experience and the very idea of putting him in the lineup was lunacy. Thank God that never happened.

At any rate, that was the Team Canada '72 coaching staff. All of it. Frankly, I'm don't think Canada has ever had a weaker bench staff in the history of best on best international play. Never. Whenever people point out Espie's superb leadership in the series, all I can think is "good thing, since the coaching staff couldn't lead them."

Perhaps the series would have been different with Orr and Hull in the lineup. We should also remember that both Beliveau and Howe joined Ferguson in retirement at the conclusion of the '71 season. Given Howe's astonishingly strong performance as a 46 year old in the WHA Summit Series in '74, I suspect he could have helped.

But the team still had the horses to win. The damn jockeys were the problem. Does anyone think that Scotty Bowman, who was the same age as Sinden and far more accomplished, would have prepared so poorly and adapted to so ineptly?
BB, remember the confidence of, seemingly, everyone in Canada as that series approached? Precisely because of that confidence, and the belief that any collection of the NHL's stars would win, if not sweep, the series, too little thought was given to the player selection, and too little time and effort went into preparing the players selected for the team. Had the team that was assembled entered the series in shape and properly prepared, the series might have been as one-sided as was predicted beforehand.

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