Habs 1992-93 season flashback: LeClair shines in win over Sabres

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As we wait and hope for an end to the NHL lockout, Canadiens fans can relive the 1992-93 season – the last year the Habs won the Stanley Cup – at HIO as we post game stories from that season.

The Habs took a 21-10-3  record into a game against the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 19, 1992 at the Forum. Below is Red Fisher’s story from that game:

LeClair hears Savard’s message 

 

CANADIENS 4
SABRES 2

RED FISHER
THE GAZETTE

Canadiens management, it seems, isn’t asking a lot from John LeClair. In truth, not even much.

It starts, general manager Serge Savard was saying, with asking the real John LeClair to stand up more often than he has.

“All we’ve asked him to do,” said Savard after last night’s 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, “is to get involved. He falls down a lot, I know, but he has to get involved.

“I mean … he’s got all the tools, right? He’s big. He’s strong. He’s probably got the hardest shot on the team.

“He’s got to do that and be more consistent,” said Savard.

That’s the message Savard delivered to LeClair several days ago in a nose-to-nose meeting which could have ended with Mons. LeClair joining Gilbert Dionne and Ed Ronan on the Fredericton Express. Happily for LeClair, Savard doesn’t hold a grudge.

He stayed, and last night was among the best of the Canadiens forwards in a game in which the Canadiens weren’t very good. Happily for Savard’s bunch, the Sabres were much worse.

The best thing to be said about this one is that the Canadiens leaped into a 2-0 first period lead with goals from Brian Bellows and Mathieu Schneider. Denis Savard added another in the second before Wayne Presley got Buffalo’s first goal during a Canadiens power play in the period’s final minute.

Vincent Damphousse and Alexander Mogilny were the goal-scorers in the third period.

On this night, at least, the troops did it the way the coach’s manual wants it done.

Make the most of the breaks quickly, like the time LeClair (there’s that man again) gloved a clearing shot, dropped the puck to the ice, fed Kirk Muller who re-directed it to Bellows – and that’s one!

The goal came in the third minute, and Schneider’s ninth goal of the season was unloaded roughly four minutes later. Nothing fancy: a blast from the blue line. Goal!

Can anybody explain the Savard goal in the second, though?

Imagine for a moment, Savard standing roughly 15 feet away from Hasek late in the second period. At least two people wearing Sabres overwear are only a few feet away. In other words, there was more than enough time to get in the way of anything Savard had in mind.

So there’s Savard, whose first idea is to tee up the shot. Then he changes it – his mind, that is. Then, it’s back to teeing it up. Finally, he shoots, and the puck somehow slips through Hasek’s legs.

That should have been enough to leave the Sabres dead in the water, but the Canadiens still appear to have a talent for getting things done the hard way. Is there any other way to explain the shorthanded goal allowed by the Canadiens with less than a minute remaining in the second period?

The problem arose when Damphousse’s bad pass allowed Presley to sweep in alone on Patrick Roy. Presley, who went into the game with six goals, made it look easy.

This was a game in which emotions rose and fell now and then, but the Sabres – who are big enough and strong enough – won’t retain it among their treasured memories.

Example: it’s the 16th minute of the second period, and sticks and elbows get a little high in front of goaltender Hasek. The only two combatants, however, are Mario Roberge and Pat LaFontaine, which is a strange and fairly one-sided matchup at any time.

However, when a noted hit man, which Roberge happens to be, is roughing up a team’s best player, which LaFontaine surely is, the book says one of two things must happen. The first is that someone on the ice intercedes on LaFontaine’s behalf. The second is that one of the Canadiens’ better players must pay the price.

Like it or not, those are the unwritten rules. The fact that Sabres personnel chose to sit this one out says something about a team which had been nearly everyone’s choice to finish as high as second place in the Adams.

Something, but not much.

(Gazette file photo)

52 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Whoops…wrong thread.

  2. Psycho29 says:

    Thought of the day:
    “There are no victims when they are trying to divide up BILLIONS of dollars”

    Well except maybe the fans….and the game itself.

  3. frontenac1 says:

    All this Flashback stuff is bringing back bad memories of a bad batch window pane blotter in the “70″s. Bad Mojo Amigos.

