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Scotty Bowman and the 1970s Canadiens.

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01-08-2013, 05:03 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Scotty Bowman and the 1970s Canadiens.

Since the start of the lockout RDS has been showing historic games, mainly featuring the Montreal Canadiens from the mid 1970s onwards.

In retrospect a number of characteristics distinguish the 1970s Scotty Bowman Canadiens from the Toe Blake Canadiens or from teams that followed Scotty Bowman's tenure.

The Bowman Canadiens featured a high level of diversity amongst the elite skaters, easily 2/3 of any roster could play at least two positions. Equivalent of 11-12 extra positional players were available per game. In game injuries had little impact nor did off setting penalties.

Conversely Blake's Canadiens featured elite skaters in positions where they were best suited with two or three swing multi-position players.Bowman would regularly play centers on the wing to gain a match-up advantage.Beliveau, Backstrom, H. Richard, Goyette, played center almost exclusively for Blake's Canadiens.with the exception of key faceoffs when a second center was a plus.

As the thread evolves we will look at other features.

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01-08-2013, 05:31 PM
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Killion
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If I had to pick the greatest Coach of All Time, Id actually go with Toe Blake as opposed to Bowman, though really, you wouldnt go far wrong with either of them. Blake was a "players Coach", obviously having played & starred with the Hab's prior to his career ending due to a badly broken leg. Apparently prior to joining the Canadiens (he'd signed with the Maroons from the OHA Hamilton Tigers, and prior to that he'd played in the Sudbury area growing up) he was known as a "tough guy", rather mercurial, however under Selke when acquired, teamed with Lach & Richard, where he turned into an excellent playmaker in forming the Punch Line.

The rest history of course... hired in part as Coach as it was felt he could calm Richard, bilingual, former popular player & so on. I wonder if Selke really knew how lucky he'd gotten when he was first deciding on a replacement for Irvin, as Blake went on to win 5 consecutive Stanley Cups in his first 5yrs behind the bench, and 3 more thereafter before retiring in 68. While I appreciated & respected the 70's Habs "flexibility" with respect to positional play, I actually preferred the "specialist" approach employed by Blake & others of the earlier era.... oh, and everytime I was in Montreal over the years I kept meaning to visit his tavern in that city, but always seemed to get waylayed or forgot about it. That wouldve been a treat to have visited Im sure.

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01-08-2013, 05:48 PM
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I was thinking about the 70's dynasty the other day and it may be the only dynasty in recent memory that didn't have an elite center. Red Wings had Yzerman, Pens had Lemieux, Oilers had Gretzky, Islanders had Trottier, Bruins had Espo, 50's and 60's Habs had Beliveau. True, they had Lemaire who was very good and Mahovlich was very good offensively, but neither are in the top 20 players of all time. Even the 60's Hawks had Mikita and 50's Wings had Delvecchio or Abel (can't recall who was the center). This is very unique, especially for a team considered the greatest of all time.

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01-08-2013, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
I was thinking about the 70's dynasty the other day and it may be the only dynasty in recent memory that didn't have an elite center. Red Wings had Yzerman, Pens had Lemieux, Oilers had Gretzky, Islanders had Trottier, Bruins had Espo, 50's and 60's Habs had Beliveau. True, they had Lemaire who was very good and Mahovlich was very good offensively, but neither are in the top 20 players of all time. Even the 60's Hawks had Mikita and 50's Wings had Delvecchio or Abel (can't recall who was the center). This is very unique, especially for a team considered the greatest of all time.
If you're going to call the modern Red Wings a "dynasty," I'd also include the modern Devils, who also didn't have an elite center.

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If I had to pick the greatest Coach of All Time, Id actually go with Toe Blake as opposed to Bowman
You and me both. Blake just seems more versatile than Bowman

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01-08-2013, 06:06 PM
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If you're going to call the modern Red Wings a "dynasty," I'd also include the modern Devils, who also didn't have an elite center.
True. Its not a surprise I forgot to include a team that blasted Lemaire coached.

