Hawks at Calgary: Always Be (re)Capping

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So, Fork mentioned that Comcast is running a series of Chicago Blackhawks Classics telecasts.  Since the first one debuted last night, it seemed like the perfect thing to DVR and recap in place of an actual live game.

Hockeenight is proud to present, its recap of the Chicago Blackhawks at the Toronto Maple Leafs from December 11th, 1971.  The Hawks won this game, 3-1.

I'll be honest, after watching the first 7-10 minutes of the first period, I had to fast forward through the rest of the game because it was slow, I was tired and it kind of reminded me of those old 16mm baseball newsreels.

Anyway, here were my impressions of hockey in 1971:

Most of these players look tiny by today's standards.  It's even more pronounced with the goaltenders, they look like they're wearing almost no equipment.

Bobby Hull's combover is fucking majestic.

Let's take a moment to recognize just how good we have it with today's television product.  For starters, there are no score or time overlays, which is really fucking annoying.  Also, there's only two camera positions - the main tracking shot from center ice, and a close up angle on each crease that gets switched to when there's a play in the crease or a goal.  Third, the picture is terrible.  At times it feels like I'm watching the game through the windshield of the Bluesmobile while Jake is attempting to clean it using only Elwood's Crystal Skull vodka.

The Hawks never, ever dump the puck.  They insist on carrying into the offensive zone regardless of the situation - Cliff Koroll later acknowledges this during the postgame, and points out that it's the reason for all the offsides calls.

Early in the 2nd period, Dennis Hull gets a short breakaway, fakes a slapshot to try and get Jacques Plante out of position and then gets stoned on a quick wrister.  Across the city I can hear the ghosts of a thousand meatballs screaming "YOU'LL NEVER BE AS GOOD AS BOBBY YOU ASSHOLE!"

For all the talk of nasty play and bad blood during the OLD TIME HOCKEY era, there seems to be relatively little of it here.  The hitting is mostly tactical, just bumping guys to get position on the puck as opposed to going for kill shots, and the refs break up the only potential fight before any real punches are thrown.

Pit Martin is a cool little player.  He's all over the ice during the first two periods, finally breaking through in the third by getting the tie breaking goal and then setting up Bobby Hull on the doorstep for an insurance tally.

Speaking of Hull, he's pretty quiet the first two periods, but in the third, he seems to switch into a gear that nobody else on the ice has.  He's everywhere and it takes some terrific saves from Plante to hold him to only 1 goal.

All that said, you know how people sometimes say "that guy could have played in any era" like it's the ultimate compliment?  Guess what, it isn't.  Athletes today are so much bigger and stronger than those days it's not even funny.  Had Jerome Iginla been turned loose during this game, he would have scored 8 goals and killed 3 people.


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