Editor’s note: Looks like we are taking a much-needed vacation over the next week or so. We’re traveling to Winnipeg to visit our son, then coming back via the U.S. to see the sights. We’ll try and post some notes as time becomes available, but the real in-depth coverage will resume on a daily basis on October 1. Our Twitter feed will continue at @1967NHLTweets as usual.
Thanks for your patience, and we’ll catch you again on the first!
Today’s hockey news consists of a few exhibition results, some key player signings, and the surprise appearance of a sure Hall of Fame netminder in an exhibition game.
Seals, Kings Saw One Off
Goaltending great Jacques Plante, retired for two years from the New York Rangers, left little doubt last night that he feels he can still play in the National Hockey League. Enlisted by the California Seals to help mentor the goalkeepers on the new expansion club, Plante worked out with the team and found he still has a zest for blocking pucks.
In an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Kings in Port Huron, Michigan where the Seals train, Plante surprisingly started in goal for the Seals. He didn’t show any rust from two years of relative inactivity, making 10 saves, allowing two goals as the Seals and Los Angeles Kings skated to a 3-3 tie.
The game was an entertaining affair. The Seals scored twice in the final five and a half minutes of the third period to erase a 3-1 Los Angeles lead and gain the tie.
Kings took the early edge just four minutes into the game on a Lowell MacDonald goal. A little over two minutes later, Autry Erickson, a former defenceman in the Toronto chain, tied it up. Los Angeles took the lead with the only goal of the middle frame, off the stick of Eddie Joyal.
The Kings went up 3-1 just shy of the 12-minute mark of the third on Terry Gray’s score. That set the stage for the two late power play goals to pull California even. Billy Hicke narrowed the gap to one goal with a marker at 14:30, followed by Wally Boyer’s tally at 16:59.
Three goaltenders shared the net for the Kings. Terry Sawchuk handled the first period, Bob Perani the second, while George Wood took over in the third.
Plante was in goal for the first two periods for California, with Gary Smith taking the final 20 minutes.
It will be interesting to see what arrangements the Seals made with the New York Rangers to allow Plante to appear in the game. The Rangers, even though he retired from the team two years ago, still own Jake the Snake’s playing rights under the NHL’s archaic by-laws. So California would presumably have had to strike some sort of deal with Rangers general manager Emile Francis to get Plante into uniform.
Of course, Plante’s assignment in this game may have been nothing but a ploy by general manager-coach Bert Olmstead to get the attention of holdout Charlie Hodge, the Seals’ first Expansion Draft pick. With the veteran Plante showing well, it may just prompt the reluctant California netminder to come back to the bargaining table and listen a little more closely to what the Seals have to offer.
Flyers Finally Win
It was only a win against an American Hockey League team, but the Philadelphia Flyers will take it. After a loss and a tie in their first two exhibition games, the Flyers eked out a 5-4 victory over the Springfield Kings last night in Hamilton, Ontario. The Kings are the number one farm team of the Flyers’ expansion cousins, the Los Angeles Kings.
Hockey fans in Hamilton weren’t overly excited to see a new NHL team lineup against a minor-league club. Only 600 fans turned out to the Hamilton Forum to see Leon Rochefort scored twice to lead the Flyers attack. Other Philly scorers were Gary Dornhoefer, Billy Sutherland and John Miszuk.
Springfield scorers were Randy Miller, Mike Corbett, Poul Popiel and Freeman Asmundsun.
Rochefort’s winning goal came with just over two minutes to play. A Bill Sutherland shot deflected off his skate past Kings goalie Jacques Caron.
Leafs Come Back Against Wings
The Detroit Red Wings jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs and then had to hang on for a 2-2 tie against the Stanley Cup champions. It was the Red Wings first exhibition contest this fall.
Former Leaf Gary Jarrett and Paul Henderson scored in the first period to put the Red Wings ahead. Mike Walton connected for the only goal of the second period to narrow the lead to one. Dave Keon tied things up with just under six minutes left in the game.
Johnny Bower went all the way in goal for the Leafs, despite being scheduled for just half a game’s work. Rookie Al Smith was supposed to spell Johnny after 30 minutes, but that plan changed when Bower allowed a soft goal by Henderson.
“It was a cheap goal and I made him toil for three periods rather than use Al Smith,” explained Leafs coach Punch Imlach. “I’ll give Bower a rest when we play Boston tonight, and use Smith and Bruce Gamble.” Leafs play the Bruins in Peterborough.
