Only two National Hockey League games on the docket last night and we have reports on both of them. Plus, the usual Quick Hits.
Habs Bomb Hawks
After nine games without a loss, the Chicago Black Hawks came crashing back to earth with a resounding thud last night. The visiting Montreal Canadiens trounced the Hawks 7-0 before a stunned Thanksgiving Day crowd at the Chicago Stadium.
Canadiens centre Ralph Backstrom was the offensive star for Montreal, scoring three goals. It was Backstrom’s third career hat trick. He also added two assists for a five-point evening.
Other Montreal scorers were Bobby Rousseau with a pair, and Claude Larose and Yvan Cournoyer with singles. For Larose, who had been counted on heavily by Canadiens going into the season, it was only his first of the year.
Gump Worsley recorded what was probably the easiest shutout of his National Hockey League career. Worsley was called upon to make only 15 saves.
The victory for Montreal was only their third in the past eight games. They also have a tie in that span.
Montreal coach Toe Blake was at a loss to explain his team’s sudden offensive outburst, but in trying to do so, he passed on a left-handed compliment to his men:
“Don’t ask me what happened. All I can say is that we had no passengers tonight.”
Backstrom took his big night in stride:
“Some nights they go in, and some nights they don’t. I think I played just as well at Minnesota and might have had a hat-trick that night.”
Chicago coach Billy Reay knew that his team’s unbeaten streak had to end sometime. He credited Montreal’s speed :
“ All bubbles must burst sometime. I don’t know what happened to our skates. We never did catch up to them. They were flying, I mean really flying.”
Reay tried everything in this game. Bobby Hull was used all over the place. He played with both Chico and Wayne Maki, Eric Nesterenko, Gerry Goyer, and even took a turn or two on defence.
Reay explained his moves:
“I had to shake them up, to do something to get something started. No, there is nothing permanent about any of the moves. I was just looking for some skates. We just looked like New York did against us.”
Bucyk Leads Bruins
Veteran left winger Johnny Bucyk scored two goals to lead the Bruins to a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers last night at Boston Garden. The two goals puts Bucyk just two away from becoming the Bruins all-time goal scoring leader. Milt Schmidt has scored the most goals in a Boston uniform, with 229.
Tommy Williams and Phil Esposito also found the range for Boston. Larry Jeffrey and Reggie Fleming replied for the Rangers.
Jeffrey opened the scoring with his first of the season for New York at 4:59 of the first period, but five minutes later, he had to be carried off the ice.
Jeffrey and the Bruins Ted Green engaged in a brief fight around the 10-minute mark. Jeffrey had allegedly high-sticked the Boston tough guy minutes earlier. Green knocked Jeffrey out cold and then continued to wail away on him before officials could pull him off.
A groggy Jeffrey was helped to his feet but basically carried off the ice by team mates. He received a five-stitch cut behind the right ear, but recovered sufficiently to return to the game in the second period.
Jeffrey has suffered from a series of head injuries during his career.
Boston goalie Ed Johnston, who had worn a face mask in his previous three games, discarded it for this game. He put in a solid performance.
Johnston said that he got rid of the mask because it restricts his vision.
The loss was the fifth straight the Rangers have had against Eastern Division teams. The win for Boston puts them into a first-place tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Bowman Gets Tough With Blues
New St. Louis Blues coach Scotty Bowman has wasted no time in getting tough with his last-place team. Bowman delivered a stern message to the Blues at practice yesterday, and followed it up with demotions to the minors.
“As far as I’m concerned, every member of this team is now playing for his job. Anyone who fails to do the job is going to quickly find himself in the minors.”
As if to illustrate to the players he means business, two players were summarily dispatched to the Blues Central Professional Hockey League farm team at Kansas City. Forwards Norm Beaudin and Roger Picard were sent down, while winger Claude Cardin and centre Frank St. Marseille were brought up.
Bowman also said that the team has invited former Montreal and Toronto star Dickie Moore to try out with the club. Moore is slated to arrive in St. Louis today.
Blues also have Max Mestinsek in town. He was drafted in the late rounds of the Expansion Draft last summer, but was unable to attend training camp because of a severe arm injury. Bowman will note his progress before deciding to keep him with the big club or send him to Kansas City.
- Toronto right winger Ron Ellis has a sprained left wrist and a broken little finger on his right hand. He expects to play this weekend.
- Maple Leafs general manager-coach Punch Imlach was in Rochester last night trying to make a deal to acquire forward Jean-Paul Parise from the Americans. Parise was picked up by Rochester from the California Seals in September along with forward Bryan Hextall Jr. for veteran right winger Gerry Ehman. Hans Tanner of the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle says a deal should be completed later today.
- Imlach did bring defenceman Larry Hillman back to Toronto with him last night. Hillman was recalled after spending the one extra day in the American Hockey League as prescribed by NHL rules.
- Toronto centre Dave Keon skated for the first time in 10 days yesterday. He’s not expected back in the Leafs lineup before next Wednesday.
- Stan Mikita of the Chicago Black Hawks has invested in a company that makes sound boards for televisions.
- WHL Phoenix Roadrunners shut out AHL Rochester Americans 2-0 last night in Rochester. Tom McVie scored both Phoenix goals, while Rick Charron made 43 saves for the shut out.
- Baltimore Clippers bombed Springfield Kings 10-2 at an AHL game in Baltimore. Billy Lecaine and Jean-Maurice Cossette each had two goals for Baltimore.
- The Reds edged the Hershey Bears at Providence. Jim Mikol scored the winning goal for the Reds.