With less than a week until the National Hockey League opens it’s 50th season, the hockey news today consists of some exhibition game results, some signings, and some cuts. And we have your official 1967-68 NHL schedule!
Leafs Bomb Habs
The Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs certainly looked like they are ready to pick up where they left off last spring when they took the Cup from Montreal in six games. Last night, led by a dominant Frank Mahovlich, Toronto trounced the Canadiens 6-1 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
Mahovlich scored two goals and was the best player on either team. He was especially impressive at both ends of the ice. Many observers were more taken by his very effective backchecking than the two goals, which were also of the highly-skilled variety.
The Big M’s defensive skills have improved so much that during the game Leafs coach Punch Imlach put Mahovlich on the ice to kill a penalty with Dave Keon.
Montreal sportswriter Jacques Beauchamp couldn’t believe his eyes:
“Sacre bleu! Am I seeing right? The Big M coming back?”
An exhibition game crowd of 15,779 even gave big Frank an ovation for his outstanding defensive play – definitely a first.
Bob Pulford also scored two goals for the Leafs. Centring two lines, Pulford netted his pair only 23 seconds apart early in the third period to break up a tight 2-1 game.
The other Toronto goal getters were Ron Ellis and impressive rookie Mike Byers. Yvan Cournoyer replied for the Habs.
Before anyone gets too excited about a lopsided Toronto victory over Canadiens, it must be noted that this was the Habs’ fourth game in five nights. Several veterans, including Henri Richard, Dick Duff and John Ferguson, were not in the lineup, nursing minor injuries. Veteran Ralph Backstrom and rookie Garry Monahan also sat this one out.
Canadiens coach Toe Blake wasn’t overly concerned about the loss:
“We were tired – our fourth game in five nights – and had a number of key personnel on the injured list. And it would have been closer if Jean (Beliveau) hadn’t missed the open net with Johnny (Bower) out of position in the second period.
“But if you’re going to blow one, this is the time to do it.”
The game was delayed for several minutes in the second period when referee Vern Buffey left to get his skates sharpened. Buffey apparently lost an edge on the tile in the officials’ dressing room. He struggled to complete the period and finally had to give in and get the work done on his blade.
New Bench Voice For Wings
Detroit Red Wings general manager Sid Abel said yesterday that he is moving upstairs and giving assistant Baz Bastien the bulk of the bench coach work this season. Abel will watch the games from owner Bruce Norris’ private box.
Abel explained the rationale behind his decision:
“I definitely can see more from above. It worked out very well during our seven exhibition games so we’ve decided to continue. Baz seems to get a lot of enthusiasm on the bench.
“No change in titles is being made. I’m still the general manager and coach and Baz is the assistant general manager.
If the club starts floundering, I’ll go down and work from the bench and Baz can sit in the stands and see if he can stop what’s wrong. We’ll probably alternate.”
Bastien is no stranger to coaching. He’s been in the Detroit organization for several years and last year coached the Pittsburgh Hornets to the American Hockey League Calder Cup championship.
Former Red Wing Andy Bathgate played for a few weeks last season with the Hornets and had a favourable review of Bastien’s bench work:
“He’s as good as any coach I’ve ever played for.”
Penguins Blank North Stars
Pittsburgh Penguins continued their fine pre-season play with a 2-0 shutout win over the Minnesota North Stars at Belleville, Ont.
Art Stratton and Ken Schinkel scored the goals, both in the second period. Stratton signed his 1967-68 contract yesterday.
Joe Daley and Hank Bassen shared the shutout for the Pens. Daley had taken over for starter Bassen but had to leave the game with about five minutes left in the third period when he took a shot off the forehead and suffered a deep gash. A bullet drive by the Stars’ Wayne Connelly did the damage.
The 24-year-old was taken to a nearby hospital and spent the night under observation but initial reports are that he suffered no serious injury other than the stitches he received. Daley was wobbly after the game but was able to describe the play:
“I saw it, but the rink is pretty dark. I got a piece of it with my glove but not enough.”
The game had been delayed in the second period to repair some to burned-out light bulbs.
Recently-acquired Chuck Goddard and Carl Wetzel split the netminding duties for the North Stars and acquitted themselves quite well, each allowing a goal. Goddard will play for Memphis of the Central Professional Hockey League this year. He’s a former Montreal farm hand.
- Bill Sutherland had a goal and two assists to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 win over their Quebec Aces farm club. Other Philly scorers were Jim Johnson, John Miszuk, Wayne Hicks and Don Blackburn. Andre Lacroix, Guy Gendron and Larry McKillop replied for the Aces.
- Boston College star Tim Sheehy says he will remain in school and forego a tryout with the United States Olympic team.
- Los Angeles Kings have signed centre Eddie Joyal to a three-year contract. The Kings also inked winger Bill (Cowboy) Flett to a one-year deal. Both were acquired in last summer’s Expansion Draft from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- Kings also sent forward Wayne Mosdell to Memphis of the CPHL. Mosdell is the son of former NHL star Ken Mosdell.
- Chicago Black Hawks trimmed their roster by three players. Defencemen Ray McKay and Tom Reid, along with forward Roger Bellerive were sent to Dallas of the CPHL.
- California Seals farmed out three players. Centre Mike Laughton goes to Vancouver of the Western Hockey League, Alain (Boom Boom) Caron was sent to the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League while goalie Jack McCartan was loaned to the Omaha Knights of the CPHL.
- A cast was placed on the badly bruised left wrist of New York Rangers star right winger Rod Gilbert. The team says the injury is not serious and Gilbert should miss only three or four days.
- Philadelphia Flyers say forward Lou Angotti is still out with that broken thumb, although he has been skating. He will probably see exhibition game action this weekend.
- Rochester Americans of the AHL have managed to convince retired defenceman Marc Reaume to come out of retirement. Reaume announced his retirement from hockey before the end of last season and was slated to coach a junior B team in Leamington, Ontario.
- Goaltender Denis DeJordy of the Chicago Black Hawks remains unsigned, but he will join club workouts this week.