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To what extent would a healthy Bobby Orr have affected the '72 Summit Series?

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01-31-2014, 04:19 PM
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CpatainCanuck
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To what extent would a healthy Bobby Orr have affected the '72 Summit Series?

The '72 Summit Series was virtually a dead heat between the Canadians and the Soviets: Although the Canadians snuck out a 4-3-1 decision, goals were 32-31 in favour of the Soviets. However, the series was played with the undisputed best player of the era, Bobby Orr, out with injuries. If Bobby Orr had been healthy and able to play, would the series have been a rout for the Canadians, or would is presence have only a small influence on the outcome of the series?

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01-31-2014, 04:27 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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Orr would have a significant impact, but I still don't think the Canadians were prepared. I think his talent alone could have won them 2 games minimum. So I'll say Team Canada wins 5 games and the Soviets 3.

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01-31-2014, 04:36 PM
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Rhiessan71
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Massive difference.
Orr playing 40 mins a game (and more) would have been huge and special teams...forget about it with Orr there.
A 5-3 Canada series win is being conservative IMO, 6-2 might be more realistic.

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01-31-2014, 05:41 PM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Massive difference.
I sorta kinda agree with this, Orr out there quarterbacking the attack if not leading it, ragging the puck, giving his team mates the time & space to get their acts together. Swallow their lungs so to speak. Put em back where they belonged. Id hazard to guess he'd have been a wonder to the Soviets at his peak and they'd have likely have fallen into a far more defensive shell of a game. I have my doubts though that it'd have been completely lopsided Rhiess. But for sure Orr's presence & his play wouldve dramatically altered how Sinden was Coaching, who he was throwing out there, taking him 4 games to figure out how to stop the Soviets by playing it high in the neutral zone, a little of the old Kitty Bar the Door working a treat. Yet still they snuck through.

Orr had actually faced the Soviets before. December 14th, 1965 to be precise. The Toronto Marlies supplemented by All Stars from the OHA including Serge Savard, Jean Pronovost and Don Marcotte played an Exhibition Game against them, losing 4-3 after blowing a 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd. The Marlies roster included Brad Park, Jim McKenny, Brian Glennie, Mike Pelyk, Barry Watson & Al Smith in goal, along with Punch Imlach's son Brent and the younger brother of Dave Keon, Jim, a Defenseman (who went on to play Senior mostly after Junior). For fans of the Blue & White and in a "what if, if only the Leafs had signed Orr, right in their backyard & they pass on him as being too small, too frail, wont amount to much" heres a link to a brief blurb on Orr & his comments on the 72 Summit & Intl Play, picture of him in a Marlie uniform....

http://www.hhof.com/htmlSpotlight/sp...ep197902.shtml

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01-31-2014, 06:03 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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What's Big Phil doing in there?

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01-31-2014, 06:12 PM
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Killion
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What's Big Phil doing in there?
Ya, you caught that huh? That there a Copyrighted photo LBD. Dudes in a lot a trouble if he hasnt received permission to use it as his avy....
and now Im afraid Im going to need to see the proof that he has or sorry, lose it Pal. Serious business. Y'hear me Phil?... My in-box. Tout sweet.

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02-01-2014, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by CpatainCanuck View Post
The '72 Summit Series was virtually a dead heat between the Canadians and the Soviets: Although the Canadians snuck out a 4-3-1 decision, goals were 32-31 in favour of the Soviets. However, the series was played with the undisputed best player of the era, Bobby Orr, out with injuries. If Bobby Orr had been healthy and able to play, would the series have been a rout for the Canadians, or would is presence have only a small influence on the outcome of the series?
Be nice to know. For sure would never been heroics there was. Orr was best player in world at time. Along with Hull. Safe to say extra win in Winnipeg game and tie in game 5?

