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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

LARRY ROBINSON

Inducted in 2004

Member Details

Date of Birth: June 2, 1951
Place of Birth: Winchester, Ontario
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1972-86

Six Stanley Cups - Montreal Canadiens

1977, 1980

Norris Trophy

1978

Conn Smythe Trophy

2000

Coached New Jersey to Stanley Cup

Honoured Member LARRY ROBINSON
Inspire

Story

When he was young, he was big and awkward, but as he grew into his body and developed his coordination he was bigger and devastating. "Big Bird" was not the smoothest skater or the fastest, but he could hit hard, lead the offense, and win big games. Larry Robinson was a force to be reckoned with on the Montreal Canadiens blueline. Drafted by Montreal in 1971, he spent a year and a half in the minors with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs. He was called up midway through the '72-'73 season and had an immediate impact such that he never saw the minors again. Robinson helped the team win a Stanley Cup in his rookie season and in short order he formed the nucleus of the team's Big Three on the blueline with Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe. This trio had it all. They could carry the puck out of their own end, play the power-play point to perfection, and play hard, physical hockey inside their own end. In all, Robinson won six Cups with the Canadiens. After the first in 1973, the team won four in a row (1976-79) to establish a dynasty in dominating fashion. In 1976-77, the team lost just eight games out of 80, a record that stands to this day. That same year, Robinson won his first of two Norris Trophies as the league's best defenceman, and the Habs started their streak of four Cups in a row. The next year, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as best playoff performer, and two years after he won his second Norris Trophy. These were the years international hockey was taking root in Canada, and Robinson was also on the first Canada Cup team in 1976 and the second in 1981. He also represented Canada at the 1981 World Championship where he was named the tournament's best defenceman. Perhaps his greatest compliment came when he was named to the Canada Cup team in 1984. At 33 years of age and on the downside of his career, it was an honour he wasn't expecting. Yet, he reacted with remarkable composure and played brilliantly, and Canada recovered the crown it had lost three years earlier to win the championship. For Robinson, an even more unlikely success to savour was his final Cup triumph, in 1986. By this time he was 37 years old and most of the players who formed the core of the late-1970s dynasty had moved on or retired, but Robinson hung in there and, backed by brilliant goaltending from rookie Patrick Roy, the Canadiens won a most unlikely Stanley Cup. By this time, the Canadiens were no longer interested in having the ageing blueliner around so he signed with Los Angeles, finishing out his career with three years in west-coast obscurity. He retired in 1992 after having played 1,384 regular-season games and a then-record 227 playoff games. He turned his keen hockey sense to coaching, and toward the end of the 1999-2000 season he performed something of a miracle. He was hired to coach the New Jersey Devils with just two weeks left in the season, but he got the team heading in the same direction and led them to a Cup victory, his first as coach, becoming one of select few men to win the Cup as both player and coach.


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