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What Ifs: '74-'76

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Old
03-17-2009, 04:04 PM
  #1
nik jr
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What Ifs: '74-'76

'71: Habs win the Cup. Dryden wins Smythe.

'72: Dryden's 1st full season. Habs' GA and place in standings improve. Dryden is runner up for the Hart. Habs lose in the 2nd round to the 2nd place NYR.

'73: Habs are the best defensive team, and finish 1st in the regular season. Habs win the Cup.

'74: Dryden holds out. Habs GA increases from best (184) the previous season to 7th (240) of 16 teams. Habs lose in the 1st round to the lower seeded NYR.
Flyers win the Cup.

'75: Dryden returns, but does not have a great season. Rusty? Habs GA improves from 7th of 16 teams to 4th of 18 teams. Habs are the highest scoring team in Lafleur's 1st big season. Habs are tied for 1st with Philadelphia and Buffalo with 113, but have fewer wins than either. Habs lose in the 2nd round to Buffalo.
Flyers win the Cup.

'76: Dryden regains his previous form. Habs are the best defensive team, and finish 1st. In the finals, the Habs beat the Flyers, who are missing Parent and MacLeish.

'77-'79: Habs finish 1st, are the best defensive team and win the Cup.

'80: Dryden retires, Bowman leaves, Lemaire retires. Habs dynasty ends.


Lafleur had not yet emerged as a superstar in '74, but he did in '75. Robinson was young and had not yet become a dominant d-man by '74, but he was getting there. Savard and Lapointe were elite d-men in '74. Frank Mahovlich left for the WHA in '75, but he was the Habs' leading scorer in '74.
The Habs had the talent to win again.


What do you think are the chances the Habs win in '74 and/or '75 if Dryden had not held out?



::



Philadelphia won in '74 and '75. Parent was incredible in both seasons, and Clarke was at his peak.

Parent missed most of '76 with injury.
The Flyers were the best defensive team in the NHL in '74 and '75, but, without Parent, fell to 3rd in '76.

The '70s Habs usually won the Cup when Dryden played, and never won without him.
The Flyers and Parent had a similar fate. The Flyers won 2 Cups with Parent, but were not able to win without him.


Even without Parent, the '76 Flyers were a very strong team. They were actually the highest scoring team in the NHL.

Leach had by far his best season, scoring 61 goals in the regular season, and a record 19 more in the playoffs.

Barber also had by far his best season, scoring 50 goals and 112 points.

In addition to his defensive prowess, Clarke scored at a better rate than Lafleur in '76, and won his 3rd Hart Trophy.


The Habs swept the Flyers in the '76 finals, but the series was closer than the sweep makes it sound.

4-3
2-1
3-2
5-3


Given the highest scoring offense in the NHL and Leach's incredible playoff, would healthy Parent and MacLeish been the difference between the confirmation of a Flyers' dynasty and the start of a Habs' dynasty?

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Old
03-17-2009, 04:08 PM
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Trottier
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Pretty certain NYI finished first overall in the 1978-79 season.

Your questions are compelling. Fuzzy memories are that Dryden was mediocre in that Buffalo series in '75, and I don't think that could be attributed to missing the prior season. As for '76, the Habs were the better team, period, IMO. I think it would be a stretch to attribute those two Flyers injuries - to admittedly key players - as the difference.

As is, what a ridiculously successful, Cup-laden career for Dryden.

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Old
03-17-2009, 04:19 PM
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Psycho Papa Joe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
Pretty certain NYI finished first overall in the 1978-79 season.

Your questions are compelling. Fuzzy memories are that Dryden was mediocre in that Buffalo series in '75, and I don't think that could be attributed to missing the prior season. As for '76, the Habs were the better team, period, IMO. I think it would be a stretch to attribute those two Flyers injuries - to admittedly key players - as the difference.

As is, what a ridiculously successful, Cup-laden career for Dryden.
Buffalo was probably one of the teams that gave Dryden the most trouble.

From what I recall, Dryden was really off in the 75 season and that's always been attributed to the year off. The worst year of his pro career. I think the Habs would have been more of a contender in 74 and 75 with Dryden in 73 and 76 form, but I'm not sure if they would have won a cup, especially with the way Parent was playing. As good as Dryden was, he was never as good as Parent was in 74 and 75.

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Old
03-17-2009, 04:31 PM
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Trottier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe View Post
As good as Dryden was, he was never as good as Parent was in 74 and 75.
Possibly the two most dominating seasons in goal that I've ever seen. (Yes, moreso than that guy in Buffalo two decades later.)

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03-17-2009, 05:58 PM
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MXD
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nik

No and yes, respectively.

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Old
03-17-2009, 06:51 PM
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Dark Shadows
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Quote:
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nik

No and yes, respectively.
That's my answer as well.

If Parent had not been winning the Smythe's, MacLeish would have been. He was the flyers best forward in both of their cup wins by no small margin.

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Old
03-17-2009, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thornton_19 View Post
That's my answer as well.

If Parent had not been winning the Smythe's, MacLeish would have been. He was the flyers best forward in both of their cup wins by no small margin.
Do you think Parent would have been 1st team all star in 1979 if he didn't get injured half-way through the season.

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Old
03-18-2009, 12:54 AM
  #8
nik jr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe View Post
Buffalo was probably one of the teams that gave Dryden the most trouble.

From what I recall, Dryden was really off in the 75 season and that's always been attributed to the year off. The worst year of his pro career. I think the Habs would have been more of a contender in 74 and 75 with Dryden in 73 and 76 form, but I'm not sure if they would have won a cup, especially with the way Parent was playing. As good as Dryden was, he was never as good as Parent was in 74 and 75.
based on the few games i have seen, i would agree.

in some of the '74 finals i've seen, the bruins dominated the play and had so many chances, but parent was fantastic.

judging based on peak play, parent must rank right near the top of best goalies ever.

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Old
03-18-2009, 08:23 AM
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Big Phil
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The Habs were winning in '76 come hell or high water as far as I'm concerned. That dynasty was going to peak whether the rest of the teams liked it or not. That's been the million dollar question if Parent and MacLeish aren't injured does Philly win? I still don't think they do, although I could see them stretching it to 6-7 games.

To answer the other question, even without Dryden's holdout I still think the Flyers win those two Cups. Parent was unreal and the Flyers had a new style that would have beaten anyone those two years regardless. Plus after '73 Montreal was in a little bit of a transition. H. Richard was almost done, Mahovlich left in '74 and so did Laperriere from injury. This left a couple years for guys like Lapointe, Gainey, Robinson, Shutt and Lafleur to get better so it would have taken a couple of years anyways before that broke out

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