Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, Old Stories

With 2012 underway, we all look forward and wonder what the New Year has in store for us. It is also a time to reflect on the past. From a hockey perspective, it is always fun to explore the rich history of the game.
Being in a nostalgic frame of mind, we take a peek back to January 5, 1950.

For the hockey fan waking-up and scurrying to get a glance at the morning newspaper, they had the opportunity to investigate NHL results from the previous evening.

In Toronto, the Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks skated to a 4-4 draw. Writing in the Toronto Daily Star, Red Burnett described the contest "as wide-open as an Australian bookie's office." The implication being offence was the dominating factor.

After period one, the tilt was even a two goals apiece. Chicago took a 2-0 lead, but Toronto got back into the game on goals by Rudy Migay and captain Ted Kennedy.

The Hawks scored the first goal in the middle frame when former Leaf Gus Bodnar beat goalie Turk Broda. Toronto was on the power-play when Bodnar scored with assists going to Bep Guidolin and Ernie Dickens.

Similar to the opening period, Toronto mounted a comeback to turn-the-tables on Chicago. At the end of forty-minutes, Hap Day's Leafs returned to the dressing room up by a goal over the visitors. Tallies by Vic Lynn and Howie Meeker made the score 4-3.

Under coach Charlie Conacher, Chicago erased the Leafs advantage with Gaye Stewart's marker at 3:55 of period three.

At Madison Square Garden in New York, the Rangers and Red Wings were involved in a more defensive struggle.

Tony Leswick
Fans arriving late at the Garden, missed Pentti Lund's goal after only 29-seconds of action. His shot beat Wings netminder Harry Lumley between-the-legs. On the power play, Detroit's Joe Carveth tied the game with Sid Abel and Gordie Howe getting helpers on the play.

  New York's winning goal was scored by Tony Leswick early in period three at 4:14. The Rangers out shot Detroit 32-21 on their way to a 2-1 victory. The win bolted New York into sole possession of second place in the standings. It wouldn't be long before New York was sharing the second spot with another team.

The only scheduled game on January 5, 1950 pitted the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens. There was a festive atmosphere in the Montreal Forum with the Habs celebrating their 40th anniversary. Prior to the drop-of-the-puck, President Clarence Campbell took centre stage to honour goalie Bill Durnan with the Vezina Trophy, which he captured the previous campaign.

When Montreal and Boston left the playing surface for the second period intermission, the score was knotted at 2-2. The Canadiens burst-out to a 5-2 lead in the final twenty-minutes on two goals by Billy Reay and one from Leo Gravelle. At 14:48 the Bruins Milt Schmidt closed out the scoring.

Montreal recorded a 5-3 victory and earned two points for their effort, thus pulling them even in second place with the New York Rangers.

Aside from hockey, came news Irene Strong was named Canada's outstanding female athlete for 1949. A 20-year-old hailing from Vancouver, Strong was noted for her swimming accomplishments and the fact she held 19 Canadian records.

The poll, conducted by Canadian Press, made mention of twenty names for consideration. Of particular interest was the fact Turk Broda's bride fell into this category. And just what was her call to fame? Well, the spotlight was focused on Mrs. Broda for talents to assist her hubby in keeping his weight down!

In a constant battle to reduce his waistline, Broda was a target in Conn Smythe's rampage to have every player on the Leafs roster fall within a determined weight limit.

January 5, 1950. A blast from the past. Hockey from the Original Six era.

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