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Can you make a case for Potvin over Orr in the 1976 Canada Cup?

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11-15-2012, 05:15 PM
  #1
Big Phil
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Can you make a case for Potvin over Orr in the 1976 Canada Cup?

Alright, this is not to put down Orr's performance in 1976 at all. It was wonderful. He was playing on one knee more or less. But we all know Potvin after the tournament complained that he - not Orr - should have been MVP. Both had 9 points in the tournament which led all Canadians. Does Potvin have a case?

I will say one thing here. The game Canada played against the Russians often goes down as one game where Orr was a difference maker despite not getting a point in the 3-1 win. I've seen that game a few times and I honestly cannot see what everyone else sees. Orr didn't do a whole lot in that game. No exciting rushes, just one scoring chance where he was set up point blank in front of the net. It's true it was his only time he played the Russians but I think this game gets romanticized more than it should. Orr was definitely not the best Canadian that night. Perreault was the best player in that Russian game. Potvin was probably the best defenseman that night as well. I really have never understood the myth that Orr played great that night. He didn't.

But how about for the whole tournament? Does Potvin have a case? How about Perreault who was my pick as easily the best forward.

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11-15-2012, 05:27 PM
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Potvin was very bitter that orr was chosen mvp in 76 canada cup.Denis was a more physical player than bobby and both were great passers but overall orr is a bit better in most parts of the game.Denis hated to lose and had a dark side to him.Orr with all that talent around him should have won more than 2 cups.Even though orr was better you sure would loved to have potvin

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11-15-2012, 05:58 PM
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Defenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Alright, this is not to put down Orr's performance in 1976 at all. It was wonderful. He was playing on one knee more or less. But we all know Potvin after the tournament complained that he - not Orr - should have been MVP. Both had 9 points in the tournament which led all Canadians. Does Potvin have a case?

I will say one thing here. The game Canada played against the Russians often goes down as one game where Orr was a difference maker despite not getting a point in the 3-1 win. I've seen that game a few times and I honestly cannot see what everyone else sees. Orr didn't do a whole lot in that game. No exciting rushes, just one scoring chance where he was set up point blank in front of the net. It's true it was his only time he played the Russians but I think this game gets romanticized more than it should. Orr was definitely not the best Canadian that night. Perreault was the best player in that Russian game. Potvin was probably the best defenseman that night as well. I really have never understood the myth that Orr played great that night. He didn't.

But how about for the whole tournament? Does Potvin have a case?
How about Perreault who was my pick as easily the best forward.
No, Potvin does not have a case. 1976 Canada Cup opposition, especially the European teams set their defenses to stop Bobby Orr so Potvin and Perreault were getting the easier match-ups defensively.

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11-15-2012, 07:18 PM
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Potvin was very bitter that orr was chosen mvp in 76 canada cup.Denis was a more physical player than bobby and both were great passers but overall orr is a bit better in most parts of the game.Denis hated to lose and had a dark side to him.Orr with all that talent around him should have won more than 2 cups.Even though orr was better you sure would loved to have potvin
More physical player? I guess this can be defined a number of different ways, but for the record....Orr had 953 PIMs in 657 regular season games (1.45 per game including 49 fights per "drop your gloves") while Potvin was at 1356 PIMs in 1060 regular season games (1.28 per game including 22 fights).

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11-15-2012, 08:17 PM
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The diary that he wrote about that tournament can be found here:

http://news.google.ca/newspapers? (go to page 60 where the article starts)

I remember him taking a lot of criticism from fans and media over it, but then years later when I finally got a chance to read it, it wasn't nearly that bad. Overall, he's very complimentary and respectful in regards to Orr. He just doesn't doesn't have any false modesty about himself. I thought the worst part of the diary was his complaining about Ottawa fans not appreciating him enough.

And no, he doesn't have a case. Orr was the better and more effective player in the tournament. Rogie Vachon on the other hand, might have a case.


Last edited by reckoning: 11-15-2012 at 08:38 PM.
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11-15-2012, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
No, Potvin does not have a case. 1976 Canada Cup opposition, especially the European teams set their defenses to stop Bobby Orr so Potvin and Perreault were getting the easier match-ups defensively.
Yep. Orr was a more important player to the team, and in spite of his knee issues you can't even give Potvin an edge in defensive contributions.

