I remember being pumped for the Brian Bellows selection as much as any pick maybe even Thornton. Back then it was basically only TV channels 4, 5 and 7- no cable, no draft, no hfboards, no internet. You picked up a crumb here and there and read about players in the Hockey News and the local papers. Channel 4 had sent Neumier or Lobel to Canada to do a special on Bellows that was carried over two or three days. I had him penciled in and considered him to be Cam Neely before Cam Neely. He was this tough, hard nosed leader who would be good for 40 goals a year and likely be captain sooner rather than later. When I heard Gord Kluzak was drafted I was shocked and chagrined. I can only imagine what would have been written here....
as for Kluzak the player and his upside I'll say that the series that Steve Penny stoned the Bruins in 3 games in the early 80's that Kluzak was getting to Bourque's level. I can remember sitting the seats talking over who would be better with my buds who sat around me. Kluzak had that high an upside but like a 'shooting star' it was gone quickly. I never remember him approaching that level again and believe it was that following summer he bent over to pick up a golf ball and heard clicking and had another procedure that took away more mobility and dulled his talents. He eventually came back and was pretty good- pretty good sums it up.
How good would he have been? a healthy Kluzak would have been an allstar. However, his window was open so little that its hard to remember but I always look back to his play the last month of that season and in the playoffs against the Habs which ironically the Bruins got swept. He never was the same again and that was at likely age 23 or younger.
Gordie was great. Even with his decreased mobility from 2 seasons before and pain issues in his last full season of 1987-88 he was still great. He was huge in the playoffs run that year too. In fact he was just huge overall back then 6' 4" was like almost Gill-like then--but unlike Hal, Gordie had scoring ability, speed and a potentially brutal Sask. mean streak. It's so sad about Gordie's playing career. He would have played probably right up until probably 2002 if his knees didn't fail him. I'm pretty confident that Gordie could've put us over the top in one of those years from 1990-94 had he been still around. It's unbelievable to think that Gordie and Cam could have realistically been playing together for the Bruins just a season or two ago. It's really unfair. A lot of team's have stars leave the game early (LaFontaine, Lemieux, etc..) but along with Bourque and Oates---Gordie and Cam really would've put the B's over the top. I still lament the fact that Cam himself--fresh off that 50 in 49 games season in 1994 was injured for the entire playoffs. If he was playing...no way the B's drop that 2-0 series lead they had on Jersey, who went all the way to Game 7 and lost to the NYR who won it all that year. Now, if Cam AND Gord were there? WOW.
I actually went to that draft which was held in the old Forum in Montreal.
This was before the days of all-sports networks so there was absolutely no TV
coverage in Canada. I remember I paid about $3 for this 10 page booklet that they
were selling at the concession stands - all it had were names and stats of all the players plus the draft order. As we were standing around for things to start my
friends and I saw Bellows and some other players signing some autographs for a group of kids - since the Bruins were obviously drafting Bellows I knew what he looked like but did not recognize any of the other players. I yelled out to Bellows something like " Hey Brian - bring us the Cup " and pointed to my Bruins
t-shirt. He looked at me like I was nuts ( actually not that far off ) and walked away. When Sinden announced that the B's were picking Kluzak at #1 things got a little hazy for me. My friends ( both Hab fans - the buggers :mad: ) started laughing and slapping me on the back. After things stopped spinning I looked up Kluzak's name in the booklet I had bought and found out that he had missed something like 50 games due to injury the year before - this was not looking very promising. As it turned out had he played healthy his whole career I am pretty sure that Kluzak would have turned into a very good player - maybe not an all-star but still an elite blurliner. As for Bellows - the only Cup that he ever won was with
( you just know what's coming up - don't you ) Montreal