The Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup the past two years, yet there was no SI cover of them at the time of either championship victory. Montreal wins this year and, presto, you have a full-color cover of Larry Robinson making a Philadelphia player look bad (But Cod Blessed the Canadiens, May 24).
GEORGE M. OCHLAK
God didn't bless Montreal exclusively. Reggie Leach won the Conn Smythe trophy for being "the most valuable player for his team in the entire playoffs." You forgot to mention it.
Thanks for the Bobby Clarke cover and story earlier in the season (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Clarke, Feb. 23), but then you couldn't leave violence out of that article, as though the Flyers invented violence in hockey. When the Canadiens use "intimidation" they are "God blessed." Very interesting.
West Deptford, N.J.
Sure, the Canadiens were the better team. They were near perfect, and they deserved all the attention they got for the way they played and destroyed the Flyers.
My objections lie in the totally one-sided story written by J. D. Reed. After all, the Flyers were the two-time defending champions, and they still rank as the second-best team in hockey. I think they deserve credit for that.
But there's more. With all the talk of violence in hockey, although devout hockey fans know it's nothing like it used to be, why did J. D. Reed repeatedly point out how the Flyers were banged around and outmuscled? Why couldn't he write about the superb hockey played by Montreal?
And one last thing. How many fans of the other NHL teams would give the visitors a standing ovation, as Philadelphia fans did, after being defeated in four straight games for the championship? To my way of thinking, that is as much a part of the sport as the game itself.
STEVEN R. GORDON
This year's Stanley Cup finals were the finest display of honest, competitive hockey that I have seen in a long time. However, in my opinion the Philadelphia Flyers will always be the true champions of this game, mainly because it was through the Flyers' "patented" hard-checking style of play that the Canadiens won the series.
Many teams are now revamping their defensive styles of play to match that of the Flyers, and they are finding (through winning) that it is the only way to play. The Flyers have been the target of both the media and hockey fans for being "bullies," but it is clear that if it had been the old, passive Canadiens in the finals, the cup would still be in Philly.
Thanks to J. D. Reed for his praise of Larry Robinson. Robinson was ever-present throughout the playoffs, yet game after game his performance seemed to be passed off as a fluke. Perhaps the all-round team play of the Canadiens is the reason for Robinson's being overlooked, and it may also explain why the Flyers' Reggie Leach was given the MVP nod.