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11-15-2012, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85highlander View Post
More physical player? I guess this can be defined a number of different ways, but for the record....Orr had 953 PIMs in 657 regular season games (1.45 per game including 49 fights per "drop your gloves") while Potvin was at 1356 PIMs in 1060 regular season games (1.28 per game including 22 fights).
Potvin was more physical and plus he had a mean streak. His hip checks were feared, ask Bill Derlago.

And yes he has a case.

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11-15-2012, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
The diary that he wrote about that tournament can be found here:

http://news.google.ca/newspapers? (go to page 60 where the article starts)

I remember him taking a lot of criticism from fans and media over it, but then years later when I finally got a chance to read it, it wasn't nearly that bad. Overall, he's very complimentary and respectful in regards to Orr. He just doesn't doesn't have any false modesty about himself. I thought the worst part of the diary was his complaining about Ottawa fans not appreciating him enough.

And no, he doesn't have a case. Orr was the better and more effective player in the tournament. Rogie Vachon on the other hand, might have a case.
Can you imagine a situation where a current player would write that many words, let alone critical words, for an article?

Fantastic diary overall and there was barely any animosity toward Orr. The fact that he didn't include his being overlooked in his reflections is a pretty good indication it wasn't that big a deal for Potvin.

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11-15-2012, 11:20 PM
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I haven't heard Potvin speak a lot since he retired, but I did not take anything a young Denis Potvin said too seriously. I recall after the Islanders won their third or fourth cup Potvin saying that 'we are the greatest team of all time'. To me, this was purely being caught up in the elation of winning and the ego of an athlete speaking. It's not uncommon for young athletes to think they are the best thing since sliced bread. So his rant after the 76 CC appears to be another 'look at me' plea.

I'll throw another name in the mix as I have heard that Hull was a deserving candidate for MVP as well.

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11-16-2012, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
The diary that he wrote about that tournament can be found here:

http://news.google.ca/newspapers? (go to page 60 where the article starts)
Seems he got worked up a bit too often for a guy who declared of himself "I'm fair and broad-minded and I look at things pretty logically". Squeamish fellow. Too much Transcendental Meditation?

-"I don't think anyone contributed as much to Ottawa in hockey as I have. I've never felt as though I've ever received any gratitude from the people of Ottawa... if ever the opportunity arose for me to go back to Ottawa to play again, I would never go back."
-"...when they announced the Player-of-the-Game, it went to Bobby Orr... this is something I don't understand and I don't think I ever will."
-"I thought I was probably the best performer on our team - but Bobby Orr got the award again... I don't think he was deserving of the award twice and certainly not three times... I think it's political and I think it's unjust."

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11-17-2012, 08:35 PM
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I am curious who picked the game and tournament MVP and allstars for Canada. Was it Eagleson. Certainly it was him or he had a great deal of influence. Most mind boggling was Sittler (an Eagleson guy) as the Canadian forward on the tournament AS team. Sure he got the winning goal but he was practically invisible except for that. Should have been Hull or Perreault.

Also wasn't Orr the game MVP 3X. Can see Potvin legitimately *****ing about that. Love Orr and he played great but he wasn't a one man team. Maybe a bit of Eagleson client promotion going on.

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11-17-2012, 10:47 PM
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Ed Wood
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The '76 Canada Cup is still my favorite tournament ever. I thought then and I still think Denis Potvin was the best player for Canada. Rogie Vachon would have been a better choice for MVP than Orr. Orr was amazing considering his physical limitations but he was nowhere near the top of his game.

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11-18-2012, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
I haven't heard Potvin speak a lot since he retired, but I did not take anything a young Denis Potvin said too seriously. I recall after the Islanders won their third or fourth cup Potvin saying that 'we are the greatest team of all time'. To me, this was purely being caught up in the elation of winning and the ego of an athlete speaking. It's not uncommon for young athletes to think they are the best thing since sliced bread. So his rant after the 76 CC appears to be another 'look at me' plea.

I'll throw another name in the mix as I have heard that Hull was a deserving candidate for MVP as well.
It was after the Islanders won their fourth straight cup. What's so bad about that statement?? He may have been right.

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11-18-2012, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
The diary that he wrote about that tournament can be found here:

http://news.google.ca/newspapers? (go to page 60 where the article starts)
Does anyone know why the pictures in this and many other articles scanned on google news is of such poor quality? Just look at that one of Potvin here, gosh! I really want a picture out of another article but it also is of real poor quality.

