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

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Old
02-03-2014, 08:13 PM
  #51
LeBlondeDemon10
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
He just loved the European game, style of play. His pairing with Nilsson & Hedberg adding years to his career as opined by some observers, including Gare Joyce in his book The Devil & Bobby Hull. He was walking around with the weight of the entire WHA on his shoulders, feeling responsible in many ways to insure it succeeded. The arrival of Nilsson & Hedberg a real shot of adrenalin to Hull who was feeling burned out to some degree by that time in his career. He'd logged a lot of minutes for Chicago, often playing 3+++ minute shifts. Particularly during the playoffs.
And he was totally against the violence in the NHL/WHA at the time. So the European influence of Hedberg and Nilsson, like you say, really re-energized his love of the game. Otherwise, I think he would have retired. If anyone was gonna carry the weight of the WHA it was Hull. He was magic for hockey.

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02-04-2014, 06:42 AM
  #52
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Even with Orr on the team, the 1976 Team Canada lost a game vs. Czechoslovakia and won another in OT. The game they lost was a game that Canada completely dominated. Dzurilla of the Czech team stole that one. The other was a 6-0 slaughter.
We must have seen a different game. The one I've seen is a fairly slow-paced & defensive-minded one with both teams having only a few excellent scoring chances. The shots were 29-23 for Team Canada, so even the statistics don't tell about Canada's 'complete domination'. It was not even near the same as in the 1975-76 New Year's Game, for example. Dzurilla didn't steal anything; he just played a very good & steady game, just like Rogie Vachon did in the other end: i.e. you apparently missed e.g. Jiri Novak's and Vladimir Martinec's breakaways (not a 'clean' one in Martinec's case), and Jiri Holik's great wrister from the slot - all very close calls.

Canadian teams have experienced a few slaughters too. It happens.

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The Soviets surprised Canada by being a lot better than anybody thought. Had Canada taken it more seriously and been in better physical and game shape with a full team it would have been a different story.
Yeah, it was always a TOTALLY different story, when Canada and USSR met in subsequent years?

I mean, did the Soviets get so much better post 1972 that when Canada (supposedly) had better teams & were better prepared & had home advantage all the time (remember CANADA Cups?), it was still as close as you can get between the two teams?
IMO the Soviets did improve in a few areas (defensive play, physicality, 'offensive versatility') after 1972, but did Canada at the same time get worse - or were they always unprepared/in lousy shape, or how do you explain e.g. 1981 CC and 1987 CC?

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02-04-2014, 12:41 PM
  #53
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Personally I've never really thought that the 72 team was that great overall anyway. The fact that Sinden promised all the players game action certainly didn't help the situation.

There was a lot of deadwood on that roster, players with no business representing Canada at that level. Hindsight I know but why weren't others who might know more about the European game be consulted. How could NHL coaches pick players that couldn't skate well enough on small ice to be chosen to play on the larger surface. Couldn't believe that guys like Gil Perrreault and Marcel Dionne weren't really given much of an opportunity. It was a shambles really.

So Orr, Hull, Tremblay and Cheevers were only a part of the problem.
Again it came down to cockiness. They were told it was going to be an easy matchup. Very poor planning. In a way, Canada dodged a bullet because when you leave proven winners at home (Keon, Lemaire) and virtually ignore your young talent (Dionne never played a game, Lafleur with his speed wouldn't have been bad on that team) then you're in trouble. It isn't as if the best players in the NHL weren't there. They were. There was just a rotten approach to things. Coaching was terrible. I've always felt no team won with poorer decisions from the coaching standpoint. They just didn't put their best foot forward.

For example, Gilbert Perreault was one of the few Canadians on that team who could skate better than the Soviets. In Game 4 he scored a brilliant end to end goal. In Game 5 he made a brilliant play for an assist. And yet they let him go home. We all know how Perreault's career turned out, and how well he played internationally after that. Why he wasn't an automatic guy in the next games is beyond me.

Phil Esposito said in his book that Harry Sinden wouldn't have had a job in the NHL if they had lost. That might well be true.

