There were five National Hockey League games played last night, including an amazing performance by one of the games biggest stars.
Howe Does He Do It?
We’ve always known that Detroit Red Wings superstar Gordie Howe is an amazing physical specimen. Howe’s strength and endurance is the stuff of legends. But over the last couple of days, he took his strength and will to play to a whole new level, bordering on the unbelievable.
Friday evening, Howe was taken to a Detroit hospital with severe stomach cramps and back pain. Howe was admitted and received treatment from the on-duty staff, who administered drugs to alleviate the pain.
Early yesterday morning Howe passed a kidney stone. He checked out of hospital at noon and just hours later, suited up for the Red Wings as they took on the New York Rangers at the Olympia.
Anyone who saw Howe’s state on Friday night had to be flabbergasted to see him even be well enough to make it to the arena in time for Saturday’s game. Even more amazingly, he barely missed a step as he scored a goal and added an assist to lead the Wings to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.
All three of Detroit’s goals came in the final three minutes of the second period to snap a scoreless tie. Gary Jarrett connected at 17:13 to get Detroit on the board. Then veterans Alex Delvecchio and Howe took over.
Delvecchio set up Howe for his 14th of the season at 19:37. He found the net with a low bullet-like shot from the right side. Defenceman Gary Bergman then scored with one second left in the period after a faceoff in the Rangers zone. Howe helped set that one up before the puck was even dropped.
Just before the draw, Howe conferred briefly with Bergman, moving him from his defence spot to a different position on the ice. Delvecchio then won the draw directly to big Gordie, who deftly relayed it to the re-positioned Bergman, perfectly onto the defenceman’s stick. Bergman slapped it past New York netminder Ed Giacomin before he could react.
The Rangers made it close with a pair of power play goals in the final 11 minutes of the game. Jim Neilson converted an Orland Kurtenbach pass at 9:51. Bernie Geoffrion made it a one-goal game with just five seconds left, blasting one of his patented slap shots past Wings goalkeeper Roy Edwards.
Howe talked about his brief, but painful, illness after the game:
“I didn’t feel good Thursday night in Montreal and didn’t sleep well and I couldn’t get comfortable on the flight back to Detroit Friday. But I worked around the house in the afternoon and it didn’t feel so bad.
“But when I put on my pajamas to go to bed, I just doubled over and that’s the way they had to get me to the hospital. It hurt so bad I was crying.”
Gordie Howe crying? Pain that bad is unimagineable.
Dr. Milton Kosely, one of the Red Wings physicians, describes the treatment Howe underwent and the pain he suffered:
“He was lucky. Dr. Finley (Detroit Osteopathic Hospital) gave him Demerol. The drug relaxed Gordie so that he was able to pass the kidney stone quickly. Otherwise, we’d have to go after it. There is terrible pain with this thing. I’ve had mothers tell me they’d rather have three babies than go through kidney stone trouble.”
Rangers coach and general manager Emile Francis was incredulous to see Howe on the ice, knowing how sick he had been:
“He’s a wonder, that’s what he is. I know about that kidney stone stuff. I don’t know how he ever went out there.”
Francis acknowledged that the only reason the game close was the splendid netminding of his goaltender, Ed Giacomin:
“He kept us in there. Those Wings came at us pretty good but my forwards couldn’t stay with them. That’s our trouble. The forwards aren’t producing and sometimes aren’t checking.”
Red Wings had 41 shots on goal, while New York directed 28 drives at Detroit goalie Roy Edwards.
Costly Tie for Bruins
George Armstrong’s goal with just three seconds left on the clock lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs into a 3-3 tie with the Boston Bruins last night at Maple Leaf Gardens. While the Bruins had to be happy with the point, the game felt more like a loss for them.
Coughing up a 3-0 second period lead is bad enough. What is really upsetting for Bruins coach Harry Sinden and general manager Milt Schmidt is the loss of Boston’s two best defencemen due to injuries, both at the hand of Toronto’s Frank Mahovlich.
Bobby Orr, rapidly establishing a reputation as the NHL’s premier rearguard, was injured early in the second period when he was felled by a stiff but legal bodycheck by the Leafs’ Big M. He left the game at that time and did not return. It’s believed he has a bruised shoulder, but x-rays to be taken upon his return to Boston should provide a more definitive diagnosis.
Green left the game a little later after blocking a blazing Mahovlich slap shot. The puck caught Green just above the knee and he hobbled off, done for the night.
Boston started fast in this one and had their 3-0 lead by the 4:15 mark of the second period. Fred Stanfield and Ken Hodge had the first-period markers for the Bruins, with Stanfield adding a second for him early in the second.
Mike Walton scored his first of two goals just past the game’s half-way mark.
Walton’s second goal at 2:15 got the Leafs moving in the final frame. They poured in 16 shots at Bruins goalie Ed Johnston, who held the fort until Armstrong’s goal with three seconds left.
