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Question for the old-timers: Serge Savard

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02-23-2011, 10:40 AM
  #1
vadim sharifijanov
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Question for the old-timers: Serge Savard

question for those who saw him play: how good was serge savard defensively before his injuries? i know that he could rush the puck and won a conn smythe before he crashed into a goal post and broke his leg in multiple places. and then he hurt his ankle during the summit series.

was he as good, or close to as good, defensively before the injuries, or did his defensive game come after he lost a lot of his mobility like, say, dave babych?

a couple of other questions: 1. how good do you think he could have been had he not had the injuries? are we talking about robinson or pronger territory, or were his offensive skills not at that level? how much defense do you think he would have sacrificed to be more of a two-way d-man?

2. from reputation, i always thought of him as a great leader and a beliveau type of influence on the last habs dynasty, but looking it up, it seems he wasn't captain until the last year of the dynasty. what was his leadership role on those habs teams? was he the real leader, only cournoyer had seniority?

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02-24-2011, 08:43 AM
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Dalton
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Savard won eight cups in 14 years with the Habs. Two of those years he played only 60 games due to his injury. He also played in the Russia Canada Summit series. He only played 5 of the eight games and Canada went 4-0-1 in those games. In his second full season with the Habs he became the first defenceman to win the Conn Smythe.

He along with Guy La Pointe and Larry Robinson on the Canadians are generally considered the best ever blue line.

Savard only had 1 strong offensive year but playing with Guy LaFleur who Scotty Bowman called the best player of the 70's, he didn't really have to be. He was simply the reason along with Dryden that that team was so dominating defensively and with LaFleur why it was so dominating offensively.

He was brilliant positionally on defence often making TV analyst's game stoppage hi-lite. He consistantly forced the opposing forwards to the outside making Dryden's game easier, collected the loose puck and calmly cleared the puck from the zone to the likes of Lafleur.

When he played the puck was always in the other teams end of the ice. Robinson and La Pointe were great but with Savard on the ice you were lucky to get a bad angle shot away at Dryden before the Canadians were flying into your zone.

IMHO one of the most under rated defencemen ever to play the game. Likely because of the impact of his injury, his quiet efficiency and the presence of guys like Orr, Potvin, Park and his team mates.

The guy was sublime. I'd have him on my team ahead of any defenceman in the game today. A no- brainer IMHO. Add him to any of the top three cup favourites and it's no longer a discussion about who'll win the cup this year. It becomes a discussion about who can stop them.

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02-24-2011, 09:31 AM
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He had very good offensive skills as well, including the "Savardian Spinorama" which he used to evade checkers prior to setting up a play or taking a shot.

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02-24-2011, 01:43 PM
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Hawkey Town 18
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Anyone know what side he normally played on?

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02-24-2011, 03:50 PM
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Big Phil
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Savard is a rare case of a player who you won't get the story on him from looking at Norris voting records and such. He's underrated.

Paul Henderson quoted in his book saying that in the 1972 Summit Series he always felt better to know that Savard was playing in the game. Savard was injured the three times Canada lost. Coincidence? I don't think so and this isn't something you can pick up by scrolling down his stats either.

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02-24-2011, 04:10 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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My forever standing memory of him was in game 7 of the 1979 Conference Finals. He was unbelievable that game. He was so strong defensively and Bowman had him stand in front of Gilbert on the pp. That series was the last of the great Serge Savard.

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02-24-2011, 04:15 PM
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Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
My forever standing memory of him was in game 7 of the 1979 Conference Finals. He was unbelievable that game. He was so strong defensively and Bowman had him stand in front of Gilbert on the pp. That series was the last of the great Serge Savard.
When Nifty Middleton tried a cute little move in overtime that game Savard would have none of that. He took the puck right off his stick like he was a toddler and fed Tremblay who hit Lambert for the goal. No one remembers that play which could have easily gone the other way (come on it was Middleton, he made that play in his sleep) because the replays of the goal rarely go that far. Savard was also on the ice for the Henderson goal and the Sittler Canada Cup goal in 1976. Underrated, steady, quiet, but dominant? You bet.

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02-24-2011, 08:05 PM
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Mr Atoz*
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Savard was a very good player on a great team. The canadiens would have won without him but he would not have won without them.

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02-25-2011, 07:37 AM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
When Nifty Middleton tried a cute little move in overtime that game Savard would have none of that. He took the puck right off his stick like he was a toddler and fed Tremblay who hit Lambert for the goal. No one remembers that play which could have easily gone the other way (come on it was Middleton, he made that play in his sleep) because the replays of the goal rarely go that far. Savard was also on the ice for the Henderson goal and the Sittler Canada Cup goal in 1976. Underrated, steady, quiet, but dominant? You bet.
Ah yes, thanks Phil. A defining play.

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02-25-2011, 03:24 PM
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Psycho Papa Joe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Atoz View Post
Savard was a very good player on a great team. The canadiens would have won without him but he would not have won without them.
No, he was an excellent player on a great team. Magically remove him from Montreal's roster and add him to Philly's, the Isles' or Boston's and the Habs have less cups and one of those teams has more. Of what I saw of his peak, he was for the most part one of the 5 or 6 best d-men in the NHL.

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02-26-2011, 02:44 AM
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VMBM
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Made a huge impression on me, when I first saw the 1972 Summit series games a few years back. He wasn't such a key player in the last game, though, but other than that, he was brilliant. I remember him often controlling the tempo of the game(s) and making everything look so easy... and of course, the spinorama fooled many USSR forwards!

IMO Savard was not at his best in the 1976 Canada Cup; he made untypical amount of errors and was often on the ice when the opponents (like Czechoslovakia) scored. In a 'fantasy hockey land', Savard-Orr probably would be my dream defensive pairing, but it wasn't as great as it should've been in 1976 - again, in my opinion.

Agreed that he was awesome in the 1979 semi-final (g7), both defensively and offensively (PP).

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