What more can be said about
Paul Henderson's heroics that has not been
said time and time again?
He scored the game winning goals in game 6, game 7 and
of course game 8. And he will be forever immortalized in hockey history as he scored
on what is arguably the greatest hockey moment ever.
Henderson was actually one of the
last players to make the team. He had a terrific training camp along with Bobby
Clarke and Ron Ellis. All three were on the bubble as to whether or not they'd
make the team or not, but they played extremely well together. They were
Canada's best threesome, and the only line that was kept together throughout the
All three were incredible. Clarke
was instrumental with his defensive play and his crisp playmaking, which in
particular helped Henderson. Ellis did a masterful job of shutting down the
flashy Valeri Kharlamov and was also used against the big Alexander Yakushev.
And then there was Henderson.
Henderson was on fire throughout the entire series. He tied with Phil Esposito
and Alexander Yakushev for the goal scoring lead with 7. He was especially
hot in Moscow - he scored twice in game 5 and scored the game winners in game 6
and game 7.
The game 7 goal was spectacular.
With less than three minutes left to play, Henderson was sprung lose thanks to a
nice pass from Serge Savard. Henderson was in alone on two Soviet defenseman -
normally an impossible scoring chance. Going in alone on two Russian defenders,
he crossed so that the two defensemen were forced to cross positions. Henderson
slid the puck through the defenseman's legs and went around. Instead of playing
the man, defenseman Evgeny Tsygankov tried to play the puck. He failed to stop
the puck and Henderson was in alone. He scored just under the cross bar while
falling down, as the defenders tackled him.
And of course there is the most
famous goal in hockey history: Henderson's game winner in game eight.
"In the final seconds of that
game, I stood up at the bench and called Pete Mahovlich off the ice. I'd never
done such a thing before," wrote Henderson in Brian McFarlane's book Team
Canada 1972: Where Are They Now?, and undoubtedly told over a million times
"I jumped on the and rushed straight for their net. I had this
strange feeling that I could score the winning goal. I had a great chance just
before I scored, but Cournoyer's pass went behind me. Then I was tripped up and
crashed into the boards behind the net. I leaped up and moved in front, just in
time to see Esposito take a shot at Tretiak from inside the faceoff circle. The
rebound came right to my stick and I tried to slide the puck past Tretiak. Damn!
He got a piece of it. But a second rebound came right to me. This time I flipped
the puck over him and into the net."
Although he couldn't have
comprehended it at that moment in time, he had just become an immortal in the
"I talk about the goal at least
300 days a year," he says.
One has to wonder if he ever gets
tired of talking about it, and for being known almost solely for the goal.
"At first, I got sick of
talking about it for a while, the first three or four months. There was
absolutely no privacy. It got to be a bit of a pain. But I don't feel that way
now. It's a special memory and I honestly can't think of anything better
with which to be associated," Henderson was quoted in Scott Morrison's book
The Days Canada Stood Still.
Henderson Interview In Dressing Room After Game Eight - CBC Radio (1:39)