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TSN classic games

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10-27-2004, 07:37 AM
  #1
mcphee
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TSN classic games

I don't know if anyone has payed any attention to these but last night I caught some of the 1st game of the 1976 Czech/Canada final. I had forgotten how great that team was. On defense it was Orr's last statement. He was playing on one leg but still making plays no one else could. If you don't see film to remind you, you can forget how great Potvin was, what a beast on defense. Deadly on the point with a wrist or slap shot, fearless and he would hit to hurt. He seems to be a bit forgotten on all time lists sometimes. Savard,Laointe and Robinson played with such arrogance. They would break up the play, join a rush or chase loose pucks in the neutral zone in a way that would drive present coaches insane. They would take chances all game long because they had total confidence in their partner. At forward, Perreault was showing what a force he was, playing with an older Bobby Hull and Marcel Dionne. Every shift, Lafleur,Shutt and Mahovlich came close to breaking away. You tend to forget that Shutt and Mahovlich were tremendous complete players. If there was a more tenacious player than Bobby Clarke, I've never seen him. Gainey made his name in this tournament. To an extent, so did Sittler and McDonald. Imagine if those 3 were together for 10 years. Phil Esposito was their 13th forward and saw limited ice. They could dress 13 because their 5 defenseman may have been the best 5 ever put together. Keep in mind that this was before the Islanders made their name and the Oilers were 5 years away from making a name. I can't imagine a team put together topping this one.

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10-27-2004, 07:58 AM
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The 76 team certainly had a better defense, but I'd take the 1987 group as the best ever, it is very close though.


IMO Potvin is the 2nd best defenseman post-Orr (Bourque) and at their peak I'd give Potvin a slight edge. Bourque gets a slight edge from me with the 600 additional games played.

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10-27-2004, 08:15 AM
  #3
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I echo your comments on the big 5 on defence in last night's game. I watched the tournament at the time but I only really now appreciate what an incredible lineup that team had. And even without Ken Dryden, Tony Esposito or Bernie Parent you have a guy like Rogie Vachon to play net? Awesome.

Orr, Potvin, Robinson, Lapointe & Savard...pretty hard to top that group. I believe the group of forwards was also one of the best Canada ever sent to an international tournament. Shutt/Mahovlich/Lafleur/Leach/Clarke/Barber/ Hull/Perreault/Dionne/Gainey/Sittler/MacDonald/Esposito. I was impressed at how well that group played defensively after they got the big lead early last night.

These games bring back alot of memories and I'm finding the differences between then and now.

The back pass and backhand shot are much less prevalent now. Orr scored a beautiful backhander, the likes of which I haven't seen in years. The back passes were very effective as well. Hull setup a Perreault goal with one.

And boy do the goalers look small in net!

I was marvelling at Serge Savard. He was awesome at safely getting the puck out of his end, whether by skating it out or making the first pass.

The Czechs had a number of good players but their goaler was not strong in the first period (that after he had shutout Canada in their first game). The Stastnys, Milan Novy, Ivan Hlinka were all good NHL players later on.

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10-27-2004, 03:48 PM
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Keep in mind with Serge Savard how he was rated before his injuries. The Habs had to choose between Savard and Vadnais, if I remember correctly going into th eexpansion draft. Savard was obviously not a phenom at Orr's level, but was darn close. What you saw of him in 76 was all hockey sense. His 2 broken legs took away the speed he had coming into the league. He had everything Robinson had and then some as far as offensive abilities came. He's another guy you can play 'what if' with.

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10-29-2004, 12:14 PM
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I've been watching these games with interest, since I remember watching them as a kid.

It's interesting watching the style of hockey back then compared to today. It was in many ways a very different game. The obvious thing is that there was no trap, although I thought Sweden played a bit of a trap in the 1976 game.

The goaltenders seemed so small compared to today - especially Vachon, but he was very quick.

There was very little hitting compared to today. There was very little crashing the boards. Most of the hits seemed to be in open ice.

I actually think players on average are bigger, faster, and more talented today - if only they were allowed to show there skills more.

I was most impressed by Orr, Perrault, and Vachon. Esposito looked past his prime.

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10-29-2004, 01:21 PM
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Even keeping that '87 Canada Team in mind I still believe the '76 team is the best team ever assembled. In a fantasy match up they would take on any team of all time I believe.

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10-29-2004, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil
Even keeping that '87 Canada Team in mind I still believe the '76 team is the best team ever assembled. In a fantasy match up they would take on any team of all time I believe.
Yeah, the 87 team had the 2 best forwards of all time on it, but that 76 teams was essentially the A list of Canadian talent (minus in goal... Dryden was still the best goalie in the league at that point, but Vachon was a darn good goalie, from what I've seen and read).

The 87 team had a lot of guys on it that made you go who?

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10-29-2004, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgbone
Yeah, the 87 team had the 2 best forwards of all time on it, but that 76 teams was essentially the A list of Canadian talent (minus in goal... Dryden was still the best goalie in the league at that point, but Vachon was a darn good goalie, from what I've seen and read).

The 87 team had a lot of guys on it that made you go who?
The 87 team was a lot more than just Gretzky and Lemieux.

The only "who" guys would be Doug Crossman and Normand Rochefort.
Crossman had just come off a long post-season run with the Flyers, coached by Keenan, who also coached Canada.

Rochefort was a very good defensive defenseman, his career went downhill when he became very injury prone.

