Talking Hockey

This is John Gordon. “Jackie” Gordon. He played 35 NHL games and coached (and GMed) many more, and was involved in one NHL trade (which also included Fred Shero.

Gordon was a coach and GM for the Minnesota North Stars in the mid-1970s. Here are a few select quotes from 1973 and 1974.

“That’s the name of the game, turnover and change. In the old days we all had a big farm system and you could maintain your own supply of fresh talent. Now you have to go out and get it, year by year.” Sam Pollock, 1973.

“I mean, this organization has won the Stanley Cup pretty regularly. There’s a traditional that keeps everyone on their toes. So, while I’m not complaining, not with the kind of club I’ve got, I do say that coaching in Montreal isn’t totally a picnic. It’s a pressure job.” Scotty Bowman, 1973.

“It was at a staff meeting and we were discussing a certain junior player, whether we wanted to go after him. I suddenly realized I’d been too busy to check the kid out myself.” Emile Francis, explaining why he stepped down as coach, 1973. Francis would replace his choice (Larry Popein) 41 games into the 1973-74 season.

“But we don’t need a thousand goals. Maybe with the Esposito line, instead of 120 goals, we’d prefer 80 along with a good sound game that included defense and checking.” Bruins GM Harry Sinden in summer 1975, suggesting a new era for the Bruins after a disappointing 74-75 season. 12 games into the following season, Phil Esposito was traded to the New York Rangers.

“If you’re working in hockey, Toronto is definitely the place to be.” New Leafs coach Red Kelly, summer 1973.

“My scouts tell me he can move right into the lineup this fall.” Buffalo GM Punch Imlach, speaking about Morris Titanic, summer 1973.

“My style of hockey? Simple. Play the game in the other team’s end of the rink.” Detroit coach Ted Garvin, 1973. His team went go 2-8-1 to start the 73-74 season and he was fired.

“The extra years of junior may have hurt me. I used to catch myself losing concentration because the challenge wasn’t there anymore. I think my work may have suffered because of it.” Denis Potvin, summer 1973, commenting on his inability to play in the NHL at age 18 because of the draft rules.

“Hockey is mostly hard work. My objective is to always play a complete game, both offensively and defensively. Point totals don’t mean much. I got a lot this season because I had Bill Flett on my wing a lot of the time. It helps when you have somebody putting in your passes.” Bobby Clarks, summer 1973.

“(Barry) Gibbs is awfully adept at moving the puck our of his own zone. This makes him an excellent partner for Ted Harris, who plays such sound hockey back of the defensive area.” Jackie Gordon, talking about his top defensive pairing.

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5 Responses to "Talking Hockey"

  1. Black Dog says:


  2. Islandlife says:

    Good stuff but I didn’t know one of the BeeGees played hockey.

  3. Bank Shot says:

    This post could be titled, “The More Things Change…….”

    Replace the name on any of these quotes with a current coach/GM and no one would think anything was amiss.

  4. Doogie says:

    LT, I assume you’ve been keeping up with the media on the Oilers’ website, either by doing there, or by subscribing to their podcasts. What did you think of MacT’s comments on Pitkanen? Seemed like some odd language to be using: on the one hand, it suggests that the Oilers were somewhat unimpressed with Joni’s overall body of work last season (surprise!), but at the same time, the whole idea of being “stuck” with a team doesn’t sound like something you’d say regarding a one-year deal. So what the fuck?

  5. Lowetide says:

    Doogie: I actually haven’t followed it but will go over and have a listen. I find MacT to be extremely straight forward so suspect he said what he meant.

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