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01-08-2013, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
I was thinking about the 70's dynasty the other day and it may be the only dynasty in recent memory that didn't have an elite center.
Very true, but looking at Lemaire alone, heres a guy who was beyond consistent & reliable, scoring 20G's or more in 12 seasons, seriously under-ranked IMHO. Apparently he'd practised his shot & passing skills using a heavy metal puck, seriously explaining how almost every pass he ever made was tape to tape, and when he scored himself, in the net before anyone else saw it. Heavy, on the ice or just barely off it, the hardest shots to stop. Pete Mahovlich was tremendous for several seasons as well with that huge reach of his, Shutt & Lafleur Deal Closers that'd kill ya of course.

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01-08-2013, 06:14 PM
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Playing the Hand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
If I had to pick the greatest Coach of All Time, Id actually go with Toe Blake as opposed to Bowman, though really, you wouldnt go far wrong with either of them. Blake was a "players Coach", obviously having played & starred with the Hab's prior to his career ending due to a badly broken leg. Apparently prior to joining the Canadiens (he'd signed with the Maroons from the OHA Hamilton Tigers, and prior to that he'd played in the Sudbury area growing up) he was known as a "tough guy", rather mercurial, however under Selke when acquired, teamed with Lach & Richard, where he turned into an excellent playmaker in forming the Punch Line.

The rest history of course... hired in part as Coach as it was felt he could calm Richard, bilingual, former popular player & so on. I wonder if Selke really knew how lucky he'd gotten when he was first deciding on a replacement for Irvin, as Blake went on to win 5 consecutive Stanley Cups in his first 5yrs behind the bench, and 3 more thereafter before retiring in 68. While I appreciated & respected the 70's Habs "flexibility" with respect to positional play, I actually preferred the "specialist" approach employed by Blake & others of the earlier era.... oh, and everytime I was in Montreal over the years I kept meaning to visit his tavern in that city, but always seemed to get waylayed or forgot about it. That wouldve been a treat to have visited Im sure.
Toe Blake's Tavern and Henri Richard's were regular treats.

The Blake or Bowman discussion is a separate issue. The Bowman vs his contemporaries is very interesting.

During his tenure as coach of the Canadiens, the team won the Stanley Cup five times without one AST quality center. H.Richard was well past AST prime in 1973 and Jacques Lemaire was a complete package at center. Yet in all circumstances against all opponents Scotty Bowman was able to find solutions in depth and variety to neutralize top centers on the opposition teams.

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01-08-2013, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Yet in all circumstances against all opponents Scotty Bowman was able to find solutions in depth and variety to neutralize top centers on the opposition teams.
Indeed. Obviously as most are aware, though its nice to have one or two high points getting Centres, if you dont have em, but you do have Wingers of the calibre Bowman enjoyed, you can find yourself actually being far better off. Quality & consistency down the middle, responsible two-way players like Lemaire with great vision able to deploy not one but two offensive weapons in Shutt & Lafleur, guys who could easily draw the opposition out of position leaving Jacques free to whack it in himself. Then you had the Powerplay, or not, the regular Defensive core & Utility Men, the guys on the point more than capable of letting fly.

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01-08-2013, 06:34 PM
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This thread has me oozing in pleasure: I'm subscribed

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01-08-2013, 06:41 PM
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****ing Canadiens of the 50's, 60,s, 70's. I hate them.

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01-08-2013, 06:45 PM
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What was Bowman's relationship like with Richard the few years he coached him? Anyone have any insight?

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01-08-2013, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The Blake or Bowman discussion is a separate issue. The Bowman vs his contemporaries is very interesting.
A "separate issue" is it? I'll decide that...................... decided. No, it's not. As for the rest; are you attempting to me Sir? Scotty Bowman vs. who? The Legendary John McClellan? The Inimitable Floyd Smith? Tricky Dicky Duff who lasted all of about 6 periods in the NHL behind the Leafs Bench?

... mebbe Red Kelly, with his "Pyramid Powers" huh? The Ubiquitous & Hang Dogged (literally from a rope controlled by Harold E. Ballard) Roger Nielson perhaps? Ya, thats really fair.


Last edited by Killion: 01-08-2013 at 06:58 PM.
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01-08-2013, 06:56 PM
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Big 3

Robinson, Lapointe, and Savard were all left handed shots. Curious as to who played the off side point the most? I have memories of people saying Savard played the right side the most and Robinson the left side the most with Lapointe somewhere inbetween. Is this correct?

