Saturday, 17 January 2015

NHL Classics: Game 6 of the 1989 Stanley Cup Final, Canadiens vs. Flames.

Just finished watching the latter half of the "NHL Classic" version of the Game 6 1989 Stanley Cup Final between the Canadiens and the Flames.

--There has to be someone working on technology to HD-ify old video signal.  To me it's really easy, compare one image to another, maybe working off stills, telling the computer that that blurry stringbean needs to look like this harrowing picture of Bobby Smith, increase the resolution according to an algorithm or whatever, and then render, lots of rendering.  Presto!  HD quality versions of old classic.  Easy.  I should be in charge.

--I watched that game on Radio-Canada the first time around, so I can't say that I objected to Bob Cole's call of the game at the time, but I sense that my objection to his continued presence on current broadcasts isn't solely due to his declining faculties and muddled call.  I can't help but sense that he's calling the game as any-team-playing-against-the-Habs is the home team.

--I always liked Harry Neale though, witty guy.

--The little pop-up factoids that they sprinkle on the screen throughout the game didn't add much to the proceedings, even ignoring the typos and grammatical error.  Frightful.  Anyway, I didn't find that it illuminated the viewer or interestified it, it was mostly stuff someone can pull off hockeydb.  Compared to Popup Video, which is chock-full of humour and background, this is a bit of a dud.

--Maybe they should do these while some voluble former players give their comments, and pop these up instead of telling me how many points Joe Mullen scored.

--Not so much of a shock as watching games from the seventies with no advertising on the rink boards, all sparkly white, since by 1989 there were ads plastered all over the boards.  The ice however was pristine, aside from the markings.  No ads for the Benevolent Bank of Canadian Monopoly, brought to you by the Call Centres of Bangalore.  No bromides or slogans from Gary Bettman to let me know all is forgiven by now, since it's 'our game', ever since the days of the Original 14.

--Really liked the player benches facing each other instead of side by side as is mandated now, which leads to incessant, tiresome squabbles as opposing players circulate, perfect waters for the Brad Marchands and Steve Otts to ply.

--The Flames were stacked, but so were we.  Man, those were lines Pat Burns was sending out there.  And the defencemen, Chris Chelios, Larry Robinson, Éric Desjardins, Petr Svoboda, Craig Ludwig.  The least of them, the regrettable Rick Green, actually scored a 'Haley's Comet' goal in this game.

--I tried to play the 'Which one player would have the greatest impact on our roster if plunked in our team today?" game.  Interestingly, it wasn't the best player on the '89 team.  Patrick Roy would be an upgrade on Carey Price, but it would almost be marginal, I believe in Carey so much right now.  The net gain wouldn't be as great as if we went with another player, who'd substitute with one of his current counterparts.

--I'll bring up Bobby Smith as a candidate.  Big, smart, veteran productive #1 centre, he'd have a huge effect on the roster.  Let's accept Alex on the wing for now, we'd have Smith-Plekanec-Eller as our centres, that'd be hard to match up against for opponents.

--I'll regrettably discard Stéphane Richer as an option, if we're playing strictly by the rules.  1989 was a difficult year for him, not one of his peaks.  If he'd been clicking that year, he might have made the difference in that playoff, counteracted Lanny MacDonald's mustache.

--I think I'd have to go with Chris Chelios, with him on one pairing and P.K. on another, that would be quite the Top 4.  It would bump Tom Gilbert to the third pairing permanently.  Tempting to go with Larry Robinson, but by 1989 he wasn't the dominant force he used to be.  So Chris Chelios it is.  That's the answer.

--But then I get greedy.  Let's get Larry as well, and for my third pairing, Craig Ludwig and Éric Desjardins.

--And then I slip up a little more, and wonder what would be the harm in bending the rules a tiny bit more, and plugging in a blazing fast Russ Courtnall opposite Max Pacioretty, give opponents fits?  It's not like I'm pulling a Guy Lafleur or Mario Lemieux out of my hat.  This is kind of reasonable, Russ Courtnall was legitimately on that team.

--And so were Shayne Corson and Mike McPhee.  Talk about complete players.  They'd do nicely on our second and third lines as the guys who bring in the offence that P.A. Parenteau is struggling to generate, but they'd also neuter the Dion Phaneufs and Eric Grybas of the hockey world, the guys who are really tough when they're facewashing Tomas Plekanec.

--And I'll stop now before I go off on a paen to Mats Naslund, our leading scorer that year.

--Or how Jyrki Lumme and Mike Lalor couldn't crack that roster that year.

--Or how the Canadiens didn't hire the best coach regardless of language and settled for ho-hum Pat Burns in that era.

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