In today’s report, the Pittsburgh Penguins win their first National Hockey League game, Red Burnett of the Toronto Star weighs in with his 1967-68 NHL predictions and a word on who will captain the Boston Bruins this year. Plus the usual Quick Hits!
Penguins Win First Game
The Pittsburgh Penguins won their first National Hockey League game last night at the expense of the home town St. Louis Blues by a 3-1 score.
Art Stratton, who starred for the St. Louis Braves of the Central Professional Hockey League the past two seasons, scored the game-winning goal for Pittsburgh. Other Pittsburgh goals came from captain Ab McDonald and centre Earl Ingarfield.
Larry Keenan’s second goal in as many games was the only shot to beat Penguins goalie Hank Bassen. That came at 9:44 of the opening period with the Pens already leading 1-0.
Stratton is typical of the type of player who should find fortune by way of NHL expansion. Always on the edge of an NHL berth, he’s had trials with New York, Detroit and Chicago but never managed to stick. He spent the past two seasons with Chicago’s CPHL farm team in St. Louis, leading the league in scoring both years.
Blues assistant general manager-coach Scotty Bowman says that the Blues had every intention of drafting Stratton, who was somewhat of a local favourite. But the Penguins selected the 32-year-old centre in the round before the Blues had planned to take him and last night he rewarded Pittsburgh’s wisdom.
Stratton’s goal came with one second left on a power play thanks to a minor penalty to the Blues’ Noel Picard. It was Stratton’s first NHL goal since 1960.
Both goaltenders, Bassen of the Pens and Blues’ Seth Martin, played very well. Bassen recorded 37 saves in a near-flawless performance. Martin blocked 32 Pittsburgh drives.
The game was delayed at 10:59 of the first when Pittsburgh’s Bob Dillabough sliced the scalp of Bob Plager of the Blues. Plager, no shrinking violet, jumped the smaller Dillabough and engaged in a dust-up that eventually involved all the skaters on the ice. Order was quickly restored with the principle combatants earning five-minute fighting sentences for their trouble.
Marlies Fall to Niagara
The Niagara Falls Flyers scored three times in final 22 minutes to upset the Toronto Marlboros 7-4 before 3100 fans in Niagara Falls. In the other Ontario Hockey Association Junior A game, Kitchener Rangers skated to a 4-1 home-ice win over Montreal Junior Canadiens.
Flyers started quickly as Don Tannahill scored on the first shot at Marlie goalie Cam Newton at the 44-second mark. Marlies came right back, however, to take a 2-1 lead on goals by Richie Bayes and Carl Varga.
Steve Atkinson knotted the score at 2-2 about a minute after Varga’s goal. Two minutes after that Ric Jordan’s goal put Toronto ahead 3-2. But Niagara’s Carl Haggerty tied it up with about a minute left in what was a wild first period. Tom Webster of the Flyers and Toronto’s Bayes exchanged goals about two minutes apart around the middle of the second frame.
Niagara Falls then tallied three times in the last 22 minutes to salt away the win. Rookie Doug Brindley found the range late in the second, before defenceman Rick Ley and centre Garry Swain each connected in the third.
Toronto outshot Niagara Falls 44-39 in the wide-open contest. Newton and Gary Edwards split netminding duties for Toronto, with Phil Myre between the pipes for the Flyers.
Rangers Beat Baby Habs
At Kitchener, rookie Denis Dupere’s two second period goals provided the winning margin for the Rangers. John Barber and Don Luce also scored for the Rangers. Bernard Gagnon had the lone Montreal marker.
Goaltenders Dave Hainsworth for Kitchener and Bruce Mullet for Montreal were standouts.
Kings Without Sawchuk for Opener
Los Angeles Kings will be without star goalkeeper Terry Sawchuk when they play their first NHL contest tonight at Long Beach against the Philadelphia Flyers. Sawchuk injured his right elbow during the team’s practice on Friday.
Sawchuk was the team’s first pick in last summer’s Expansion Draft. He was taking routine shots when a drive by team mate Brian Smith struck the goaltender’s right elbow. The joint immediately swelled and hemorrhaged. As of this morning, Terry is unable to straighten the arm and will not dress for tonight’s game.
Twenty-five-year-old Wayne Rutledge will be in goal for the Kings. He will be backed up by amateur goalie Bob Perani. Perani was at the Kings’ Guelph, Ontario training camp and showed well before going back to Toronto, where he is playing Senior A hockey.
Kings did get some good news. Centre Eddie Joyal declared himself fit to play after missing nearly two weeks with pulled ligaments in an ankle. He’ll centre the first line with Real Lemieux and Cowboy Bill Flett on the wings.
Bucyk No Longer Bruins Captain
John Bucyk is no longer the captain of the Boston Bruins. But Bucyk will retain an “A” on his sweater, along with mates Phil Esposito and Ted Green. Bruins coach Harry Sinden says the team will not have an official captain this season. He and general manager Milt Schmidt prefer the three veterans share the duties.
“Milt and I decided to have co-captains this year. We decided the important duties of the captain would be shared among Bucyk, Ted Green and Phil Esposito. All share equally the responsibilities of captain.
“Bucyk thinks it’s a good idea. Of course he will serve as our representative when an individual is needed.
“We have a lot of new faces on the team. It’s a new club and we are trying to get started the right way.
“The job of captain is important. He has to help the coach and be a leader on and off the ice. So we decided it would be best for the Bruins to have co-captains.
“If the league allowed it we would have three men wearing the ‘C’. We may eventually have a captain but right now we will have the three players share the duty. If there is a problem, they can get together and get it ironed out.
“We are the first team in the league to have co-captains and I feel it’s a good idea.”
Toronto Star Predictions
Red Burnett of the Toronto Star has made his prognostications for the 1967-68 NHL season public. He has Montreal heading up the Eastern Division with Pittsburgh gaining the most points of the expansion teams in the Western section. Here’s how Red sees it:
Mr. Burnett offered his analysis of each of the teams and we’ve included that for your perusal below (note the logo included next to Pittsburgh’s summary):
- Chicago Black Hawks will take to the ice tonight in Toronto for their home-and-home series against the Stanley Cup champion Maple Leafs missing several key players. Centre Stan Mikita will be out with a pulled groin, left winger Doug Mohns has a bad hamstring pull and right wing Chico Maki underwent an emergency appendectomy a couple of days ago. Compounding that situation is the fact that number one goalie Denis DeJordy is still unsigned and cannot suit up.
- Progressive Conservative party leader Robert Stanfield will drop the puck for the ceremonial face off tonight at Maple Leaf Gardens for the Leafs home opener.
- If holdout defenceman Larry Hillman doesn’t sign a contract in time for tonight’s game, Darryl Sly will be Toronto’s fifth defenceman.
- Doug Favell will make the start in goal for Philadelphia Flyers tonight when they meet the Los Angeles Kings.
- Johnny Wilson’s American Hockey League coaching debut was a success as his Springfield Kings bounced the Buffalo Bisons 6-1. Gerry Foley, Randy Millar, Yves Locas, Doug Robinson, Jimmy Anderson and Mike Corbett scored for the Kings. Jacques Caron was solid in goal.
- Buffalo Bisons goalie Ed Chadwick was knocked unconscious in the game’s second minute when he took a shot to the head. He was replaced by Don Simmons. Simmons didn’t fare too well and was subsequently replaced by the injured Chadwick, who stayed at the rink, later in the game.