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Size does Matter
 
MONTREAL | March 17th, 2014
Size does  Matter
For any rookie, setting foot in the hallowed halls of the Habs’ dressing room for the first time can be a stressful experience. As one particular newbie found out in the 1970s, though, filling the skates once worn by the team's greatest legends was an even tougher task than he had bargained for.  

After being drafted by the Canadiens in the first round in June 1971, Larry Robinson headed to training camp that fall determined to earn his spot with the big club.  

“I showed up to my first camp to go through that battery of medicals and tests and I was maybe 193 pounds soaking wet,” recalled the  6-foot-4 Hall-of-Famer. “They told me I only needed to bring my skates with me and the team would give me everything else. So I sat down and started getting ready for my first-ever practice with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I put on my shin pads and they were tiny – there was a space of about three or four inches between my shin pad and my ankle,” he continued. “I was already terrified enough just being in the dressing room with those guys so I kept my mouth shut and went out onto the ice with the small pads.”  

Robinson’s first strides on Forum ice went off without a hitch – before “Big Bird” laid a crushing check on veteran Claude Larose in an intra-squad scrimmage.

“Luckily, nothing came of that hit,” laughed Robinson, who went on to suit up for a team-record 1,202 games throughout his 17-year career on the Habs blue line. “I didn’t take any shots to the shins or anything like that. When we were all back in the room after the practice, Guy Lapointe looked over at me laughing from his spot and asked, ‘Larry, what’s the deal?’ He saw how short my pads were and went to see equipment manager Eddy Palchak to get me a pair a little more my size.”  

With the problem now solved, the 20-year-old did a little detective work to find out just who had christened the pint-sized pads before him.

“I was taking off my gear and I took a look at the shin pads Eddy had given me originally,” continued Robinson. “It turned out they had the No. 9 marked on the inside. Imagine that; it was the first pro camp of my life, and I was out there skating around in ‘Rocket’ Richard’s game-used equipment!”

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