We’ve delayed our report a bit today to try to get as much reaction as we could about the big news of the day – a gigantic trade between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. It’s a shame that the Detroit Free Press is presently on strike, their fine crew of writers doubtless would have provided some great insight, but we do have some fine work by Louis Cauz of the Globe and Mail, Jim Proudfoot of the Toronto Star and Jim Nelson of the Windsor Star.
We’ll also have the game results from last night and the rest of the player moves completed before last night’s midnight deadline.
LEAFS, WINGS SWAP EIGHT
In the biggest National Hockey League trade in years, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings announced this morning a gigantic eight-player deal that included superstars Frank Mahovlich and Norm Ullman as principals.
The transaction, which had to be completed before last night’s midnight deadline, will see the Leafs send Mahovlich, centres Peter Stemkowski and Garry Unger, and the NHL rights to retired defenceman Carl Brewer to Detroit. In exchange, Toronto receives Ullman and wingers Paul Henderson and Floyd Smith. Toronto also purchased defenceman Doug Barrie from the Red Wings and assigned him to Tulsa of the Central Professional Hockey League. Barrie had split the season between Kansas City and Omaha of the CPHL.
Toronto general manager-coach Punch Imlach also announced that defenceman Jim McKenny was being sent to their American Hockey League farm team at Rochester. In addition, winger Jim Pappin, demoted to the AHL club several weeks ago, will remain there. There had been heavy speculation that a Pappin trade to another NHL club would be announced this morning as well.
Imlach said that the trade has been under serious discussion for the past couple of weeks:
“But they could have backed off right up until this morning. I called Sid to make sure.
“I had to make the trade. To get something you’ve got to give up something. My pride has been hurt. I’ve been humiliated the way they’ve played on the road. We need goal scorers and I think we got them.
“Ullman has 30, Smith has 18 and Henderson had 13. That’s 61 goals, almost a goal a game from three players. That’s just about what my whole team has been averaging lately.”
When asked about finally sending Mahovlich away, Imlach said that he hated to do it:
“Frank is a helluva guy. I hated to trade him, but I made the deal to help the Maple Leaf Hockey team.”
Even with surrendering The Big M, the part of the deal that may come back to haunt Imlach is the inclusion of the two young centres as part of the package. Punch figures it was worth it:
“I offered Pappin, but they said no, they asked for Unger. I held out on him.
“I got what I consider a superstar in Ullman. When we lost Red Kelly, we couldn’t find anybody to take his place.
“With Mike Walton, Dave Keon and Ullman, we’re strong. We also have Murray Oliver and Bob Pulford.”
Imlach said that the loss of Unger wasn’t terribly serious right now, in that the youngster wasn’t going to supplant Keon, Walton or Ullman. He believes another young centre, Gerry Meehan, who has scored 28 goals with Tulsa of the Central Professional Hockey League this year, will be as good as Unger.
Imlach said that he will keep the three new players together on a line.
Mahovlich was contacted early this morning by Jim Proudfoot of the Toronto Star and seemed to be upset with the development:
“I don’t know anything about it. There is nothing I can say about the trade. I may say something later, I don’t know.”
The Detroit players coming to the Maple leafs were caught at the Windsor airport, boarding a flight for Toronto. Ullman seemed happy and relaxed, and professed to not be surprised with the trade:
‘It’s no great surprise that I’ve been traded. My play has been a little off this year, although my goal production is better. They (Detroit management) have been on me all season, which is probably the reason my play is off form. Maybe I haven’t been checking as well as I used to.
“It will be strange to change teams because I’ve been a Red Wing since I was 12.
“One of the reasons they got rid of me could be that I held out for four days. They got on me early after that. The fact I’m president of the NHL Players’ Association doesn’t help, either, I suppose.
“Personally I like the idea of going to Toronto. I know I’ll find it a little strange at first. I was just informed of the trade this morning, My home and business (a Detroit printing company) are here. It’s too early to know just what I’m going to do. My wife likes the idea.”
Ullman’s wife is currently hospitalized with an intestinal disorder. Norm’s sister has come in from Edmonton and has been staying with the family, caring for the children.
Floyd Smith wasn’t surprised by the swap either:
“My wife and I talked about the possibility of a trade a couple of weeks ago. I’m just a little surprised it would happen now.
“I expected it. There have been little things in the wind that indicted a deal. There are too many right wingers in Detroit while Toronto is not so thick at that position. Punch Imlach always told me he’d get me.
