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49507Re: Team Canada 1977 - World Hockey Championships

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  • J.P. Martel
    Feb 1, 2006
      Regarding Jim Rutherford, you may have the beginning of an
      answer here:

      It seems that Rutherford was Alan Eagleson's pal. At the time,
      Joe Crozier, then GM of the (WHA) Calgary Cowboys, had complained
      that "most of the players picked so far are clients of Alan


      --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, "Craig" <argonauts25@...> wrote:
      > I have a few questions on the makeup of Team Canada 1977 which of
      course was the first team of Canadian pros to compete in the World
      Hockey Championships.
      > The first is related to goaltending. Tony Esposito and Jim
      Rutherford handled the goaltending duties for Team Canada. (John
      Garrett of Birmingham was also named to the team and played in
      Canada's 8-1 victory over West Germany in an exhibition game and was
      then released when Esposito joined the squad.) Now Tony Esposito was
      a great choice as he was a proven international goalie and still one
      of the very best in the NHL. But why was Jim Rutherford on the team?
      He wasn't even the number one goalie on the Detroit Red Wings that
      season who were the worst team in the NHL. Ed Giacomin held that
      honor and Giacomin had a pretty decent season playing for a pathetic
      team. If there was no injury issues why wasn't Giacomin who while no
      longer an elite NHL goalie, was certainly far and away much better
      then Rutherford, on the team? Or if Eddie could not play why not
      Gilles Meloche of Cleveland and John Davidson were also far better
      then Rutherford and if they were healthy were available? So, why
      Rutherford instead of any of them? (I understood John Wilson
      selecting Rutherford over Garrett as he had coached Rutherford in
      Detroit and being an NHL coach would have been far more familiar
      with him then he would have been with the WHA Garrett.) Did they all
      turn down the chance to play in Vienna with Canada? (Interesting
      enough Phil Esposito was quoted as saying he wasn't heart broken
      about missing the playoffs as he was really looking forward to
      playing in Vienna that year. That attitude changed when he got over
      there! That being the case the attitude of the WHC's being a
      distraction or a chore had not yet set in with NHL players)
      > Also looking at the forwards I realize Steve Vickers didn't have a
      great season but he was still considered an excellent winger who was
      a proven 30-40 goal scorer and who was still young. Yet he wasn't on
      the team. Nor was Birmingham forward Mark Napier who got cut after
      the exhibition games in favor of such "stalwarts" as Ralph Klassen
      and Walt McEchnie. Any ideas of what happened there - in particular
      why Vickers wasn't even invited?
      > Craig
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