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02-04-2014, 12:45 PM
  #54
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It became very clear by the 1979 playoffs that Cheevers was done as an elite goalie. He was pulled against the Habs in favor of Gilbert who shined in that series. I wouldn't give the Russians the lion's share of credit for that 6-0 win; Cheevers was awful. Worse than Liut in 81. However, when the team in front of you can't even muster up a goal. Cheevers in 72 is in his prime and yes, maybe he does better.
Yes Cheevers did to awful in 1979 in the Challenge Cup. But in 1972 it would be a different story. If there was one goalie you wanted for a series like this in 1972 it was Cheevers at the time. Maybe he still has the one bad game like Dryden did in Game 1, but he doesn't have three bad ones. He was the most reliable goalie in the world at that time in my opinion. Cheevers had a knack for bouncing back with things. I don't know how much of an impact he would have had, but surely it couldn't have been worse than Dryden

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02-04-2014, 09:51 PM
  #55
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Yeah, it was always a TOTALLY different story, when Canada and USSR met in subsequent years?
I mean, did the Soviets get so much better post 1972 that when Canada (supposedly) had better teams & were better prepared & had home advantage all the time (remember CANADA Cups?), it was still as close as you can get between the two teams?
IMO the Soviets did improve in a few areas (defensive play, physicality, 'offensive versatility') after 1972, but did Canada at the same time get worse - or were they always unprepared/in lousy shape, or how do you explain e.g. 1981 CC and 1987 CC?
Yes I believe the Soviets improved quite a bit between 72 and 87. I'm talking specifically about 72 and only about that series of games. There was still a bigger gap between Canadian hockey and the Soviet game than the results of the 8 games showed. Nobody seems to mention the fact that the Canadian team went to Moscow in the middle of the cold war, on large ice and won the series in the Soviets backyard. They also could have very well swept the 4 games there.

The facts are the facts The NHL team was not prepared to play the Soviets. They were not in good physical condition nor were they in game shape. Their attitude was one of maybe they would lose one game if that. The Russian goalie was scouted by Toronto Maple Leaf scouts (maybe that says something) and said to be very weak. Not really the ideal way to approach the series. Nor was it the best team that Canada could have iced and in retrospect there were poor choices made in personnel. Also too many players were picked to be a part of the team and all were promised playing time. Again not really the way to approach the series.

My point is not to downplay the talent of the 72 Soviet team but to say that the series was closer than it should have been for a number of different reasons.

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02-04-2014, 09:56 PM
  #56
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On a different point I was very surprised when Dave Keon and Jacques Lemaire were overlooked. I know Keon was toward the end of his career but he still had the wheels. I wonder if there was an issue between Harold Ballard, that crook Allan Eagleson and Dave Keon.

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02-04-2014, 11:32 PM
  #57
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Originally Posted by canuck2010 View Post
Yes I believe the Soviets improved quite a bit between 72 and 87. I'm talking specifically about 72 and only about that series of games. There was still a bigger gap between Canadian hockey and the Soviet game than the results of the 8 games showed. Nobody seems to mention the fact that the Canadian team went to Moscow in the middle of the cold war, on large ice and won the series in the Soviets backyard. They also could have very well swept the 4 games there.
Not in terms of on-paper talent.



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The facts are the facts The NHL team was not prepared to play the Soviets. They were not in good physical condition nor were they in game shape. Their attitude was one of maybe they would lose one game if that. The Russian goalie was scouted by Toronto Maple Leaf scouts (maybe that says something) and said to be very weak. Not really the ideal way to approach the series. Nor was it the best team that Canada could have iced and in retrospect there were poor choices made in personnel. Also too many players were picked to be a part of the team and all were promised playing time. Again not really the way to approach the series.

My point is not to downplay the talent of the 72 Soviet team but to say that the series was closer than it should have been for a number of different reasons.
Yes Canada was unprepared, but don't mythologize team USSR as being this 'well oiled machine'.

Summit Series was the apex of the Bobrov/Kulagin/Tarasov power struggle. In the early 1970s it wasn't uncommon for players to be omitted from the NT, or coaches strong-arming the Federation into forcing line-up changes that ran counter team strategy. Much of this time period is highlighted by rival coaches attempting to settle scores rather than icing the best, most cohesive team possible. (It wasn't until Bobrov was fired from NT for drunk behavior at 1974 WC dinner did this period end.)

Obviously Canada was at more of a disadvantage, but let's not blow that level out of proportion.
Heck, tactically speaking, the Soviets had only 2 years experience of checking in the offensive zone (it was illegal in international play up till 1969 or 70).


