Rangers to Move On From Gilbert?
Dick Beddoes of the Toronto Globe and Mail says that New York Rangers general manager-coach Emile Francis may have had enough of star right winger Rod Gilbert. It might be Gilbert’s exorbitant salary demands, it might be the “mod” haircut and sideburns that adorn Gilbert’s handsome skull, or it may be the right winger’s penchant for sustaining injuries. Whatever it is, Francis says he is moving on:
“We’re building a team without Gilbert. No one player is important enough to dictate policy or spoil it for everybody else. We’re not going to cancel training camp or postpone games because of him.”
Beddoes reports that Gilbert wants a contract worth more than $30,000 per. He also wants a five-year guarantee on income if he is permanently disabled. Gilbert has had serious back problems including two spinal fusion operations.
Francis said he made a counter-proposal to Gilbert:
“I told Gilbert we’d give him five years support for his bad back if he’d sign a five-year contract.”
Francis issued no comment when asked if he had tried to trade the reluctant right wing. Beddoes thinks he has had talks with other National Hockey League teams. He suggested that a deal with Toronto that would send forward Bob Pulford to Manhattan could happen. The Problem with that, from a Rangers standpoint, is that Pulford wants more money than Gilbert is reported to be asking for.
- Rangers thought they had signed junior star Walter Tkaczuk, but the German-born rookie turned down their offer to play another season of junior hockey in Kitchener. Rangers think Alan Eagleson had something to do with his decision.
- Goalie Don Simmons, a holdout from the Rangers, may finally appear at the Buffalo Bisons training camp in Buffalo. His equipment was sent to Buffalo by the Rangers, but Simmons failed to show. He was said to be en route from his Port Colborne, Ontario home yesterday…Port Colborne is about a 30 minute drive from Buffalo.
- Toronto Maple Leafs great Charlie Conacher is heading to British Columbia to do some salmon fishing after being released from a Toronto hospital after undergoing further surgery on his throat and speech therapy. The Big Bomber first had surgery for throat cancer this past April.
- Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenceman Leo Boivin to a one-year contract.
- Penguins forward Bob Dillabough will be out of action for a couple of weeks due to complications from off-season knee surgery.
- Los Angeles Kings dumped Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 at Guelph, Ontario. It was the first exhibition game for the Flyers against an NHL team. Brian Campbell, Howie Hughes and Lowell MacDonald each had a goal for the Kings, but the star of the game was Los Angeles amateur goalie Bob Perani. His 10 saves in the second period, many of the difficult variety, was the highlight of the game.
- Toronto Maple Leafs topped the Boston Bruins 4-2 in Peterborough. Mike Byers, Dave Keon, Peter Stemkowski and George Armstrong counted for the Leafs. Rookie Ross Lonsberry and Freddie Stanfield replied for Boston.
- Toronto is apparently trying to make a deal with the Flyers to bring forward Brit Selby back to the Leafs. Flyers aren’t too keen on dealing him.
- Flyers have suspended holdout defencemen Joe Watson and Ed Van Impe.
- Ottawa 67s first-ever Ontario Hockey Association exhibition game resulted in a 5-5 tie with the Peterborough Petes. Ottawa got goals from five different players: Jim Nahrgang, Jim Blain, Pierre Jarry, Steve Morrison and Richard Gosselin. Ken Byrnes fired a pair of markers for the Petes, with Rick MacLeish, Dick Redmond and Gord Tucker adding the others.