A light news day in the hockey world with only two National Hockey League games on which to report. Plus the usual quick hits.
Kings Shock Maple Leafs
They were late getting underway, but when the hockey game finally started, the Los Angeles Kings showed the Toronto Maple Leafs that they must be taken seriously as a National Hockey League team. Two goals by former Leaf Eddie Joyal and great goalkeeping from rookie Wayne Rutledge lifted the Kings to a 4-1 win over the Stanley Cup champions.
The start of the game was delayed for about 18 minutes because over 2,000 fans were stuck outside waiting to get tickets to get into the building. The lateness of the crowd was blamed on the notoriously poor Los Angeles traffic conditions.
Referee Lloyd Gilmour said that Kings owner Jack Kent Cooke told him that the clock was out of order and the game couldn’t begin until it was repaired. Once most of the waiting fans had been accommodated with tickets, the clock magically came back to life.
Two Los Angeles goals within a stretch of a minute and 23 seconds early in the second period spelled doom for the Leafs. The Kings had taken a 1-0 first-period lead on a Dale Rolfe goal, but upped that to 3-0 after 5:35 of the second.
Brian Smith converted a Gord Labossiere pass to put the Kings up by two at 4:12. Joyal then netted his first of two in a row at 5:35. He broke in with only Allan Stanley back for Toronto, shifted to the left side and caught the short side on Toronto goalie Johnny Bower.
Leafs finally beat Rutledge late in the second. Bob Pulford tapped in the rebound after Murray Oliver clanged one of the goal post. Leafs had a couple of great chances near the end of the middle session, but Rutledge was equal to the task. He was especially great on a Ron Ellis 25-footer that was labeled.
Joyal scored the third period’s only marker with just 1:38 left. He fired a long shot into an unguarded Toronto goal after Bower was lifted in favour of an extra attacker for the second time. Toronto coach Punch Imlach took the netminder out for 22 seconds with just over four minutes to play, and then again at 17:41.
Toronto had pressed for much of the final 20 minutes, outshooting the Kings 16-9. But Rutledge continued to be solid and kept the visitors from getting back into the game.
Kings coach Red Kelly was understandably ecstatic over the win:
“Not bad for the team that was supposed to finish last, that didn’t belong in the National Hockey League. And don’t forget, that was the Stanley Cup champions our guys beat.
“That’s three out of seven we’ve taken from the old teams. That’s proof we belong – and anywhere but last place.”
Imlach gave the Kings all the credit:
“That’s a great win for the Kings and will do a lot to sell hockey here. They just outhustled my guys all the way. Give them all the credit in the world, they earned it.”
Imlach was questioned about why he had lifted his goalkeeper twice, especially with so much time remaining on the clock:
“The game was gone. They’d never seen that move here and I thought it would top off an excellent show. And don’t forget, if Mike Walton hadn’t hit the post we might have been back in business.”
Young Rutledge seemed unaffected by his starring role on the big stage:
“That’s what I’m getting paid for. I really was a little surprised that I started, but that’s why I’m here.
“I think I scored their goal myself. It was one of those things – a bad hop. I don’t know where it went, but I’m sure I helped it go in.”
Rutledge took no credit, but instead praised his defence and backchecking forwards.
Actor Larry Mann, a former Torontonian, led a large contingent of Hollywood types at the game. He was the Kings’ main cheerleader and interacted with various media and crowd members.
Some of the celebrities who were in in Mann’s group included Art Arthur (TV show Daktari), Ben Gazarra (Run For Your Life), Monty Hall, Saul Ilson (producer of the Smother Brothers Show) and Stan Harris, producer of an ice show.
Red Wings Maul Penguins
The Detroit Red Wings encountered little resistance from the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins as they blasted the expansion team 5-1 last night at the Olympia in Detroit. It was a successful NHL debut for 30-year-old rookie goalie Roy Edwards.
Early on, however, it didn’t look like Edwards or the Red Wings were ready for this one. The game was barely five minutes along when Pittsburgh defenceman Bill Speer, hardly an offensive dynamo, scored his first NHL goal. Speer connected on a long screened shot while Red Wings defenceman Jim Watson was in the penalty box.
The Red Wings and Edwards settled down after that and cruised to the win.