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11-18-2012, 01:23 PM
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It was after the Islanders won their fourth straight cup. What's so bad about that statement?? He may have been right.
In hindsight I don't think the Islanders are the best team ever. But at that time, the emotion, the 4 straight coming off a sweep, I can definitely see someone saying that and I wouldn't doubt some in the media may have thought so. The Isles had won 4 in a row with little signs of slowing down. It wasn't crazy to think they'd win 5. If they did we would all have to seriously consider from an all-time sense who was the best. So Potvin's comment wasn't all that crazy in that context of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
I am curious who picked the game and tournament MVP and allstars for Canada. Was it Eagleson. Certainly it was him or he had a great deal of influence. Most mind boggling was Sittler (an Eagleson guy) as the Canadian forward on the tournament AS team. Sure he got the winning goal but he was practically invisible except for that. Should have been Hull or Perreault.

Also wasn't Orr the game MVP 3X. Can see Potvin legitimately *****ing about that. Love Orr and he played great but he wasn't a one man team. Maybe a bit of Eagleson client promotion going on.
Fair point, it may have been Eagleson. I urge people to watch that Canada/Russia game in that tournament. I really have never understood the myth that Orr was great in the game. He was more or less............invisible if you can say that about him. Perreault was the best Canadian that game for sure, so I don't know what they were thinking. I believe Orr's MVP came from the two Czech games in the final in which he played well. I'll agree that Sittler didn't play as well as Perreault or Hull but in my mind he was the 3rd best Canadian forward. Better than Lafleur and better than Clarke as well. Nothing wrong with how Lafleur played, but in all honesty I felt Pete Mahovlich was the cornerstone of that Shutt-Mahovlich-Lafleur line in that tournament.

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11-18-2012, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I believe Orr's MVP came from the two Czech games in the final in which he played well.
He was honoured as best Canadian vs the United States, the Soviet Union and in the first game of the final.

Funny thing is that Bobby Orr was named as the best player in the Canada Cup, but there were also awards for the best players of each team: Vladislav Tretiak (USSR), Milan Novı (Czechoslovakia), Matti Hagman (Finland), Börje Salming (Sweden), Robbie Ftorek (United States) and...Rogie Vachon for Canada.

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11-22-2012, 09:57 PM
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When you watch that 1976 Canada team (the best ever in my opinion) it is hard to believe they actually let a lead slip away to the Czechs in the final. Game 1 they win 6-0 and to be honest they outplayed the Czechs to a huge degree. That game was 4-0 after the first and over before it started. In Game 2 they pick it right back up and storm out with two quick goals and total domination of the 1st period with a 2-0 lead. Looked like another route, but even this team could get a little jaded and take their foot of the gas. A penalty to Potvin, a misjudged shot and all of the sudden it's 2-2. Eventually it was 5-4 in overtime of course but for whatever reason there never seemed to be any fear of that team losing. I had fear in 1987 and 2010 of Canada losing but you just never felt any panic with the 1976 team.

Nothing against 2010, but man we could use another team like 1976 again.

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11-23-2012, 07:17 AM
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Hmmm, a wee bit arrogant IMO. I mean, maybe if Czechoslovakia had had the same level of goaltending (or at least close to it) in the finals as they did in the group game, there would have been some fear of losing?
Can't agree on the 1st period of the 2nd final either. Two quick and maybe easy goals to make it 2-0, yes, but "total domination" in the first period? Nope. The game settled down somewhat and was pretty competitive after 'shaky' Holecek was replaced by Dzurilla.
And from what I remember & have seen, Czechoslovakia was more of a counterattacking team, rather than one who had the puck/dominatated for long stretches. I think that's how it often was in the Czechoslovakia vs. USSR games also; the Soviets usually dominated the play, and Czechoslovakia tried to capitalize on their mistakes.

Canada definitely had more guns and would've arguably had more room for improvement; for example, many of the Habs players did not quite play on the level they were capable of. However, if, say, Dzurilla had played like he did in the group game, anything could've happened. Had Canada lost, yes, it would have been a huge upset but not exactly miracle on ice.

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11-23-2012, 03:38 PM
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It's funny, I watched this tournament in it's entirety about a month ago during one of those sad lockout weekends... and I had a similar thought - and that was Vachon for MVP over Orr. Rogie was OUTSTANDING in that series, and while he did win best Canadian, he deserved more. That was Rogie's peak. He never played better in his career than he did in that tournament.