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02-05-2014, 12:16 AM
  #58
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On a different point I was very surprised when Dave Keon and Jacques Lemaire were overlooked. I know Keon was toward the end of his career but he still had the wheels. I wonder if there was an issue between Harold Ballard, that crook Allan Eagleson and Dave Keon.
Actually no, Dave Keon wasnt anywhere near the end of his career but he was coming off of his worst season in 71/72 in terms of points that he'd had since his Rookie year. Further, his Contract was up with the Leafs and so essentially there are 2 stories floating around as to why he was left off Team Canada, not invited....The "official version" being that he was left off in favor of Bobby Clarke because Clarke had more points than Keon in 71/72.... the unofficial version being that he was left off on Harold Ballards orders because his Contract was up & that Harold, like Wirtz in Chicago with Hull, hoped to use inclusion on Team Canada as a bargaining chip if needed. Ballard & Keons relationship like Hulls & Wirtzs was beyond toxic & poisonous, had been for many years. Ballard in fact couldnt stand Dave Keon because he represented the "Old Guard". The Conn Smythe Regime. Came up through the Sponsorship System, the last remaining player from the Leafs Glory Days. Ballard wanted to eradicate & eliminate every last vestige of the Smythes from the Gardens & Leafs.

Heres a wiki link with the "official version"
as to why Keon wasnt invited.....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Keon

And heres an interview from 2007 with Keon &
Scott Morrison, more an over-view decades later...


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02-05-2014, 12:21 AM
  #59
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^^^ Ballard really was odious.


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02-05-2014, 12:44 AM
  #60
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^^^ Ya. He was afraid that Keon would jump to the WHA in 72, whereas in Chicago, Wirtz didnt take the possibility that Hull would jump entirely seriously & was reportedly stunned & beyond ticked off when he did. Took a lot of heat from Hawks fans. I mean, this is Bobby Hull you just let walk. Greatest player ever in the history of the franchise, the best player in the league for the last decade. A Superstar.

Same thing in Toronto with Keon really. Arguably the Greatest Center, Greatest Leaf of All Time. He's my favorite & pick as the Greatest. All due respect to Sundin, Gilmour, Clark, Sittler, Horton, Mahovlich, Kennedy & all of the rest of em'. A lot smarter, way more savvy than most of the picks on Team Canada, Light Years beyond Bobby Clarke. The guy supposedly taken over Keon, as in one or the other. Dave Keon was/is a Prickly Pear though. You can see snippets, wee bits of that in the interview above. Still, superior to Clarke for that kind of a series, the kind of players youd want. More guys with some serious hockey IQ like Keon and who could beat you clean. None of the garbage we saw from so many others in 72. Didnt need to. Didnt need to stoop to that level. Wouldnt dream of it.


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02-05-2014, 05:54 AM
  #61
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Originally Posted by Zine View Post
Not in terms of on-paper talent.





Yes Canada was unprepared, but don't mythologize team USSR as being this 'well oiled machine'.

Summit Series was the apex of the Bobrov/Kulagin/Tarasov power struggle. In the early 1970s it wasn't uncommon for players to be omitted from the NT, or coaches strong-arming the Federation into forcing line-up changes that ran counter team strategy. Much of this time period is highlighted by rival coaches attempting to settle scores rather than icing the best, most cohesive team possible. (It wasn't until Bobrov was fired from NT for drunk behavior at 1974 WC dinner did this period end.)

Obviously Canada was at more of a disadvantage, but let's not blow that level out of proportion.
Heck, tactically speaking, the Soviets had only 2 years experience of checking in the offensive zone (it was illegal in international play up till 1969 or 70).
Based on the old Soviet system I'm sure that it wasn't smooth sailing for any hockey team. "Well oiled machine" I'm sure there were plenty of issues.

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02-05-2014, 06:39 AM
  #62
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Yes I believe the Soviets improved quite a bit between 72 and 87. I'm talking specifically about 72 and only about that series of games. There was still a bigger gap between Canadian hockey and the Soviet game than the results of the 8 games showed. Nobody seems to mention the fact that the Canadian team went to Moscow in the middle of the cold war, on large ice and won the series in the Soviets backyard. They also could have very well swept the 4 games there.
And they could have also lost (or tied) more than just the one game...

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The facts are the facts The NHL team was not prepared to play the Soviets. They were not in good physical condition nor were they in game shape. Their attitude was one of maybe they would lose one game if that. The Russian goalie was scouted by Toronto Maple Leaf scouts (maybe that says something) and said to be very weak. Not really the ideal way to approach the series. Nor was it the best team that Canada could have iced and in retrospect there were poor choices made in personnel. Also too many players were picked to be a part of the team and all were promised playing time. Again not really the way to approach the series.
Zine already sort of answered this, but yeah, it didn't seem very ideal for the Soviets either: Tarasov and Chernyshev had been fired after the 1972 Olympics, and as a result, Anatoli Firsov was 'banned' from the national team. How much Firsov and/or Tarasov could have helped the team, it is debatable, but something tells me that Tarasov might have gotten more out of the team (than Bobrov) during the decisive moments.
At the 1972 WC, USSR had lost the world championship to Czechoslovakia; they were not crushed nor embarrassed per se, but slightly demoralizing it must have been.
Also some important Soviet players were injured during the Series (Zimin, Vikulov, Ragulin and, of course, Valeri Kharlamov*), there were bad decisions by the coach(es) concerning the lineups - in the 2nd and 6th game, for example.