  4. myron.selby says:

    A few points I keep seeing repeated over and over seem to be coming from misconceptions:

    1) The players won the last negotiations because their salaries have risen so much under the current agreement.

    The NHLPA got gutted and hung out to dry in the last negotiations. They lost on pretty much every front. They had to accept a salary cap which cut their pay by (if I remember correctly) 24%. They had no interest in a cap and were forced to accept it.

    The reason the salaries have risen is because league revenues rose so much. The owners revenues rose thus driving up salaries as well as the owners profits. If the trend from the non-cap agreement had held then the players would currently be making about 1/3 more than they are now (24% drop = 33% gain).

    This doesn’t mean the players won, it just means the league has done very well in the last few years.

    2) Fehr and the NHLPA refused to negotiate until the last minute.

    Think about this for a second. When an employer goes into a negotiation when the industry is making record revenues, they should always expect the union to be asking for more.

    The NHL opted out of the CBA. They had to come up with the first proposal. If Fehr had come to the NHL first with an offer of concessions when the league was doing so well, his membership would have fired him (and rightfully so) on the spot.

    3) Fehr keeps asking for more is why there is no agreement.

    If anyone can find one positive for the players in any of the league’s various offers, I’d love to hear it. So far this has been a completely one way street. The league hasn’t offered anything to make up for the roughly 12% rollback they’re asking for (7% of 57% is about 12%).

    4) The players should realize how lucky they are and accept whatever the league offers.

    This is the kind of thinking that leads to complete capitulation. If the NHLPA just accepts whatever the league offers, it will simply be setting the precedent for the league to come back and take more every time a new CBA is “negotiated”.

    I’m not trying to compare NHL players to ordinary labor, but this same refrain has been heard since the beginning of the labor movement – “We can’t fight the owners, we just have to accept whatever they want to give”.

    If anyone has read any labor history (I’d recommend Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” for a different view on any number of topics including labor relations) they’d know that labor won every right they ever got by tearing it away from the wealthy owners. As I said, no comparison to NHL players, but virtually all workers rights were paid for with blood in the streets. If you think that’s overly dramatic, then do a little reading and you’ll soon see what I mean.

    • HabFab says:

      “The NHL opted out of the CBA.” ??

      The CBA expired in September.

      • myron.selby says:

        If I understand it correctly the CBA was set up to continue unless one of the parties chose to end it. The league exercised that option this year.

        • Habitant in Surrey says:

          …correct

        • HabFab says:

          Can’t find that… but why keep something that wasn’t working for you?

          EDIT: just found it on the PA website. CBA was until Sept 15,2011 with the PA having the option to extend to September 15,2012. Page 11

          • myron.selby says:

            No reason at all. But if you’re the one saying you want to end an agreement (the NHLPA was more than happy to continue under the old CBA) then it’s up to you to suggest the new terms.

            In essence, the NHLPA’s position was “we offer to continue under the existing agreement, what do you offer?”

          • Bill J says:

            Which brings us back to the quote you questioned.

            The NHL chose to end/opt out of the CBA and lock out the players, till the NHL got what THEY wanted.

            And somehow some people think the players are the greedy ones.


            Go Habs Go!

          • HabFab says:

            I don’t think the players are any more greedy then the owners…remember a pox on both.

            Please note EDIT gentlemen.

        • Habilis says:

          Amazing how the players got “gutted” and yet they wanted to continue playing under that same CBA. You can’t have it both ways, it’s one or the other.

          I don’t understand how you can ignore the end result when making all your claims. The fact is that the deal the players signed 7 years ago was just plain good for them and the league. You make the point that they accepted a cap and you also make the point that league revenues grew dramatically. Does it not occur to you that perhaps the two are linked?

          Now all that being said, at this point in these negotiations, both sides are to blame. But to continue to say that the players were the losers in ’05 is just plain wrong. They wound up making a million more per year on average, that’s the end result any way you slice it. They got there in large part because of the deal they signed, including all those concessions you mentioned. Those concessions led to greater parity in the NHL, which led to more fans, which increased revenue, which means the players made more in the linked system.