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02-01-2014, 04:32 PM
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What's Big Phil doing in there?
hehe, true enough

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02-01-2014, 04:33 PM
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I sorta kinda agree with this, Orr out there quarterbacking the attack if not leading it, ragging the puck, giving his team mates the time & space to get their acts together. Swallow their lungs so to speak. Put em back where they belonged. Id hazard to guess he'd have been a wonder to the Soviets at his peak and they'd have likely have fallen into a far more defensive shell of a game. I have my doubts though that it'd have been completely lopsided Rhiess. But for sure Orr's presence & his play wouldve dramatically altered how Sinden was Coaching, who he was throwing out there, taking him 4 games to figure out how to stop the Soviets by playing it high in the neutral zone, a little of the old Kitty Bar the Door working a treat. Yet still they snuck through.

Orr had actually faced the Soviets before. December 14th, 1965 to be precise. The Toronto Marlies supplemented by All Stars from the OHA including Serge Savard, Jean Pronovost and Don Marcotte played an Exhibition Game against them, losing 4-3 after blowing a 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd. The Marlies roster included Brad Park, Jim McKenny, Brian Glennie, Mike Pelyk, Barry Watson & Al Smith in goal, along with Punch Imlach's son Brent and the younger brother of Dave Keon, Jim, a Defenseman (who went on to play Senior mostly after Junior). For fans of the Blue & White and in a "what if, if only the Leafs had signed Orr, right in their backyard & they pass on him as being too small, too frail, wont amount to much" heres a link to a brief blurb on Orr & his comments on the 72 Summit & Intl Play, picture of him in a Marlie uniform....

http://www.hhof.com/htmlSpotlight/sp...ep197902.shtml
Ok fine, I'll go with 5-2-1 then

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02-01-2014, 04:40 PM
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Put it this way, I have mentioned this about Orr before and the ramifications of him being healthy in 1972 stretch well past that time.

Orr in 1972 would have had a massive impact. Hard to believe, but Phil Esposito may have even played better with his old buddy. Canada wasn't prepared for that first game, maybe the result is the same, but I couldn't see the Soviets winning more than one game after that. Maybe a 6-2 final series. Or 5-2-1. Orr was simply just that good. You could argue it would be like taking a 1987 Gretzky out of the Canada Cup. Big difference. Monumental. Take Crosby off of Team Canada in 2014 and they're hurt, but they could make up the difference more than an Orr-less Team Canada in 1972 did.

For example even in that first game, Don Awrey got beaten rather badly by Kharlamov. Orr wouldn't have been beaten to the outside like that. Stuff like that. Orr on the ice changes everything.

So how does this change hockey history? Paul Henderson's heroics aren't needed. He is just a much forgotten Maple Leaf. You could argue the Super Series with the NHL teams in 1976 doesn't happen if the Soviets are outplayed in 1972. They may not have the confidence to compete after that. Then there is 1979 and the Challenge Cup. If Orr is still around all healthy, then he's still in his prime and team NHL probably wins. This means the "Miracle on Ice" doesn't have nearly the impact that it did in 1980. That mystique with the Soviets isn't there. This isn't a team that gave Canada a scare in 1972, or beat the NHL's best. All of the sudden the Soviets don't look so invincible.

All this because of Orr's presence in 1972. Honestly.

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02-01-2014, 04:42 PM
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Turns out Valeri Kharlamov was the best player in that series at the time, what a disgrace to sports that series was.

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02-01-2014, 04:51 PM
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Turns out Valeri Kharlamov was the best player in that series at the time, what a disgrace to sports that series was.
Phil Esposito says hello

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02-01-2014, 04:51 PM
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Both Bobbys

The fact that neither Bobby was playing in that series really dampened my ardor for that series, many many decades ago. Especially galling was the pettiness of the folks in charge in keeping the Golden Jet out of the series.

Imagine how much more entertaining that series would have been with Hull and Orr racing up the ice on behalf of Canada.

