Hockey Night in Buffalo

A lot of sports networks are broadcasting classic games with no live events to cover and MSG is no different showing Buffalo Sabres games from mostly within the past twenty years or so. I’ve looked in a little bit, but haven’t been hanging on every word. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always fun to see the Maple Leafs blow a lead and the good guys win, but beyond a brief look I haven’t been loitering until the latest game debuted.

Programmers dusted off the second game of the 1975 series between the Sabres and Montreal Canadiens.

Maybe it was the lineups, maybe the low camera angles, the advertisement free ice and boards, the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, but it was a different game in 1975 and played by those teams very well.

I was transfixed. My favorite Sabre ever is Gil Perreault and to look back and see him at his peak was a real treat. The shifts seemed longer then so you got a good look at your heroes. It was also fun to see Rick Martin and the complete game that he had as well as the way Don Luce, Craig Ramsay and Danny Care could frustrate the opposing big line.
The Canadiens were rock stars too. The following season they would go on a string of Stanley Cup wins, but I don’t think I had seen footage of Henri Richard playing since this game was played.

A season or two later, these two teams would put on the most exciting 0-0 tie ever played, no penalties, just people like Perreault, Rick Martin, Guy LaFleur, Yvonne Cournoyer showing off skills at such a high level it should be hockey fan recruiting film.

For the unitiated, you couldn’t buy a ticket to a Sabres game in the 70s. Happenstance took my dad and i to a couple of games then. When the Sabres made their first visit to the playoffs, my grandmother was visiting from football crazy Akron, Ohio and given that no major league played hockey there couldn’t understand what the fuss was about.

She learned that Ken Dryden was okay, because his older brother Dave was the backup goalie for Buffalo in 1973, but that if your name was Mahovolich, we weren’t crazy about you.

It was a real trip to watch this the other night to see those things. It might have been Henri Richard’s last series. The Sabres later won the series, but from the look of the Aud and the nature of the game, longer shifts, wooden sticks, silver skate blades, the brown goalie pads sported by both Ken Dryden and Roger Crozier, I was fascinated, despite knowing the ending.

For this lifelong hockey fan, must see tv. For all the recent mediorce seasons, it was nice to be 11 once again and getting to stay up late to see the good guys win.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.