Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Team Canada '72, Intra-Squad Game 3

From the Canadian Press, Aug 28, 1972. With less than one week before the first game with the Russians, Harry Sinden expresses some concern about the impending pressure the series will inflict on his squad.
 Right now Harry Sinden is worried more about 'poise' than conditioning of Team Canada for it's forthcoming exhibition hockey series with the Soviet Union. “I hope we don't get so high that we're emotionally stupid. We could forget to put the puck in the net.”

Comparing his current squad to his Whitby Dunlop team of 1958 Sinden says, “These Team Canada pros are more poised and mature than we were. But under the pressure of what winning the series means to Canada there might be a tendency to lose some poise. When that happens, you lose some of your ability.

'Shoot that Puck' Sinden tells troops
This was the headline in the Montreal Gazette on August 28, 1972 as Sinden continues to hammer home his demand to keep pressure on the Russian goaltenders.

Too many members of Team Canada are passing the puck...and passing the buck in the process. “The drop pass – it's a lousy play every time,” Harry Sinden moaned yesterday as he stepped up his squad's shooting drills and outlawed the annoying practice. “It's a lazy man's way of playing the game,” he explained. “The open man should be driving for the net not hanging behind the puck carrier.”

He's been hollering for two weeks: “Shoot, Shoot!” But his orders have had little impact. Sinden's strategy in the Canada-Russia series is built largely on a bombardment of the Soviets nets, hopefully taking advantage of real or imagined weaknesses of their goaltenders. To that end, he has instructed his players to fire away on every available opportunity tonight in the final tuneup game.

In other news, Team Canada got clearance yesterday from Boston Bruins to play Bobby Orr against the Russians as soon as the young defenceman feels his ailing left knee is ready. Rumours swirled that Orr would start scrimmaging today. “No, not for a few more days,” Orr answered, admitting there was still some pain.

John Ferguson said earlier yesterday that Orr might be ready for the game at Vancouver, but the Boston defenceman said he doubted he would be in shape for any of the Canadian games.

Aug. 28, 1972 Intra-Squad Game Three

Montreal Gazette Sports Editor, Ted Blackman describes how Sinden's decision for the opening game roster was made easier by the lack lustre effort of some of the players.

Harry Sinden's worrisome chore of separating the gold from the glitter simplified itself last night as a handful of possible starters loafed their way out of the opening lineup, conclusive intra-squad game. Harry's Horses walloped Fergy's Ponies 6-2, scoring four unanswered first-period goals, and it became clearer every minute the majority of the personnel to play in Saturday's Russia-Canada opener were on the head coach's side. “A lot of guys weren't working out there,” Sinden said. “Some people we were counting on didn't play well. Some of them might think it's going to be Howdy Doody Time against Russia. They're dead wrong. And they've made some of my decisions a lot easier.”

Again, the most surprising line of the three-week camp offered most of the entertainment. Bobby Clarke, centering Leafs' Paul Henderson and Ron Ellis, scored one goal and Henderson chipped in two. Hadfield, Gilbert and Redmond also scored for the winners. All six were put behind Tony Esposito, although Sinden said “he didn't have a chance on any of them.” Still he may have lost in a close race for the opening-game assignment with Ken Dryden, flawless in his best performance.

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