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02-01-2014, 04:59 PM
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Ok fine, I'll go with 5-2-1 then
.... Ok. And hate to be a further Balloon Poppin' you know what, but Team Canadas' Goaltending selection also left a lot to be desired. Had Orr been healthy & Sinden used his brain, done some actual Scouting, understood that the Soviets played it very deep right in & onto the top of the Crease which negated full Stand-Up's effectiveness & was in fact a liability if they didnt adjust, they'd have gone with a far more flexible hybrid tandem of (Cheevers & Parent had defected to the WHA so my first choices gone) of Eddie Giacomin & Gilles Villemure of the Rangers along with Rogie Vachon. Ken Dryden & Tony Esposito while the most celebrated Goalies of that particular time, well, pretty easy to pick their games apart & Esposito's sometimes completely out to lunch focus in big games certainly made me nervous. Both excellent Goaltenders obviously but not built for International competition the way the far more acrobatic Ed Giacomin was and a guy who roamed aggressively, Master of the Johnny Bower Check, back up on his feet in a flash and skating with the puck past the hashmarks catching the opposition flat footed with a nice tape-tape to Rod Gilbert or whomever hovering high. Eddie there thought Offensively, almost like a 3rd Offensively minded Defenceman & he could seriously skate & stick handle, shoot the puck. Beyond Team Canada just being completely out of shape & seriously under-estimating their opponents going in, you could just palpably feel the letdown on Canadas' bench & with the players on the ice the frankly soft goals that were going in. Not blaming Dryden, Goal is a team error but still. Both he & Esposito beyond spotty.


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02-01-2014, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Put it this way, I have mentioned this about Orr before and the ramifications of him being healthy in 1972 stretch well past that time.

Orr in 1972 would have had a massive impact. Hard to believe, but Phil Esposito may have even played better with his old buddy. Canada wasn't prepared for that first game, maybe the result is the same, but I couldn't see the Soviets winning more than one game after that. Maybe a 6-2 final series. Or 5-2-1. Orr was simply just that good. You could argue it would be like taking a 1987 Gretzky out of the Canada Cup. Big difference. Monumental. Take Crosby off of Team Canada in 2014 and they're hurt, but they could make up the difference more than an Orr-less Team Canada in 1972 did.

For example even in that first game, Don Awrey got beaten rather badly by Kharlamov. Orr wouldn't have been beaten to the outside like that. Stuff like that. Orr on the ice changes everything.

So how does this change hockey history? Paul Henderson's heroics aren't needed. He is just a much forgotten Maple Leaf. You could argue the Super Series with the NHL teams in 1976 doesn't happen if the Soviets are outplayed in 1972. They may not have the confidence to compete after that. Then there is 1979 and the Challenge Cup. If Orr is still around all healthy, then he's still in his prime and team NHL probably wins. This means the "Miracle on Ice" doesn't have nearly the impact that it did in 1980. That mystique with the Soviets isn't there. This isn't a team that gave Canada a scare in 1972, or beat the NHL's best. All of the sudden the Soviets don't look so invincible.

All this because of Orr's presence in 1972. Honestly.
True. When you consider that one of the single aspects that the Soviets probably "abused" more than any other was the foot speed of Canadian defensemen, a guy like Orr playing half the game changes a lot. I could imagine them "cheating" away from him (trying to "adapt" and focus on a "weakness" instead), and losing a bit of unpredictability/variety in their attack as a consequence. Could have made them easier for the NHL boys to handle. AND Espo and Orr would be playing together...

Don't know how much of a difference that makes in the end, but it's not too hard to imagine. Just the presence of Gretzky alone, for example, wasn't quite enough in the '81 Canada Cup, but his contribution was all the difference in '84. Bobby Orr in '72 is closer to the Gretzky '84-'87 part of the career curve, though, so one would have to imagine the difference would be pretty easily observable if you had tapes to watch from parallel worlds.

