Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Time is Here

Earlier this month, a capacity crowd enjoyed the annual NHL Oldtimers Christmas Lunch.

To kick-off the event, Santa belted out several tunes


Santa's helper - former NHL referee Ron Wicks

Dick Duff makes out his Christmas wish list


Ivan Irwin stands between former Boston Bruin Bob Beckett (L) and former Boston Olympics forward Jerry Junkin (R)


Mike Filey (R) of the Toronto Sun chats with his favourite Maple Leaf, Tod Sloan (L)


Two great New York Rangers, defenceman Harry Howell(L) & forward Dean Prentice (R)

Two alumni members from St. Michael's, Frank Mahovlich (L) & Phil Samis (R)


Red Kelly (L) & Bob Baun (R)


Former NHL defenceman and AHL Hall of Fame member, Jimmy Morrison (C) works the room


Wally Stanowski

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gus Kyle: Hockey's Dudley Do-Right

For an NHL defenceman, being able to identify your check and guard against him in your own zone is a vital requirement. Also, it helps to be able to plant some punishment on an opponent.

After Gus Kyle played his fourth NHL contest for New York on October 22, 1949, at Maple Leaf Gardens, Hap Day acknowledged Kyle's success when it came to hunting someone down and stopping them cold in their tracks.

"He's an ex-Mountie, he always gets his man," Day stated of Kyle following a 2-2 tie.

The game story from a Toronto newspaper provides background for Day's statement. "Rangers' back division led by ex-RCMP Constable Walt Kyle, was more aggressive than last season and pushed the Leafs around."

Walter Lawrence "Gus" Kyle's resume did indeed include a stint wearing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform.

Born in Dysart, Saskatchewan on September 11, 1923, Kyle played junior hockey with the Notre Dame Hounds.

In 1941-42, Kyle ventured from western Canada to the bright lights of  Manhattan. He helped the New York Rovers win an EAHL Championship.

Upon returning home, Kyle joined the RCMP and was shipped out to New Brunswick. Out east, he worked in General Investigations and played senior hockey for the St. John Beavers.

After his discharge in October 1947, Kyle packed his bags and headed back home.

Over the next two years, Kyle married and opened a sporting goods store in Regina. Also, he continued to play senior hockey, donning the colours of the Regina Pats.

While on a scouting in the spring of 1949, New York Rangers general manager, Frank Boucher, took note of the 6'1" - 202 lbs Kyle.  This resulted in an invitation to attend New York's hockey school in the fall.

Kyle's impressive effort at the hockey school didn't go unnoticed. He received instructions to proceed to Lake Placid, home base for the Rangers training camp.

News of Kyle's progress at Lake Placid garnered press coverage back in Regina. "Gus is really hitting them down there," one eyewitness told The Leader-Post.

A headline asked is "Gus Kyle staying east?"

The adjoining story mentioned Kyle being teamed with Wally Stanowski in a 4-1 victory over the New Haven (AHL).

Even though 64 years have elapsed since Wally Stanowski first shared the ice with Gus Kyle, he remembers his former teammate. "He wasn't the best skater in the world, but he could bodycheck, Stanowski said while waiting for lunch to be served at an NHL Oldtimers Lunch this month. "He was a pretty good defenceman.

The answer to the question concerning Kyle's ability to stick with the Rangers came when he began the 1949-50 campaign on New York's blue line.

On October 25, 1949, at Chicago Stadium, Kyle recorded his first NHL point. "Chicago was forcing the play when Gus Kyle stole the puck in centre ice and broke behind the Hawk defence. His rebound pass set up Alex Kaleta...," noted a United Press story of New York's first tally in a 2-1 victory.

"Rangers open Garden hockey campaign with victory over Bruins," announced a headline in the October 27, 1949, edition of The New York Times. Witnessed by 14,262 Madison Square Garden patrons, Kyle scored his first NHL goal in New York's home opener.

"Laprade interrupted a rush to steal the puck, guide it deep into Bruin ice, and hand it to Kyle, who counted in 4:03," is how The New York Times described Kyle's goal.

