To what extent would a healthy Bobby Orr have affected the '72 Summit Series?
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02-03-2014, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Originally Posted by
What if they had the Gumper in for at least one game? He was still playing fairly decent for Minnesota at the time. I don't want to take anything away from Dryden and Esposito, but I always thought that it might have been cool to have had Worsley in nets for at least one game against the Russians. I am wondering about this just as a curiousity forgive me.
I think the best goalie at the time was the one playing. Tony Esposito really only had one "bad" game and that was Game 5. He was very good in Game 2 & 7. Game 3 he was so-so. But Dryden had at least two rotten games (Game 1 & 4), one very good game in Game 6 and one mediocre game in Game 8 (although it is important to note he made some key third period saves that are often forgotten). Now, it can be argued that Cheevers changes things a bit. No way he'd have played worse than Dryden I would think. This was 1972, right at Cheevers' peak, and he was a little more seasoned than the rest. Giacomin wouldn't have changed a whole lot. Worsley wouldn't have been a good choice, he was far too old by then, in fact Plante would have been better than him, who was old as well.
Vachon is the only other goalie that I think there could have been something different. He was brilliant in the 1976 Canada Cup. I think the idea was that there was a bit of a stigma with him because Dryden bounced him from his job a year earlier and Vachon was sort of forgotten for a brief time. But in my mind he was still an elite goalie at this time, and we saw this throughout his career. I get the feeling Vachon would have had a style that would have kept up with the Soviets. Dryden did not.
Originally Posted by
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?
Scotty Bowman had never won a Cup at this point. Sinden had. At this time in the NHL there would be two teams that you could "trust" for a tournament like this in the way of coaching. That is the Bruins and the Habs. They were hockey royalty at this time. Sinden did have the experience against the Soviets and I've heard him say in interviews that he didn't believe the players believed him when he told them not to take the Soviets lightly. So it appeared that he at least voiced concerns over it.
However, you would think he had a hand in picking the team, and leaving off some serious players was a poor way to prepare for victory. Would Bowman have done better? From a coaching standpoint it wouldn't have hurt. Then again Bowman coached the 1981 Canada Cup team.
Originally Posted by
Other questions to consider:
1. What if The Slash never happened? Would Canada still win or would Kharlamov torch them a few more times in Games 7 and 8?
2. What if the 1976 USSR squad included the following players: Kharlamov, Mikhailov, Petrov, Yakushev, and Tsygankov? Is this enough to overcome the 1-3 handicap? What if the 1984 USSR team included Fetisov, Bykov, Khomutov, Drozdetsky, and Tretiak? Is this enough to overcome the 2-3 loss? What if the 1991 USSR team wasn't missing Mogilny, Bure, Konstantinov, Bykov, Khomutov, and Kamensky? Would they not have lost to the USA and at least made it to the semis?
Alternative history is fun.
Fair enough, but how many guys are similar to a 1972 Bobby Orr? The "what ifs" work the best when a guy like Orr is the topic. There are legitimate times you can come up with it. As Canadians we'll complain if the 2014 Olympic team loses. Martin St. Louis not being on the team will be brought up, but none will have the impact of Orr. The closest I can think is Mario in 1996 and 1998 (retired) not being on the team. I would think a 1996 Mario for the World Cup is similar to 1972 Orr.
There are lots of "what ifs" but Orr is a rare case of a guy that you'd think could make a monumental impact.
The Clarke slash on Kharlamov is interesting. One thing rarely brought up is how well Ron Ellis contained Kharlamov after Game 1. He wasn't running rampant anymore anyways, so I don't think it changes a whole lot.
Originally Posted by
Now here I have to react a bit. What if the Soviets had both Maltsev and young Fetisov in the lineup (both injured in '79)? Or what if Tretiak had played on his normal level (4 goals against on 16 shots [in game 2] wasn't his normal level) - no need for Myshkin for game 3. Team NHL barely got a decent scoring chance in the final game, while the Soviets scored 6 goals + hit the crossbar at least once. And in game 2, the only thing 'close' was the final score - a fact admitted by Bowman, Clarke and the commentators (Bobby Orr among them).
Even with Orr on the team, the 1976 Team Canada lost a game vs. Czechoslovakia and won another in OT. I realize that it wasn't exactly 'healthy Orr' in 1976, but Czechoslovakia - while a very good team - wasn't exactly the 1979 USSR either. And NHL All-Stars in 1979 had even much less preparation time than the '76 Team Canada.
Even with Orr (and Esposito & fine 'supporting cast') on the team, the Boston Bruins managed only 2 Stanley Cups - I say 'only', because, well, it's often been wondered, why they didn't win more - e.g. on HFBoards.
But I'm glad you didn't try to change the result of the 1981 CC final
Again, this is Orr we're talking about. He's still 30 in February of 1979. Not hard to imagine he makes a difference in a three game series. By this time you could argue that the mystique and the intimidation of the Soviets isn't as high since they likely wouldn't have barely lost to us in 1972 and by 1979 there wouldn't be the same fear. Put it this way, take Gretzky off of those Canada Cup teams in the 1980s. You may get the same effect. I doubt someone could have replaced him. Maybe Denis Savard takes the offensive role at that time, but he isn't Gretzky. I think the Russians have a much scarier impact if we don't have #99 saving our bacon. It's just speculation with Orr, and it isn't meant to take anything away from the players on either team. Orr was just that good that he could have altered the series.
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