With the National Hockey League dark once again last night, today we’ll look at a couple of Ontario Hockey Association Junior A games, an interlocking AHL-WHL contest and some words from Chicago Black Hawks management on their six-game losing streak to begin the season. Plus the usual Quick Hits!
Baby Habs Bomb 67s
The Montreal Junior Canadiens took no pity on the Ottawa 67s last night at Hull, Quebec. The fledgling OHA Junior A expansion team was no match for a Montreal junior team that was firing on all cylinders. The Baby Habs romped to a 9-1 victory over the 67s in one of two league games last night. In the other contest, Hamilton Red Wings and London Nationals skated to a 2-2 draw in London.
Over 2,000 fans took in the game in Hull, where the Ottawa club is playing until their new arena is ready.
The line of Marc Tardif, Gilbert Perreault and Andre Gaudette paced the Montreal attack. Tardif scored three times and added one assist. Perreault netted a pair of goals and two assists, while Gaudette earned three points on a goal and two assists.
Other Montreal goal-getters were Rejean Houle, Paul Lessard and Guy Lapointe. Defenceman Lapointe was acquired from the Montreal Metro Junior League last week.
Peter MacDonald was the only Ottawa player to beat Junior Habs netminder Bruce Mullett.
Unger’s Comeback a Success
London Nationals centre Garry Unger had high hopes going into the 1967-68 hockey season. After scoring 75 points in 45 games with London last year, the lanky Calgary native was given a good chance of cracking the Toronto Maple Leafs roster this season. But fate intervened.
Just one day before the Maple Leafs opened training camp, Unger injured his left knee while working out in preparation for camp. The leg required surgery and caused the rookie to miss a month, costing him his chance to make the big club.
After a gruelling rehabilitation, Unger was pronounced fit for duty this week. Rather than start him out at one of their professional farm teams, the Leafs sent Unger back to London where he played his first game of the season last night.
Unger showed no ill effects from the surgery, as he scored both Nationals goals as they battled to a 2-2 tie with the visiting Hamilton Red Wings. Unger’s goals were both scored in the first period.
Hamilton dominated the final 40 minutes but were mostly stymied by the brilliant goaltending of London’s Ted Ouimet. Ouimet was acquired from the Montreal Junior Canadiens this summer in a deal that sent the rights to Rejean Houle to the Baby Habs.
Red Wings goals were scored by Renald Leclerc and Ron Climie. Climie’s goal was a short-handed effort, tying the game in the third period.
Aces Double Canucks
The Quebec Aces hosted the Vancouver Canucks in the first interlocking game between the American and Western Hockey Leagues last night. The Aces skated off with a 4-2 win over a Vancouver club that might have been a bit travel-weary.
Vancouver took a 2-1 first-period lead on goals by Phil Maloney and Mike Laughton, but were unable to keep up with the swift-skating Aces over the final 40 minutes.
Quebec scorers were Andre Lacroix, Guy Gendron, Simon Nolet and Onil Boutin. Veteran goalkeeper Al Millar made 39 saves in a fine performance between the pipes for Quebec.
Slow Start has Hawks Worried
It’s safe to say that very few hockey people would have predicted that the Chicago Black Hawks would have a winless record after their first six games of the 1967-68 season. Even more astounding is the fact that their last two losses came at the hands of two of the new expansion teams.
Ted Damata of the Chicago Tribune spoke to coach Billy Reay, general manager Tommy Ivan and owner Arthur Wirtz to get their ideas on what has gone so terribly wrong for a team that finished first in the NHL last season.
Reay, a coach with few words for the press at the best of times, didn’t have much to say. His only statement was, “We are being out-goaled.”
Reay was referring to the fact that it seems in every game the Hawks have played, the opposition goalkeepers have literally stood on their heads. Add that to the fact that in the first few games Reay has had to start rookie Dave Dryden in net thanks to the protracted holdout by number one man Denis Dejordy. While Dryden may eventually turn out to be a fine National League netminder, a player who toiled in senior hockey in Ontario last year can hardly be expected to carry the load for an NHL team.
The goaltending woes were further exacerbated when DeJordy finally signed and was rushed into the lineup without the benefit of training camp. His play has been decidedly substandard in his first few games played.
General manager Tommy Ivan lays the blame for Chicago’s poor start to all the injuries the team has suffered. Ivan cites time lost by veterans Stan Mikita, Doug Mohns, Chico Maki and Matt Ravlich as the key reason the Hawks are not playing well. He believes once these four clear sick bay, the Black Hawks’ fortunes will turn around.
