View Full Version : Forgive Me, Larry...

05-26-01, 03:24 PM
But I’m rooting for the Avs. No, I haven’t forgotten the joy you’ve brought me. I haven’t forgotten the six times you help bring Lord Stanley’s Cup home to Montreal. I haven’t forgotten the two Norris Trophies or the ten All-Star appearances. Or how every big, physical defenseman who skates well and has good hands is labeled “the next Larry Robinson”.
But Patrick is still on the ice.
Larry, you were a hero that my dad showed me. But Patrick began his career when I was old enough to choose my own heros. And he was my hero, in ’86 when he won it with you, in ’93, after you were gone, and all the years between. He’s only got three rings to your total of eight, and his playing career is winding down. His future is uncertain, and this may be his last chance at glory.
And, as hard as it is for this die-hard Habs fan to believe, I would like to see the great Ray Bourque kiss the Cup. Call it respect for an old adversary. At least it won’t happen to him in a Bruins jersey.
I think my dad would be rooting for you and the Devils, Larry. But I have to go with my first hockey hero who was actually my hero. Go Roy, and go Avs.


Stick Michael
05-27-01, 12:52 PM
It will probably never happen even with his impending free agency but Patrick Roy would look awfully good in a Rangers uniform! So would Jaromir Jagr as well. Then again, this is the Broadway Blues I'm talking about here...with their luck Roy would come here and get shelled on a nightly basis and Jagr would go on an early retirement package and score about 23-28 goals for the entire season.


06-02-01, 05:32 PM
Winning the Cup more difficult as a coach

By Adrian Wojnarowski
Special to ESPN.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- This magnificent Stanley Cup journey started for Larry Robinson crossing the blue line in the old Montreal Forum, a May night in 1973 when the first playoff game of his career had gone to overtime and Robinson pushed the puck on his stick, planning to pass it to Frank Mahovlich.

"Go with it!" Mahovlich screamed.

Go with it? Go with it. Long before learning to live for the pressure of chasing the Stanley Cup, before the six championships as a Montreal Canadien, the 227 playoff games, the run to consecutive Cup finals as coach of the New Jersey Devils, Robinson listened to the advice of a wise old Canadien. And yes, he was gone with it.

He started to skate, speeding toward the Philadelphia goalie, Doug Favell. It felt like a movie to him. He had been a late-season call-up out of Nova Scotia, sitting out the first-round series with the Buffalo Sabres in these playoffs 28 years ago. The Canadiens had lost players to injuries, had lost Game 1 to the Flyers and Robinson, 23, had that sinking feeling, "What in the world am I doing here?"

So yes, just go with it. He made it 10, maybe 15 feet inside the blue line, brought his stick back and smashed a shot to the upper corner of the net. Favell reached with his glove but was too late. The puck was past him, the Forum exploded, and frightened, confused Larry Robinson lost his mind.

"I jumped around like a freaking crazy man," Robinson said. "Everybody came running on the ice. I was all over TV that night. I did my first interview that night. Lord, I was so scared. That was the biggest thrill of my career."

The biggest?

"Well, I'll tell you what, it's pretty tough to beat last year," Robinson said.

Everything changed with one shot, one overtime goal 28 seasons ago, starting Robinson on one of the most incredible runs of playoff success a player and coach in the NHL has ever found for himself. Robinson confesses this time of the year is when he wishes his old No. 19 hung in a locker, just over a pair of shiny, black skates.

"I live for this action," Robinson said before the start of the playoffs.

As the Devils try to fight back on the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup finals, Robinson is bidding to become the rarest of champions in sports: The superstar player translating his greatness on the ice into brilliance on the bench. Robinson should be a serious Coach of the Year candidate, sidestepping the holdouts of Jason Arnott and Scott Niedermayer for 21 games to start the season, and an unforgiving run of injuries to complete the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

He has found the most difficult balance in his business, walking the line between coach and confidant. He's secure in his authority to trade barbs and laughs with players, trusting of his locker room leadership to understand these Devils are too driven to need him relentlessly riding them. He has grown into a terrific tactician, unafraid to play his hunches over conventional thinking.

It's impossible to forget him on the Reunion Arena ice in the wake of Game 6 of the 2000 Stanley Cup finals, so symbolic to see him holding the trophy in the air with the No. 17 jersey of Petr Sykora, an injured player, on his back. Still, it's so much harder on him now, the winning and losing. He's responsible for everything. His greatness as a player could carry the Canadiens. He had 144 points in the playoffs, but none of it ever delivered him the fulfillment he has found coaching the Devils.

"As coach in the playoffs, you can be the difference after a loss," Robinson said recently. "You've got to be there to make sure your team doesn't get really down on themselves. When you get into a long series, you've got to make adjustments. You've got to be able to see what's happening. There are a lot of things you can do as a coach in our game."

A lot of things, it seems, beyond bash the effort of your players. Everyone is going to learn a little something of Robinson, the coach, now. After the 3-1 Game 3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, leaving the Devils down two games to one in the best-of-seven series, Robinson called his players out for failing to fight and defend the Cup. This isn't just on them, but on him, too.

"It's so much tougher to repeat now, than when I played in Montreal," Robinson said.

Tonight, the Devils start defending the Stanley Cup at Continental Arena. Or they lose it. Near the start of the game, anyway, there will be a part of Larry Robinson wishing they had his old No. 19 and a pair of skates waiting in his office. All these years later, he still lives for this action.

Adrian Wojnarowski is a sports columnist for The Record (N.J.) and a regular contributor to ESPN.com.http://espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs2001/2001/0602/1208702.html

Man, it's really gonna suck seeing Larry watch the other team skate around the ice with the Cup. :(