Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|NHL Greatest Games in Montreal Canadiens History|
Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 11/04/2008 Rating: Nr
The Greatest Team - Classic Games (mostly)
Arnold | Vancouver B.C. | 11/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With 24 Stanley Cups and countless memorable games in their hundred year history, selecting ten 'greatest games' is a difficult task indeed!. However, given the requirement of a decent video source, this DVD set was restricted to materials mostly drawn from the 1970's and up. This is a real shame, since so much of the legend and lore surrounding the Habs was forged in earlier decades. I personally am aware of at least a few complete Montreal games from the 1950's and 1960's that have been broadcast on classic sports TV stations, so only selecting the single 1960 game as a representation is somewhat disappointing. As well, for those who are afficianados of the team, the omission of the 1971 semi-final comeback against the Boston Bruins or the Cup winning seventh game that same season seems a bit perplexing. The 1965 seventh game against Chicago, 1966 overtime Cup winning game against Detroit, 1973 Cup winning game, 1976 taking the championship from Philly were some other candidates that come immediately to mind.
However, acknowledging such restrictions, the package that was put together is a very solid and worthwhile product. Mostly, a very good cross section of important games and milestones from the mid nineteen seventies to the present.
This is my subjective opinion about each game in this package.I'm only going by memory, so I apologize for any inaccuracies.
1) the 1960 Cup Final deciding game between Leafs and Canadiens. You really can't get a better historical document to appreciate the accomplishment of this majestic dynasty in it's nineteen fifties incarnation. This was the fifth of the five successive Cup wins of Toe Blake's team - and the very last game ever played by icon Rocket Richard. Though far from being near peak form, the Rocket still can light the red lamp, and scores on a neat backhander past surprised Johnny Bower. Both teams are oozing with Hall-of-Fame players. Many of whom would go on to win other championships during the next decade. The Richard Brothers, Beliveau, Harvey, Geoffrion, Moore, Johnson, Plante - just some of those hall-of-Famers on the Montreal side.
2) The 1977 Final Cup game against Don Cherry's Boston Bruins. This Montreal team may have had the very best season of any team in hockey history. Only 8 losses in an 80 game season, with dominant team numbers, personal records and award winners.Scotty Bowman's best team - with Hall-of-Famers Dryden, Lapointe, Savard, Robinson, Lafleur, Shutt, Gainey, Lemaire. Of note is the fact that probably ninety percent of the Montreal roster went on to have notable careers in management and coaching.The best of the late seventies four-in-a-row champions.
3) The 1975 New Year's Eve gam against the Russian Army. The roster of Montreal was very similar to the 1977 team, but they were just a few months from winning the first of their four successive Stanley Cups (against Philadelphia) so, technically, weren't entering the game with the status of defending Cup winner, though they would soon earn that title. This 3 - 3 game was 'disappointing' for Montreal fans because their team dominated the game and easily should have won. However, the netminding of Tretiak was superior to Dryden that night, and the tie probably was a faie result. Foe technical fans of the sport, this was one of the most spectacular and sparkling displays. Crisp passing, high skill at top speed, end to end action - an electric atmosphere. Bob Gainey, till then a relatively unheralded defensive specialist was unexpectedly praised by the Russian coach as 'the best player in the world' for his excellent two way play, speed, tenacity, discipline. A game that never gets boring with repeated viewings.
4)1996 - Last game at the Montreal Forum. The game between Montreal and Dallas was a decent affair between two average teams. Nothing to deserve historical attention by itself. However, the pre-game ceremony honouring the franchise and their soon-to-be-extinct stadium was perhaps the greatest tribute ever seen in modern sports. Living legends (and representatives of the deceased) once more in their Montreal jerseys, slowly making their appearance one by one, narration and video of their careers as they find their spot of honour on the ice. The eleven minute plus ovation for Rocket Richard that words cannot describe. The passing of the torch, the hommage to an arena where countless exploits were performed. Regardless of fan affiliation, the dignity, care, respect, accorded the franchise can only send chills down the spine of any viewer as an example of sport at it's most sublime. 'Nuff said.
5) 1979 'too many men on the ice' Montreal Boston semi-final. This was the last of Montreal's four-in-a-row late seventies dynasties, but for a time it looked like it would end at three in a row. However, a very late bonehead penalty by Don Cherry on a line change gave the Habs a power play - on which Guy Lafleur unleashed a wicked slap shot from the right circle beating Boston goalie Gilles Gilbert low to his stick side. However, this was only one act in the drama - which continued with a scintillating sudden-death overtime session. Either team could have won it, and Yvon Lambert's goalmouth tip in did just that.
