This Day In Sabres History – Flyers Win Cup In Buffalo


On this day 49 years ago, the Philadelphia Flyers won their second straight Stanley Cup, eliminating the Buffalo Sabres in six games with a 2-0 shutout victory at Memorial Auditorium. In spite of the defeat, there was reason for optimism for the future of the young Sabres, as was the central theme of Dick Johnston’s piece in the June 1, 1975 edition of the Hockey News.

Unfortunately, that promising future never came to pass. In spite of having the French Connection, scorers like Danny Gare, and excellent two-way forwards in Don Luce and Craig Ramsay, the Sabres did not get past the second round of the playoffs, losing twice to the New York Islanders and again to the Flyers prior to Punch Imlach getting fired in 1978.

The Buffalo Sabres, who just completed their finest season ever, appear to have a set team for 1975-76.

When the season ended, only two players hadn’t signed contracts for next season. One, Rick Dudley, has come to terms with the new Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association and is lost to the Sabres.

Larry Mickey, the other who hasn’t signed, is the oldest of the forwards at 31 and played little this season, He isn’t likely to be protected in the National Hockey League’s intra-league draft and probably will depart for the WHA.

Coach Floyd Smith has two lines that played together throughout the 1974-75 campaign and they should be good for some time to come. Nobody on either line is older than 26.

In the French Connection—Gil Perreault, 24; Rick Martin, 23, and Rene Robert, 26,—Smitty has the highest scoring line in the league and the most exciting. They totaled 131 goals during the regular season.

Rookie Danny Gare moved in with the two great checkers of past years, Don Luce and CRaig Ramsay, and that line became a dangerous scoring combination, as well as continuing to do a job oh opposing high scorers.

Luce is 26, Ramsay 24 and Gare 21.

Smitty used five different forwards on his other line and competition is expected to be strong for regular berths.

Fred Stanfield, Peter McNab, and Jim Lorentz all played center on this line, at one time or another. Stanfield also played left wing, as did Brian Spencer, while Lorentz and Dudley handled the right wing chores. Only Stanfield is over 30.

Smitty has one of the youngest and biggest defense corps in the league and, as the season progressed, it became one of the best.

Jim Schoenfeld, 22; Jerry Korab, 27; Josh Guevremont, 24, and Bill Hajt, 23, were generally considered the regulars, with Larry Carriere, 23, filling in frequently and working as a penalty killer. Lee Fogolin, an underage rookie, with a year in the NHL behind him, is likely to challenge for a regular job. He has great potential. Like Gare, he isn’t eligible for the pro drafts.

The goalies won’t have to be protected in the draft. Gerry Desjardins, who returned from the WHA to do most of the netminding in the playoffs, Gary Bromley, the rookie who did the bulk of the work during the regular season, and Roger Crozier, 33, ailing much of the last two campaigns, will likely all be back next season.

It’s a good bet that the Sabres will go for a goaltender in the amateur draft for their minor-league affiliate and for future insurance.

The Sabres’ top minor leaguers of 1974-75 mostly were rookies and thus won’t have to be protected.

They were defenseman Paul McIntosh and left winger Michel Deziel. Another, who spent part of the season with the big club, Morris Titanic, will be protected.

With Gare and Fogolin exempt from the draft, the Sabres’ 18-man protected list should be pretty well set.

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