Black Dog has already touched on some of the problems with the Canadian roster of 37 [count 'em!] out-of shape guys.
For Harry Sinden, the Canadian leg of the series became a series of exhibition games, searching for 19 guys who could do it.
Hadfield Ratelle Gilbert
Ellis Clarke Henderson
After the debacle in Montreal, Team Canada swung into Plan B for Games 2 and 3.
Even though Plan B had worked, someone decided to implement Option 3, Operation MacBlender, in Vancouver.
- The Canadiens pair of Cournoyer and Mahovlich.
- The third pair had new boy Dennis Hull on Left Wing while Bill Goldsworthy returned on the Right.
Additional changes saw the return of Dryden in goal, so to did the defense pair of Seiling and Awrey.
Option 3 failed.
Bobrov had last change in Game 4. He didn't seem to worry about match-ups as long as Kharmolov was kept away from Ron Ellis [my favourite player in those pre-WHA days].
So, seven minutes in and its 2-0 USSR. Canada's pressing and Option 3 sees the forward lines constantly evolving. Its a scrappy game. It feels like were going shift after shift without any real scoring chances. Id get all the players noted, they'd bang the puck around for 90 seconds. Change. Id note all the players. They'd bang the puck around. Change. Note. Bang the puck around. Change. Note. Bang. Change.
Funny thing is, I recorded about the same number of events for both Games 4 & 5. It sure didnt feel like it.
I recently found a copy of the September 1971 issue of Hockey World magazine in my moms basement [ed. Insert blogger joke here]. The cover reads:
It started on another ineffectual Canadian power-play. The puck is passed back to Dryden. He stops it. The fans cheer. The restless Vancouverians jeer and catcall as the Soviets build their lead. After the game, Phil Esposito make his famous Disappointed speech.
The Rangers pair of Hadfield and Gilbert played their last shift midway through the third. Neither were particularly bad, but not good either. Gilbert did have a goal disallowed [fairly] in the 2nd period. Hadfield didnt play again in the Series. He did play in Sweden, however, cutting the Swedish Captain open with a two-hander across the chops.
Dennis Hull scored a late goal for Canada. A nice goal. Other than that he spent his first game blasting shots at Tretiak from the blueline. He was also Minus-7 in Scoring Chances, the team leader.
Why him and not Jean Pronovost, another right winger, but with better stats?
[Plus, Pronovosts smarter, right? Gotta be.] Now that I'm at it, where were Fred Stanfield and Jacques Lemaire two smart & skilled guys who scored more than a Point-per-Game. And did Vadnais turn them down, or was it no Seals allowed?
I'll try to find out. (Colin emailed me afterwards to note that Vadnais was no longer a Seal so this reference was incorrect but perhaps they didn't even want former Seals? Sorry LT. ;) )
So here are the totals: Corsi ES 68-64, PP 6-3, SH 1-7, Total 75-74 Scoring Chances ES 27-26, PP 3-0, SH 0-2 Total 30-28