As the month of January comes to a close, we have just a bit of hockey news today. Montreal Canadiens defeated the Maple Leafs in the only National Hockey League game last night. Plus, a few player moves and other tidbits in Quick Hits.
Canadiens 3 Maple Leafs 0
Montreal Canadiens soared to their 10th straight win, a 3-0 shutout over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Forum in Montreal. Canadiens encountered very little resistance from the Leafs, outshooting the visitors 30-19.
The 10 straight victories equals a Montreal team record set in the 1943-44 season.
Claude Provost’s seventh goal of the season at 3:03 of the first period, a short-handed marker, was all the offence goalie Rogatien Vachon would need to earn the shutout. Jean Beliveau added a second-period goal, and Yvan Cournoyer closed out the scoring in the third.
Canadiens now have a three-point lead over second-place Boston in the NHL’s Eastern Division. Vachon, in his past seven games, has allowed just seven goals. Veteran goalie Gump Worsley has recovered from a couple of nagging hurts, but Habs coach Toe Blake is understandably reticent to remove the red-hot Vachon from the net.
Toronto goalie Johnny Bower started the game for the Leafs and couldn’t be faulted for the loss. He was injured early in the third period when he took a wicked shot off the stick of rookie Serge Savard squarely in the chest. He left the game, but only briefly. Bruce Gamble took over for several minutes while Bower went to the dressing room for repairs. He returned and finished the game a few minutes later.
With about a minute and six seconds left on the clock in the final period, and trailing 3-0, Toronto coach Punch Imlach removed Bower from the net in favour of an extra skater. It seems that Imlach, who once called Vachon a “junior B goaltender” wanted to avoid at all costs being shutout by the youngster. The move didn’t work as Toronto didn’t even muster a shot on goal.
Canadiens veteran Henri Richard made his first appearance in the Habs lineup in about eight weeks. Blake, wanting to ease the Pocket Rocket back in to things slowly, only used him for one shift.
Canadiens dressed only four defencemen for the game. Terry Harper was out with a shoulder injury, so Savard took his spot alongside Ted Harris and performed well. In the second period, the defence corps was reduced to three for half a period when Jacques Laperriere earned himself a 10-minute misconduct while on the bench.
Provost was easily the Habs’ best player but was not selected one of the three stars. Blake was upset that the hard-working right winger wasn’t recognized by the star selector:
“Cournoyer (first star) played a heck of a game, but Provost was terrific. He got that big first goal for us when we were short-handed, could have had a couple ore and checked his wing to a standstill.
“That’s the third time he’s missed out on the first star when he’s earned it in my opinion.”
Several Montreal players also were upset at Provost missing out on the three-star honour, but none wanted to be identified for fear of appearing to slight a team mate. Said one:
“That guy must have been at a different game. Provost is playing like he’s broke and needs that bonus money that comes with first place.
“Blake is like a poker player with five aces when he has Provost around to check the big left wingers like Bobby Hull and Frank Mahovlich and kill those penalties.”
Mikita Leads Mid-Season Award Voting
Stan Mikita’s great season with the Chicago Black Hawks is not going unnoticed, at least with those who vote for the NHL awards. Half-way mark voting has the slick Chicago centre leading the races for the Hart and Lady Byng Trophies. The Hart is awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player, while the Lady Byng goes to the most sportsmanlike.
Derek Sanderson is the leader for the Calder Trophy, the NHL’s rookie-of-the-year award. Tops for the Norris Trophy (best defenceman) is Boston’s Bobby Orr.
Here are the top five vote-getters for each award, with their votes in parentheses:
Hart: Mikita (34), Bobby Hull, Chicago (32), Bobby Orr, Boston (29), Gordie Howe, Detroit (4), Jean Beliveau, Montreal (4).
Lady Byng: Mikita (41), John Bucyk, Boston (29), Hull (9), Fred Stanfield, Boston (6), Phil Esposito, Boston (4).
Calder: Sanderson (50), Doug Favell, Philadelphia (29), Jacques Lemaire, Montreal (10), Les Binkley, Pittsburgh (4), Dale Rolfe Los Angeles, Art Stratton, Pittsburgh and Gary Jarrett, Detroit (3 each).
Norris: Orr (56), Tim Horton, Toronto (22), Pierre Pilote, Chicago (11), J.C. Tremblay, Montreal (5), Gary Bergman, Detroit 94).
- Montreal Canadiens have sent veteran winger Claude Larose to their Central Professional Hockey League farm team at Houston. Larose, whom the Canadiens so badly wanted to keep in last summer’s Expansion Draft that they made a complicated series of deals to arrange that he wouldn’t be taken, has been a huge disappointment this season. In 32 games, he has only one goal and eight assists.
- Detroit Red Wings have called up winger Ron Anderson from their Fort Worth team in the CPHL. Anderson has 20 goals and 19 assists in 30 games with Fort Worth. This is his second call-up this season. He played six games with the Red Wings last month, scoring once.
- Gordie Howe’s son Mark scored three goals and added an assist to lead his Detroit team to a 7-0 win over London in the opening game of the Silver Sticks bantam hockey tournament being held in Port Huron, Michigan.
- Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forward Gene Ubriaco from Baltimore of the American Hockey League. Ubriaco will replace right winger Ken Schinkel, out with a broken ankle for four to six weeks.
- Boston Bruins have returned defenceman John Arbour to Oklahoma City of the CPHL.
- King Clancy, right-hand man to Toronto general manager-coach Punch Imlach, thinks that the team who could be in the most trouble right now is the Chicago Black Hawks. Clancy feels that injuries to left winger Doug Mohns and defenceman Pat Stapleton could really hamper the Hawks: “They’ve lost Mohns and Stapleton through injuries. If they’re out for any length of time, they’re going to be hard to replace. That Mohns is a good hockey player and so is Stapleton, though I think Jarrett is their best defenceman. He may be the best in the whole league.”
- Philadelphia Flyers president Bill Putnam says that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Oakland Seals play a few games at the Cow Palace in San Francisco this season. The Cow Palace was previously deemed unsuitable for NHL hockey.
- Since their big trade with the Minnesota North Stars on December 26, the Rochester Americans of the AHL have won 10 games, lost only two while tying four.
- NHL hockey and NBA basketball aren’t the only events being held at Jack Kent Cooke’s new arena The Forum in Inglewood California:
- In the only AHL game of the night, the Baltimore Clippers and Cleveland Barons skated to a 4-4 tie. Ed MacQueen scored twice for the Clippers with Sandy McGregor and Dick Meissner netting the others. Norm Ferguson connected for a pair for the Barons. Howie Glover and Cecil Hoekstra had one each.
- Toronto Marlboros and London Nationals battled to a 2-2 tie at London in the only Ontario Hockey Association Junior A game. Brad Park and Terry Caffery had the Marlies markers, with Allie Sutherland and Guy Allen replying for the Nats.
- The Lester Patrick Award, given for meritorious service to hockey in the United States, this year will be presented to Tom Lockhart, president of the Eastern Hockey League.
- All but three players in the CPHL have joined a players association formed by Alan Eagleson, executive director of the NHL Players Association. The AHL and WHL recently formed their own minor league players association, without input from Eagleson.