A very interesting Sunday night in the National Hockey League saw a milestone reached by The Golden Jet, a losing streak continued by the Los Angeles Kings, and the Montreal Canadiens finally escaping the confines of the Eastern Division basement.
Black Hawks 4 Bruins 2
Chicago Black hawks pull off a big win in a proverbial four-point game with their nearest rival, the Boston Bruins, at the Chicago Stadium last night. The Hawks skated to a 4-2 victory over the Bruins but the big news was a milestone reached by Chicago superstar Bobby Hull.
Hull led the Chicago attack with two goals. The first one was the 400th of his career and it gave Chicago a 2-0 lead over the Bruins in the second period.
After a scoreless first period in which the Hawks fired 16 shots at Boston goalkeeper Gerry Cheevers, Doug Mohns opened the scoring for Chicago at 1:25 of the second. Hull then notched number 400 at 9:47, but it wasn’t a typical Golden Jet scoring play.
Hull took a nifty drop pass from Chico Maki in the Boston zone and let go a 50-footer that was about half the speed which he usually generates with his shots. The puck skipped right in front of Cheevers and glanced off his catching glove and into the goal. He basically fooled him with the change-up, to use a baseball term.
The nearly 20,000 fans jammed into The Stadium broke into a delirious frenzy of cheering that carried on for several minutes. The ice was littered with all sorts of paraphernalia, including paper streamers, programs and hats. Hull was presented the puck by referee Vern Buffey and repaired to the rear of the goal to give it to his wife.
The goal also brought Hull’s total to 30 for the season, the ninth time he has reached that plateau. Next closest streak of 30 or more in a year is Detroit’s Gordie Howe, who did it five times successively.
Boston got on the board about three minutes later when Johnny McKenzie beat Chicago goalie Denis DeJordy.
Things got dicey early in the final frame when Eddie Shack tied it up for the Bruins after only 34 seconds. It was a weird chain of events that thoroughly confused goalie DeJordy. Shack made one of his helter-skelter rushes up the right wing and fired a 45-foot slapper from the boards that was no where near the goal. The puck hit the dasher and bounded out to the left side where it struck the skate of Chicago defenceman Gilles Marotte and slid into the goal crease. DeJordy had lost sight of the disc, expecting it to bounce towards the left-wing boards. Instead, it slithered between his skates and he inadvertently knocked it into his own goal.
The fluke goal didn’t deter the Hawks. DeJordy settled down and would not be beaten again. Stan Mikita scored what proved to be the game-winner at 7:13 to put the Hawks back in front to stay.
That goal was also a bit unusual as Mikita’s shot went directly through a fist fight that was taking place between Chicago’s Doug Mohns and Don Awrey of the Bruins in front of the Boston goal. Cheevers had no chance on the play.
Hull netted his second of the night with 15 seconds left to play into an unguarded Boston goal after Cheevers had been pulled in favour of an extra skater. And even that goal had some controversy.
As Hull skated up the ice with the puck, he veered near the Boston bench. Both Shack and Cheevers attempted to hook Hull from the bench. It was just a matter of Hull’s brute strength that enabled him to get away from the interference from the bench and skate in to about 30 feet before depositing the puck into the cage.
Of course, the shot was academic. Referee Buffey spied the illegalities committed from the Boston bench and signalled a goal immediately. The call was so unusual, that a fan actually tried to fight his way through the Stadium ushers to get at Buffey, figuring he had failed to call a Bruins bench penalty.
Thankfully, the ushers were able to contain the irate patron and order was restored.
It was a wonderful, quirky hockey game, full of action between two pretty evenly-matched clubs. The win leaves the Hawks in first place in the Eastern Division, now three points up on the Bruins.
Rangers 6 Maple Leafs 2
Jean Ratelle scored three straight goals in the second period and that was enough for the New York Rangers to dump the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The win leaves the Rangers tied with Montreal Canadiens for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Division.
Rangers had this one in the bag for all intents and purposes at the end of the first period. Toronto goalie Bruce Gamble, subbing for the injured Johnny Bower, had a rough start and gave up three to the home side in the first 20 minutes.
Reg Fleming scored with the first Ranger shot on goal after only 30 seconds. Orland Kurtenbach made it 2-0 for New York at 4:06, and Phil Goyette upped the margin to three about four minutes after that.
Ratelle then scored his three in a row in 4:45 of the middle frame, giving New York a 6-0 lead before the game was half-way done. The Broadway Blueshirts eased up after that, cruising to the 6-2 final.
Murray Oliver scored late in the second period, and Dave Keon added a goal early in the third for the Leafs.
