John Robertson:
He Who Laughs Last

John Robertson, a reporter for the Montreal Star, drew the ire of the entire country when he predicted the Russians would win 2 of 4 games in Canada and all 4 games in Moscow. 

One of the few Canadians to make such an outlandish prediction, he based on the Soviets' superior training and conditioning at that particular time of year, which of course was the major concern in Canadian minds.

Robertson was roasted by his peers in the media as a flake who was just trying to sell newspapers. They told him he should be writing for the Soviet government-run newspaper Pravda.

In response Robertson said: "We have taken one hundred years of hockey heritage and shoved it into the center of the table and staked it on the outcome of an eight-game series in which we sit back and allow the deck to be stacked against us."

No one thought Robertson knew what he was talking about back then. It might even be very possible Robertson didn't even know he was as close to the truth as he thought he was.

In 2006, in an interview with Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun, he admitted his prediction was partly to cause a stir.

He also recollected that he promised to eat his column if Canada won. A week after Paul Henderson's historic game winning goal, Robertson found himself at a Montreal restaurant, staring at a salad that contained shredded pieces of his column.

"I had to eat this bloody column slathered in ink and Russian dressing, and it felt like a bowling ball down there," Robertson told Penton with a laugh. "All the news that's fit to eat."

Robertson, who did not travel to Moscow but was present for all four games in Canada, called the Summit Series the one event he covered that he will never forget.

On particular aspect of the series he will never forget is the stench in the Russian dressing room.

"It looked like it had spent the summer on the dump or something. It stunk so much," he said. "You walked in the dressing room, and it was like getting hit with a fist."