December 16

Two National Hockey League games last night, including the suddenly-ordinary Boston Bruins dropping a 4-1 decision to the lowly Oakland Seals. Plus, some franchise movement talk!

Orr-less Bruins Ordinary

The Boston Bruins are finding out that life without their sensational young superstar Bobby Orr isn’t what they would like it to be. Last night in Oakland, the Bruins lost by a score of 4-1 to the Seals, the last-place team in the Western Division going into the game.

The loss was Boston’s third straight, leaving them just one point ahead of second-place Chicago in the Eastern Division. The win for Oakland snapped a two-game losing streak, enabling the to pull into a fifth-place tie with St. Louis in the West.

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Wally Boyer

One of the better Oakland crowds of the season was on hand as 6,095 turned out to see the first-place team in the Eastern Division.

After a scoreless opening frame, the Seals dominated the Bruins in the second, outshooting them 14-8. Oakland scored three times in the first 10:19 of the sandwich session and that was pretty much it for the Bruins.

Wally Boyer finally scored his first of the year to open the scoring for the hosts at 2:12 of the second. Bill Hicke followed up with number 10 on the year at 8:05. Then it was Larry Popein, picked up yesterday from Vancouver of the WHL, with his first NHL goal since 1960.

Boston got on the board at 10:36 of the third period on a marker by Tommy Williams. The Seals added an insurance goal at 14:18. Boyer was originally credited with the goal when his shot apparently beat Boston goalie Gerry Cheevers. It was later determined that Hicke had tipped in Boyer’s drive, and he was awarded his 11th of the year.

The third period was a perfect example of what expansion teams have to do to earn two points against the established clubs. The Seals went into a complete defensive shell for the final 20 minutes, allowing the Bruins only five shots at netminder Charlie Hodge.

Concentrating strictly on defensive responsibilities, the Seals managed only two shots on Cheevers in that third period.

Stars Maniago Unbeatable Again

Minnesota North Stars goalkeeper Cesare Maniago posted his second straight shutout as his team blanked the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 at the Long Beach Arena. It was also the Kings’ second straight shutout loss to the Stars, and their third straight to a Western Division foe.

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Cesare Maniago

Maniago had a relatively easy time of it in goal for Minnesota. He had to make only 23 saves, and as he remarked himself, none of the Kings scoring chances were that great:

“Really, they didn’t have that many good scoring chances. And sometimes when they did, they tried to be too fancy. They were a much more hustling team at the first of the year.”

Kings coach Red Kelly agreed with Maniago. He was especially upset when the Kings squandered a five-on-three power play that lasted for over a minute:

“Five against three and they can’t bring it up the ice. There’s no effort.

“There’s not much I can do before tomorrow night. But there’s something  I can do the next few days. They’ll wish they had three pairs of legs.

“It looks to me like they’re not in shape. They were in shape at the beginning. Now these guys stand out there and watch guys go around ‘em – make no effort to check ‘em. There’s no reason for it. It doesn’t make any difference what happens tomorrow, the’ll be working Sunday.”

Kelly singled out only two Kings for decent efforts. Forward Howie Hughes did a good job on the penalty kill. Goalie Wayne Rutledge made a few key saves, especially in the early going to keep the Kings in the game.

Defenceman Mike McMahon scored what proved to be the game-winning goal after only 5:47 of play in the first. Ray Cullen added a pair of goals in the last three minutes to put the game out of reach. Parker MacDonald assisted on both of Cullen’s markers.

North Stars have now lost only once in their past eight games. The win moved them into third place in the division.

Rumour Mill Working Overtime

The rumours were flying fast and furiously yesterday after the Toronto Globe and Mail published a story that suggests the city of Vancouver is making preparations to host a National Hockey League franchise in the near future.

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Frank McMahon

The Globe story stated that Max Bell of Calgary, and Vancouver sportsmen Frank McMahon and John Davidson had each purchased a 10 per cent share in the Vancouver Canucks Western Hockey League team.

