Today we report on the three National Hockey League games last night, including the Maple Leafs decimating Detroit Red Wings 9-3 at the Olympia. Plus some sad news, as Toronto forward Frank Mahovlich is hospitalized.
Big M In Hospital
Frank Mahovlich, the superstar left winger of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been admitted to Toronto General Hospital with what is being described as a nervous breakdown. Toronto’s team physician, Doctor Hugh Smythe says the Big M is being treated for depression and tension. He issued the following statement:
“He is being treated by Dr. Allan Walters and will not be permitted any visitors or telephone calls.”
Toronto general manager-coach Punch Imlach has no idea when or even if Mahovlich will return to the Toronto lineup:
“I don’t know when he’ll be coming back. It’ll be at least six to eight weeks if he responds to treatment. Maybe it’ll be all season. And for all I know, he may never come back to play for us again.”
Mahovlich left the Leafs’ sleeping train car at Union Station about five a.m. He left messages with team mates to inform Imlach that he was going home because he did not feel well.
The team had boarded the train shortly after midnight in order to get a good night’s sleep before leaving at 8:30 a.m. for Detroit. Mahovlich had been restless and unable to sleep for most of the night before making the decision to leave and go home.
Dr. Smythe said Mahovlich’s condition is similar to the same sort of illness that caused him to miss 11 games during the 1964-65 season. At that time the team refused to announce or confirm the cause of the star forward’s absence.
All this comes after a superlative performance by Mahovlich in Wednesday’s 5-0 shutout win over Montreal Canadiens. He was dominant at both ends of the ice and was particularly strong on the back check. His play gave no indication that anything was wrong.
A possible clue that something was up was that he did miss both Monday’s and Tuesday’s practices – allegedly with a sore back.
Team mates expressed shock at the turn of events. None was more surprised than captain George Armstrong, whose dressing room stall is next to Mahovlich’s:
“You’re kidding – I can’t believe it. He wasn’t any different yesterday than any other day. When he came into the dressing room before the game I asked him how his back was. He said ‘fine.’ After the game he was quiet but this is nothing new, he usually is.
“The next thing I heard was that he had left the train because he was sick.”
Centre Dave Keon was also shocked to hear the news:
“I just can’t believe it. He was playing so well. And what’s more to the point with him, he really seemed to be enjoying it.”
Leafs Drub Detroit
Toronto Maple Leafs, fresh off a big 5-0 win over Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, kept the momentum going last night by trouncing the Detroit Red Wings 9-3 right in the Detroit Olympia.
Playing without star Frank Mahovlich, the Leafs waltzed into Motown and completely decimated the Wings. If it hadn’t been for the heroic effort of Detroit goalie Roger Crozier, and Punch Imlach’s late line-juggling, the score might have been high into double figures. Toronto was that good.
Imlach said that he didn’t tell his men to win it for their ill team mate. Here’s what he did say:
“I simply told them that this was their most important test of the season.
“If you skate, beat them to that puck and head man it, you’ll trap them coming in, have clear sailing on their goal and kill them with counter-attacks.
“That’s what happened. My fellows played it perfectly, and it was no contest. I can’t remember a Leaf team playing as well for me in Detroit.”
Detroit general manager Sid Abel was incredulous at the display of superiority the Leafs put on:
“I saw it, but I don’t believe it. What did Imlach turn loose against us? They were skating with the speed of a Kansas tornado.
“I’m glad I let Baz Bastien handle the team from the bench. It was a nightmare. In all my years as a player and executive I have never seen Leafs take a Wing team apart like that.”
Leading the Leafs attack were Brian Conacher and George Armstrong, each scoring twice. Ron Ellis, Dave Keon, Peter Stemkowski, Mike Walton and Wayne Carleton also had goals.
Gordie Howe was one of the few Red Wings who was skating in this one. He scored two goals, with Bruce MacGregor getting the other Detroit marker.
Crozier was basically left on his own all night. He did everything he could to stem the irresistible tide that was the Toronto offence and had little or no chance on the nine that got by him.
Stars Down Flyers
Less than 24 hours after being blasted and fined by their coach, the Minnesota North Stars rebounded in a big way. The Stars defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. It was Minnesota’s first road win of the season, and couldn’t have been more timely.
An impromptu players’ meeting before last night’s game seemed to erase the tension that had been strangling the Minnesota club. General manager-coach Wren Blair said that his players worked it out on their own and were full value for the win:
“They had a meeting on their own before the game. I talked to a couple of them and said that we had a bad game but that it wasn’t the end of the world. I told them, it’s your careers, maybe you should have a talk.
“I had nothing more to say, so I left and paraded around the corridors. The only thing I did then was go back and say ‘Are you ready? Let’s go!’
“They worked like hell tonight. They wanted to win and certainly responded. It’s a good club that can bounce back the next night and win on the road.”
Minnesota goalie Cesare Maniago was the backbone of this win. He was his old acrobatic self, giving up only a first-period goal to Philly’s Garry Peters.
North Stars netted a goal in each period. Andre Boudrias scored in the opening frame with Wayne Connelly connecting in the second. Ted Taylor added insurance in the third with just less than four minutes to play.
The loss was a costly one for Philadelphia. Left winger Brit Selby left the ice after being slammed into the boards at 6:41 of the first period. The news after the game was that he sustained a severely separated shoulder and will miss six to eight weeks.
Only 4,203 fans showed up to at the Spectrum. Crowds are expected to improve as the Flyers start to play some of the established teams this month.
Hawks Crown the Kings
The hockey team in Los Angeles may be named the Kings, but it was Bobby Hull who showed he still rules the ice lanes in the National Hockey League. Last night. Hull scored his 10th goal of the season to lead his Chicago Black Hawks to a 3-1 road win at the Long Beach Sports Arena.
