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Give it away now
MONTREAL | January 7th, 2011
Give it away now
Team chemistry is not a statistic that can be accurately measured, but it’s as important as Guy Lafleur’s blistering  shot, Jean Béliveau’s sublime deke or Larry Robinson’s bone-rattling bodycheck. Here’s a look back at one of the lighter moments that helped make the Montreal Canadiens a championship team.

Serge Savard and John Ferguson were teammates from 1967  to 1971. While not as renowned a prankster as Guy Lapointe, Savard enjoyed playing the occasional practical joke. In 1972 Ferguson was named assistant coach and Savard was one of a half-dozen Habs who suited up for Team Canada. After the final game of the famous Summit series against the Soviets, “Fergie” made a point of having all the players sign a stick and kept a watchful eye on it all the way home, something that didn’t escape  Savard’s attention.

Disembarking from the final leg of the return flight, the team was greeted by a reception committee headed by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre-Elliott Trudeau. Ferguson, stick firmly in hand, followed Savard down the receiving line and was shocked when he heard his teammate address the PM.

“By the way, Mr. Prime Minister, John Ferguson brought you back an autographed souvenir from Moscow,” he said while wresting the stick from his astonished teammate’s grasp.

The two men had to have been close friends for Savard to even think of playing a prank like that on the short-fused Ferguson.

“I wanted to wring his neck,” remembers Ferguson, who could only look on helplessly as Trudeau nonchalantly handed off his prized souvenir to one of his aides. Fergie never saw the stick again but didn’t seem to hold a grudge against Savard, offering him a contract in 1981 when he was GM in Winnipeg.

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