November 17

Today’s report has details on the two National Hockey League games played last night, plus an examination as to why the Maple Leafs have returned forward Jean-Paul Parise to the American Hockey League Rochester Americans despite playing such a great game against Boston on Wednesday night.

Flyers Upset Rangers

The Philadelphia Flyers jumped out to a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes then had to hang on to eke out a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers last night at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. Only great goaltending by the Flyers’ Doug Favell kept the Rangers from taking the lead and running away with this game.

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Doug Favell

It was the Rangers’ first loss to one of the new NHL expansion teams.

Flyers took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Ed Van Impe and Leon Rochefort just 77 seconds apart. Van Impe’s goal had a bit of an odour to it. His 70-foot harmless-looking,  skipping drive from the blue line hopped over Ranger goalie Ed Giacomin’s glove and into the net. Rochefort’s goal just over a minute later also beat Giacomin on the glove side from 20 feet.

The first was the only period in which the Flyers and Rangers were evenly matched. Each team had six shots on goal.

The second period saw New York take over the game on a territorial basis, outshooting the Flyers 13-8. The Rangers narrowed the Flyer lead to 2-1 at 10:07 on Reggie Fleming’s fifth of the year. It looked like the Rangers were going to burst the Philly bubble, but Favell made some key stops and Ed Hoekstra netted number six on the season to restore the two-goal margin.

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Ed Hoekstra

Giacomin had little chance on Hoekstra’s tally. The tall Flyers centre tipped in a shot from Rochefort and the Ranger netminder had no chance to react to the direction change.

Rangers dominated the final 20 minutes, firing 13 shots at Favell, while the Flyers managed only four at Giacomin. Just before the five-minute mark of the third, New York defenceman Rod Seiling scored off the rebound of a Harry Howell shot to put the pressure squarely on the home side.

That’s when Favell rose to the occasion. He made fine stops on Orland Kurtenbach, Bernie Geoffrion and Vic Hadfield, all from close range. He also stopped Hadfield on a breakaway in what was probably the game’s key play..

As the game wound down Favell would make one more great save, this time on Rangers Phil Goyette, who was in alone as well.

Rangers coach Emile Francis ordered Giacomin to the New York bench with 1:06 to play in favour of an extra attacker. Philadelphia defended well, not allowing any clear-cut chances.

Favell spoke about his performance and specifically about the great save on Hadfield:

I had a lot of good breaks. The guys played very well in front of me. The goalie never does it alone.

That one I had against Hadfield was the biggest one of all. I had to go out and meet him. If he had faked and tried to go around me, I would have had to poke check him. There wouldve been no other way to make the save.”

The win puts the Flyers solidly into second place in the Western Division. It also improves their record against the established teams to 3-1-1, best of the new teams. Conversely, Philly is only 3-4-2 against other Western Division clubs.

Flyers coach Keith Allen was asked why his boys are doing so much better against the tougher old teams:

I cant understand it. I guess were a little more up against the old teams. Im happy with anything I can get against em. But Im not ready to switch into their division.

“This business of looking bad against our own division has got to stop immediately.

“That’s what really amazes me. We looked so bad losing to Pittsburgh (5-0) the night before, then we do so well against a real good hockey team like New York.”

A crowd of 11,276, largest at The Spectrum this season, turned out for a pretty good hockey game.

Smith Stars for Seals

Lanky Gary Smith made his first start for the Oakland Seals this season a memorable one last night on the Seals home ice. Smith made 20 saves as the Seals battled the Detroit Red Wings to a very entertaining 1-1 tie. His counterpart in the Detroit goal, Roy Edwards, also played well, making 17 stops.

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Gary Smith

Smith played the game he is known for. He was flamboyant, efficient and unafraid to leave his net to field and play loose pucks. None of his forays into territory normally uncharted for goalkeepers resulted in any scoring chances for the Red Wings.

All the scoring came in the first period. Alain (Boom Boom) Caron opened the scoring for the Seals with his second goal of the year at 3:44. Caron deflected a weak backhand shot by George Swarbrick past Detroit goalie Roy Edwards while Paul Henderson of the Wings was in the penalty box.

The Red Wings tied it up on Gary Jarrett’s third of the season at 5:19. He took a pinpoint pass from Alex Delvecchio and beat Smith with a screened shot on which he had no chance.

Smith took over from there. The Red Wings had several good opportunities over the rest of the game, the best of which was a rising wrist shot from the great Gordie Howe. Smith managed to snag that one with his left hand in rapier-like fashion.

Seals coach Bert Olmstead, the gruff old mentor of the Seals is a coach one would normally think would not approve of Smith’s wandering style of play. But he’s okay with it:

Thats him. He knows what hes doing.

The Seals executed Olmstead’s game plan to perfection against the Red Wings. Olmstead preaches a tight, close-checking style in which the opposition is given no chance to get a skating game rolling. The Red Wings experienced the same sort of thing in their loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Another disappointing turnout saw only 4,280 paid admissions. Seals management had hoped for a better crowd against one of the established teams.

The Curious Case of Jean-Paul Parise

Consider this: In recent weeks you have been the best player on your American Hockey League team and at present are its hottest scorer. You get called up to the parent NHL team to replace an ill superstar left winger. In your first game, you garner an assist when you set up the game-winning goal.

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J.P. Parise

You are named the game’s third star for your great forechecking, energetic play and all-round efficiency. You receive hearty congratulations from all your team mates in the room after the game and the coach speaks glowingly about your performance. Then right after the game you are summarily dispatched back to the farm.

