December 14

Five games on the National Hockey League schedule last night, including another loss by the Maple Leafs to an expansion team and yet another wild scene in a Boston-Montreal game.

Blake Gets the Boot, Beliveau Grabs the Bench

It was another crazy game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins last night at Boston Garden. Canadiens skated off with a convincing 6-2 win over the suddenly-ordinary Orr-less Bruins, but not without some controversy.

Toe Blake

Montreal coach Toe Blake, never known to be a gentle sort when it comes to his relationship with game officials, was booted from the contest at the end of the first period by referee Bill Friday. Injured star Jean Beliveau, who was supposed to be playing, took over Blake’s coaching duties for the final 40 minutes.

The brouhaha started near the midway point in the first period when Boston scored a short-handed goal. Somehow Boston had ended up with five skaters on the ice when Ken Hodge slammed a puck past Montreal goalie Gump Worsley. The entire Canadiens team erupted in protesting the goal to Friday.

Blake had spotted the extra Boston player and was screaming at Friday and the linesmen to alert them to the situation. When Hodge scored, Blake stormed onto the ice before being physically restrained by Habs winger John Ferguson.

Canadiens players then protested as a group to Friday, who stubbornly refused to listen. This infuriated Blake even more, and he attempted to again enter the playing surface. It was only Worsley’s firm insistence (by blocking the door to the bench) that kept Blake away from the official and out of a world of trouble the Habs don’t need right now.

Danny Grant

The entire mess arose from a series of coincidental penalties that was incorrectly logged by the penalty timekeeper. Canadiens rookie Danny Grant drew a minor and Ted Harris a major, and Bruins Gary Doak two minors and a major for an incident at 3:22 of the first period. Bruins Ross Lonsberry was dispatched to the penalty box to serve one of Doak’s minors.

At 5:37 Boston’s Dallas Smith was tagged a minor for holding. At the end of his two minute sentence Smith jumped onto the ice instead of being held at the penalty box until a stoppage in play. Hodge jumped onto the ice to replace Smith and promptly went down the ice and scored.

To add insult to injury, after the goal, which Friday allowed, he put the Bruins back to four skaters for the ensuing faceoff, admitting the extra player should not have been on the ice.

To make matters worse, when Harris’ major expired, he was delayed another 15 seconds by the time keeper before being allowed to get back onto the ice. That aggravated Blake once more and at the end of the period he sought out Friday to give him a pice of what little of his mind remained. That was enough for the veteran official, who ran Blake out of the game and would have thrown him out of the rink if he had been able.

So Beliveau, who decided earlier in the afternoon not to play because of his sore knee, took over behind the bench and did a fine job. Montreal recovered from the 1-0 first-period deficit and scored six goals over the final 40 minutes to claim the two points.

Carol Vadnais

Phil Esposito scored in the second period’s fifth minute to put the Bruins up by 2-0. Montreal then roared back for six unanswered goals. Ferguson, Jacques Lemaire and Ralph Backstrom each netted a second period goal to put the Habs in front after 40 minutes. They outshot the Bruins 19-5 in that middle frame.

Bruins were a bit more competitive in the third, but Canadiens were the only team to score, adding three more. Rookie Danny Grant netted his first NHL goal at the three-minute mark. Grant then had a hand in setting up Lemaire’s of the night to make it 5-2.

Carol Vadnais, another of Montreal’s fine rookie crop, then netted his first big-league goal with just over two minutes to play to close out the scoring.

Pens Stun Sliding Leafs

Squandered scoring chances formed a major part of the story at Maple Leaf Gardens last night. The home town Maple Leafs dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins and had no one but themselves to blame.

It was Toronto’s second straight loss to a Western Division team. Both losses were by identical 2-1 scores.  Leafs lost to the Blues Sunday evening in St. Louis.

The Leafs, other than goalkeeper John Bower, showed little interest in competing at an NHL level in the game. The Penguins weren’t much better, but managed to capitalize on one more scoring chance than did the Leafs.

Les Binkley

After a first period devoid of both goals and action, Ron Ellis put the Leafs up 1-0 at 8:27 of the second period. Ellis beat Penguins goalie Les Binkley on a nice setup by Mike Walton. Binkley simply refused to be beaten after that.

Pittsburgh tied things up at 11:32 on Art Stratton’s 11th of the year. Stratton, the Western Division’s leading scorer, pounced on a rebound from a Ken Schinkel shot on which Bower couldn’t find the handle.

Schinkel scored the winner at 8:59 of the final frame. Penguin defenceman Noel Price corralled Frank Mahovlich’s breakout pass at the Toronto blue line. Price fired a quick shot at Bower who had no chance to stop the puck when the Pittsburgh right winger deftly tipped the shot into the corner of the net.

Bower put on a rare display of anger and frustration after he was assessed a minor penalty at 16:01 of the third. Pittsburgh right winger Andy Bathgate broke in alone on his former team mate, who attempted to thwart Bathgate’s try with his patented poke check. Bathgate attempted to move around Bower, stepped on his goal stick and went down.

Rookie referee Bob Sloan immediately whistled Bower for tripping and the kindly old goaltender turned into a raging bull. He chased Sloan all the way to the penalty box and made contact with the official a couple of times. That earned Bower a 10-minute misconduct and an automatic $25 fine.

Bathgate may have added to Bower’s anger when he sidled up to the Toronto netminder after the commotion had somewhat subsided and said John you should have let me score, it wouldnt have cost you $25.

Bathgate said he was surprised that Bower was penalized on the play:

Anyone who knows Bower will understand that the fine hurt a lot more than the 12 minutes. Bower’s time in the sin bin was served buy Murray Oliver and Marcel Pronovost.