Also, I know Robinson did play on the right point when he was partnered with Rod Langway when both Savard and Lapointe were out of the lineup. I'm sure they all played the right side at one point or another...How well did each of them handle it? Who was most comfortable, least comfortable, etc?

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01-08-2013, 07:13 PM
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****ing Canadiens of the 50's, 60,s, 70's. I hate them.
Ya. Bowman & the Habs of the 70's vs Billy Reay & the The Chicago Black Hawks or Emile "The Cat" Francis in New York. The Vancouver Canucks of their era. Mistakenly believing that the accumulation of Regular Season points and the Presidents Trophy was actually superior to winning the Stanley Cup.... the Darkness that was Harkness in Detroit. Oh, I could just go on & on.

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01-08-2013, 08:17 PM
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Ya. Bowman & the Habs of the 70's vs Billy Reay & the The Chicago Black Hawks or Emile "The Cat" Francis in New York. The Vancouver Canucks of their era. Mistakenly believing that the accumulation of Regular Season points and the Presidents Trophy was actually superior to winning the Stanley Cup.... the Darkness that was Harkness in Detroit. Oh, I could just go on & on.
What can I say. Better coaching, better clutch goaltending, better talent, better depth, better luck. Habs had it in spades.

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01-08-2013, 08:44 PM
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Very Good

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What was Bowman's relationship like with Richard the few years he coached him? Anyone have any insight?
Henri Richard hated to lose. Bowman valued this attribute

Bowman would give him key defensive assignments and play him with young or rookie wingers. 1974 playoffs against the Rangers started a line of Shutt/Richard/Lafleur that saw Larose replace Lafleur after a few blown defensive assignments.

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01-08-2013, 08:53 PM
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Other Coaches

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A "separate issue" is it? I'll decide that...................... decided. No, it's not. As for the rest; are you attempting to me Sir? Scotty Bowman vs. who? The Legendary John McClellan? The Inimitable Floyd Smith? Tricky Dicky Duff who lasted all of about 6 periods in the NHL behind the Leafs Bench?

... mebbe Red Kelly, with his "Pyramid Powers" huh? The Ubiquitous & Hang Dogged (literally from a rope controlled by Harold E. Ballard) Roger Nielson perhaps? Ya, thats really fair.
Shero, Arbour come to mind as excellent coaches. Cherry managed to get to the finals twice and semis once.

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01-08-2013, 09:15 PM
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Point

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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Robinson, Lapointe, and Savard were all left handed shots. Curious as to who played the off side point the most? I have memories of people saying Savard played the right side the most and Robinson the left side the most with Lapointe somewhere inbetween. Is this correct?

Also, I know Robinson did play on the right point when he was partnered with Rod Langway when both Savard and Lapointe were out of the lineup. I'm sure they all played the right side at one point or another...How well did each of them handle it? Who was most comfortable, least comfortable, etc?
Point as on the PP or at ES or both?

Until he retired Jacques Laperriere was a staple and exclusively a LD.Robinson broke in mainly as a LD so early on during Bowman's tenure Savard and Lapointe tended to the RD role.

Post Laperriere's injury/retirement they tended to rotate depending on who was in the 4th/5th dman role - Bouchard, Nyrop, Engblom of those who played multiple seasons and the strengths of the opposition or the type of PP that was required. At times Bowman would play Savard or Robinson as a forward in front of the net as a power center.

In terms of overall effectivenes Savard and Robinson were more or less equal on either side,with Lapointe very slightly behind on RD.

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01-08-2013, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Point as on the PP or at ES or both?

Until he retired Jacques Laperriere was a staple and exclusively a LD.Robinson broke in mainly as a LD so early on during Bowman's tenure Savard and Lapointe tended to the RD role.

Post Laperriere's injury/retirement they tended to rotate depending on who was in the 4th/5th dman role - Bouchard, Nyrop, Engblom of those who played multiple seasons and the strengths of the opposition or the type of PP that was required. At times Bowman would play Savard or Robinson as a forward in front of the net as a power center.

In terms of overall effectivenes Savard and Robinson were more or less equal on either side,with Lapointe very slightly behind on RD.
Thanks for your response. I was curious about both ES and PP situations separately. Am I reading your post correctly if I'm assuming the first paragraph was referring to ES and second paragraph about the PP?

