September 9: Old Faces in New Places

Kings Sign Sawchuk

For a guy who said he would definitely retire if drafted by an expansion team or not traded to Detroit Red Wings, it didn’t take Terry Sawchuk long to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Kings. The netminder they call “Ukey” slipped into the Kings training camp at Guelph yesterday, met with general manager Larry Regan and signed a two-year pact calling for a salary of around $40,000 a year.

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Kings’ GM Larry Regan, left and coach Red Kelly.

And then just as quickly, Sawchuk returned to his home in Union Lake, Michigan.

Regan commented that both the Kings and Sawchuk were “pleased with the contract.” He went on to describe the process by which Sawchuk officially became a King:

“We had talked over the phone, but you know how unsatisfactory that is. I wanted Terry signed. So I agreed that if he’d come here, I’d guarantee there would be no interviews. Strictly business and he could go right back. I don’t know why, but that’s how he wanted it.

“I couldn’t afford somebody upsetting him by asking about Glenn Hall’s contract or something. He’ll start practice with us next week.”

Regan would not reveal the exact amount of Sawchuk’s deal, but educated guesses suggest that $40,000 would be about right. Hall signed last week with the St. Louis Blues for at least $45,000.

Coach Red Kelly would not be pinned down to a figure, but did make this comment:

“I don’t know anything about Hall, but per game, Terry could very well be the highest paid player in the game.”

Kelly expects Sawchuk to play 35-40 games.

Sawchuk is a sure Hockey Hall of Famer. His career total of 100 shutouts is by far the best of all time. Last year he appeared in 28 regular season games, posting a pair of shutouts and a goals-against average of 2.81, sharing Toronto netminding duties with Johnny Bower. Kelly credits him with being the player most responsible for the Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup victory last spring.

Plante Joins Seals

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Jacques Plante

The California Seals have signed former Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers star goaltender Jacques Plante. Plante will attend the Seals training camp at Port Huron, Michigan as a special assistant to coach and general manager Bert Olmstead. Plante and Olmstead were team mates with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1950s.

Olmstead told reporters that all arrangements had been completed with the Rangers to allow the retired goalkeeper to work with the Seals. The Rangers still hold Plante’s playing rights, despite the fact that he retired from the club two years ago.

There is speculation that Plante may attempt a playing comeback with the Seals. That rumour is fuelled by word that number one goalie pick Charlie Hodge is threatening to retire if he doesn’t receive a suitable contract offer.

Seals training camp opens Monday. Olmstead expects 40 players on hand, 26 professionals and 12 amateurs. Six skaters and a goaltender have signed their contracts thus far: Bob Baun, Kent Douglas, Bill Hicke, Joe Szura, Wally Boyer, J.P. Parise and Gary Smith.

Seals have also invited to camp seven members of last year’s Western Hockey League version of the team. They are goalie Jack McCartan, defencemen John Gravel, Gerry Odrowski, and Tom Thurlby, forwards Charlie Burns, Ron Harris and George Swarbrick. A couple of former Seals who were also invited are goaltender Jean-Guy Morrissette and centre Ed Hoekstra.

Ravlich Still in a Cast

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Matt Ravlich

When the Chicago Black Hawks open training camp on Monday, one player who will be missing is defenceman Matt Ravlich. But Ravlich isn’t a holdout or caught up in a contract dispute. His right leg remains in a cast after a gruesome injury last March.

The 29-year-old blueliner had his right leg broken in two places just above the ankle in a game against the Detroit Red Wings. To make matters worse, the leg popped out of the knee socket.

Ravlich still isn’t sure what happened:

“It was kind of freak thing. Even I don’t know if anybody hit me or not. For two months I was in a cast from my ankle to my hip, then in a cast from my knee to my ankle. Now they’re going to take that off.

“I lost about 30 pounds while I was in the hospital but now I’m back to my playing weight of 185 pounds and trying to stay their by dieting and a little weight-lifting.”

Ravlich isn’t expect to be ready for on-ice action until December.

Walton, Conacher Stop By Leafs Camp

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Mike Walton

Two of the Toronto Maple Leafs four holdouts, Mike Walton and Brian Conacher, made an appearance at the Maple Leafs training camp in Peterborough yesterday. The visit was short-lived, however, and both players left before the end of the day. Conacher did speak with Toronto general manager-coach Punch Imlach before his departure, but the conversation was brief.

Imlach had no comment when questioned about his meeting with Conacher. There are reports that the two men met in Imlach’s room and had a heated discussion. Conacher’s only comment was “If I had known Clancy was not here, we would not have come.”

Both Walton and Conacher refused to register at the Empress Hotel where the Leafs are staying.

Meanwhile, Bob Pulford and Tim Horton continue to refuse to attend workouts. Latest rumour from Red Burnett of the Toronto Star has Imlach working on a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers that would see Pulford depart for the City of Brotherly Love in exchange for a couple of players.

Quick Hits

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  • Detroit Red Wings have signed centre Alex Delvecchio and winger Doug Roberts. Delvecchio is shown above with Pete Mahovlich and Gordie Howe at Wings training camp yesterday.
  • Louis Blues have signed former Montreal Canadiens forward Jim Roberts. He was the first skater chosen by the Blues in the Expansion Draft. No terms were disclosed.
  • Rochester Americans general manager-coach Joe Crozier says that if Bronco Horvath, Stan Smrke and Norm (Red) Armstrong aren’t in training camp by Sunday, they will each be fined $25 a day for every day of camp that they miss.
  • Former Oshawa Generals forward Danny O’Shea has been impressive in the training camp of the Canadian National Team.
  • The Canadian nationals are also interested in Hamilton Red Wings defenceman Rick Smith.
  • Baz Bastien, who led the Pittsburgh Hornets to the American Hockey League championship last year as general manager-coach, has been hired by the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant to general manager-coach Sid Abel.

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