Roger Crozier played the first 30 minutes of the game in goal for Detroit and he was outstanding. After a disappointing season last year, he’s looking to bounce back in a big way. George Gardner handled the last half of the contest.
Red Wings general manager Sid Abel was pleased with the play of Jarrett. He was a spark plug all night, playing left wing on a line with Alex Delvecchio and Gordie Howe. He had five shots on goal, tops on the team and nearly scored the game-winner with just seconds to play.
The game marked the debut of Baz Bastien behind the Red Wings bench. Bastien led the Red Wings AHL farm team Pittsburgh Hornets to the league championship last year. It’s not known how much coaching Bastien will do, but he has become Abel’s right-hand man.
Bastien had ulterior motives in badly wanting to beat the Leafs. He related to Red Burnett of the Toronto Star the reason the game versus the Maple Leafs held special meaning:
Twenty-five years ago Bastien was a corporal at the Cornwall, Ontario army camp. He had secured a 48-hour pass and was heading out of camp and into town when he ran into Imlach, then a lieutenant. Imlach forced Bastien to do several menial chores, keeping him around camp for a few hours longer, delaying Baz’s leave. Baz never forgot the incident.
“I wound up a sergeant and he was a lieutenant so I had no chance to get even in those days. In hockey he’s always been Mr. Big. But I warned him ‘one of these days I’ll be behind the other bench and I’ll square accounts.”
- Detroit Red Wings sent forward Alex Faulkner to the San Diego Gulls of the Western Hockey League. Faulkner played for the Red Wings Memphis farm team in the Central Professional Hockey League last year after spending the previous two seasons playing senior hockey in Newfoundland.
- Red Wings also announced the signing of 19-year-old forward Sandy Snow, a graduate of the Hamilton Red Wings Ontario Hockey Association Junior A club.
- Some Red Wings are trying new equipment. Goalie George Gardner is giving a face mask a try after being advised to do so by Jacques Plante and Terry Sawchuk. And forward Bruce MacGregor is sporting a helmet for the first time in his career.
- Toronto Marlboros opened their OHA Junior A exhibition schedule with a 8-4 win over the Peterborough Petes. Defenceman Brad Park led the Marlies with two goals. Mike Blewitt had a pair for the Petes.
- Los Angeles Kings announced the signings of six players yesterday: goalkeepers Jacques Caron and George Wood, defenceman Jacques Lemieux, and forwards Yves Locas, Bill Smith and Trevor Fahey. Fahey, 23, was once considered a top prospect for the Rangers. He was acquired in June with Jim Murray and Ken Turlik from New York Rangers for defenceman Barclay Plager.
- Pittsburgh Penguins signed holdout defenceman Al MacNeil, their second choice in the skater phase of the Expansion Draft. MacNeil, who had refused to report to the Penguins training camp until he had a contract, agreed to a three-year deal during a telephone conversation from his home in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
- Goalie Bernie Parent has finally signed his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. Parent had agreed to terms six weeks before training camp, but didn’t actually sign the pact at that time. After speaking Toronto lawyer Alan Eagleson, Parent decided not to sign the deal and asked for more money. Flyers general manager Bud Poile suspended Parent for not signing a contract to which he had agreed. The suspension didn’t last long, as Bernie yesterday put his name on the dotted line with the same terms as the original contract.
- A strike of sheet-metal workers has forced the cancellation of an exhibition game that had been scheduled for the new Spectrum arena in Philadelphia. The game had been slated for next Thursday between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. It had to be cancelled because boards could not be installed around the arena ice surface. The boards are made of wood, but metal is used in the framework.
- Bobby Hull has reported to the Chicago Black Hawks training camp in tip-top shape. He is already at his playing weight of 193 pounds.
- Minnesota North Stars sent a telegram to the Minnesota Twins baseball team, wishing them luck in the American League pennant race.
- Bobby Orr will be in Toronto today for a checkup on his injured knee. It’s a schedule appointment and no issues are anticipated. Word from the Bruins training camp is that Orr has been skating with ease and is eager to get into full-contact action.
- New York Rangers have sent goalie Don Simmons to the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL. Simmons’ equipment has arrived at Buffalo but the goalkeeper has not yet reported. Simmons is expected to share the netminding duties in Buffalo with veteran Ed Chadwick.