6)1993 Finals game five - Montreal - L.A. With a surprise Los Angeles win in the first game of the series, an intense Wayne Gretzky looked like he would perform his magic once again. however, a key penalty late in game two by Marty McSorley for using an illegal stick allowed Montreal to score on the powerplay and rescue the game in OT. This Montreal team set a record that still stands - ten overtime playoff wins in a row. Led by Patrick Roy in nets and clutch performances by John LeClair, the Habs went on to win the series in five games. This game is the Cup winning game at the Montreal Forum. The atmosphere is electric - almost palpable. Montreal puts on a masterful display of speed, finesse, rugged forechecking, gradually skating the Kings into the ice and coasting to a convincing win.
7)1986 - Cup final game six - Montreal - Calgary. This was the season that rookie goalie Patrick Roy emerged as a star. The previous series against the New York Rangers was perhaps his greatest display of virtuoso netminding, including an overtime period in which he singlehandedly allowed his team to stay in the game and win.The habs lost the first game to Calgary, and had to fight back in game two. it went to overtime when Brian Skrudland scored the quickest overtime goal in histor to pull out the win. With the momentum shifted, a gritty balanced Montreal team played it tight and tough in a rugged series. An under-appreciated Montreal team in the historical scheme of things, but a very solid lineup including Chris Chelios, Rick Green, Bobby Smith, Claude Lemieux, Mats Naslund, Chris Nilan, Ryan Walter, Stephen Richer. As well as Roy, of course. In retrospect, a team that deservedly earned it's bragging rights.
8) 1984 - Adams div. finals game 6 - versus Quebec Nordiques. The Cup wasn't at stake, but intense geographic and political undertones made this rivalry a legitimate war on ice. In a series that saw great changes in momentum, Montreal, coached by Jacques Lemaire and featuring unknown goalie Steve Penney - avenged a previous series loss and prevailed. This was the deciding game. The hockey was intense, even brutal at times. Montreal however had a sub .500 seasonal record that year and after a surprise two game lead the next round, lost four straight to the Islanders.
9) 2008 - regular season - Montreal comes back from five goals down to beat the Rangers in the greatest comeback in franchise history. As a single game - very exciting for Montreal fans as they look terrible early but find their legs and come roaring back to win. Not the best display of hockey though, with lots of mistakes on both sides. Still, for pure excitement and anticipation, a fun old fashioned 'firewagon hockey' exhibition.
10) 2003 - Montreal - Edmonton Heritage Classic outdoor regukar season game in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. This game was already released on DVD a few years ago, so including it here really wasn't necessary. Still - it had it's moments. Watching NHL plyers playing in below freezing and windy conditions harkens back to the very earliest days of the sport, and is an interesting wy of presenting the game in a different kind of scenario. Considering the handicap, the skill was pretty high. Montreal did not have a particularly impressive team that season, but won this game. Prior to the main game, an oldtimer game was played with alumni of the franchises. Watching them suit up outside was fun, but conditions made their performance fairly awkward.Nice to see the historical connection though.
All in all, for Montreal Canadiens fans, a fantastic archive of mostly essential games.All are interesting, though some more important than others. For the general hockey fan, a very nice way to peek in and absorb some of the substance of the Habs mystique. No hype, bragging,embellishment. Just pure and simple accmplishments. All teams have their great deeds and legends, but historically, the Montreal Canadiens have earned and created their own niche, that is light years beyond what other hockey franchises have done. This is a solid slice of that history.
R. L. Whitehead | Toronto | 10/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This rating is simply for the games list. I'm not a Canadiens fan (Go Red Wings) but I will definately get this set once released.
This list was taken from CBC's on-line store:
1. 2/19/08 vs. Rangers (Habs come back from 5-0 down)
2. 11/23/03 vs. Oilers (Heritage game--don't know why it's here, it was already released on another DVD. Would rather have seen the McSorley illegal stick game)
3. 3/11/96 vs. Stars (Last game at the Forum)
4. 6/9/93 vs. Kings (Habs win 24th, and to date, last Stanley Cup)
5. 5/24/86 vs. Flames (Rookie Pat Roy takes team on his back to win 22nd Cup)
6. 4/20/84 vs. Nordiques (Adams Division Final, Game 6)
7. 5/10/79 vs. Bruins (Too many men on the ice. Semi-final Game 7)
8. 5/14/77 vs. Bruins (Habs win 2nd of Four Cups in a row)
9. 12/31/75 vs. Red Army (Tretiek puts on a show vs Habs)
10. 4/14/60 vs. Maple Leafs (Leafs get shut out as Habs win another Cup)
Highly recommended !
J. Miranda | 06/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love hockey and history, this is a must DVD for you! to see Rocket Richard's last game in it's entirety is great ; but to see the last game at the old Montreal Forum, and the unbelieveable ceremony after the game, that will bring tears to your eyes ! I'm not even a fan of the Montreal Canadians, but I do appreciate what they've meant to the game of hockey down through the years ..... without a doubt, they are the Yankees of their sport !"