Bower hadn’t calmed down much when queried by reporters after the game:

“It was the worst call of my career!”

The usually accommodating Leaf netminder declined further comment, likely a wise choice in that none of what he was likely to say would be suitable for public consumption.

Mikita Paces Hawks

Stan Mikita fired a pair of goals to lead the Chicago Black Hawks to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers at Chicago Stadium. The win gives the surging Chicago squad a share of second place in the NHL’s Eastern Division, tied with Toronto.

Stan Mikita

Bobby Hull, Kenny Wharram and Chico Maki also found the range for Chicago. Bob Nevin accounted for both Rangers goals.

The line of Mikita, Wharram and Doug Mohns was buzzing in the Rangers zone all night. The visitors seemed mesmerized by their intricate passing plays. Emile Francis, Rangers coach and manager, was suitably impressed:

Theyre something, arent they? They pass the puck around like it was a hot potato. That Mikita has to be the greatest.

Rangers outshot the Black Hawks 38-31 but Chicago goalie Denis DeJordy had another great game. DeJordy got off to a slow start after being a contract holdout at the outset of the season, but he’s been a dynamic force in the Chicago goal for the past couple of weeks as the Chicago club has begun its rise in the standings.

Stars Blank Kings

The Minnesota North Stars earned the first shutout in their National Hockey League existence as they blanked the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 in Bloomington, Minnesota. Goalie Cesare Maniago made 27 stops for his third NHL whitewash. Maniago had two shutouts with the Rangers in 1965-66.

Cesare Maniago

Wayne Connelly led the North Stars attack with a pair of goals. He both opened and closed the game’s scoring. Captain Bob Woytowich and veteran Parker MacDonald had the other Minnesota markers.

North Stars coach and general manager Wren Blair thinks he knows why his club does so much better against their fellow Western Division teams:

I think the Kings get up for the games against the old clubs because of some of the remarks made after the draft. Id rather keep a steady keel rather than make an emotional deal out of it, because these games against  our own division are our bread and butter games.
Kings general manager Larry Regan thinks the relative immaturity of his team is a factor. Kings are the NHL’s youngest team:

The minor league comes out in them. They dont realize the value of two points against these kind of clubs. When you get a guy down, youve gotta give it to him.

Kings coach Red Kelly probably had the best explanation for his team’s road loss:

I have five forwards who didnt  have a shot on the net. Can you believe that? Five forwards who didnt have a shot on the net.

Defenceman Bob Wall had the most shots for the Kings – seven.

Kings remain in first place despite the loss, but that could change when second-place Philadelphia takes on St. Louis tonight.

Rookie Paces Blues

Recent call-up Gary Sabourin scored his first two NHL goals to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-1 win over the visiting Oakland Seals last night in St. Louis. The win was the third in a row for the rejuvenated Blues, and moved them past the Seals into fifth place in the Western Division.

Gary Sabourin

The only disappointing feature of the game as far as the Blues were concerned was the smallish crowd of only 5,309 at the St. Louis Arena.

After a scoreless first period, the Blues jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the sandwich session. Jim Roberts opened the scoring at 7:57, followed by Sabourin’s pair of markers at 8:52 and 16:18. Terry Crisp, another Blues rookie, assisted on both of Sabourin’s goals.

Oakland got on the board in the fourth minute of the final frame. Alain (Boom Boom) Caron scored at 3:49. It was not a typical goal for Caron, who earned his nickname because of his booming shot. He beat Blues goalie Glenn Hall by tipping in Gerry Odrowski’s point shot.

Hall made 23 saves in a tidy performance. Seals goalie Charlie Hodge was called upon to make 30 stops for the visitors.

Quick Hits

  • Oakland Seals announced they have purchased veteran centre Larry Popein from the New York Rangers. In a corresponding move, the Seals sent centre Joe Szura to the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League. Popein, 38, had been playing for the Western Hockey League Vancouver Canucks. He had six goals and six assists so far for Vancouver this season.

    Larry Popein
  • Dayton Gems right wing Bob Bailey has been suspended for the balance of the International Hockey League season. Bailey is alleged to have struck a referee during a game last Friday evening in Fort Wayne. Bailey has NHL experience with Toronto, Detroit and Chicago.
  • Dick Beddoes, writing in the Toronto Globe and Mail, suggests that the main problem with the Oakland Seals rests with their owner, Barry Van Gerbig. Beddoes thinks that a shift of the franchise to another city would not solve the team’s problems. Beddoes quoted an unnamed hockey observer: Van Gerbig is young and pleasant and companionable. But what Oakland needs is a reorganization that will hasten his departure.
  • Seals have said that they are considering playing some regular season games at the Cow Palace Arena in San Francisco next season.
  • Philadelphia Flyers left wing Brit Selby appears ready to return to the lineup after missing a month with a shoulder injury.
  • Penguins centre Earl Ingarfield was supposed to suit up for the team last night in Toronto. However, when he tried a special brace for which he had been fitted, he found that it did not permit a range of movement that allowed for smooth skating. He’ll sit out until a suitable apparatus can be found.
  • The Western version of Canada’s national team (considered the “A” group) have sent reinforcements to the Eastern unit: the forward line of Herb Pinder, Jean Cusson and Ray Cadieux, along with defenseman Brian Glennie.
  • Rochester Americans of the AHL have acquired forward Bill Sweeney from the WHL Vancouver Canucks. Sweeney was under suspension from the Canucks due to some off-ice transgressions. These issues have plagued Sweeney throughout his career and cost him a shot at making the Los Angeles Kings at their training camp this fall.

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