While Gamble was not at his sharpest (and he usually plays well against New York), he couldn’t be faulted for the lopsided loss. The Leafs, who played like they left it all on the ice on Saturday against Boston, came out flat and really didn’t show anything until Oliver scored late in the second.
The few dangerous offensives forays into Ranger territory were handled with aplomb by New York goalie Ed Giacomin. He made 34 saves although he wasn’t severely tested more than a couple of times.
Seals 6 Kings 0
Things just can’t get much worse for the Los Angeles Kings. Caught in the throes of a seven-game losing streak, coach Red Kelly figured the tonic the team needed was a visit to Oakland to play their California cousins, the last-place Seals. But even the Seals had their way with the hapless Kings, blasting them 6-0. To give this some perspective, the Seals hadn’t won a game since December 15.
Gerry Ehman was the big man for the Seals, scoring three times. Ehman, 35, has been bouncing around professional hockey since the 1952-53 season and last played in the NHL for Toronto in 1963-64. He was picked up on the eve of the season in a trade with Rochester of the American Hockey League, with Jean-Paul Parise and Bryan Hextall going the other other way.
The other Oakland scorers were Larry Cahan, Charlie Burns and Ron Harris. Little Charlie Hodge, a spectator for the past seven games for the Seals, made 26 saves to register the shutout.
The Kings effort in this game was, to say the least, uninspired, bordering on lethargic. The up-tempo speed game that the team employed earlier in the season is now a distant memory. General Manager Larry Regan can’t quite figure it out – and it’s his job to do so.
“The problem is all over, it’s not one thing. I don’t know what puts a team in a slump like this but it’s a combination of things.
“We played well against Eastern Division teams then let down against the West. Then we were hit with the flu. And injuries. And the club is not playing good defense.
“A stagnancy has gone right through this club. They’re stale. You get stale when you don’t score goals. Nothing goes right.”
Canadiens 4 Red Wings 3
The Montreal Canadiens have finally escaped the basement of the NHL’s Eastern Division. The Habs leap-frogged over the Detroit Red Wings by nipping the Wings 4-3 last night at the Olympia in Detroit.
Gilles Tremblay’s goal at 4:31 of the third period was the winner, snapping a 3-3 tie, and it was a beauty. Centre Ralph Backstrom did the leg work on the goal. He brought the puck into the Detroit zone and fought off Wings captain Alex Delvecchio before sending a perfect pass to Tremblay, who made no mistake.
Tremblay described the play:
“ The pass was perfect. I just didn’t have time to miss.”
Other Montreal scorers were Yvan Cournoyer, rookie Mickey Redmond and Jean Beliveau. Delvecchio, Howie Young and Gary Jarrett were the Detroit marksmen.
Stars of the game for Montreal were goalie Gump Worsley and defenceman Terry Harper. Worsley had to face 39 Detroit drives, as the Wings held a decided edge in play. Harper, whose play has risen dramatically after a slow start to the season that was hampered by a shoulder injury, was a titan on the blue line. He also earned his second assist of the weekend after having been held without a point for the entire season up to now.
The more important news coming out of this game involved players who didn’t suit up. Montreal centre Henri Richard was out of the lineup after suffering his fourth knee injury of the season on Saturday. Richard spent the weekend in a Montreal hospital after falling to the ice on his own early in Saturday’s game. General manager Sam Pollock says that once the swelling has subsided a more thorough examination of the injured knee will give a better indication of how long the Pocket Rocket might be out.
The other non-participant making news last night was Red Wings retired goaltender Roger Crozier. Crozier was spotted in the stands at the Olympia and it was learned that he will meet with Red Wings general manager Sid Abel today to discuss his future. It’s thought that the 25-year-old netminder is considering a comeback with the Wings. It’s likely that if he does decide to return to the ice wars, he’ll start out in the Central Professional Hockey League with Detroit’s farm team at Fort Worth.
With the Wings falling into last place in their division, a return by Crozier, especially if he can return to the form he displayed in his rookie year, would provide a much-needed boost. But Detroit’s biggest problem isn’t in goal, where 30-year-old rookie Roy Edwards has replaced Crozier quite capably. It’s a porous defence that needs serious upgrading. Abel is working the phones hoping to be able to pick up a veteran rearguard via the trade route sooner rather than later.
Flyers 3 Penguins 1
Philadelphia Flyers increased their first-place lead in the NHL’s Western Division to seven points with a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. It was the second game in a home-and-home series with the Penguins this weekend.
Flyers goalie Doug Favell made 36 saves in a scintillating performance and was the difference in the game. His work on the weekend enabled he and partner Bernie Parent to nab the $500 award to the leading goalies in the Vezina Trophy race at the season’s half-way mark. Flyers goalies have given up only 77 goals in 37 games.
