54571Re: [hockhist] Re: Rod Gilbert Question
- May 8, 2014...an old resentment continues to nag me like a sharp pebble I can't seem to shake out of my shoe, and this long ago abandoned conversation is as likely place for me to finally find relief as any: John Ferguson was a hunk of s@#t.
There -- I said it.
I can't count the number of times and different ways he disrespected Rod Gilbert (and in doing so, all that makes hockey the beautiful and noble sport that it is), so I will allow Ferguson's own prideful words, recalling, in a 1977 Vancouver Sun article, one of our beloved game's most truly disgraceful moments, to capture not only the man's true essence, but also hinting at why Rod Gilbert was, shockingly, not named Rangers captain in 1976...
Ferguson, who served as a special assistant to Sharks GM Doug Wilson until ill health forced him to the sidelines last season, brought that same scrappy mentality to his job as an assistant coach with Team Canada in 1972's Summit Series against the Russians. His win at-all-costs mentality made him a central figure in the series' most controversial moment -- when Bobby Clarke's slash broke Russian star Valerie Kharlamov's ankle.
"I whispered in his [Clarke's] ear that Kharlamov had to be stopped," said Ferguson, not shying from his role even 35 years after the fact. "I knew I couldn't tell Rod Gilbert to do it. With Clarkie, I knew I wouldn't have to tell him twice."You have to remember the times. That series was about more than hockey. There were no angels in that series on either side." ( http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=1d9b10dd-288f-4121-be9b-d8bda638f5ae&sponsor= )Whatever. Fugly Fergie - the anti-Paul Henderson.
...from 1966 - 1986 the Rangers missed the playoffs exactly twice: the 2 years he was at the helm.
In a 2011 interview Gilbert uncharacteristically called a spade a spade and let it all out:
Adam: After a lengthy contract dispute with the Rangers you ultimately retired. What made you decide not to try to play anywhere else?
Rod: What happened was… I had lot of controversy with the trade of Jean Ratelle and Brad Park in 1975. That hurt me quite a bit and I didn’t feel.. it was starting new. They traded my two closest friends and I was not prepared to go backwards and rebuild. My goal was always to win the cup in New York. I was very passionate about that. Esposito came here and John Ferguson came [as GM] and he changed everything. He changed the uniform and I was upset about that. I wore it with pride and he changed it to his own liking and none of the fans could relate to that. I was upset with that and I let him know. I led the team in scoring the first year he was here. Then he wanted Esposito to be the leader but I had a bigger following. Walt Tkaczuk… they all looked up to me. He had to get rid of me to do that. I wasn’t happy. When they traded Middleton for Hodge and he went to score in Boston… it was the worst trade in Rangers history I think. I had 2 years on my contract and when they bought me out they offered me a job in management but that didn’t mean much considering they didn’t have me do much. I didn’t want to go to Hartford or Detroit or St. Louis because my goal was always to win the Cup so I wanted to stay here. Eventually I got Ferguson out of management and got the jersey back to the way it should be. So I think I accomplished what I wanted. ( Interviewing Rangers’ Legend Rod Gilbert )
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