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How Do You Rank the 1973 Montreal Canadiens?

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Old
07-19-2010, 10:06 PM
  #1
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How Do You Rank the 1973 Montreal Canadiens?

52-10-16 for 120 points and 184 goals against. Beat Buffalo 4-2, Philly 4-1 and won the cup over Chicago 4-2. This was a great team, right before the dynastic mid to late 70's Habs teams that dominated the NHL. Were do they rank as far as greatest teams?

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07-19-2010, 10:26 PM
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Transition Team

Quote:
Originally Posted by FASTHANDS View Post
52-10-16 for 120 points and 184 goals against. Beat Buffalo 4-2, Philly 4-1 and won the cup over Chicago 4-2. This was a great team, right before the dynastic mid to late 70's Habs teams that dominated the NHL. Were do they rank as far as greatest teams?
Transition team between the veteran teams of the late 1960's early 1970's and the late 1970's. In the playoffs Henri Richard outscored Guy Lafleur.

The record was attractive but it was also evident that the team would have to take a step or two backwards before moving ahead. P & F Mahovlich were not viewed as long term keepers. Houle and Tardiff had not progressed as hoped. Lefley and Larose were stop gap and it was clear that Murdoch and Hoganson were not long term defensive solutions. Plasse and Thomas as back-ups were rather iffy in nets.

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07-20-2010, 12:27 AM
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Someone once said on here that the 1973 Habs should be taken with a grain of salt because at that time the WHA had just started and depleted teams like the Bruins of top players. Well, keep in mind the Habs lost J-C Tremblay as well. I think bridging the gap might be the best way to describe this team. Shutt, Lafleur and Robinson were all very young and not the impact players they would become. Gainey was drafted a month after they won the Cup.

Their legacy might just be a team that is known for having the most HHOFers (11) on a team at once.

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07-22-2010, 04:14 AM
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Probably outside the top 10 teams ever because of factors already listed and that they didn't romp through the playoffs. They needed a lot of OT victories to escape tight series early on, whereas in a league similarly watered down 5 years later, their 76 and 77 teams faced almost no roadblocks on the way to a cup. Lots of depth in scoring but few amazing players. As good as Cournoyer, Mahovlich and Lemaire were, none could match Lafleur in his prime.

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07-27-2010, 07:17 PM
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Not far off the 76-79 teams if you ask me. Had a little trouble with the Flyers, unlike in '76 and the Hawks refused to go away quietly in the finale. Sidenote, anyone know where I can get game 5 of that series. I want to see a goaltending clinic!

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10-10-2013, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FASTHANDS* View Post
52-10-16 for 120 points and 184 goals against. Beat Buffalo 4-2, Philly 4-1 and won the cup over Chicago 4-2. This was a great team, right before the dynastic mid to late 70's Habs teams that dominated the NHL. Were do they rank as far as greatest teams?
Greatest defense ever....The Big Three(Robinson, Savard, Lapointe) with Hall-of-famer Laperriere. Dryden had one of his best seasons. Bowman as coach, Pollock as GM and Pocket Rocket as team captain they are underrated. The line of Big M, Coco and the Road Runner was on fire that year. Habs only lost 10 games all year and dominated the playoffs. Mixed with perfect blend of young future stars like Lafleur, Shutt and Tardif and seasoned vets like Richard, Pete Mahovlich and Larose. That one of greatest teams ever.

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10-10-2013, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mats86 View Post
Greatest defense ever....The Big Three(Robinson, Savard, Lapointe) with Hall-of-famer Laperriere. Dryden had one of his best seasons. Bowman as coach, Pollock as GM and Pocket Rocket as team captain they are underrated. The line of Big M, Coco and the Road Runner was on fire that year. Habs only lost 10 games all year and dominated the playoffs. Mixed with perfect blend of young future stars like Lafleur, Shutt and Tardif and seasoned vets like Richard, Pete Mahovlich and Larose. That one of greatest teams ever.
No question they are one of the best, although it is important to note out of the big three on defense Robinson wasn't elite yet. It makes me wonder though, does this team beat the Bruins in 1973 if they hadn't of lost Cheevers, Sanderson, McKenzie, etc. and if Esposito doesn't get hurt? I have a feeling a healthy Esposito and the Bruins beat the Rangers. Interesting, but still can't take anything away from this team.