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10-31-2004, 04:34 PM
  #9
Jacques Plante
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Watching these games has really given me a glimpse into the minds of contemporary NHL coaches today. The demands for perfection is much more intense today than ever before. I watch all these games thinking to myself that if Ken Hitchcock was behind the bench his head would explode with the sloppy play that goes on.

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10-31-2004, 04:57 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Plante
Watching these games has really given me a glimpse into the minds of contemporary NHL coaches today. The demands for perfection is much more intense today than ever before. I watch all these games thinking to myself that if Ken Hitchcock was behind the bench his head would explode with the sloppy play that goes on.
Without a doubt. People go on and on about the clutching and grabbing being the reason why scores are down.

The two main reasons why scoring is down are

#1. Improved goaltending

#2. Improved coaching

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10-31-2004, 09:13 PM
  #11
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Oh and Improved goaltending EQUIPMENT.

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11-01-2004, 11:27 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan
The 87 team was a lot more than just Gretzky and Lemieux.

The only "who" guys would be Doug Crossman and Normand Rochefort.
Crossman had just come off a long post-season run with the Flyers, coached by Keenan, who also coached Canada.

Rochefort was a very good defensive defenseman, his career went downhill when he became very injury prone.
I know the 87 team was more than Gretzky and Lemieux... I just meant the 76 team was made up of the best Canadian players in the NHL at the time, while 87 did have guys who weren't considered part of Canada's best.

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11-01-2004, 11:29 AM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan
Without a doubt. People go on and on about the clutching and grabbing being the reason why scores are down.

The two main reasons why scoring is down are

#1. Improved goaltending

#2. Improved coaching
#3. Improved skills.

Physical strength, speed, movement, conditioning, etc... are all better today than they were in the 70's and 80's.

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11-02-2004, 06:49 AM
  #14
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The final is on tonight. Larry Robinson did a Montreal radio interview yesterday and spoke of his 76 experience. To paraphrase he said he was jsut a young whippersnapper lining up next to Bobby Orr and rooming with Bobby Hull. He added though that, 'as it turned out I didn't see much of Bobby Hull.' An active socializer apparently. He also joked about Hull when they were being measured for the team jackets and Hull took off his shirt, all the other players put theirs on in a hurry because he was so imposing physically, he made them look bad.

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11-02-2004, 07:20 AM
  #15
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The lasting memory of that game I have is the switching of jerseys at the end which I believe was initiated by Peter Mahovlich and Vladimir Dzurilla.

And I believe tomorrow night (?) its the New Years Eve 1975 clash between Red Army and the Habs, maybe the greatest game I ever saw. That game made me a fan of Tretiak for life.

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11-02-2004, 08:07 AM
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chili
The lasting memory of that game I have is the switching of jerseys at the end which I believe was initiated by Peter Mahovlich and Vladimir Dzurilla.

And I believe tomorrow night (?) its the New Years Eve 1975 clash between Red Army and the Habs, maybe the greatest game I ever saw. That game made me a fan of Tretiak for life.
Chili a few months after that game, I happened to walk into a Mtl. bar on a weekday afternoon with a few friends. That game was being replayed on a big screen and I soon realized that the entire Habs team was sitting around a large table watching the game. The stars were missing as it was all star week. It was kind of neat to watch the reactions during the broadcast. I remember Cournoyer telling the waitress to check Mario Tremblay's id. The vets sending Risebrough and Van Boxmeer out for burgers. Lambert yelling Allez Lambert every time he touched the puck. Cournoyer being visibly upset about a penalty he got. Someone being sarcastic about Dryden's game that night. Jimmy Roberts came in late and didn't want to chip in for the beer, and Gainey told him ' I'll pay Jimmy but drink it fast'. Murray Wilson being upset about a Howie Meeker comment, ironic in that he does analysis now. Gainey wasn't captain then but you could see the way he commanded respect, seemed to be in charge. Geez, that was a while ago, I remember the place was Station 10 on Ste. Catherine st., don't even know if it still exists.

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11-02-2004, 08:30 AM
  #17
Chili
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Priceless story McPhee, thanks. Wish I'd been there! I bet some of those guys still talk about that game.


Edit: Here are Steve Shutt's memories of the New Year's Eve classic:

The game I'll never forget


Last edited by Chili: 11-02-2004 at 04:13 PM.
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11-02-2004, 03:12 PM
  #18
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I have looked EVERYWHERE to buy the tapes/DVD's of the 76' Canada Cup.....anyone willing to make me a copy or trade for blank tapes? It would REALLY be appreciated by a 30 yr. Flyer season tix holder.

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11-03-2004, 07:24 AM
  #19
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I haven't seen the 1976 Canada Cup marketed but you'd think that at some point it would be available.

The final game, aired last night on TSN, was a real classic. Comebacks, lead changes, great saves, hits, you name it.

Orr had a great series but the two players who impressed me the most were Gilbert Perreault and Rogie Vachon. Perreault's goal in the final was brilliant. Coming down the left wing, cutting back towards the front of the net, shielding the puck from the defenceman and then backhanding the puck into the left corner of the net vacated by the Czech goaler. Vachon was stellar the entire tournament (1.4 gaa, .940 sp), the only game he lost was 1-0.

Great comradeship after the game when the teams exchanged sweaters. Bobby Orr accepted the top player in the tournament award wearing Oldrich Machac's #4 Czech jersey.

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11-03-2004, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04' hockey
I have looked EVERYWHERE to buy the tapes/DVD's of the 76' Canada Cup.....anyone willing to make me a copy or trade for blank tapes? It would REALLY be appreciated by a 30 yr. Flyer season tix holder.
http://www.hdhockey.com/games.html

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