No game action from the National Hockey League last night but we do have a pile of Quick Hits for a Saturday morning. And, a story on the possible structure of the Stanley Cup playoffs and a trophy for the Western Division regular-season winners.
A Trophy for the West?
Boston Bruins general manager Milt Schmidt told a Boston newspaper this week that he has no idea how the playoffs will work next spring once the National Hockey League schedule has been completed. He says he doesn’t know because the league’s governors have yet to vote on a new playoff system.
According to Jerry Nason of the Boston Herald, the league apparently hasn’t figured out how much participation by the new expansion teams will be allowed. There is a faction that believes the new teams should not have a full shot at the Stanley Cup until they are able to compete on an equal basis with the established clubs.
Other members of the league feel that teams should play the preliminary rounds exclusively in their own divisions. The two divisional champs would then meet in the Stanley Cup final.
There is also the question of an award for the first-place team in the Western Division. The Eastern Division’s top club will be awarded the Prince of Wales Trophy, former given to the NHL regular-season champions.
NHL president Clarence Campbell wants the ancient Ambrose O’Brien Trophy to be resurrected and presented to the Western Division winners. That trophy was retired in 1950.
The Ambrose O’Brien Trophy, or O’Brien Cup as it was also known, was donated to the National Hockey Association (predecessor to the NHL) in 1910 by Canadian Senator Michael J. O’Brien in honour of his son Ambrose, who was credited with the formation of the NHA.. The trophy was made of silver from a mine owned by the O’Brien family.
The Cup was awarded to the NHA champions until 1917, when the NHA ceased operations. At the time it was held by the Montreal Canadiens. It was transferred to the NHL in 1921 and given to the NHL regular season champs until 1927. From 1928 until 1938 the trophy went to the NHL’s Canadian Division regular season winner. From then until 1950 it was awarded to the runner-up team in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
- Toronto Maple Leafs general manager-coach Punch Imlach turned the whistle for yesterday’s practice over to centre Peter Stemkowski. Big Peter led the Leafs through a “strenuous” workout that culminated in a penalty shot contest in which players weren’t allowed to leave the ice until they had scored a goal on goalie Johnny Bower. Taking the role to heart, Stemkowski held his own press conference after the workout and declared, “There’ll be no player cuts until after Christmas. We’ve got a big Christmas party coming up and I hear we’re getting coloured TV sets as gifts this year.”
- Dave Keon returns to the Maple Leafs lineup tonight when they play the Oakland Seals in Toronto. Keon had missed the past six Toronto games with a leg injury.
- New York Rangers forward Bernie Geoffrion will be out of the Rangers lineup indefinitely with an inflamed right heel. Ron Atwell, acquired this week from the St. Louis Blues along with Ron Stewart, will remain with the Rangers as Geoffrion’s replacement. He had been slated to be sent to the AHL Buffalo Bisons farm team.
- Rangers also announced they have returned young defenceman Allan Hamilton to Buffalo.
- St. Louis Blues have sent defenceman Daryl Edestrand back to their Kansas City farm team in the Central Professional Hockey League. He had been up with the big team as a replacement for the injured Fred Hucul, who returns to the lineup tonight.
- Minnesota North Stars have sent forward Murray Hall to Memphis of the CPHL. Hall had been suspended earlier this season for indifferent play. He is being sent down to replace forward Andre Pronovost, who had been called up from Memphis and will remain with the big team.
- Pittsburgh Penguins have sent defenceman Dunc McCallum to Baltimore Clippers of the AHL.
- Chicago Black Hawks coach Billy Reay says that defenceman Gilles Marotte, who was acquired last summer in that big trade with the Boston Bruins, got off to such a slow start with the Hawks because he was overweight.
- Kitchener Rangers whipped Toronto Marlboros 7-4 before 5,652 fans in Kitchener. Cam Crosby led the Kitchener attack with two goals, with Don Luce, Jack Egers, Walter Tkaczuk, Ken Johnson and Denis Dupere getting the others. Ric Jordan, John Wright, Richie Bayes and Fred Barret counted for Toronto.
- Hamilton Red Wings downed Niagara Falls Flyers 3-1 at the Forum in Hamilton. Danny Lawson scored all three Hamilton goals. Garry Swain was the Niagara Falls marksman.
- Paul Grills’ three goals helped Peterborough Petes to a 4-4 tie with London Nationals. Trevor Conn also scored for the Petes. London goals came from Brian Chinnick, Brian Murphy, Allie Sutherland and Sam Gellard.
- Camille Henry scored two goals to lead the Buffalo Bisons to a 4-3 American Hockey League win over the Quebec Aces at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo. During the game, Buffalo goalie Don Simmons was credited with a shot on goal when his long clearing pass made it all the way down the ice to Quebec goalie Fern Rivard. Rivard was forced to stop the slow-moving puck to keep it from entering the net.
- Jean-Paul Parise scored at 18:35 of the third period to pull the Rochester Americans into a 4-4 tie with Providence Reds in an AHL game at Rochester. Americans had trailed at one point 4-1. Bryan Hextall Jr., Jim McKenny and Bronco Horvath also scored for the Amerks. Playing coach Dave Creighton had two goals for Providence.
- Canada’s Eastern National Team defeated Poland 5-3 in the second game of a hockey tournament in Leningrad, Russia. The tournament is being held in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Bob Berry and Gary Dineen each scored two goals for Canada.