Today we have four games from last night’s National Hockey League action on which to report. Plus we have the highlights of a very in-depth interview with Detroit Red Wings captain Alex Delvecchio by Detroit Free Press hockey writer Jack Berry.
Habs Blow 3-Goal Lead
Montreal Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead and then had to hang on to settle for a 3-3 tie with the Chicago Black Hawks last night at the Forum in Montreal.
The Habs started fast, with Dick Duff opening the scoring after only 19 seconds of play. It was his first of the season. Rookie Jacques Lemaire followed that up with a pair of goals just over five minutes apart.
He first connected at 3:04 on a pass from Claude Larose. Then, at 8:15 he scored again, a power play effort with help from Ralph Backstrom and Yvan Cournoyer. It appeared the rout was on as Montreal continued to apply the pressure.
Bobby Rousseau narrowly missed expanding the lead to four when his shot, seemingly headed for the top corner struck the handle of Chicago goalkeeper Denis DeJordy’s goal stick. A few minutes later,Canadiens’ Gilles Tremblay had a wide-open net and fired the puck over the goal. At this point, Habs fans thought they were sitting pretty. But it wasn’t going to last.
The tide began to turn when Canadiens Bryan Watson took an ill-advised spearing penalty at 18:40. With just 17 seconds remaining in the period, Pierre Pilote let go a 50-foot slap shot that Montreal goaltender Rogatien Vachon managed to kick out. Problem was, he kicked it to the greatest goal-scorer in the NHL today, Bobby Hull. Bobby made no mistake, slamming the rebound deep into the net from about 10 feet.
That goal seemed to lift the Hawks, who came out flying in the middle frame. Even penalties to Chicago defenders Gilles Marotte and Pat Stapleton in the fifth minute couldn’t dull the visitors’ momentum. DeJordy held Montreal at bay and kept the deficit at two.
Vachon finally succumbed to the pressure when Stan Mikita scored at 11:31. Mikita took a nice setup from Stapleton and fired a partially screened shot from 40 feet past Canadiens defenceman Ted Harris that beat Vachon cleanly.
Chicago tied the score after just 31 seconds in the third, with captain Pilote doing most of the heavy lifting. Pilote carried the puck out of the Chicago zone to centre ice. After crossing the red line, Pilote slid a pin-point pass just out of the reach of Montreal rearguard Jacques Laperriere and onto the stick of Hawks left winger Doug Mohns. Mohns streaked in behind Habs’ J.C. Tremblay and slipped a backhander past Vachon from about 10 feet.
Montreal coach Toe Blake had warned his team about a fast Chicago start between the second and third stanzas.
“That one takes the cake. Between periods I warned the guys about getting caught. Somehow everyone was out of position less than a minute after the faceoff.”
Each team lost a player to injury during the game. Montreal winger Gilles Tremblay left in the second period with a groin injury. Hawks’ centre Pit Martin left midway through the third after he bounced off Henri Richard and spun into the boards.
Great Crowd Powers Stars
The Minnesota North Stars, spurred on by a hometown crowd of 15,128, gave their fans their biggest thrill so far this season as they upset the Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. It was the first time the North Stars had defeated on of the established teams and the second loss for Toronto to a Western Division club.
It was the largest crowd ever to see a hockey game in Minnesota.
It was a dismal performance by the Maple Leafs as they wound down an eight-day western road trip. The North Stars limited the Toronto attack to just 14 shots at goalie Cesare Maniago. The only Toronto player who performed up to expectations was goalie Bruce Gamble, who kept the score more respectable than it should have been, making 34 saves.
Toronto lost more than a hockey game. Veteran defenceman Allan Stanley was struck in the left eye by a deflected shot off the stick of North Star Parker MacDonald in the third period. Stanley was taken to a Minneapolis hospital and will likely be out of the lineup for a couple of weeks, if not longer. He needed 25 stitches to close the wound above the eye.
