The New York Islanders visited the Canadians last Friday. It was the very day that the death of the famous number 22, Mike Bossy, was announced. Luckily for the first game in Montreal after Guy Lafleur’s death, the Boston Bruins will be the rivals.
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“I like to think it’s not a coincidence,” Harry Sinden launched during an interview with the MontrealJournal. It’s more destiny to see the Bruins play in Montreal after losing Guy Lafleur.”
“We just lost two great players with the deaths of Mike Bossy and Guy.”
At 89, Sinden still speaks with aplomb and confidence. The memory lives on.
As general manager of the Boston Bruins from October 1972 to November 2000, Sinden often crossed paths with the Canadiens and Lafleur. There are times he’d probably rather not reminisce about 1970s CH, but he does so with a bliss that oozed over the phone.
“He was always in our game plan. We looked for ways to stop him, but Guy never listened to our plan! He deceived us. He always scored goals against us. He hurt the Bruins a lot.”
“Flower was like dynamite against the Bruins,” he continued. He pushed everything in his path. He was fast, he was smart, he was brave and he had a great shot. He also had an impressive character. He played right, he wasn’t afraid of anything.
The Bruins, who won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972, were eliminated by the Habs in 1977, 1978 and 1979. All three times, Lafleur and his teammates drank champagne from the trophy.
“I’ve seen Lafleur equalize so many times in game seven against us in 1979,” said the Ontario native. We had just received a penalty for having too many players on the ice. It’s impossible for me not to remember. I was sick when CH beat us but I had so much respect for Guy and the great players from back then.
An impossible union
Off the ice, Sinden didn’t meet Thurso’s homegrown hero in person.
“I often met him in arenas and events, I greeted him and he always answered me,” he explained. I know he was a man of class and a man close to his people. From the Canadian’s 70s dynasty I had the chance to get to know Serge Savard well and developed a great friendship with him.
Lafleur retired for the first time on November 26, 1984. The blonde demon returned to play for the New York Rangers four years later in the 1988-1989 season.
Would he have thought of luring him to the Bruins in Boston?
“I’ve thought about it and asked questions, but there was never any discussion,” he said. It was an impossible connection between the Bruins and Guy. He would never have agreed to wear our logo. Guy Lapointe had done it in his very last season in the NHL, and he thought it was odd. So I can’t imagine how Flower would have felt.”