A short report today with not a lot of hockey news to cover. We’ll have some game results, and a couple of signings.
Gilbert Signs, Beats Leafs
Rod Gilbert, the starry young right winger of the New York Rangers, ended his holdout yesterday by signing his 1967-68 contract. He then went out to score a goal as his Rangers doubled the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in New York City.
The game was a quintessential pre-season matchup. That is to say, it was about as exciting as watching paint dry. The only relatively exciting aspect of the contest was an unusual move by Toronto coach Punch Imlach that got the Madison Square Garden crowd to its collective feet.
With over two minutes to play and his club trailing 3-2, Imlach summoned goalkeeper Bruce Gamble to the bench in favour of a sixth skater. Normally a strategy reserved for some time in the final 60 seconds, Imlach figured he had to pull off something to add some excitement to the evening. The previously reserved Garden crowd came to life, hooting and hollering as the Rangers engineered several near-misses at the empty goal.
Imlach’s daring move did finally backfire.. Ranger captain Harry Howell gathered a loose puck at centre ice and lifted a backhand shot into the unguarded Leaf cage to salt away the victory for the New Yorkers.
Phil Goyette was the other Ranger goal getter, firing a pair of markers, including the game winner. Jim Pappin and Tim Horton, who both signed contracts in the past couple of days, replied for Toronto.
Gilbert’s one-year contract is thought to be worth in the neighborhood of $36,000 plus bonus clauses. He also clipped his long sideburns and underwent a lowering of the ears, likely on the orders of general manager-coach Emile Francis.
Defencemen Wayne Hillman and Jim Nielson are the only Rangers left to be signed.
Hillman’s brother Larry remains the only Toronto unsigned player. Winger Brian Conacher agreed to terms and will sign his pact today.
Habs Over Hawks
Montreal Canadiens gained a split of their weekend home and home series with the Chicago Black Hawks with a 3-1 victory at the Chicago Stadium. Saturday they lost to the Hawks 6-4 in Montreal.
The game was a fairly even affair through the first 40 minutes with the Hawks leading 1-0 on a goal by rookie Gerry Goyer. Montreal took over in the final frame, firing 15 shots and scoring three times on Chicago netminder Dave Dryden.
Montreal scorers were Bobby Rousseau, Jacques Laperriere and Danny Grant.
Seals Edge Stars
California Seals won their second straight exhibition game last night, nipping the Minnesota North Stars 3-2 at Port Huron, Michigan.
Three former Toronto Maple Leafs handled the scoring duties for the Seals. Kent Douglas, Bobby Baun and Wally Boyer each netted a goal for California. Dave Balon and Bill Masterton replied for the North Stars.
The game was won by the Seals in the first period when Minnesota fired 21 shots at California goalie Jack McCartan, but were unable to beat the veteran netminder.
Blues Knock Off KC Farm Club
The St. Louis Blues scored twice in the third period to defeat their Kansas City farm team 4-2 in Pekin, Illinois. The KC Blues play in the Central Professional Hockey League.
Larry Keenan, Ron Stewart, Norm Beaudin and Ron Atwell were the St. Louis marksmen. George Guilbeault and Rejean Richer had the Kansas City goals.
Seth Martin went all the way in goal for St. Louis, making 24 saves.
Penguins Hammer Bisons
Pittsburgh Penguins got back on the winning track in a convincing manner, blasting the American Hockey League Buffalo Bisons 6-1 before a crowd of 1502 at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo. Despite the win, Pens coach Red Sullivan wasn’t happy with the play of his team.
“I wasn’t happy, to say the least. We’re still very bad in our end because we’re still taking things for granted.
“If they don’t work in the exhibition games, then they’ll work on the off days. It’s the same old story. Some guys are working and some guys are taking the easy way out.”
One part of the Pittsburgh game that gave Sullivan reason to smile was the play of goaltenders Joe Daley and Hank Bassen.
Billy Dea and Keith McCreary scored two goals each for the Penguins. Singles came off the sticks of Paul Andrea and George Konik. Mike Labadie had the Buffalo goal.
Red Wings Nip Nats
The Detroit Red Wings just managed to get by the Canadian national team by a score 2-0 last night. The game was played before a raucous crowd of over 9000 fans in Winnipeg.
Paul Henderson and Bruce MacGregor scored the Detroit goals. The real star of the game was goalie Ken Broderick of the Nats. He stopped 25 Red Wing drives and frustrated the Wings all night.
Buffalo Bisons have signed forward Guy Trottier, 26. Trottier has been with the Dayton Gems of the International Hockey League the past couple of seasons. Last year he led the IHL in goals with 71 in only 67 games.
- Buffalo has a couple of disgruntled players to deal with. Forward Larry Wilson has refused to play in exhibition games until he gets a decent (according to him) contract offer from Bisons general manager Fred Hunt. He will be joined on the sidelines by veteran goalie Ed Chadwick, who said yesterday he won’t play in further pre-season games until he signs a new deal.
- Joe Watson, last of the Philadelphia Flyers holdouts, is expected to sign his contract today. He’s due in Philadelphia today to join the team in their first tour of the new Spectrum arena.