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bizarre choice of games
on May 7, 2011
First off, since the details are not here on amazon.com, here's what is in this box set without giving away too much for those who want to watch these games fresh (and below I'm not calling Division Finals and Conference Quarter-Finals anything other than what they should be logically called):
vs. Detroit (1964 Final, Game 6, Bob Baun playing on broken ankle)
vs. Montreal (1967 Final, Game 6, Red Kelly's last game in the NHL)
vs. NY Islanders (1978 Quarter-Final, Game 7, Lanny McDonald's big goal)
vs. St. Louis (1987 1st round, Game 6, Ken Wregget "big" 19-save performance)
vs. Detroit (1993 1st round, Game 7, Nikolai Borchevsky's only big goal)
vs. St. Louis (1993 Quarter-Final, Game 1, a creative Doug Gilmour goal)
vs. San Jose (1994 Quarter-Final, Game 7, Wendel Clark scores a pair)
vs. Ottawa (2001 1st round, Game 1, Mats Sundin scores a goal)
vs. Ottawa (2002 Quarter-Final, Game 2, Gary Roberts and lots of OT)
vs. Ottawa (2002 Quarter-Final, Game 6, memorable CuJo performance)
Word of warning: Although the beyond fantastic Joe Bowen is on here doing the intros to each game, do not watch them. He sometimes gives away the scores and details of the game before you've even started watching them.
The '60s games have Bill Hewitt doing the play-by-play with some Keith guy doing color on the Baun game and Brian MacFarlane on the '67 game.
The Lanny game has Dan Kelly and MacFarlane.
The rest have Bob "I'm expected to know non-Leaf players' names?" Cole and Harry "Whaler" Neale as we, outside of the Centre of the Universe, have all grown to whine about from the '80s to the '00s. (Has the CBC ever had a clue? Holy mackinaw, get Joe Bowen on national Leaf broadcasts!)
OK, given this is aimed at Leaf fans and the Leafs have not even made a Stanley Cup Final since 1967, the "greatest" games theme that you see on the Oilers, Pens, Flames, Isles and Habs sets has been flipped and called "10 Great Leafs and Their Most Memorable Games," the choices are still beyond strange.
Starting off, even though I'm not a Make Belief fan but wouldn't Don Cheery be turning over in his grave (if he were dead that is) when Nikolai Borschevsky is considered a "great" Leaf. Near as I can recall he scored a memorable goal from which said game is included in this set but "Nik" played all of two and a bit seasons with the Leafs of which only his rookie NHL season when he scored 34 goals was any good.
Then when I think of "great" Leafs in goal it starts with Turk Broda then Johnny Bower throw in the guys who made fairly important pit stops (Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Bernie Parent) to the heroes on teams that had a modicum of playoff success (Mike Palmateer, Felix Potvin, Curtis Joseph and Ed Belfour). Does any Leaf fan think Ken Wregget when it comes to the Alan Bester and Jiri Crha of Leaf greatness? In fact, Wregget's most memorable NHL moments have been in Flyer (an '89 Game 7 vs. the Pens and Game 1 vs. the Habs) and Penguin (the '96 4-OT Game 4 vs. the Caps) jerseys.
The '60s black-and-white kinescopes are hard to watch and I have seen a better quality DVD of the 1967 Game 6 so it's sort of sad they didn't punch up the pic quality on that game.
The '78 Lanny game is memorable but Lanny was playing with a broken nose and wrist and is hardly noticeable until the big moment but I get it, it's a HUGE moment in Lanny's career probably second to his Stanley Cup winning goal in 1989 for the Flames.
The '93 Gilmour moment is fantastic but really it's the Potvin vs CuJo goaltending show. In fact, despite the loss CuJo's 62 saves in this game ranks right up with the following Game 2 that St. Louis won as one of CuJo's most memorable games albeit in a Blues jersey.
The Wendy game choice is odd. The one playoff game that sticks out as the peak of Wendy's Leaf career has to be the 1993 Game 6 in the Semi-Final vs. L.A. His hat trick and one-man wrecking crew in a hard fought 5-4 OT loss is far superior to the Sharks game that was chosen.
Why the producers felt the need to include three Battle of Ontario games and two from the 2002 series is beyond dumb. Is Mats Sundin's most memorable game one in which he scores an OT goal in a 1st round series? Did he not have some multiple-point dominant playoff performance anytime during his Leaf career?
Onto Gary Roberts. Is he really considered a "great" Leaf? I would class him as a great Flame (albeit a great hack artist--yes, Gary, I remember the crosschecks to Canuck and Oiler heads). Roberts played well for the Leafs in the four seasons he was in T.O., but they couldn't find a memorable game by a true all-time Leaf great like Dave Keon or Borje Salming instead?
The CuJo game that ends it all is a terrific performance but given there were already two Sens games on here, I'd have preferred maybe a '99 game vs. the Flyers or Pens in rounds 1 and 2 that first season CuJo was on the Leafs.
Also, where is the Darryl Sittler 10-point game or the Ian Turnbull 5-goal game? How about a Rickey Vaive game given he had three 50-goal seasons there on truly awful '80s Leaf teams? Heck, if you're going to celebrate Borschevsky and Wregget I'd prefer seeing Pat Boutette and Jiri Crha's most memorable games by that logic, Mr. Poddubny.
I'll wait till they come out with the Claire "The Milkman" Alexander memorial edition of this set where they at least pick a better slew of Leaf greats and games.