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Flower Power
MONTREAL | August 15th, 2010
Flower Power
For most players, the prospect of playing in a possible Stanley Cup-clinching game is a pretty big deal. Sweaty palms, an accelerated heart rate and general anxiety are all common side effects, though none of them bothered Serge Savard in the spring of 1976.

With the Habs leading the series 3-0 over the two-time defending champion Flyers heading into Game 4 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Savard and the Canadiens were on the cusp of sweeping the once-feared Broad Street Bullies. Just prior to puck drop, while the rest of his teammates were quietly readying themselves for battle on the bench, Savard had his eye on renowned Flyers anthem singer and lucky charm, Kate Smith.

“The folklore about Kate was already in place long before the ’76 Finals,” recalled former Habs winger Murray Wilson. ”She was their big thing, their secret weapon. Serge just decided to divert attention away from her performance and throw the Flyers off any way he could, but I had no idea what he was up to.”

Midway through one of Smith’s stirring renditions of “God Bless America”, Savard calmly put his plan into action.

“I was on the bench and Serge already had something hidden next to him,” Wilson recounted. “She was in the middle of singing and he just reached over and grabbed these flowers. Kate’s there singing and they’ve got the spotlight on her and at the end of it – her big finish – there’s Serge standing there, handing her flowers!”

Confused and holding a lovely bouquet of roses courtesy of the archrival Canadiens, Smith was like a deer in the headlights as the stunned crowd looked on.

“What else could she do? She took them from him, walked a few steps, got to the Flyers’ bench and threw them onto it,” continued Wilson. “She probably shouldn’t have accepted them in the first place, but she was so taken by surprise that I don’t think she knew what to do.”

The Flyers didn’t, either. Determined to avoid being swept on home ice and having to watch Savard and the Habs raise the Cup that night, Bobby Clarke and Co. nonetheless fell 5-3 to the Canadiens as their reign of terror over the NHL ended with a thud.

No word on where Serge’s flowers ended up, but the Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup since.

See also
Tom and Dickie
The Welcome Wagon
A Sticky Situation
The old switcheroo
Mikey Scissohands
The Bear Essentials
One of a kind
Joy and pain