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10-10-2013, 06:51 PM
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I'd say strong...to very strong

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10-10-2013, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
No question they are one of the best, although it is important to note out of the big three on defense Robinson wasn't elite yet. It makes me wonder though, does this team beat the Bruins in 1973 if they hadn't of lost Cheevers, Sanderson, McKenzie, etc. and if Esposito doesn't get hurt? I have a feeling a healthy Esposito and the Bruins beat the Rangers. Interesting, but still can't take anything away from this team.
Robinson was stellar in playoffs...scored a big overtime goal against Philly if I remember right. It was either against Philly or Buffalo. That was probably best defense ever formed. In the NHL anyway.

Bruins had Sanderson back, Habs also lost JC Tremblay. I imagine Habs would be favorite to beat Bruins as same team who beat them in '71.

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10-10-2013, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Mats86 View Post
Robinson was stellar in playoffs...scored a big overtime goal against Philly if I remember right. It was either against Philly or Buffalo. That was probably best defense ever formed. In the NHL anyway.

Bruins had Sanderson back, Habs also lost JC Tremblay. I imagine Habs would be favorite to beat Bruins as same team who beat them in '71.
Yeah but Robinson wasn't quite Robinson yet if you know what I mean.

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10-10-2013, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Transition team between the veteran teams of the late 1960's early 1970's and the late 1970's. In the playoffs Henri Richard outscored Guy Lafleur.

The record was attractive but it was also evident that the team would have to take a step or two backwards before moving ahead. P & F Mahovlich were not viewed as long term keepers. Houle and Tardiff had not progressed as hoped. Lefley and Larose were stop gap and it was clear that Murdoch and Hoganson were not long term defensive solutions. Plasse and Thomas as back-ups were rather iffy in nets.
Yes, transition. Maybe the greatest team ever (at least with the most HOFer's) where very few players were at their peak in their careers. I think that's what makes this team so unique.

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10-10-2013, 08:55 PM
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Yes, transition. Maybe the greatest team ever (at least with the most HOFer's) where very few players were at their peak in their careers. I think that's what makes this team so unique.
I think it is important to really ask, who WAS at the peak of their careers at this time on the Habs?

Not Shutt, Lafleur, Laperierre, Richard, Robinson, F. Mahovlich, even P. Mahovlich.

Savard and Lapointe were right in the mix. Dryden was in the mix. Cournoyer was pretty well in his prime.

Still a potent team.

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10-10-2013, 09:41 PM
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At the 1972-73 regular season's end, Sports Illustrated's cover had a photo of Henri Richard with the title of the story, "The Now and Future Champs." SI, at least, thought that team was the beginning of a dynasty. But Dryden's decision to drop out to article for a year ruined any chance of that. And SI failed to take into consideration that this team had some players approaching decline. But the headline did indeed turn out to be correct; SI was just a couple of years off on when the Habs would be champs in the future, and they were right about that season's team.

The cover:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/8325/index.htm[/url]

The story:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...7200/index.htm

Still, this was one of the very best of NHL teams. This Cup came midway through that truly unique period of NHL history when, from 1965 to 1979, the Canadiens won 10 of 15 Stanley Cup competitions, a magnificent accomplishment.

Edit: Sorry I didn't check the link for the cover. Here's a link that works.


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...8325/index.htm

And here's SI's story on the next season's team, "A Dynasty Imperiled," which documents why the Canadiens lost ground.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...8372/index.htm


Last edited by Peter9: 10-11-2013 at 01:04 PM.
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10-11-2013, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter9 View Post
At the 1972-73 regular season's end, Sports Illustrated's cover had a photo of Henri Richard with the title of the story, "The Now and Future Champs." SI, at least, thought that team was the beginning of a dynasty. But Dryden's decision to drop out to article for a year ruined any chance of that. And SI failed to take into consideration that this team had some players approaching decline. But the headline did indeed turn out to be correct; SI was just a couple of years off on when the Habs would be champs in the future, and they were right about that season's team.

The cover:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/8325/index.htm[/url]

The story:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...7200/index.htm

Still, this was one of the very best of NHL teams. This Cup came midway through that truly unique period of NHL history when, from 1965 to 1979, the Canadiens won 10 of 15 Stanley Cup competitions, a magnificent accomplishment.
Hey, good article...lot in there i didn't know...Bowman was his own Sabremetric before there was computers

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10-11-2013, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I think it is important to really ask, who WAS at the peak of their careers at this time on the Habs?

Not Shutt, Lafleur, Laperierre, Richard, Robinson, F. Mahovlich, even P. Mahovlich.