Owner Arthur M. Wirtz believes the NHL has shifted to a defensive style of hockey, and that has hurt his offensively minded club. Wirtz is generally unhappy about the state of the newly expanded league:
“The league has shifted to defensive hockey; they’re taking skating out of the game. Maybe we should adjust.
“We fought against the one-lump, six-team expansion. We preferred a gradual two-two-and two program. We were out-voted, but we are correct; the cost is great.
“We do not need television, we do not want to fall into the television trap. Hockey is a great game that can stand on its own.”
To an outside observer, the Hawks woes appear to be a combination of all three of the above factors plus something none of the above are willing to mention: off-season personnel changes may have just ripped the heart out of this team.
The May trade with the Boston Bruins, a deal which Damata and Chicago management claimed was a huge win for the Hawks, doesn’t look so great now. The departed Fred Stanfield leads not only the Bruins but the entire NHL in scoring. Phil Esposito centres Boston’s number one line and had a four-goal game against Montreal the other night.
Meanwhile, the key piece to the deal for the Hawks, defenceman Gilles Marotte, hasn’t shown much so far. He’s slower than expected and his relative inexperience is showing.
Pit Martin, slated to take Esposito’s place on the second line, hasn’t played poorly. But Reay has now started to experiment with him on the right wing. There will be adjustments to be made.
While the Hawks have not hit the panic button just yet, it’s only a matter of time if they don’t start putting points on the board soon.
MacDonald Credits Kelly For Kings Hot Start
Lowell MacDonald, an injury-prone winger with a deft scoring touch, has been one of the key performers for the Los Angeles Kings in the early going of this NHL season. The Kings success has surprised many folks, and MacDonald says coach Red Kelly deserves all the credit.
MacDonald told Red Burnett of the Toronto Star that he and the rest of the Kings players would go through a wall for their coach. MacDonald says that Kelly is solely responsible for his even being in the National Hockey League this season. He had been considering retiring from the game because of all his injuries and returning to school.
Still being bothered by torn stomach muscles he suffered last season, MacDonald would have left camp had Kings trainer Norm Mackie not been able to alleviate the pain. It then became a question of whether the 26-year-old could solve some personal issues and negotiate a contract. That’s where Kelly came in.
“Mac is a worrier. His problems were minor. I knew that if we could keep him healthy and happy we’d have a good man.”
MacDonald appreciated the personal attention Kelly gave him:
“They may have been minor to Kelly but it made me feel great, like I was really wanted. He does the same sort of things for the other guys.”
Burnett asked if Kelly was “one of the boys.” MacDonald was quick to point out that certainly isn’t the case.
“Not on your life. We know he’s the boss. He keeps his distance and we respect him for it. This team can skate, is not afraid of work and Kelly has us playing aggressive hockey. That’s been the reason for whatever success we’ve had to date.”
- Deceased Chicago Black Hawks co-owner James D. Norris left an estate of $9.5 million. Norris passed away on February 25, 1966 at the age of 59.
- Chicago Black Hawks have called up 21-year-old defenceman Tom Reid from their Dallas Central Professional Hockey League farm team. The Fort Erie, Ontario native was with the St. Catharines Black Hawks of the OHA Junior A league last season.
- Philadelphia Flyers have signed defenceman Jimmy Morrison. The 36-year-old Morrison is the 46th player to sign with the Flyers. He was acquired when the Flyers purchased the AHL Quebec Aces this summer. He will join the Flyers immediately.
- Defenceman Peter Goegan ended his 19-day holdout and signed with the Minnesota North Stars yesterday. Goegan agreed to terms offered by North Stars general manager Wren Blair on October 3. Blair said the $500 per game and $50 a day fines that were to be levied against Goegan have been substantially reduced.
- North Stars also announced that they have sent forward Bob Charlebois and defenceman Don Johns to Memphis of the CPHL.
- Wren Blair believes the reason for the fast start by the Los Angeles Kings is because of the fine play of the players they acquired when they purchased the AHL Springfield Indians this summer. Several Springfield players are playing key roles with the Kings.
- Toronto defenceman Duane Rupp won’t play tonight against Los Angeles because of a leg injury. His place will be taken in the lineup by Darryl Sly. Leafs also called up rookie Jim Dorey from Rochester as a precaution. General manager Punch Imlach wanted to call up Jim McKenny but he’s out of the Rochester lineup with an injury as well.
- Two AHL teams have made contract offers to retired forward Peter Conacher. Pete retired from the Hershey Bears after the 1965-66 season. He had NHL stints with Chicago Black Hawks, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. He says he is not going to come out of retirement.