Leafs had pulled goalkeeper Johnny Bower for an extra attacker. Walton won a puck battle in the corner from Phil Esposito and passed to Dave Keon back at the point. Keon found Armstrong right in front of the Boston net with a pass and the Toronto captain made no mistake.
Penguins Nip North Stars
The Pittsburgh Penguins built a 3-1 lead, then had to hang on to edge the Minnesota North Stars 3-2 last night in Bloomington, MN.
George Konik gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead early in the first period with his first of the season. Minnesota captain Bob Woytowich drew his team even four minutes after Konik scored to make it 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Pittsburgh defence Noel Price’s second goal of the season, the only marker of the middle frame, proved to be the winning goal. Price scored on the rebound from a shot by Penguins Val Fonteyne at 2:59.
Ken Schinkel put the Pens up 3-1 at 5:28 of the third on a nice setup by centre Art Stratton. Parker MacDonald scored for the hosts about five minutes later to make it 3-2, but that was as close as the North Stars would get.
Minnesota coach Wren Blair was beside himself over the officiating of referee Bill Friday, who made a series of unusual decisions.
Minnesota winger Billy Collins was thrown out of the game in the third minute after he and Pittsburgh’s Keith McCreary tangled.
Collins was ejected, ostensibly for spewing blood onto linesmen Will Norris and Neil Armstrong. He had sustained a broken nose courtesy of McCreary and that precipitated their scuffle. Collins, who inflicted no damage on the Penguins player, was given a match penalty, while McCreary escaped with a minor.
Collins left a substantial amount of blood in the centre ice area before finally leaving the playing surface.
Later in the period, Woytowich was assessed a 10-minute misconduct by Friday. After the game, the Stars captain was still trying to figure out why.
Then in the second period, Friday disallowed two North Stars goals. Blair wasn’t shy about his choice of words when asked about Friday’s work after the game:
“They made a farce out of the game. McCreary should have gotten a major for cutting up Collins and breaking his nose. Instead we lose Collins for the game. And we missed him.”
Penguins goalie Les Binkley made several key saves late in the game to preserve the victory. That Binkley was even in the game at that point was somewhat of a miracle.
In the game’s fifth minute, Binkley took a puck in the mouth when a shot by from Woytowich was deflected right into his face. He had to leave the game for repairs, but returned after taking three stitches to close the wound.
Habs and Hawks Tie 2-2
Goalie Denis DeJordy stole a point for the Chicago Black Hawks last night. DeJordy made 37 saves as his Black Hawks skated to a 2-2 tie with the Canadiens at the Montreal Forum.
Habs goalkeeper Gump Worsley made only 14 saves for Canadiens.
Chicago has now lost only once in the past seven games. Canadiens, meanwhile, are at the opposite end of the spectrum, winless in seven with only three ties in that span.
Henri Richard and rookie Jacques Lemaire were the Montreal scorers. For Richard, it was his third of the season, and number six for Lemaire.
Kenny Wharram and Bobby Hull found the range for the Black Hawks. Hull now has a league-leading 22 goals on the year.
Blues Blank Seals
The two bottom-feeding teams in the NHL’s Western Division met last night in Oakland and things went pretty much as expected. Only 3,780 fans were on hand to see their Seals put on a dismal performance as the St. Louis Blues skated off with a 1-0 victory.
If the Seals are trying to sell the game of hockey in the Bay Area, they will have to put out a much better product. Between the eerily-quiet atmosphere in the nearly-empty Oakland Coliseum and the lack of action on the ice, one could hardly blame the casual fan for looking for other entertainment options.
Terry Crisp scored the game’s only goal at the 3:03 mark of the opening period. After that, the Blues were content to check the Seals at every move and protect the lead. And the Seals seemed satisfied to let them do that.
Blues goalie Glenn Hall earned his first shutout of the season. Well, earned may be too strong a term. Hall was called upon to make only 10 saves in what was quite likely the easiest whitewash of his lengthy career.
- Scalpers were getting $20 to $30 for a pair of $5 blues sets at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The inflated pricing is a good indicator of the heightened interest in the Boston Bruins this season.
- Rangers Phil Goyette, who has missed the past two games with a shoulder ailment, will test it this morning. If all goes well, he wants to suit up for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
- Cleveland Barons scored three times in the third period to take a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Bisons in an American Hockey League game at Cleveland. Bisons lost goalie Ed Chadwick in the second period when he pulled a hamstring muscle stopping a rare penalty shot by the Barons’ Bob Ellett.
- Randy Miller was the star with a pair of goals s the Springfield Kings slipped by the Hershey Bears 3-2 at Springfield.
- Rochester Americans continued their western swing with a 3-0 win at Seattle over the Western Hockey League Totems. Mike Byers, Jean-Paul Parise and Milan Marcetta had the Amerks goals. Bobby Perreault made 20 saves for his first shutout of the season.