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02-01-2014, 05:22 PM
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In my mind's eye

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.... Ok. And hate to be a further Balloon Poppin' you know what, but Team Canadas' Goaltending selection also left a lot to be desired. Had Orr been healthy & Sinden used his brain, done some actual Scouting, understood that the Soviets played it very deep right in & onto the top of the Crease which negated full Stand-Up's effectiveness & was in fact a liability if they didnt adjust, they'd have gone with a far more flexible hybrid tandem of (Cheevers & Parent had defected to the WHA so my first choices gone) of Eddie Giacomin & Gilles Villemure of the Rangers along with Rogie Vachon. Ken Dryden & Tony Esposito while the most celebrated Goalies of that particular time, well, pretty easy to pick their games apart & Esposito's sometimes completely out to lunch focus in big games certainly made me nervous. Both excellent Goaltenders obviously but not built for International competition the way the far more acrobatic Ed Giacomin was and a guy who roamed aggressively, Master of the Johnny Bower Check, back up on his feet in a flash and skating with the puck past the hashmarks catching the opposition flat footed with a nice tape-tape to Rod Gilbert or whomever hovering high. Eddie there thought Offensively, almost like a 3rd Offensively minded Defenceman & he could seriously skate & stick handle, shoot the puck. Beyond Team Canada just being completely out of shape & seriously under-estimating their opponents going in, you could just palpably feel the letdown on Canadas' bench & with the players on the ice the frankly soft goals that were going in. Not blaming Dryden, Goal is a team error but still. Both he & Esposito beyond spotty.
Killion, imagine Giacomin in net and the Golden Jet flying down the ice, receiving one of those "nice tape-tape" passes from Eddie, and letting fly one of his patented blasts as he crosses the blue line. Fun? Wow!

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02-01-2014, 06:09 PM
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Killion, imagine Giacomin in net and the Golden Jet flying down the ice, receiving one of those "nice tape-tape" passes from Eddie, and letting fly one of his patented blasts as he crosses the blue line. Fun? Wow!
Ya, I can share that vision, wouldve been something else. Not sure if you know the story or not but briefly... Hull being barred (along with the rest of the "league jumpers" to the WHA) was a nasty bit of duplicity between Eagleson & Wirtz....

The former had tried to court Hull earlier in the hopes of being able to represent him in his then fledgling agency but Bobby didnt bite, didnt trust him, like him much, nor really Lawyers in general so his being barred from play was somewhat personal, vengeance from R.Alan Eagleson whereas with Wirtz (long history of acrimonious contract negotiations) his strategy with Hull when it came to negotiating contracts was to try & wait him out and his contract was up with Chicago.

So Wirtz, apparently believing that Hull's desire to play in the Summit Series would precipitate an earlier signing (for the 72/73 season & beyond) & dangling the carrot of the Summit Series in negotiations with Hull pulls a fast one after Hull signs with Winnipeg. Demands that when the agreement was drawn up between Hockey Canada & the Russians that a clause be included that all players representing Canada must be under contract for the 72/73 season with specifically NHL clubs.

Dennis Hull was incensed that his brother wasnt allowed to play as were most Canadians & right thinking hockey people, and was going to boycott altogether. Convinced by Bobby to play anyway. Even Harold Ballard piped up and in support of Hull's inclusion ("we want to win dont we"?), somewhat dumbfounded to discover that that clause had been inserted quietly which Eagleson clearly was aware of despite playing the innocent when asked about it. Blaming everyone else but himself for cratering on the issue (and authoring the clause, inserting it into the agreement) for Wirtz who's support he desperately needed to even get the NHL to go along with "his" Summit Series.

So ya, not only would Orr's & most assuredly Bobby Hull's inclusions have been awesome, but so too several other players who by the Spring/Summer of 1972 had signed with the WHA but barred from playing, thanks to Dollar Bill Wirtz's vindictiveness & Alan Eaglesons duplicity. I watched the Summit of course, wasnt happy with the player selections, the Coaching, the whole approach. Was desperate hockey & no reason for it to have been. Canada couldve cleaned the Soviets clocks but for Eagleson & his overarching interference, marionette to more powerful interests in Chicago & New York.