The Kings actually put up a pretty solid effort against the Black Hawks, who are off to a terrible start in the young NHL season. They outshot the Hawks on the night by a 28-17 count, but three second period Chicago goals did them in.
Bobby Hull scored his goal at 1:58 of the middle frame blasting an eight-footer past Kings goalie Terry Sawchuk. Two minutes and 21 seconds later Hull then set up Ken Wharram for the Hawks’ second goal. It was a brilliant play as he broke in on the left wing as he so often does, drew Sawchuk out of the goal and then slipped a pin-point pass to Wharram who had no trouble finding the empty net.
Brother Dennis then got into the act, assisting on defenceman Doug Jarrett’s goal at 14:57.
Kings’ Bill Flett scored the only goal of the third period.
Wayne Rutledge started the game in goal for Los Angeles. He had to leave at 9:17 of the first period when he took a shot in the face. He left the game with a broken nose.
Chicago coach Billy Reay thinks his team may have turned a corner:
“We’ve got most of our people back who were injured. We’re over our contract problems. And I think we’re ready to go.”
Kings coach Red Kelly credited Chicago goalie Denis DeJordy with being the main reason his team couldn’t score:
“The difference was the goaltending. We played a strong game – much better than the other night, but their goaltending was great. We were hitting people. Really, we’ve had only one bad game – against New York.”
Wolman Money Didn’t Buy Flyers
Ed Snider, majority owner of the Philadelphia Flyers finally broke his silence over the financing rumours that have surrounding the team since his ouster as executive vice-president of the National Football League Philadelphia Eagles.
Snider and Wolman were once inseparable partners who had a falling out because of the financial difficulties of the Eagles. After their breakup, stories about how Wolman bankrolled the Flyers franchise surfaced. Snider takes great umbrage with those reports.
“I’m not going to start throwing brickbats at Jerry over our other differences. That’s past and that’s where I want to leave it. But I just couldn’t remain silent about the Flyers when I read the untruths and misrepresentations printed about them.
“To get the franchise we had to pay the league $2 million at a meeting at Montreal June 5. The previous Saturday we still lacked $500,000 of that and Bill Putnam and I were getting desperate.
“We had a promissory note for $1 million from a Philadelphia bank (pledged by Wolman, Snider, Putnam and Jerry Schiff). We had two other loans, totalling $500,000.
“Finally a friend agreed to borrow $500,000 and turn it over to us on a short-term loan Monday morning. That was the day of the power blackout in Philadelphia and after we got all the money together we had a big scare when it looked like the bank would be unable to transmit word to Montreal by the 2 p.m. deadline.
“If it had not, we would have lost the franchise and everything we had spent on it up to that time.”
Snider also addressed a story that Wolman was upset about Snider refusing to put up his share in the Flyers to enable Wolman to swing a $43 million loan from Kuwait oilmen.
“I did refuse to go along with Jerry on that. I did not think it was wise to let foreign money get control of the hockey team. But more important, there was that final $500,000 we had borrowed, for which I had personal responsibility and I was afraid I could not guarantee repayment if I surrendered my stock.
“Meanwhile during the summer New York interests made a bid of $3.5 million for the team. Putnam and I wanted to keep the club but I wanted to help Jerry in another way if I could.”
They finally worked out a deal where Snider gave Wolman his 40 per cent of the Spectrum, 14 per cent of Connie Mack Stadium and 10 per cent of an Allentown apartment project headed by Wolman.
Snider confirmed he now owns no stock in the Spectrum, but has 60 per cent control of the Flyers.
- The pay raise Toronto goalkeeper Johnny Bower received from Punch Imlach after Wednesday night’s game is reported to be about $3,000.
- Leafs holdout defenceman Larry Hillman had a meeting early today with assistant general manager King Clancy. He left the meeting without agreeing to a contract.
- The St. Louis Blues have called up defenceman Darryl Edestrand from Kansas City of the Central Professional Hockey League. Edestrand will replace defenceman Bob Plager, who suffered a knee injury Wednesday night.
- Toronto Telegram sports columnist Jim Coleman says that the reason the Chicago Black Hawks are off to such a poor start this season is that they aren’t hitting any more. He cites the biggest factor as being Stan Mikita reforming himself and becoming a Lady Byng Trophy candidate.
- New York Rangers forward Bernie Geoffrion has been released from hospital. Doctors are awaiting test results and still don’t know what made the Boomer ill, but he’s feeling much better and was allowed to go home.
- After their 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday evening, Bruins coach Harry Sinden downplayed the effect Bobby Orr’s absence had on the team: “We missed him but one man doesn’t make that much difference. Besides, when you have a player like that out of the lineup the rest of them should give out that much more to offset it. We didn’t.”
- Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake believes he is one of the last men in the NHL to use a one-piece hockey stick. Says he used only 12 sticks in 50 games in a season.
- Los Angeles Kings owner Jack Kent Cooke is being sued for the sale of non-existent tickets for Los Angeles Lakers National Basketball Association games. The suit is brought by Henry C. Griswold, who alleges Cooke’s firm sold him tickets to Lakers’ games using a “bait and switch” ploy. Griswold says the firm offered him tickets and then at the time of delivery provided tickets of less value, saying the better tickets had already been sold or that a mistake had been made.
- Quebec Aces drubbed the Providence Reds 5-1 in an American Hockey League game in Quebec. The line of Andre Lacroix, Guy Gendron and Simon Nolet each scored a goal for the Aces.
- Charley Barton of the Buffalo Courier Express says that the chances of a merger between the American and Western Hockey Leagues are fading. Barton says that the AHL teams are far superior to those of the WHL and a merger would serve no useful purpose to the eastern-based loop.