Now that said, I also considered Potvin over Orr as well. Orr made some great plays offensively and defensively - I recall a couple fantastic stick checks when he was seemingly out of position that looked incredible. Guys back then just didn't have that second effort like they do now. Often, once you were beat, you were beat - but not Orr. Still, there were vast stretches of games that Orr wasn't noticeable in any way (not always a bad thing I guess) at all. However, Denis Potvin was unstoppable. He was a beast in his own zone. He played with so much passion. He hit EVERYONE. He was always joining the rush and contributed a ton. He definitely deserved player of the game over Orr against the Soviet Union. His overall game was prototypical "Canadian" in nature, and it paid off. He equalled Orr in points and I thought gave a better effort almost every game.

Still, Orr wasn't a terrible choice. I do believe Orr and Potvin were paired together most of the time (correct?) and having a guy like Orr allows a guy like Potvin to do what he does and vice versa. Let's also not forget that the V is for valuable, not necessarily the best player. After reading that fantastic first-person diary that Potvin wrote, it seems that Orr's presence alone lifted the Canadian team on more than one occasion. The fact that Potvin himself had so much respect for him says a lot too.

Lastly, in regards to Potvin sounding arrogant. I've often thought this every time I hear him speak (just listen to a Senators broadcast... ugh). In fairness, I often expect that from super-star players - especially if they've been able to back it up throughout their careers. He did. He was an incredible junior in Ottawa, a clear-cut HOFer in the NHL and easily one of the best players in the '76 Canada Cup. He's earned his right to boast his opinion. Does he sound a bit cocky most of the time? YES. But, so be it. He's earned it.

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11-23-2012, 03:55 PM
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Big Phil
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Hmmm, a wee bit arrogant IMO. I mean, maybe if Czechoslovakia had had the same level of goaltending (or at least close to it) in the finals as they did in the group game, there would have been some fear of losing?
Can't agree on the 1st period of the 2nd final either. Two quick and maybe easy goals to make it 2-0, yes, but "total domination" in the first period? Nope. The game settled down somewhat and was pretty competitive after 'shaky' Holecek was replaced by Dzurilla.
And from what I remember & have seen, Czechoslovakia was more of a counterattacking team, rather than one who had the puck/dominatated for long stretches. I think that's how it often was in the Czechoslovakia vs. USSR games also; the Soviets usually dominated the play, and Czechoslovakia tried to capitalize on their mistakes.

Canada definitely had more guns and would've arguably had more room for improvement; for example, many of the Habs players did not quite play on the level they were capable of. However, if, say, Dzurilla had played like he did in the group game, anything could've happened. Had Canada lost, yes, it would have been a huge upset but not exactly miracle on ice.
Well you can watch the first period of Game 2 of the final. Canada took the play to them pretty good. They had a puck a ton of the time. Momentum didn't really shift until Potvin's penalty in the second period. The Czechs were a great team. They did well in Game 2 after that drubbing in the first game and gave Canada a scare in the third period. I don't know, maybe hindsight is 20/20 because we know the results now, but when the Czechs scored that go ahead goal in the third Canada just seemed so poised to tie it up. Not panicky either. I don't know, maybe it's because no matter what line was out there was a major threat to score, but they just seemed confident, as did Vachon.

I will agree, that while Lafleur didn't play poor, he didn't raise his game in that tournament like we'd have thought. And if Lafleur doesn't do this neither does Shutt. Throw Clarke and Dionne as a couple others I'd have expected to produce more.

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12-07-2012, 07:18 PM
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Sorry, I didn't get here earlier. I have this book that I had long since put away (sadly, my hockey library is too big and the books from 60s to 80s are being put away!). Anyways, here are their stats in the tournament, and just in the finals:

Tournament Totals

7 GP each

Orr

G: 2

A: 7

PTS: 9*

PIM: 8

SOG: 26

+/-: +8


Potvin

G: 1

A: 8*

PTS: 9*

PIM: 16*

SOG: 16

+/-: +10*

Finals


2 GP each

Orr

G: 2*

A: 1

P: 3

PIM: 4*

SOG: 10*

+/-: +1


Potvin

G: 1

A: 3*

PTS: 4*

PIM: 4*

SOG: 5

+/-: +5*

* lead tournament or finals

It should be noted that Sittler and Perreault also scored 2 goals in the finals. Also Victor Zhluktov had 5 goals and 9 points in only 5 games for USSR. Hull, led the tournament with 5 goals in 7 games, but CZH Milan Novy also 5 goals in 7 games. Novy also led the tournament in SOG with 28.

So I guess Potvin thinks because some of his stats are better than Orr's, he should have gotten the MVP.


Last edited by Scott1980: 12-07-2012 at 07:18 PM. Reason: bracket missing!
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