* if it hadn't been for the slash, Kharlamov might or might not have been the best Soviet skater in the series, but he was USSR's best player around that time. After 5 games, he was one of the best, if not the best, performers up to that point. Don't forget that Yakushev became the best Soviet player only in the last 3 games or so. It was also in the last few games, when Esposito and Henderson played their best hockey - Kharlamov might have done so too.

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02-05-2014, 08:28 AM
  #63
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Tarasov and Chernyshev had been fired after the 1972 Olympics, and as a result, Anatoli Firsov was 'banned' from the national team.
Side note: I thought it was the other way round, Firsov refused to play under Bobrov even though they wanted him for the Summit Series.

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02-05-2014, 09:06 AM
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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.

Agree 100%, ultimately it's impossible to say.

Shoe on the other foot --- what if the Soviets weren't missing their 2nd line at the 1987 Canada Cup?
I mean Gretzky, Lemieux and co. barely defeated a Soviet squad icing their 1,3,4,5 lines.
Would the outcome have been different with a potent top 3 line KLM, YSS, KBK punch? Again, impossible to predict.

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02-05-2014, 10:02 AM
  #65
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Ten more years

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On a different point I was very surprised when Dave Keon and Jacques Lemaire were overlooked. I know Keon was toward the end of his career but he still had the wheels. I wonder if there was an issue between Harold Ballard, that crook Allan Eagleson and Dave Keon.
Dave Keon had about ten years of gas left. He was still playing (well) when Hartford joined the NHL.

Keon would have been an excellent addition to Team Canada. In fact, if I had put the team together, I would have had a fourth line of Keon between Paul Henderson and Rejean Houle.

If I had put Team Canada together, meaning no ban of Bobby Hull, my lines would have looked like this:

Bobby Hull - Phil Esposito - Rod Gilbert

Frank Mahovlich - Jacques Lemaire - Yvan Cournoyer

Rick Martin - Gilbert Perreault - Marcel Dionne

Rejean Houle - Dave Keon - Paul Henderson

Imagine those lines facing the Soviets in proper shape and raring to go when the series began.

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02-05-2014, 11:25 AM
  #66
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^^^ There ya go. Excellent line-up. Sam Pollock as GM, and though he hadnt won a Stanley Cup Bowman had more than earned his spot behind the bench with his creative work in St.Louis. Additionally, Id have employed Jacques Plante as a Goaltending Consultant & Scout early, picking Giacomin, Cheevers & Parent and let one of them win the start through training camp & exhibitions.... Plante in fact came under fire when prior to Game One he went & spoke with Tretiak, giving him advice on how to play the Canadians. When asked why, and though he predicted an 8-1 lopsided victory for the Canadians, he said he did that because "I didnt want to witness the humiliation I thought he was sure to suffer" (or words to that affect). Pretty hysterical in retrospect. Seems the Canucksters one & only "Scouting Report" on Tretiak was a 9 goal pasting he'd suffered the day after his wedding. That little detail somehow slipping through the cracks. Jr.B Goalie if even that.... Yep. Good job guys.

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02-05-2014, 02:00 PM
  #67
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This thread has been thoroughly entertaining and educational. I never realized just how much of a mark Eagleson made on this team. Why is that Eagleson did not employ the wisdom of Sam Pollock and Scotty Bowman or another well respected coach?

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02-05-2014, 02:06 PM
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Why is that Eagleson did not employ the wisdom of Sam Pollock and Scotty Bowman or another well respected coach?
Like that Stanley Cup winning guy Harry Sinden?

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02-05-2014, 02:12 PM
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Sam Pollock

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This thread has been thoroughly entertaining and educational. I never realized just how much of a mark Eagleson made on this team. Why is that Eagleson did not employ the wisdom of Sam Pollock and Scotty Bowman or another well respected coach?
Assuming Sam Pollock wanted to work with Eagleson on Eagleson's terms is not reasonable. Pollock tended to distance himself from Eagleson from the start and managed the Canadiens accordingly.