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01-08-2013, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
I was thinking about the 70's dynasty the other day and it may be the only dynasty in recent memory that didn't have an elite center. Red Wings had Yzerman, Pens had Lemieux, Oilers had Gretzky, Islanders had Trottier, Bruins had Espo, 50's and 60's Habs had Beliveau. True, they had Lemaire who was very good and Mahovlich was very good offensively, but neither are in the top 20 players of all time. Even the 60's Hawks had Mikita and 50's Wings had Delvecchio or Abel (can't recall who was the center). This is very unique, especially for a team considered the greatest of all time.
I'll throw in the 1960s Leafs. Winners of three in a row. Keon was their best center. In my personal opinion he isn't that far above Lemaire, if at all.

The team with the deepest centers? The 1948 Maple Leafs had Kennedy, Apps and Bentley.

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01-08-2013, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
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I'll throw in the 1960s Leafs. Winners of three in a row. Keon was their best center. In my personal opinion he isn't that far above Lemaire, if at all.

The team with the deepest centers? The 1948 Maple Leafs had Kennedy, Apps and Bentley.
Yes thanks for adding them. I forgot to mention Messier for the Oilers and Francis for the Pens.

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01-08-2013, 11:40 PM
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I respect lemaire but to compare him to any elite center like Trottier and others is just plain wrong.Lafleur was so far ahead of his line mates its almost comical.Except for 1 season 74-75 When LAFLEUR was hurt and Maholovich led team in assists all other seasons Lafleur led team in assists as a winger.He led team in assists in 7 yrs.In 78-79 he outscored his teamate shutt by 50 plus pts.Lafleur's plus minus was over 100 over any forward.Lafleur created most of the plays by his passing which was incredible

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01-08-2013, 11:43 PM
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Offensive and Defensive Game

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Thanks for your response. I was curious about both ES and PP situations separately. Am I reading your post correctly if I'm assuming the first paragraph was referring to ES and second paragraph about the PP?
Let's approach this from a an offensive and defensive perspective.

The Canadiens during Bowman's tenure focused on defence. They were a defence first team. Offence in the NHL tended to be RW oriented. More offensive talent and depth on the RW and most of the rushing defensemen played RD. So on the PK and at ES there were advantages to be able to get 60 minutes of ice time from your best defensemen at the LD position supported by your best defensive forwards playing LW. The diversity of forward talent combined with Bob Gainey supported the LW.

During the Bowman tenure the Canadiens favoured a five man defensive rotation eventually built around the Big 3. This would be augmented with players like Jim Roberts, Rick Chartraw, Pierre Bouchard who would swing between forward and defence. Question of need and circumstances.

The interesting part was how the Big 3 were rotated for defensive purposes. Basic idea was to disrupt the opposition by not having any patterns or tendencies so that individual defensemen could not be targeted and on every shift the opposition would have to adjust. This had the additional advantage of splitting the workload of facing a prime elite RW like a Mike Bossy or RD like Brad Park amongst three instead of two elite defensemen.

Offensively the same approach was used at ES and during the PP. Basic idea was exploiting weaknesses and neutralizing opposition strengths. Watch the Guy Lafleur goal in Game 7, 1979 game against Boston:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12-x70nq0vI

Attack up the RW away from Brad Park, kept wider by Steve Shutt. Serge Savard is playing the RD, sets a nice pick:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12-x70nq0vI

Also the various Big 3 pairings would switch LD/RD during a game or even a shift.

See the OT goal by Yvon Lambert in OT from the same game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l22FV4105p8

Savard makes the key defensive play as a LD transitioning smoothly to a RW rush.

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01-08-2013, 11:50 PM
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Dave Keon

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I'll throw in the 1960s Leafs. Winners of three in a row. Keon was their best center. In my personal opinion he isn't that far above Lemaire, if at all.

The team with the deepest centers? The 1948 Maple Leafs had Kennedy, Apps and Bentley.
Dave Keon was the 1961-62 2nd team all star. Kennedy made a few ASTs.

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01-09-2013, 03:59 PM
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Dave Keon was the 1961-62 2nd team all star. Kennedy made a few ASTs.
He made two 2nd team all-stars with the other one being in 1971. He is a clear notch below most other dynasty top centers.

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