Savard and Lapointe were right in the mix. Dryden was in the mix. Cournoyer was pretty well in his prime.

Still a potent team.
Why not the Mahovlichs? Both played for Team Canada that year. They ere at top of their game. Frank had one of his best seasons playing with Yvan and Lemaire.

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10-11-2013, 01:44 PM
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Why not the Mahovlichs? Both played for Team Canada that year. They ere at top of their game. Frank had one of his best seasons playing with Yvan and Lemaire.
Frank was close to his prime, in fact, Frank was good right until the end of his NHL career in 1974, but I still think a 1960s Mahovlich trumps a 34 year old Frank. As for Pete, he was rather close to his prime, but still not in it yet. That of course doesn't mean that these fellas weren't still fine hockey players.

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10-13-2013, 09:28 AM
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Frank was close to his prime, in fact, Frank was good right until the end of his NHL career in 1974, but I still think a 1960s Mahovlich trumps a 34 year old Frank. As for Pete, he was rather close to his prime, but still not in it yet. That of course doesn't mean that these fellas weren't still fine hockey players.
The Roadrunner/Mahovlich line was on fire that playoff year. Arguably for playoffs that was best line Habs ever had. I think Frank was better '71-'73 than as a Leaf/Wing as Pollock/Bowman was able to get the best out of him. His career was sliding until Montreal got him. Pete was at his prime...remember the Summit Series shorthanded goal? I remember Lefley was playing with Tardif in '73 playoffs but can't remember if it was with Pocket or big Pete. I remember it as a big fast line so think Pete. Pocket was with Lafleur on third line

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10-16-2013, 04:15 PM
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Frank was close to his prime, in fact, Frank was good right until the end of his NHL career in 1974, but I still think a 1960s Mahovlich trumps a 34 year old Frank. As for Pete, he was rather close to his prime, but still not in it yet. That of course doesn't mean that these fellas weren't still fine hockey players.
I'd say Pete was in his prime. He was 26 at the time. He had two seasons of 35 goals, with an off year at 21. He would follow it up with 3 more seasons of 30+ goals.

Cournoyer, Lemaire, Lapointe, Savard and Laperriere were in their prime. Although Lappy was starting to get injured a lot. Of course, Dryden was in his prime.

Then there was Frank who was rejuvenated in Montreal with seasons of 96 and 93 points.

In all, this is not a typical transition team as the guys in their prime are still Hall of Famers. A few of the older guys are passing the torch, Richard to Lafleur, Frank to Pete, Lappy to Big Bird. It's still a well built team, with great goaltending, solid defense and very good offense. Is it a sign of things to come. Hard to say. Lemaire, Pete M and Cournoyer still perform to the same level or better in the future, but Lafleur and Shutt have not shown what they will accomplish yet and Tardif and Houle leave to join the WHA. The defense and goaltending will remain mostly intact though which is the anchor for any team.

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10-16-2013, 05:44 PM
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The Roadrunner/Mahovlich line was on fire that playoff year. Arguably for playoffs that was best line Habs ever had. I think Frank was better '71-'73 than as a Leaf/Wing as Pollock/Bowman was able to get the best out of him. His career was sliding until Montreal got him. Pete was at his prime...remember the Summit Series shorthanded goal? I remember Lefley was playing with Tardif in '73 playoffs but can't remember if it was with Pocket or big Pete. I remember it as a big fast line so think Pete. Pocket was with Lafleur on third line
Pete had better seasons though in 1975 and 1976. You may be right about Frank though. Thanks to Imlach's tough practices there was often times when Frank didn't have anything left in the tank. So no question, still an elite Frank in 1973. But I'm still going to say an early 1960s Frank wins this one.

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10-17-2013, 07:23 AM
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Pete had better seasons though in 1975 and 1976. You may be right about Frank though. Thanks to Imlach's tough practices there was often times when Frank didn't have anything left in the tank. So no question, still an elite Frank in 1973. But I'm still going to say an early 1960s Frank wins this one.
I think Frank was better as a Hab than as a Leaf. Pollock was able to re-energize his carrer. Paid him well, gave him the penthouse treatment and played him with star players. The Big M underachieved in Toronto. Leafs not a class organization, never used their stars well. Later seen with Keon, McDonald and then Sittler.

If Frank would have played his whole career in Montreal he would have been one of best players to ever play the game, like a Beliveau. He wasted a lot of good years in Toronto.