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02-05-2014, 02:14 PM
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Like that Stanley Cup winning guy Harry Sinden?
I don't believe Sinden was the coach though. Tom Johnson was.

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02-05-2014, 02:17 PM
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I don't believe Sinden was the coach though. Tom Johnson was.
Sinden in 1970, Johnson in 1972.

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02-05-2014, 04:48 PM
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Assuming Sam Pollock wanted to work with Eagleson on Eagleson's terms is not reasonable. Pollock tended to distance himself from Eagleson from the start and managed the Canadiens accordingly.
... yaaaaaa.... not imagining Sam Pollock wanting to have much to do with Eagleson. Im not sure how many if any Habs players were even represented by his agency circa 71/72 but I cant imagine many. Quite a bit of a different business culture in Quebec & certainly within the Canadiens organization. Eagleson being a "Toronto Guy", a brash & crass one at that, just not seeing it, not seeing him doing much if any business in Montreal or Quebec for that matter. His power-base was Toronto & Boston at that specific point in time.

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02-05-2014, 05:23 PM
  #73
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Dave Keon had about ten years of gas left. He was still playing (well) when Hartford joined the NHL.

Keon would have been an excellent addition to Team Canada. In fact, if I had put the team together, I would have had a fourth line of Keon between Paul Henderson and Rejean Houle.

If I had put Team Canada together, meaning no ban of Bobby Hull, my lines would have looked like this:

Bobby Hull - Phil Esposito - Rod Gilbert

Frank Mahovlich - Jacques Lemaire - Yvan Cournoyer

Rick Martin - Gilbert Perreault - Marcel Dionne

Rejean Houle - Dave Keon - Paul Henderson

Imagine those lines facing the Soviets in proper shape and raring to go when the series began.
Nice. That's a great line up. But there are still a couple of guys missing. I think regardless you have to put Ratelle in there. The guy was the Pearson winner in 1972, had a phenomenal season that year. Pete Mahovlich still fits in there somewhere. And Bobby Clarke in my mind was good enough. I like that right side, lots of speed there. Not sure Rick Martin should be there either. He did make the original team but I never thought he was good enough then either. Lafleur might have been a better fit with his speed. But either way, I'd take Houle out of there. If you are going to put someone that age as a checker, it may as well be Clarke. Or someone more seasoned like Pete.

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02-05-2014, 06:00 PM
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^^^ Appreciate where your coming from there Phil, but that line-up looks pretty solid, no need to be messing with it. Bobby Clarke, y'know, I thought/think he was a tremendous NHL player. Great leader. But for an International Series, no, sorry. Dont want any Cowboys crossing lines, shooting up the town. And lets face it, that was about 50% of Clarkes game. Agitator, instigator & pest. Bold as brass. Excellent in the NHL. No problem with that, can deal with it, different culture & environment. Houle far more esoteric, refined, an artist. Thats what you needed. Not some Bronc Bustin Steer Wrestler outta Flin Flon. Pete Mahovlich, God love him, but look, simply didnt have the wheels, full mobility Id want. Wasnt the Total Package. And yes, Jean Ratelle a nice addition. As a spare.

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02-05-2014, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
^^^ Appreciate where your coming from there Phil, but that line-up looks pretty solid, no need to be messing with it. Bobby Clarke, y'know, I thought/think he was a tremendous NHL player. Great leader. But for an International Series, no, sorry. Dont want any Cowboys crossing lines, shooting up the town. And lets face it, that was about 50% of Clarkes game. Agitator, instigator & pest. Bold as brass. Excellent in the NHL. No problem with that, can deal with it, different culture & environment. Houle far more esoteric, refined, an artist. Thats what you needed. Not some Bronc Bustin Steer Wrestler outta Flin Flon. Pete Mahovlich, God love him, but look, simply didnt have the wheels, full mobility Id want. Wasnt the Total Package. And yes, Jean Ratelle a nice addition. As a spare.
I'm not even saying Hadfield who scored 50 goals in 1972. I know that his attitude wasn't the best during that tournament and he didn't do well himself when he played. I will say in his defense that the ones that have made him look bad in hindsight were Eagleson and Sinden who aren't exactly the most noble people. To this day, from their own mouths (including Rick Martin) the other Canadians on the team never treated them differently for deserting them mid-tournament. There were a lot of lies told to them.

Alright, so it isn't as if I'm pining for Hadfield here. But Ratelle? Isn't he good enough to knock one of those guys from the list? I would reckon that Ratelle is almost an automatic on that team. You've got to slide him in there somewhere don't you think? As more than just a spare.

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