          I get that the owners are being greedy this time in asking for more when the last deal was going so well. But to ignore the present and continue to claim that the players got fleeced in ’05 just makes no sense to me.

          • Bill J says:

            No, you are wrong…. Not everything is black or white…

            He illustrated quite clearly why despite the appearance of winning, the players actually LOST. Just because the average fan can’t dream of making what an NHL player makes doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it.

            To defend Billionaire owners just because people are jealous of millionaire players… It’s in my humble opinion, completely ludicrous.


            Go Habs Go!

          • Habilis says:

            Where in my post do you see jealousy? That has nothing to do with this. The fact is that the players feel like they got fleeced and at the time, they absolutely did.

            But the next 7 years proved that analysis to be wrong. This is what happens over time, people are proven right or wrong and they learn from it. Usually anyhow.

            To simply ignore the facts and say “Yeah, but the players got killed last time” is just being ignorant. Using that kind of logic, nobody would ever learn from their mistakes.

          • myron.selby says:

            If you were making $100 per day and under your new contract, you made $76 would you feel like you won? If your employer tied your wage into revenues and because the business made so much more you wound up making $140 would that mean that you had won the last negotiation?

            No – you were forced to accept a 24% cut in pay. You lost plain and simple. And if you hadn’t been forced to accept that deal your salary would have been considerably higher.

            You think it’s amazing that the players want to continue under the existing CBA? Well given that they are being asked to accept something much worse, why wouldn’t they?

            If they were offered to continue with the existing CBA or go back to the old non-cap world, I’m sure they’d vote for the non-cap agreement. But it’s not on offer. Every time the league negotiates, they offer the players less.

            I don’t know about you, but I don’t pay $100 or $150 to see the owners. I go to see the players and it doesn’t make that much difference to me who owns the team. I would far rather see the money go to the players than owners who are pretty much interchangable.

          • Habilis says:

            That’s where you’re wrong. Because if I was making 100, got cut to 76 and the owner explained to me that it was for the greater good, and then 7 years later I was making 140, I would be pretty darn happy with that result. The result is what matters after all. I wouldn’t look back and say that I could be making more, because I would understand that without my original concessions, that growth wouldn’t have occured.

            That’s called being realistic. The results matter.

          • myron.selby says:

            What makes you think there is a cause and effect relationship here? The increase in league revenues almost certainly had nothing to do with the CBA. It was driven by the Canadian dollar, increasing ticket prices larger tv revenues etc. This would have happened regardless of whether the salary cap was in place.

          • Habilis says:

            You’re joking right? I’ll give you the bump from the Canadian dollar, but why do you think they increased ticket prices and got more TV revenue? Demand got higher, that’s why. Demand has risen because the NHL has more fans now. The NHL has more fans now because the league is more competitive than it used to be. That’s a direct result of the cap.

            You can’t just say that things would have been the same without a cap, that’s just gibberish because nobody knows what would be in that case. Facts are facts.

    • Cal says:

      1. If your salaries rise by 70% in 7 seasons, you win. It is that simple.
      2. Owners pay the freight. 50-50 is fair. No owners = no buildings= no sport.
      3. Again, 50-50 is fair.
      4. If they don’t agree, 100% of zero is zero. Owners will be there next season. Lots of players won’t.
      This isn’t 1910. There are labour laws and these players don’t have to work terribly hard after a 5 year career to make ends meet. Even at the minimum of $550K, that’s $2.75 mil gross.

      The players can go play in Europe for WAAAY less money if they are worried about their principles. I know they are worried about the principal. They must make a deal to not lose 1 full season of their career. But Fehr doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the 3rd and 4th liners. He’s trying to impress multimillionaires.

      http://calsnhllockout2012songparodies.weebly.com/

      • myron.selby says:

        1) Try re-reading what I said. Regardless of what happened afterwards, the players lost the last negotiation. They were forced to accept the league’s terms which they had flatly refused to consider. If they had continued to use the old terms, they would have made about 1/3 more, so they in fact lost that much salary.

        2) Your response has nothing to do with what I said.

        3) See 2.