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10-17-2013, 04:43 PM
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I think Frank was better as a Hab than as a Leaf. Pollock was able to re-energize his carrer. Paid him well, gave him the penthouse treatment and played him with star players. The Big M underachieved in Toronto. Leafs not a class organization, never used their stars well. Later seen with Keon, McDonald and then Sittler.

If Frank would have played his whole career in Montreal he would have been one of best players to ever play the game, like a Beliveau. He wasted a lot of good years in Toronto.
Possibly, but he had way more offensive support in Montreal. His years were only wasted because of the idiocy of Imlach and the tight leash he put on him, as well as his abusive behavior toward him. I don't think the NHL ever really got to see the best out of a young Frank because of this.

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10-17-2013, 09:28 PM
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Possibly, but he had way more offensive support in Montreal. His years were only wasted because of the idiocy of Imlach and the tight leash he put on him, as well as his abusive behavior toward him. I don't think the NHL ever really got to see the best out of a young Frank because of this.
Ya, big problem for the Big M. Punch Imlach. Here the guy won the Calder in 58 (?) beating out Bobby Hull, then at just 23 scores 48 Goals with something like 11 games remaining, potentially breaking Richards record, inexplicably going into a slump. Not only was Imlach merciless on him, so too were the fans at the Gardens who got on his case feeling he was holding back. So ya, during his prime as an athlete, crippled somewhat by nervous tension & depression. Had 3 excellent years in Detroit prior to Montreal as well, most notably playing with Howe & Delvecchio where he put up some serious numbers.

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10-17-2013, 10:06 PM
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then at just 23 scores 48 Goals with something like 11 games remaining, potentially breaking Richards record, inexplicably going into a slump.
Wow, never knew he had 11 games left to break the record. That really is an accomplishment. Do you think that slump was inexplicable or did Imlach purposely limit his ice time, pp time or heap more abuse on him? What could the fans have been so riled up about? A Leaf is about to break a Frenchman's record. You'd think they'd be on his side, but it sounds like Imlach had the fans brainwashed. I really think a lot of the abuse he took had to do with his foreign name, despite the diverse ethnicity of Toronto. My assumption is that it was mostly transplanted British that were into hockey at that time and they would not support a foreigner excelling at our game. Might have happened to Mikita had he not had the fortune to be drafted by Chicago. I don't know really. Just speculating. Thoughts?

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10-17-2013, 10:58 PM
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You'd think they'd be on his side, but it sounds like Imlach had the fans brainwashed. I really think a lot of the abuse he took had to do with his foreign name, despite the diverse ethnicity of Toronto. My assumption is that it was mostly transplanted British that were into hockey at that time and they would not support a foreigner excelling at our game. Might have happened to Mikita had he not had the fortune to be drafted by Chicago. I don't know really. Just speculating. Thoughts?
No, not to my knowledge LBD, no issues of ethnic racism from the public nor within the ranks of players. Canada was (still is) back then a major melting pot, particularly post war with massive immigration from Eastern Europe, Italy etc. For sure there was some xenophobia on the street, in the workplace, but I dont recall anything like that ever being directed at Mahovlich. As for Imlach, I really dont know. Possible but I doubt it. I think he just rode Frank because Frank was/is beyond a Gentleman, respectful & polite, would essentially just sit there & take the abuse in stoney silence as would everyone else whatever his last name be it Brewer or Walton or you name it.... and it was 1960/61 that he topped out at 48 Goals with actually (my mistake) 14 (not 11) games left before hitting a wall. Played on a line with Red Kelly & Bob Nevin. Could well be Imlach started messing with him then as if he'd broken Richards record he'd have been asking for more money & old Punch along with Smythe & Ballard were as cheap as they came. So instead of celebrating a wonderful season for Frank, the fans actually got on his case for failing to hit 50 while very likely behind the scenes Imlach was riding him on the pine & verbally. Very strange isnt it? The Leafs played a Defensive System, Traps. Highly creative play was discouraged, ridiculed by Imlach and his boring style won Cups. As a result, the fans loved him.

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10-18-2013, 02:23 AM
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Yeah but Robinson wasn't quite Robinson yet if you know what I mean.
He was only a support player in 73 and played in 11 of the Habs 17 playoff games.

As for the OP, a great season but not one of the all time great teams IMO. The later 70's Habs were much stronger teams with more star players in their peaks and primes.

They had lots of depth in a league that really suffered from the WHA competing at the same time.

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