Toronto coach Punch Imlach was seething after the game and didn’t mince words:
“Maple Leafs are the greatest thing that has happened to National Hockey League expansion. First we lost to the Kings Thursday to put hockey over with a bang in Los Angeles and now we make 15,128 deliriously happy.
“I’m making no alibis. The Stars made my guys like it. Maybe the A in champs should be a U.”
Imlach went on to speculate on the real reason for his team’s lack of enthusiasm for the task at hand:
“Maybe I’m overlooking the real reason. They’ve got enough problems. They’ll be getting it when they get home. Four or five wives phoned up and wanted to know about it. This certainly didn’t help.”
What Imlach was referring to was the fact that several players received telephone calls from their wives back in Toronto inquiring about their visit to a topless night club in San Francisco last Tuesday evening.
About 10 Toronto players visited a club called The Roaring 20’s, a bar featuring a nude girl on swing. The players encountered Toronto president Stafford Smythe at the same club and that “chance” meeting prompted the players to get back to Oakland before curfew.
Smythe fears that these early season losses to the new clubs could cost the team a shot at first place later in the season:
“Those defeats could cost us first place in the final standings and these players a lot of bonus money.
“And Clarence Campbell said it would be 1969 before the expansion teams would be competitive with the old division. This proves they can beat anyone on any given night.”
Across the hall, Minnesota manager-coach Wren Blair was overjoyed with the huge crowd and especially the game result:
“We were on top of those Leafs all night, never gave them a chance to move. Any time you hold Leafs to 14 shots on goal every man is working overtime at his defensive chores. Don’t say Leafs played poorly, give us credit.”
The North Stars scoring was handled by defenceman Bob Woytowich and center Andre Boudrias. The only Toronto goal was scored by Ron Ellis with one second left in the first period and the North Stars leading 1-0.
Bruins Nip Seals
Boston Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers was the star as the Bruins edged the Oakland Seals 2-1 last night at Boston Garden. The game was a dull, lifeless affair devoid of any sustained action.
Ross Lonsberry and Johnny McKenzie were the Boston goal getters. Bill Hicke scored for the Seals, ruining Cheevers’ bid for the shutout with less than five minutes to play.
The only moment in the game that brought the Boston fans out of their seats was a brief fight with about a minute and a half left in the game. Bobby Orr, the only Bruin to show any gumption all night, tangled with Hicke.
Orr engaged Hicke in fisticuffs, despite the fact his broken nose still hasn’t been properly set. Orr took a unanimous decision over the veteran Oakland forward before both were sent to the showers with fighting majors.
Blues Chill Penguins
The St. Louis Blues didn’t give the Pittsburgh Penguins any help in selling hockey in Pittsburgh last night. The Blues waltzed into the Civic Arena and handed the Penguins a sound 5-1 thrashing right on their home ice.
Bill McCreary scored twice for the Blues, his second and third goals of the season. Jim Roberts, Ron Stewart and Wayne Rivers added singles. Pittsburgh captain Ab McDonald was the only Penguin to beat Blues goalie Seth Martin.
Penguins coach Red Sullivan was upset that his team seems to be unable to generate any offence at home:
“We’re not scoring goals at home. We’ll just have to keep working until we do.”
Penguins have been without number one centre Earl Ingarfield for about three weeks. He’s out with torn knee ligaments and won’t be back any time soon. That has left Pittsburgh with just one NHL centre, veteran Art Stratton. Sullivan and general manager Jack Riley have been trying to work a deal to pick up another pivot without success.
Booing Bothers Alex
Detroit Free Press hockey writer Jack Berry had a wide-ranging interview with Red Wings captain Alex Delvecchio this week. They covered such subjects as the jeers Delvecchio has been receiving from Olympia fans, talk of a change in positions and where he prefers to play, how long he thinks he will play and what his plans may be after his playing days. We provide the highlights of the interview here:
Berry: Speaking of your cheering section, what is your reaction to the booing?