These three had attempted to win a NHL franchise three years ago. They competed against the syndicate that now owns the Canucks. That groups includes Cyrus McLean and famous hockey broadcaster Foster Hewitt. Hewitt and McLean will retain their shares under the new setup.

The story speculates that the two groups will, by pooling their resources, will present a much more attractive and financially stable entity to the league.

All this talk of the NHL in Vancouver was spurred on by the visit last weekend by Oakland Seals owner Barry Van Gerbig. It’s no secret that the Seals are on shaky ground and could be looking to flee the Bay Area of California.

Van Gerbig has denied all reports that a move of the franchise is imminent. He also insisted that he has not spoken to management at the Cow Palace Arena in San Francisco about playing NHL games there next season.

After the Globe story, other rumours began to surface. Coley Hall, one of the Canucks’ shareholders and the business director of the club, doesn’t think that they should rush into a deal for the Seals:

“We shouldn’t rush into a deal with Oakland which has $5,000,000 in debts, when we might be able to get another team (Pittsburgh) more reasonably.”

Then, last night word came out of Toronto that Maple Leafs general manager-coach Punch Imlach was also an investor in the McMahon-Bell-Davidson group. Imlach has said in the past that he would like to buy into a team. When Vancouver previously applied for a franchise, Imlach was thought at that time to be part of the equation.

Another story making the rounds also concerns the Maple Leafs. There are reports that the team might be sold to the McLaren Advertising Agency, who have expressed interest in the legendary club.  If that were to take place, Leafs president Stafford Smythe would then head a group that would seek an NHL team for San Diego, California, where the WHL Gulls are currently out-drawing several NHL expansion teams.

Smythe and Leafs vice-president Harold Ballard toured California several years ago before the expansion franchises were awarded. At that time Smythe and Ballard were thought to be looking for a spot to establish an NHL team.

One final bit of franchise speculation. A Pittsburgh newspaper is suggesting that Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League, is interested in buying the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins are also known to be experiencing some financial difficulties. It’s not known just how interested Hunt is, or if he would seek to move the team to Kansas City.

Quick Hits

  • Philadelphia Flyers will be without left winger Bill Sutherland and centre Ed Hoekstra for tonight’s game against the Blues in St. Louis. Both are out with injuries.

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    Bill Sutherland
  • When the Penguins host the Chicago Black Hawks tonight, it looks like centre Earl Ingarfield will be in the lineup. Ingarfield was supposed to make his return against Toronto the other night, but the knee brace for which he had been fitted wasn’t suitable. Looks like he’s found a brace he likes and he’ll suit up tonight.
  • The Los Angeles Kings will play their final game at the Long Beach Arena tonight when they entertain the Boston Bruins. The Kings will be moving to owner Jack Kent Cooke’s Fabulous Forum on December 30.
  • Rochester Americans captain Don Cherry will miss this weekend’s American Hockey League games due to “asthmatic bronchitis.” A team doctor said that Cherry has actually been sick for a couple of weeks and it’s amazing that he has been able to play at all during that time.

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    Don Cherry
  • Toronto Marlboros outscored the Oshawa Generals 8-6 in an Ontario Hockey Association Junior A game at Maple Leaf Gardens. Richie Bayes, the loop’s leading scorer fired four goals for Toronto. Al Quintillian had a pair for Oshawa.
  • Kitchener Rangers whipped the Peterborough Petes 7-1. Mike Robitaille and Jack Egers each scored two goals for the Rangers. Walt Tkaczuk, Lee Inglis and Danny Seguin had the other Kitchener goals. Rick MacLeish was the lone Petes marksman.
  • Niagara Falls Flyers dumped the Ottawa 67s 7-1 in the Cataract City. Gary Swain paced the Flyers attack with three goals. Tom Webster, Steve Atkinson, Ricky Ley and Dan Makey added singles. Pete Laframboise scored for Ottawa.
  • London Nationals upset the Montreal Junior Canadiens 5-3. Bert Wilson scored a pair for the Nationals. Allie Sutherland, Brian Murphy and Mac Westgate also found the range for London. Ralph Stewart, Paul Lessard and Rejean Houle connected for the Baby Habs.

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