Doug Roberts, Floyd Smith, Ted Hampson, Dean Prentice and Norm Ullman were the Detroit marksmen. Gordie Howe earned a pair of assists, moving him into first place in the NHL scoring race, past Bobby Hull.
The Red Wings outshot Pittsburgh 32-20 and only some fine work by Penguins goalie Les Binkley prevented the game from getting completely out of hand. Pittsburgh hockey writer Jimmy Jordan said that Detroit spent so much time in the Penguins zone that it appeared they had set up camp there.
Edwards was happy to have his first NHL contest out of the way:
“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be. Of course, everybody gave me good protection and I didn’t have that many shots. Yes, that first save helped me settle down.”
Red Wings coach Sid Abel naturally was happy with the outcome and Edwards’ good start:
“I’m quite pleased. It was a big win for us, what with the losses, the Crozier thing and having a new guy in the nets. Edwards will face heavier bombardments in other games but I thought he conducted himself admirably.”
Blair Praises Masterton
Minnesota North Stars general manager-coach Wren Blair had lavish praise for forward Bill Masterton, one of the team’s early-season standouts. Blair told Mike Lamey of the Minneapolis Star that the 29-year-old Masterton is the type of hockey player the expansion teams had to find to be successful.
“We all knew we would get 20 players through the draft. But you always had to be looking for players outside the draft.”
Masterton is the only player that wasn’t drafted or traded for by Blair. He had been out of professional hockey for four years before the North Stars picked him up. Blair had remembered him from his days coaching Kingston of the Eastern Professional Hockey League. Masterton played for Hull-Ottawa, a Montreal farm team.
“I remember him well. He played well against us.
“The next year he played well at Cleveland but got discouraged in the Montreal system. He couldn’t see daylight with Jean Beliveau, Henir Richard and Ralph Backstrom at centre so he retired.
“We got the negotiating rights to him from Montreal and signing him has really paid off. His biggest asset is as a playmaker. If he could improve his skating 10 to 15 per cent he would be a great centreman in the NHL.
“What I like about Bill is that when he comes off the ice, he’s dead. He’s giving everything all the time. He has the perfect attitude. He keeps himself up both physically and mentally.
“He uses every good play in hockey to offset his skating. He doesn’t give you the big skate (looping circles). If he misses the puck, he stops and goes right back after it.
“Billy is always ready to go. When I’m looking down the bench for a worker, I know he’ll work. Now that he’s starting and playing so well I can’t move him out. But I know that if I do bench him for a couple of games he’ll come back and work just as hard.”
- Tragedy has struck the family of former Maple Leafs defenceman Carl Brewer. Brewer’s infant daughter died only four hours after being born prematurely. Brewer is presently the playing coach of the Muskegon Mohawks of the International Hockey League.
- Goalkeeper Roger Crozier, who this week retired from the Detroit Red Wings said yesterday that there is “no chance” of his attempting a comeback at this time. Crozier did not, however, rule out a comeback at some time in the future.
- Gordon Juckes, secretary-manager of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association says that the 1970 World Hockey Championship tournament may be shared between at least two Canadian cities. Juckes feels that the heavy tournament schedule might be just too much international hockey for one centre. Winnipeg and Montreal are the lading candidates to host the games.
- Rookie forward Cal Russel of the Hamilton Red Wings celebrated his 18th birthday by scoring two goals to lead the Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the Oshawa Generals. Ron Climie and Freddie Speck also had Hamilton goals, while Fred O’Donnell found the range for the Generals.
- Two short-handed goals only 31 seconds apart by Rejean Houle and J.P. Bordeleau lifted the Montreal Junior Canadiens to a 4-3 win over the Petes in an OHA Junior A game in Peterborough. Houle had two goals for Montreal, with Guy Lapointe adding the other. Dick Redmond, Rick MacLeish and Trevor Conn replied for the Petes.
- Montreal Canadiens have recalled defenceman Bryan Watson from the AHL Cleveland Barons.
- Red Wings general manager Sid Abel told reporters that he heard the Pittsburgh Penguins are talking to former Montreal Canadien and Toronto Maple Leaf forward Dickie Moore about making a comeback with the team. Moore last played in the NHL with Toronto in the 1964-65 season, scoring two goals in 38 games.