Monday, August 8, 2011

1974-75 Topps Card #10 - Gilles Gilbert

Card Features - Gilles Gilbert
 Card #10 of this set features one of the better goalies in the 70's. Boston Bruins starter Gilles Gilbert. Boston acquired Gilles from the North Stars for Fred Stanfield. All Gilles did his first year with the Bruins (the season just finished before this card was issued) is go 34-12-8 with a 2.95 GAA and 6 shutouts and lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Then came the tenure of Don Cherry. Gilles and Don did not get along that well. According to Cherry, "And I used to give it to Gilbert pretty good, too. When we had shooting practice, I'd send all the goofy guys, the ones who fired high shots, up to Gilbert's end of the rink. The same guys, the ones who kept the shots low, went to Cheevers' end of the rink." (Toronto Star, December 30, 1984)
Cheevers being Gerry Cheevers, the other Bruins goalie at the time. Despite Gilbert being a superior goalie, Cherry played his favourite, Cheevers. Maybe Boston would've beat Montreal if Gilbert had played. But as it stood, Montreal beat Boston in the finals two straight years, leading to Don Cherry being fired.
Gilles was a free agent after the finals that year, and had offers from several teams, including Montreal after Ken Dryden's sudden retirement. But with Cherry no longer there, Gilbert re-signed with the Bruins and went 20-9-3 with a 2.73 GAA that year. Boston was so grateful that they traded him to Detroit. At that time, Detroit was one of if not the worst team in the league.
Gilles played 95 games for the Red Wings over three seasons going 21-48-16 with no shutouts before retiring in 1983.
Topps used virtually the same photo for Gilles in the '73/74 set as they did here in the '74/75 set. Substitute the black sweater for a home white one and voila.
Gotta dig the Love on the Ice cartoon.

oh, and Sal, if you're reading this.... his name is pronounced like Zhill Zhill-BEAR. :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure Gilbert was really superior to Cheevers. The only time might have been at the very end when Cheevers was pushing 40 and his knees were gone. Even then, the decision would have been like sticking with Brodeur or Luongo when there was a Schneider waiting in the wings.