By Waldo1947 | Montreal Canadiens Contributor
Full disclosure: I was 30 days old on this famous day and my dad tells me this is when I truly became a Habs fan. My dad was 31 as I sat on his lap glued to the television set. My father is 72 now, and like many older Habs/Bruins fans, he remembers this game like it was yesterday. I have goosebumps just typing this article as I think of the dulcet tones of Danny Gallivan, the roar of the Habs’ crowd, the whistle for too-many-men, the look of Donald S. Cherry in his 3-piece suit, and Guy Lafleur’s lustrous hair streaking down the right side!
For those of us in the younger crowd, we grew up addicted to the Don Cherry Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Videos. My brother and I (and most of my buddies) know the early ones off-by-heart. In Volume 2, Grapes introduces the game like this:
“When I’m at a banquet, or walking the street, or out having a pop somewhere, some guy will come up to me and say ‘Grapes - there is a game I remember.’ And I say, ‘let me guess. May 10, 1979, Boston Bruins.’ He says, ‘Ya, that’s the one.”
Don Cherry ends the video montage with this classic: “A guy will come up to me and say, ‘Hey, Grapes! That game cost me 50 bucks!’ I say, “No kiddin’. It cost me my job!’”
What strikes me most about the first quote is the fact that all Bruins and Habs fans are brought together by this one, seemingly obscure, date: May 10, 1979. The older fans who watched it, and the younger fans who memorized Grapes on the video, all get excited about this date. The older guys grew up watching Hall-of-Famers all over this game while us younger guys wonder why there was no glass in front of the penalty box? The older guys get goosebumps listening to Danny Gallivan make-up his own vocabulary while us younger guys wonder how many concussions Lafleur’s hair prevented?
I had a virtual drink with some buddies on Friday night. A few of them were around 10 years old at the time. I asked the Bruins fans in the group (there were 3 of them) what it was like to watch that game. My buddy Richie said he cried when he went to bed and thought it was a conspiracy by the French referee to ensure the Habs would win. He said he was convinced that there were not in fact 6 Bruins skaters on the ice. Then he started laughing as he told me, “I later realized, there weren't 6 skaters, there were actually 7!”
Regardless of your age or team affiliation, enjoy these 2 videos. One is for the older fans, as Danny Gallivan paints a picture like no one else. The other is for us younger guys as we fondly look back on Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em 2.
As you watch the videos, ponder these questions:
- Will there ever be a voice like Danny Gallivan again (or Bob Cole, for that matter)?
- When Danny Gallivan says that Lafleur is “coming out rather gingerly up the right side”, wouldn’t you move like that too if you smoked a pack-a-day?
- How did more time keepers not die with no glass in front of them?
- Will the salary cap ensure that we will never see 2 stacked teams like that? The Detroit-Colorado teams of the 90’s are similar and were made possible with no salary cap.
- I will never forget Eric Desjardins scoring a hat trick vs the Kings in Game 2 of the 1993 final. That was the one where Marty McSorley got caught with an illegal curve. I can tell you where I was, and everything about the game, but I never introduce it by the date - only the illegal curve. NHL wise, will there ever be a more famous date? (And don’t give me the “Good Friday Massacre” between the Nords and Habs - you only remember it because it was Good Friday!)
- The only better kept secret than who is to blame for the too-many-men penalty is the JFK assassination, is it not?
- How would the Lafleur goal be celebrated if scored in 2020? Gilles Gilbert would have been crucified on social media for letting a half-clapper in from the top of the circle.
- Is there anything better than Game 7 Habs/Bruins in any year?
HAPPY MAY 10, 1979 EVERYONE! (And call your mother!)