Thursday, May 30, 2024

Century Series | Guy Lapointe, the one who shouldn’t play

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Virginia Whitehead
Virginia Whitehead
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It was somewhat horrified that Guy Lapointe appeared in the locker room for Team Canada in September 1972. He had to represent his country, but also to replace the best defensive man in hockey history.

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Nicholas Richard

Nicholas Richard

Right before Summit began, Bobby Orr was emerging from one of the most prolific seasons of his career. He had won the Stanley Cup, as well as winning the Coon-Smith Cup, which is awarded to the most valuable player in the playoffs. He also won the Hart titles, awarded to his team’s most expensive player, and Norris, who was named Defender of the Year, thanks to his 117 points in the season.

However, the Boston Bruins guard was unable to put on the Canadian uniform to face the Soviet Union due to a knee injury that was repeated throughout his brilliant career.

His logical alternative was Jean-Claude Tremblay. However, Quebec signed a contract with the Quebec Nordic in the World Hockey League (WHA) just before the season began, after 13 seasons with the Canadian, which made him ineligible. So the commanders turned to Jacques Laperriere, but a lockup defender was injured.

So he is a 24-year-old young defender with 153 games of experience in the National Hockey League (NHL), who has been called up for relief.

“It was a surprise to be called,” said Guy Lapointe during an interview near the golf carts at Le Mirage Club, last August, during Serge Savard’s invitation.


Jay La Pointe

Brad Park, Gary Bergman, Serge Savard, Bill White, Pat Stapleton, Rod Selling and Don Urey were the other Canadian defense men.

However, he had to think for a moment before accepting the invitation. At that time his first wife was pregnant. She was due to give birth during the Century series. La Pointe eventually joined the team and when he returned from Europe, he was the father of a young boy.

Help Serge Savard

When La Pointe arrived like hair in soup, he thought he was having a hard time finding his place in the locker room. This is why the support of his teammate Serge Savard has been so precious. “We know how Serge is a good person, an excellent teammate and a good leader. He helped me a lot to cope. He told me we were going to play together and that we would do our little work,” the 74-year-old recalls.

It is clear to La Pointe that being able to rely on Savard and live this experience by his side has cemented his memories. “I was paired up with my friend Serge and we had success throughout the series. La Pointe had seven out of eight matches.

big moment

La Pointe recalls that at that time, people did not give much skin to the Soviets. However, Canada found itself at a disadvantage and no longer had room for error with three games remaining in the series.

He said he felt one of the strongest emotions of his life when Paul Henderson scored the winning goal in the last game: “I was on the bench and it was an incredible feeling. Immediately we looked at the dial to see how much time was left and told ourselves we had to play defensively, because even It’s over, we had to work hard.”

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The person who retired No. 5 at Bell Center Heights has won the Stanley Cup six times. He still ranks the 1972 victory as one of the best moments of his career. “The Century series has a special place in my heart,” he said.

The goal is to show which of the two countries was the best in the world, Lapointe believes he and his compatriots proved that well by coming back from behind. “We ended up winning and showed that we are the best team.”

This win also gave La Pointe and Saint Flannel a chance to advance, and they won the Stanley Cup a few months later.

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