January 3

A very quiet day for news around the National Hockey League and hockey in general. We have a quick report on Johnny Bower’s work ethic from Red Burnett of the Toronto Star and the usual Quick Hits.

Why Bower Is The Best

Red Burnett of the Toronto Star was watching the Toronto Maple Leafs practice yesterday with general manager – coach Punch Imlach. Punch, who was feeling a bit under the weather, had assistant King Clancy handling the workout.

Punch Imlach and Johnny Bower

It was near the end of practice time and Clancy, in his usual loud roar, ordered everyone to one end of the rink, save for goalkeepers John Bower and Bruce Gamble. It was time for some rigorous skating and Clancy excused the netminders.

Gamble headed to the dressing room, but Bower instead repaired to the end of the rink with his mates. He fully participated in the drills, and he didn’t skimp on the effort, either. When that was finished, he stayed yet an extra 15 minutes on the ice to let team mates practice shooting on him. Only when they were finished would he head off to shower and change.

That’s the kind of effort that Bower has been putting forth with the Leafs since he came to the team in 1958-59 at age 34 to partner with Ed Chadwick. He got to hockey’s big league by persistence and effort, and he’s not going give up his job so easily in his 10th NHL season.

Imlach knows that Bower works harder than anyone alive at his craft:

“That’s what makes Bower great. He works overtime at his job – and with enjoyment. He didn’t go in early beause he knows he got here through hard work and must work even harder at his age (44) to stay here.

“If the other guys on this club would put as much into every workout and game as Bower, we’d never lose. Heck, if they put as much effort into hockey and had just half his ability we’d never lose.

“But that would be utopia for a coach. There’s only one Bower. That’s why I call him the greatest competitor in the world.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Quick Hits

  • Leafs Brian Conacher will attend the funeral of his uncle Charlie Conacher today, accompanied by King Clancy. The two will then fly directly from Toronto to Montreal after the service in hopes of getting to the Forum in time for tonight’s game against the Canadiens. If they don’t make it, Leafs will use Mike Byers in Conacher’s place.

    Ed Van Impe
  • Flyers defenceman Ed Van Impe had surgery on his fractured cheekbone yesterday. He came through the operation just fine, but it appears he may be out of the lineup longer than first anticipated – possibly up to two weeks. Flyers will likely promote a defenceman from Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League but as of this morning, nothing has been announced.
  • Oakland Seals defenceman Bobby Baun is still in Montreal General Hospital after being injured in Saturday night’s game against the Habs. Baun is undergoing treatment on his right hand, which was left numb after collision with Montreal’s Jean Beliveau. It’s thought he will be released from hospital today or tomorrow and the damage is not expected to be permanent.
  • The Seals have also sent forward Billy Hicke to Arizona to hopefully expedite his recovery from another asthma attack. It’s not know just how long Hicke will remain out west but the team’s medical staff feel that recovery time will be shortened in the arid climate.
  • With Terry Sawchuk pronounced fit for duty again, the Los Angeles Kings have sent goalie Jacques Caron back to Springfield Kings of the AHL.
  • Defenceman Leo Boivin and left winger Keith McCreary are both doubtful starters for the Pittsburgh Penguins for tomorrow night’s game at home against the Los Angeles Kings.
  • Chicago Black Hawks have moved into a three-point lead over the Boston Bruins in the race for first place in the NHL’s Eastern Division. In the Western section, Philadelphia continues to lead the Los Angeles Kings by four points.Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 6.36.38 PM.png
  • Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita of the Chicago Black Hawks are tied for the NHL scoring lead. Hull has 28 goals and 15 assists for 43 points while Mikita’s total is made up of 21 goals and 22 assists. Johnny Bucyk and Fred Stanfield, both of the Bruins, are next with 39 points each.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers goaltending tandem of Doug Favell and Bernie Parent continue to lead the Vezina Trophy race with a goals-against average of 2.09. Leafs Johnny Bower and Bruce Gamble are in second place.
  • Tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden in New York will mark the 1000th NHL game for Rangers forward Ron Stewart. Stewart was acquired by the Rangers earlier this season in a trade with the St. Louis Blues.

    Ken Block
  • The Rochester Americans of the AHL have rid themselves of two defencemen. Ken Block, who was acquired by the Maple Leafs in the Red Kelly deal with Los Angeles last summer is being loaned to Memphis of the Central Professional Hockey League, a Minnesota North Stars affiliate. That likely satisfies the remaining term of last week’s nine-player deal with Minnesota. The Amerks also sent rookie rearguard Jim Dorey to Tulsa, also of the CPHL. The Oilers are the Leafs other professional farm team.
  • In Ontario Hockey Association Junior A play, the London Nationals surprised the Montreal Junior Canadiens with an upset 4-2 win at Treasure Island Gardens in London. John Gould, Glen Shirton, Bert Wilson and Sam Gellard scored the London goals, with Darryl Sittler earning a pair of assists. Marc Tardif netted both Baby Habs goals. Ron Marlow made 42 saves in an outstanding goaltending performance for London.

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