        4) Just illustrated perfectly the logic I was talking about – take what the owners give you and feel lucky they give you that.

        • Cal says:

          I’m surprised you don’t know the golden rule: The one with the gold rules. It is the way the world works.
          These guys make a fortune playing a game. They are stupid not to be playing right now. The money they could have earned is gone forever. If they don’t like the terms, they can play anywhere.

          • myron.selby says:

            It’s a good thing you weren’t the one making decisions for the labor movement. If workers had followed your logic, they’d still be working 80 hour weeks with no protection from their employers of any form.

            What workers proved again and again was that because they created the product, they could negotiate collectively against people with far more power than them.

            As I said, read a little labor history. The way workers won anything was in the streets getting shot down by police and armed forces over and over until it became so dangerous to the wealthy that they negotiated rather than risk a complete overthrow of the existing social order.

            And if you think that’s an exaggeration it just proves you haven’t done any reading.

            What does this have to do with the NHL? Simple – if any kind of workers aren’t willing to withdraw their services and suffer the results they will slowly lose everything.

          • Cal says:

            @myron

            I know my history and all about the 1919 stand in Winnipeg. As I said before, this isn’t 1910. The players are well done by and have the best of facilities to keep in shape and trainers to help them develop into better players. This isn’t the NHL of 1950, either.
            The players are well looked after financially, some have generations in their family looked after. What is the problem?

      • Riga Fraction says:

        1 So what you’re saying is the owners won since their revenues were what the cap was based off of and it rose dramatically. Plus they have a cap when they didn’t have one prior to that.
        2 Bunk, no players no product.
        3 Bunk, it’s not 50/50, not even close. The CAP would be 50% of HRR. That means the actual salaries would be lower than 50% of HRR, which is clearly not as high as REAL revenues. On top of that, that portion is divided more than 700 ways as opposed to being divided 30 ways and those 30 are the ones making the offers of their own free will. No one has a gun to their heads saying they have to pay players certain amounts. Point is they know certain players will make them more money so it’s worth it to them to pay Crosby 8 mill if he directly puts 50mill right back in your pocket.
        4 Owners are getting 100% of 0 right now as well. Agreeing to get screwed royally isn’t exactly a wise move only a few years after getting screwed royally the last time.

        The owners can sell their teams to someone who wants to own one if things are that bad. Bettman doesn’t give a damn about a deal, he gives a damn about crushing the union. Fehr’s moves have all been in the best interest of his clients, Bettman’s moves have not.

        You’ve consistently gotten this entire deal backward by blaming the victims who are being held hostage by an unreasonable tyrant with ridiculous demands. The owners have not made a single concession in exchange for everything they’ve been given and are not willing to budge on anything (the make whole red herring is simply agreeing to take less from the players than they were previously going to rip them off for, that’s not exactly a concession. Asking for a year or two on contract lengths is not a make it or break it financial demand, it’s a move simply put in there to say screw you players.

  5. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …so another Stu Cowan rehash of 1992/1993 …well, whatever …nothing wrong with that

    …it gives Me a heads-up that Hick’s latest Midnight Fantasy is next

    …this gives Me time to put My gas mask and toxic chemical equipment on :)

  6. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Bill Daley, on Toronto radio, says there WILL be a season

    …oy vey

    …just in time to F’ up the World Juniors Championship :(

  7. Bripro says:

    @RenaudLavoieRDS tweets “There’ll be more games cancelled this week. But it won’t necessarily be the last round of game cancellations before the season is officially cancelled.
    NHL talks to resume before Christmas ? Lots of people are working behind the scenes to make sure it will happen. We’ll see. No guarantee.”

  8. SlovakHab says:

    Hey! How did 1992-93 Fantasy Canadiens play and what were their fantasy quotes??

  9. Bripro says:

    Sabres again? That’s 3 games out of 4, and 4 games in 6 nights.
    You’d think the other teams were all locked out or something.
    Who’s in charge of scheduling?
    What’s that you say? A young lad named ….who?…Butthead?
    Ohhh Bettman?
    Wow, what a lousy scheduler! Good thing he’s not league commissioner.

  10. Psycho29 says:

    FEHR-ST !!!!!


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