ABERCROMBIE – Organizers of the annual Weeks celebrity golf tournament were relieved when Larry Robinson fulfilled his promise to be this year’s marquee guest.
The former NHL star, mostly with the Montreal Canadiens, was billed as last year’s guest when he was called away by the New Jersey Devils, where he was an assistant coach. Kirk Muller, who played on the Habs when they won their last Stanley Cup in 1993, replayed him admirably last year.
Robinson was certain he would have time to come this year, until he recently got named an associate coach with the San Jose Sharks, but still came here for an abbreviated time.
“Our hearts sank when we heard he signed with the Sharks, but good on him that he came anyway,” organizer Marty Malcolm said.
Robinson arrived in time to take part in the dinner and auction Thursday evening at the Bluenose Curling Club that customarily precedes Friday’s golf scramble, which sold out once again this year.
“I was glad to come,” Robinson said. “Pictou County reminds me of where I grew up.”
Robinson played his first 17 seasons with the Canadiens before playing his last three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings.
His final NHL totals were impressive with 208 goals, 750 assists and 958 regular season points as well as 144 points in 227 playoff games.
His most productive offensive numbers occurred in 1976-77 when he recorded 19 goals and 66 assists for 85 points. He had a vintage year nine seasons later when he garnered 19 goals and 63 assists for 82 points and helped the Canadiens capture the Cup in five games against the Calgary Flames.
He was also with the Habs when they lost in the 1988-89 final to Calgary.
“I always thought we had a better team that year than in 1986, but I guess it was a little payback,” he said.
Robinson shared a conversation about the series with the late Pat Burns, who was the Canadiens’ rookie head coach. They agreed the Habs made a mistake during the series by flying back to Montreal directly after the games in Calgary instead of staying overnight.
“We were always out of gas in the third period,” Robinson said.
Besides the six Stanley Cups he won with the Canadiens, Robinson also has rings from his time as a coach with the Devils, who lost in this year’s final to the Kings.
“It was a terrific run with the Devils,” he said. “I can’t say enough about (Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello.”
Robinson said he was disappointed how the officiating in the final series affected its outcome.
“You know it was affected when the conversation after the game is about the officiating and not about the game.”