Favell played both weekend games after going to Flyers general manager Bud Poile two weeks ago and complaining about playing time. It was reported that the 22-year-old netminder had asked for a trade, but Favell said it never quite got to that stage.
Coach Keith Allen stayed with Favell in both weekend games, saying he was going with “the hot hand.” He certainly had to be happy with the decision, as Favell was at his acrobatic best against the Penguins.
Forbes Kennedy, Gary Dornhoefer and Ed Hoekstra took care of the scoring for the Flyers. Ken Schinkel had given the Pens a brief 1-0 lead early in the second period.
The game featured a spirited bout between Flyer defenceman Jean Gauthier and Pittsburgh centre Bobby Dillabough in the second period. The skirmish eventually involved every player on the ice except for the goaltenders, but only the two main combatants were penalized.
- Toronto goalie Johnny Bower was an unwilling spectator at last night’s game against the Rangers in New York. Bower suffered an arm injury Saturday night when he collided with Boston’s Derek Sanderson. He will be examined by a Toronto doctor today and could be out of the lineup for a few games.
- NHL president Clarence Campbell has levied another $200 fine on New York Rangers general manager-coach Emile Francis for a December 30 incident where he went onto the ice in pursuit of referee Bill Friday. That fine is on top of an automatic $50 Francis was tagged with for going on the ice.
- Los Angeles Kings sent forward Mike Corrigan to Springfield of the AHL on Saturday, bringing up centre Howie Menard to replace him.
- Oakland Seals have recalled defenceman Gerry Odrowski from the Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League. Odrowski had been sent to Vancouver a couple of weeks ago for “disciplinary reasons.” He had apparently questioned some of management’s moves and treatment of certain players and was shown the door. It seems the differences have been ironed out and Odrowski is now back in the team’s good books.
- Seals forward Bill Hicke, who had been in Arizona to recover from asthma and pneumonia problems, is now in Hawaii, hoping to speed up his recovery.
- Swedish national team goaltender Leif Holmqvist has been invited to try out for the Boston Bruins next fall at their training camp.
- There are reports that three members of the Czech national team defected while in Switzerland last week. Apparently the three had a change of heart and returned native country. No names have been mentioned.
- Kitchener Rangers defeated the St. Catharines Black Hawks 3-1 in Ontario Hockey Association Junior A play in the Garden City. Walter Tkaczuk, Jack Egers and Don Luce had the goals for Rangers. Peter Mara was the goal-getter for St. Kitts.
- Montreal Junior Canadiens whipped the Niagara Falls Flyers 5-1 in an OHA Junior A game at The Forum in Montreal. Michel Jacques had a hat trick for Montreal, with Paul Lessard and Ralph Stewart adding singles. Steve Atkinson was the Flyers goal scorer.
- Oshawa Generals and Ottawa 67s skated to a 2-2 tie at the nation’s capital. Peter Vipond and Ron Dussiaume scored for the Generals with Pierre Jarry and Guy Smith replying for the 67s.
- The Ontario Hockey Association has vetoed a bid by the Junior B Sarnia Legionnaires to challenge for the Memorial Cup. The Sarnia club had planned on using their team augmented by players from OHA Junior A teams that had been eliminated from the playoffs. OHA rules prevent their teams from picking up players in that manner.
- The last-place (AHL West) Rochester Americans showed signs of life last night, bombing the Hershey Bears 9-2. Recently-acquired Ted Taylor led the Amerks with three goals. Veteran Dick Gamble broke out of a lengthy slump with a pair.
- Buffalo Bisons drubbed the Cleveland Barons 6-2 in AHL play at the Aud in Buffalo. Six players shared in the Bisons scoring, with Billy Knibbs, Joe Szura, Dennis Hextall, Dennis Kassian, Ron Ingram and Gerry Ouellette each netting a goal. Barons playing coach Freddie Glover and Jim Paterson had the Cleveland markers. A last-minute fight involving four players so incensed the Buffalo crowd that police had to be called in to disperse an angry mob that assembled outside the Barons dressing room after the game.
- Quebec Aces edged the Baltimore Clippers 3-2 in Quebec City. Rene Drolet, Simon Nolet and Dick Sarrazin scored for the Aces. Ted Lanyon and Sandy McGregor had the Clippers tallies.
- Springfield Kings and Providence Reds tied it up at 2-2 I Rhode Island. Mike Corrigan, sent by the parent Los Angeles Kings to the AHL on Saturday scored a goal and an assist for Springfield. Marc Dufour had the other goal for the visitors. Brian Perry and John Sleaver had the Reds markers.