Too Many Men on the Ice

The 1978–1979 Boston Bruins and the Most Famous Penalty in Hockey History

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SKU: 9781476671000 Categories: ,

About the Book

Entering the 1978–1979 season, the Boston Bruins had been one of the best teams in the National Hockey League for more than a decade. Yet they could not shake the postseason jinx the Montreal Canadiens held over them—the Habs had ousted them in 13 consecutive playoff series going back to 1940s. The Bruins wanted one more shot at their nemeses, after coming up short in both the 1977 and 1978 Stanley Cup finals.
They got their chance in the semifinal round. Led by the colorful but embattled coach Don Cherry, the underdog Bruins played seven heart-stopping games. Victory seemed within their grasp but was snatched away with an untimely penalty in the final minutes of game seven.
The author looks back at the season from opening night at Boston Garden to the catastrophic conclusion at the Montreal Forum, with detailed accounts of the semifinal games and a post-mortem of the infamous bench penalty.

About the Author(s)

John G. Robertson is a private tutor and sports historian who lives in Cambridge, Ontario. He is also the author of several books on baseball history.

Bibliographic Details

John G. Robertson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 213
Bibliographic Info: 10 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7100-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3288-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction: Those Unbeatable Habs 5
1. The Arrival of Don Cherry and the “Lunch Pail A.C.” 21
2. No Contest: The 1977 Stanley Cup Final 25
3. A Valiant Effort: The 1978 Stanley Cup Final 31
4. High Hopes and Cautious Optimism for 1978–79 38
5. Looking Like Contenders 46
6. The New Year Brings Troubles—and a Tribute 51
7. Only Three Contenders: The 1979 Stanley Cup Playoffs 63
8. The Quarterfinal: Boston Sweeps Pittsburgh 67
9. An Old Nemesis Awaits 74
10. Game 1: No Penalty Shot? 77
11. Game 2: A ­Two-Goal Lead Vanishes 82
12. Game 3: Gilbert Gets the Nod 87
13. Game 4: Ratelle to the Rescue 92
14. Game 5: Montreal Reasserts Its Dominance 99
15. Game 6: The Bruins’ Big Win Forces a Decider 103
16. None Bigger: The Hype for the Final Game 111
17. Game 7: Too Many Men 114
18. The Immediate Aftermath 126
19. Who Even Remembers the 1979 Stanley Cup Final? 129
20. The End of the Don Cherry Era in Boston 133
21. Who Was to Blame? 142
22. April 26, 1988: Liberation Day for Bruin Fans 149
Epilogue 156
Appendix A: Boston’s Key Personnel, 1978–79 161
Appendix B: Statistics and Game Results 186
Chapter Notes 190
Bibliography 202
Index 203