(WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres have announced that team legend René Robert has passed away after suffering a heart attack in Florida last week. Robert was 72.
In their first two seasons, Buffalo drafted Gil Perreault and Rick Martin, but they needed the final ingredient for that line. On March 5, 1972, they traded Eddie Shack to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Robert and the famed "French Connection" line was born.
Up to that point in his career, Robert had just seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 54 games with Pittsburgh and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He finished the 1972-73 season getting into 12 games with Buffalo and netted six goals and three assists for nine points for the Sabres.
Robert scored 40 goals twice and led the team in scoring with 100 points in the 1974-75 season.
Perreault and Martin were flashier, but Robert scored bigger goals for the Sabres. Robert netted the overtime winner in the 1973 playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens and Ken Dryden. It was the first overtime playoff goal in team history.
Robert scored another big playoff overtime goal in Game 3 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final, also known as the “Fog Game” to beat the Philadelphia Flyers.
Robert also scored in overtime against Montreal in 1975.
Robert’s No. 14 joined Perreault and Martin up in the rafters when it was retired in 1995. A statue went up in Alumni Plaza for the French Connection in 2012.
Robert is sixth on the Sabres' all-time scoring list with 552 points in 524 games. He’s 29th in team history in games played.
Robert scored 222 goals, which stands ninth in Sabres history, while his 330 assists are fifth. If you take Robert’s Sabres totals over 82 games, he averaged 35 goals with 52 assists for 87 points.
Robert played in two NHL All-Star Games in 1973 and 75.
In 1979, the Sabres traded Robert to the Colorado Rockies for defenseman John Van Boxmeer.
***Photo: Micheline Michaelina (@MiMiV4682)