By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page

No. 36: October 5, 1979The Sabres trade Rene Robert to Colorado for John Van Boxmeer.

Scotty Bowman was hired in the summer of 1979 to take over as the general manager and coach of the Sabres. It didn’t take him very long to send out a signal that there was a new sheriff in town, and that the old days were over.

“The French Connection” was one of the last of the great lines in hockey history. Gil Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert brought scoring and excitement whenever they played together through much of the 1970s. When it was announced that Robert had been dealt to the Rockies for defenseman John Van Boxmeer, it meant that the trio’s days together were over. That meant this deal carried plenty of emotion with it.

In terms of hockey impact, this had less than you might remember. Robert had a good year in Colorado, scoring 63 points in 1979-80. But he was out of hockey by 1982. Van Boxmeer, who played for Bowman in Montreal, proved to be a helpful offensive defenseman in Buffalo. The veteran spent four years here, peaking with 18 goals and 69 points for the Sabres in 1981-82. Later he became a coach in the Sabres’ minor league system.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)


Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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