Delvecchio: I don’t know what causes it, whether there’s a couple of people in the rink here and there who start it and everyone else follows suit, but man, that’s the toughest way to play, when they’re booing. For a while there I was ready to ask Sid to get me out of here. Those first four or five games here were just terrible. I was afraid to play here; I’d rather play on the road.
Berry: You had problems last season. You finished in a tie for 10th in scoring but your goals and assists totals were down. What happened?
Delvecchio: I had a touch of bursitis in my right arm and I had trouple holding onto the stick for two months or so. We tried everything including a copper band for arthritis. All I got from that was a green wrist.
Berry: At one time there was considerable thought of moving you back to defence and you played the last couple of minutes on Thursday against Pittsburgh. What do you think of it?
Delvecchio: Playing forward is tough enough. Out of a clear blue sky Thursday Baz said go in and play left defence with Bergman. But that game didn’t matter because it was 5-1 at the time so we had nothing to lose even with me back there.
Berry: This season you’ve been playing both left wing and centre. Is it much of a transition for you to play both positions in one game?
Delvecchio: The hardest part is to know where we’re playing when we go on the ice. The first period or so when you shift from centre to left wing and back to centre it’s a couple, maybe 25 or 30 seconds and you catch yourself in the wrong position but then you get back.
Berry: Do you have a preference?
Delvecchio: I’d rather play centre. I’ve played it just about all my career and I’m more relaxed than I am on the wing – that’s a different type of hockey, catch the pass and really burst down.
Berry: You will be 37 next month and this is your 17th season with the Red Wings, how long do you think you can play?
Delvecchio: I kind of set my sights on a 10-year career to be eligible for the full pension. When I passed 10, I just took each one as it came and each one is real profitable now the way the pension is.
Berry: There’s been talk in the past of you being a coaching candidate and Sid Abel has said he thinks you’d be a good one. Would you like to coach?
Delvecchio: I’d like to stay in hockey, either coaching, farm system or scouting. But I don’t even consider coaching here at all right now – I’m just trying to play hockey.
Berry: You’ve played with Gordie Howe probably longer than any other man. What’s it like?
Delvecchio: It’s about five years or so that I’ve played with Gordie on a regular line. I guess you can’t ask for anyone better to play with. He’s easy to play with. You can read his moves, especially practicing with him every day and playing.
I know pretty well when he’s going to break or what he’s going to do and he knows me and what I’m going to do.
Berry: Stan Mikita popularized the hooked blade and won the scoring championship with it last season. Do you like the hook?
Delvecchio: No. I use pretty much a straight stick. I’ve tried them and I don’t see how they shoot a puck or pass it.
- Philadelphia Flyers goalie Bernie Parent took a shot off the top of his head in practice yesterday in Boston, receiving several stitches. He might not be able to go tonight against the Bruins, so coach Keith Allen might be forced to start Doug Favell in goal. Parent has been one of the hottest goalies in the league lately.
- Boston Bruins general manager Milt Schmidt says the most surprising thing about his team’s fast start to this season has been the much improved play of defencemen Dallas Smith and Don Awrey.
- Springfield Kings doubled the Buffalo Bisons 6-3 in an American Hockey League game at Springfield. Jake Rathwell, Doug Robinson, Howie Menard, Garry Foley, Bill Smith and Randy Miller each scored once for the Kings. Billy Knibbs, Ron Ingram and Barclay Plager replied for the Bisons.
- Providence Reds and Cleveland Barons skated to a 3-3 tie in Cleveland. Brian Perry scored the game-tying goal for the Reds while the Glover brothers, Howie and Fred, were both sitting out 10-minute misconducts for the Barons.
- Bobby Leiter scored with 10 minutes left in the game to give Hershey Bears a 3-2 win over the Clippers in Baltimore. Don Marcotte and Myron Stankiewicz also scored for Hershey. Goalie Joe Daley was brilliant in a losing cause in goal for Baltimore, making 50 saves.