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02-01-2014, 06:55 PM
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Turns out Valeri Kharlamov was the best player in that series at the time, what a disgrace to sports that series was.
Esposito, in spite of showing up out of shape and playing into it as the series progressed

Henderson, because unlike most Canadians he was in great shape

Yakushev, because he was simply effective

Kharlamov, one of the better players, poetry in motion, but not as effective as these 3

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02-01-2014, 07:20 PM
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^^^ And lets not forget Tretiak. Absolutely outstanding.

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02-01-2014, 07:37 PM
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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.

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02-01-2014, 08:11 PM
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What if they had the Gumper in for at least one game?
Ya I did consider him actually. If it was 1968 & not 1972, quite likely selected. But in 1972, the Gumper was 42 years old and in an intense series like that facing the much younger incredibly well conditioned & fast skating Russians, hard to say (if just one game, then perhaps rested for the next & so on). He was old school with a lot of tricks up his sleeve, wouldve understood a lot quicker than Dryden did that he'd be better off deeper in his crease. But at 42 the Gumpster was no longer the flexible Gumby he once was and Id be very concerned that he just wouldnt be able to make the moves in reacting the way he knew he had to and did with great elan prior to Expansion. Oh, he'd know how to play the Russians alright, but I have images of him prone on the ice, frozen in position horizontally with his backed locked up, a squeaky "help, help me. I cant move" whispered through clenched teeth. Paralyzed from the neck down when he went all pretzel on Kharlamov.

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02-01-2014, 10:03 PM
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Head Coach Harry Sinden was operating a lumber business when Eagleson offered him the head coaching gig. He hadn't coached the Bruins since the 69-70 season, and wouldn't appear behind an NHL bench again until 1979. Yes, he had Whitby Dunlops experience from 1958, but you'd never know it. Assistant coach John Ferguson had been retired as a player for a full season when Sinden tried to convince him to participate in the series as a player or player-coach. He possessed zero coaching experience and the very idea of putting him in the lineup was lunacy. Thank God that never happened.

At any rate, that was the Team Canada '72 coaching staff. All of it. Frankly, I'm don't think Canada has ever had a weaker bench staff in the history of best on best international play. Never. Whenever people point out Espie's superb leadership in the series, all I can think is "good thing, since the coaching staff couldn't lead them."

Perhaps the series would have been different with Orr and Hull in the lineup. We should also remember that both Beliveau and Howe joined Ferguson in retirement at the conclusion of the '71 season. Given Howe's astonishingly strong performance as a 46 year old in the WHA Summit Series in '74, I suspect he could have helped.

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?

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02-01-2014, 10:31 PM
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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.

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02-01-2014, 10:32 PM
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This is a cop out but it's really impossible to say, because you can't simply go assuming one player makes a difference in a hockey tournament. Hockey's just not that kind of sport.

Now, a healthy Orr would have been the best player on the team, so of course in theory it would have made an impact, especially since he's the kind of player who could dictate the flow of a game. Of course, if you play this game you can do the same for a half dozen other things that would have hurt or helped Canada, Kharlamov's ankle chief among them.

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02-01-2014, 10:38 PM
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Killion
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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?
Ya, it truly was topsy-turvy hockey. The entire approach casual, club'ish. Taken far too lightly. Like it was a joke. Then came the shocks, the jolts, the rude awakenings. I clearly remember watching Games 1, 2 & 3, then just sort of asking myself why bother? What a waste of time. Canada sucks, playing it dirty because their all out of shape & a step slow. No system, no real unity, who cares? This isnt the best weve got, the bench doesnt have a clue. Sinden & Ferguson? You kidding me? So essentially what we saw from the Canadians was just a whole lot of individual efforts, some brilliant others not so much. Just very badly handled from a management perspective. From Scouting to Coaching, player selection, lack of preparedness, making the fatal mistake of underestimating ones opponent. Just plain arrogance really. I barely watched it after Vancouver, only tuning in to bits & pieces, Game 8. Didnt like what I was seeing from the Canadians. To this day maintaining that we got gypped. Couldve been so much more, far better.

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