That’s scenario that unfolded Wednesday night for Jean-Paul Parise, once again of the Rochester Americans. The Americans had acquired Parise from the then California Seals on the eve of the start of the regular season along with centre Bryan Hextall Jr. in exchange for veteran winger Gerry Ehman.

Parise had been the Amerks’ best forward so far this year and was summoned to the parent Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday to help out during the absence of superstar forward Frank Mahovlich, hospitalized with a nervous disorder.

Parise was one of the game’s  three stars as the Leafs downed the Boston Bruins 5-3. He was cheered lustily by the crowd at Maple Leaf Gardens and received plaudits from his team mates. He certainly made a great impression on everyone.

Why then, was he immediately sent back to Rochester after the game? Mahovlich is still going to be out for a while and Parise has shown more than any of the other players attempting to replace the Big M. So what gives? Not even Parise knows for sure.

I was a little nervous before the game, but Toronto has a great bunch of guys and they talked to me before we started. And once the game started I was okay.

Theyre pretty strong on left wing so I guess I couldnt really expect to stay up there right now. Ill just try my best with Rochester and see what happens.”

Being sent back to Rochester is a disappointment, especially after making such a strong debut with the Leafs. But Parise thinks being in the Toronto organization might be all for the best anyway:

“I was the ninth draft choice of Oakland and late in September I knew there were three of us – Ron Boehm, Terry Clancy and myself – fighting for two berths, so I thought my chances were pretty good.

“Then I was told I had been traded, and I thought to myself it probably was to Minnesota or St. Louis or one of those expansion teams, so it was okay. When I was told it was Toronto, I was really disappointed because I knew the Leafs had all those good players.

“I was told to report to Rochester immediately. Like I said, maybe it’s all worked out for the best, though, because this is really a great organization. I’ve been treated very well and it was a big thrill for me to play for the Leafs last night, even if it was for only one night.”

Americans general manager-coach Joe Crozier and principal owner Bob Clarke were so worried about losing Parise to the Leafs on a permanent basis that they drove to the game in Toronto to ensure that Parise returned to Rochester immediately thereafter.

One has to wonder how a farm team can dictate these types of terms to the parent organization. Well, here is the rest of the story:

In the summer of 1966 the Maple Leafs sold their Rochester farm team to a local Rochester group headed by Clarke. Crozier was part of the ownership group and retained his position as manager-coach. The price was between $400,000 and $500,000, depending on whom you talk to. But that wasn’t all.

The Americans were to receive, as part of the deal, 18 professional hockey players. Those players consisted of the roster currently held by the Rochester team or any players the Maple Leafs so designated. Veteran players such as Dick Gamble, Bronco Horvath, Don Cherry and goalie Bobby Perreault were in of that group.

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Don Cherry

Part of the agreement was that the players on the Americans roster would still be the NHL property of the Maple Leafs unless traded or sold by the Rochester club. Gerry Ehman was one of those players.

Ehman was the player traded to the Seals in the deal that brought Hextall and Parise to the Americans. So, according to the purchase agreement, Parise becomes Rochester property, but can be used by the Leafs in the NHL with Rochester permission.

Now, here’s the kicker. As part of that sale agreement in 1966, if the number of Rochester players falls below 18 as a result of a player being called up, traded or otherwise moved by the Maple Leafs, the Americans will be compensated with a player off the Toronto roster, or a sum of money not less than $50,000.

So, if the Leafs want Parise, they will have to give the Amerks someone off their roster. That, or some cold, hard cash. So, for now at least, Parise must stay with Rochester.

It’s likely that Toronto general manager Punch Imlach will try and negotiate Parise’s transfer to the NHL team, but you can bet Crozier will drive a hard bargain.

All this likely explains why the Leafs made some curious decisions in last summer’s NHL Expansion draft. Several times after having players drafted, Toronto filled with players like Ehman and Gamble. They didn’t want to have to pay Rochester for having one of those players end up with a new team.

Quick Hits

  • Toronto Maple Leafs doctor Hugh Smythe says a decision will be made next week on when the return to the Maple Leafs lineup by superstar Frank Mahovlich might take place. Smythe says Mahovlich is coming along well and is “way ahead” in his progress.
  • Minnesota North Stars have hired former Boston Bruins chief scout Harold “Baldy” Cotton as their director of scouting and field operations.

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    “Baldy” Cotton
  • Oakland Seals have sent LW Ron Boehm and defenceman Bob Lemieux to the Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League. Tom Thurlby, who plays both defence and forward will go up to the Seals.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs president Stafford Smythe says that it would not surprise him if the NHL expands to six more cities in the next few years. Smythe said yesterday that the league has backup cities at the ready should any of this year’s new teams fail. He declined to name those cities.
  • Smythe also said that Maple Leaf Gardens is not involved with the group that has applied to operate a National League baseball team in Toronto.
  • Seymour H. Knox, who led the group that made a fine presentation to the NHL on behalf of the city of Buffalo during the expansion process, has turned his sights on major league baseball. He’s part of a group in Buffalo working towards obtaining a National League franchise for the Queen City.
  • Hamilton Red Wings had 61 shots at London Nationals goalie Ted Ouimet last night as they bombed the Nationals 6-1 in Hamilton. Jim Adair scored twice for Hamilton, with singles coming from Danny Lawson, Kevin Petit, Jim McInally and Ron Climie. Don Culbert scored the London goal.
  • Peterborough Petes scored two goals in the third period to get past the Ottawa 67s 3-1 last night in Peterborough. Paul Black scored two goals for the Petes with recently-acquired Tony Featherstone adding the other. Pierre Jarry replied for Ottawa.

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