“Toronto plays a checking type of hockey and that’s the way I like to play. I own my home in Detroit, but that will be no trouble.”
Henderson said that Imlach had told him in the past that he’d like to have him playing for the Leafs:
“Punch had told me he’d like to get me, so I’m not surprised he did. I like the idea of playing in Toronto. It’s near my home (Lucknow) and I have some business interests in Toronto.
“I can’t really put my finger on the reason for my poor season. I was injured and missed 11 games but I can’t use that as an excuse. I just haven’t been able to put the puck in the net.”
Abel said that he plans to use Frank Mahovlich on a line with Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio. He also revealed that he plans to talk to Brewer, who is playing coach at Muskegon in the International Hockey League, as soon as possible:
“Brewer is not eligible to sign as a professional until next December. We hope to bring him up for an amateur tryout immediately. I’m confident I can sign him. If I can’t, then we get cash for Doug Barrie, who’s now joining the Leaf organization.”
Abel was asked about the rumour that Toronto would get goalie Roger Crozier if the Wings managed to sign Brewer:
“There’s no basis for it. The only explanation is that Leafs have Johnny Bower at their top goalie and they’d like to get a youngster.”
Mahovlich, who came to the Leafs in the 1957-58 season, joins his younger brother Peter in Detroit. Frank has scored 19 goals this season. He has 296 career goals with the Leafs.
Stemkowski, who is 24, first joined Toronto in the 1964-65 season. He has scored 7 goals and 15 assists for 22 points this season.
Unger, 20, has played in 15 games for Toronto this season, scoring one goal and an assist. He’s missed considerable time after having knee surgery just before the start of training camp in September.
Ullman, 32, had 30 goals and 25 assists for the Red Wings. He has scored 294 regular-season and 27 playoff goals for Detroit. He had been with the Wings since 1955-56.
Henderson, 25, first played for the Red Wings in the 1962-63 season. He has netted 13 goals and 20 assists so far this season.
Smith is 32. He came to the Red Wings from the New York Rangers in the 1962 Intra-league draft. He had 18 goals and 21 assists with the Wings this year.
Barrie has split this season between the Kansas City Blues and Omaha Knights of the CPHL, scoring a goal and 12 assists.
- New York Rangers earned their second straight shutout of the weekend, a 4-0 win over Chicago. Ed Giacomin had to make only 13 saves, with Vic Hadfield netting a pair of goals for the Rangers.
- Eddie Shack fired a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins to a 9-3 shellacking of the St. Louis Blues at Boston Garden. Johnny Bucyk also scored a pair for Boston. Blues lost goalie Seth Martin with a head injury after he struck his head on the ice after being high sticked. He finished the period, but during the intermission felt woozy and threw up. He was taken to a Boston hospital for observation.
- Detroit Red Wings upset Montreal Canadiens 5-2 at the Olympia in Detroit. Norm Ullman scored two goals in his last game as a Red Wing. Nick Libett got his first NHL goal for the Wings as well.
- Oakland Seals and Philadelphia Flyers skated to a 1-1 tie at Madison Square Garden in New York. The game had been moved to Gotham after the Spectrum in Philadelphia was damaged in a wind storm. Goalies Doug Favell of Flyers and Oakland’s Gary Smith were the stars of the game. Smith came into the game for the Seals after starter Charlie Hodge was injured in the last minute of the second period and made 17 saves.
- Minnesota North Stars have made several player moves. They have sent winger George Standing to Memphis of the CPHL, deciding to keep young forward Sandy Fitzpatrick with the team. They also sent goalie Carl Wetzel back to Rochester of the AHL. Gary Bauman rejoins the team and will back up regular netminder Cesare Maniago.
- Louis Blues have called up centre Ron Schock from Kansas City of the CPHL. Winger Gary Veneruzzo goes to Kansas City as his replacement.
- Pittsburgh Penguins have called up goalie Joe Daley from the Baltimore Clippers of the AHL. He will replace goalie Les Binkley, who suffered a broken finger on his right hand on Saturday. Binkley will be out for about a week.
- Penguins have also returned forward Bob Dillabough to Baltimore. He’s been out of the lineup with a flareup of rheumatic fever, an illness he suffered in his youth.
- The fan injured in that November 19 fracas during the game between Montreal Canadiens and the Kings in Los Angeles has filed a $655,000 law suit against Habs’ coach Toe Blake and right winger Claude Provost. Bernard Weisman obtained a criminal complaint of assault with a deadly weapon – a hockey stick.