Quotes by Kyle, gleamed from a Hockey News article,  shed insight on his life as an NHL rookie.

On the NHL game..."You have to think faster and act faster up here. And you can't afford to make mistakes."

Stepping onto the ice for his initial NHL appearance at MSG..."You know, I was really nervous. Maybe when I make the rounds once or twice and get to know how the other teams play I won't be so nervous but I am now."

On once again playing in New York after his time with the Rovers..."It may be the biggest city in the world, but it's as friendly as the smallest town."

Gus Kyle went on to skate in 203 NHL contests with New York and Boston between 1949-50 and 1951-52. He hung up his blades after four seasons with the WHL Calgary Stampeders.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Allan Stanley: 1926-2013

When defenceman Allan Stanley's name is mentioned, one image materializes.

Late in game six of the 1967 Stanley Cup final, Punch Imlach sent Stanley out to face Jean Beliveau for a crucial draw deep in Toronto's zone. Stanley and his teammates had one task - protect their slim 2-1 lead over Montreal.

After making sure everyone knew their assignment, Allan Stanley went to work.

"Stanley not only beat Jean Beliveau to the draw, but he knocked the Hab captain out of the way, allowing Kelly (Red) to field the puck, " wrote Red Burnett in The Toronto Daily Star. He went on to describe what happened once Kelly gained possession. "Kelly passed to Pulford (Bob), who relayed to Armstrong (George). The Leaf captain pounded the puck into the open net, to cinch the win."

Mission accomplished.

Allan Stanley passed away on October 18, 2013, at Speciality Care Case Manor in Bobcaygeon, Ontarion. He was 87.

Born in Timmins, Ontario, on March 1, 1926, Allan Herbert Stanley's first crack at professional hockey came in 1943-44, with the EAHL Boston Olympics. They were sponsored by the NHL Bruins.

Back in 1949, Stanley spoke about his subsequent departure from the Bruins organization.

"I was on loan from the Boston Olympics in the Eastern United States League to Providence and it seems that the Bruins had to take a defenceman off their list to make room for another," Stanley told The Hockey News.

Weston Adams and Art Ross took in the Providence game to watch Stanley before making any roster decisions. "The day they were to see me in action I was laid up in bed with a bad cold and sore throat, but I dressed anyway," stated Stanley. "I think I played the worst game of my career. The next day I read that I had been sold outright to the Reds."

Stanley's long-term goal was, like his Uncle, Barney Stanley, to don an NHL sweater. The elder Stanley made his name out west with the Vancouver Millionaires. He won a Stanley Cup with them in 1915. While coaching the Chicago Black Hawks in 1927-28, Barney Stanley played in his only National Hockey League contest. He became an honoured member in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.

Another Uncle, Ab Stanley, played senior hockey for the Hamilton Tigers.

In 1942, Allan Stanley patrolled the blue line for the Holman Pluggers a juvenile team in his home town.  During a game in Toronto, he caught the eye of scout Baldy Cotton. This led Stanley to the Boston Olympics and Providence Reds.

His chance to make the big show came in December 1948.

"In the biggest deal in the history of the club, the New York Rangers yesterday acquired the services of Allan Stanley, husky defenceman from the Providence Reds of the American Hockey League," began a story by Joseph Nichols in the New York Times on December 10, 1948.

To obtain Stanley, the Rangers surrendered cash and players with an estimated value of $60,000 to $70,000. A huge sum for a late 1940s transaction.

He first NHL outing took place on December 11, 1948, at the Detroit Olympia. In his debut, the Rangers fell 5-3.

"Although Stanley played steady hockey he didn't figure in the scoring," noted the Associated Press of Stanley's performance.

Back home in New York the next evening, the tables were turned with the Rangers posting a 2-0 shutout over the Red Wings.

On December 15, 1948, the Toronto Maple Leafs came calling.

With his team up two goals early in the final frame, Stanley added to their margin by notching his first NHL point and goal.

"At 4:40, Fred Shero sent a relay to Stanley and the newcomer, firing from just inside Toronto's blue line, found the target with a lightning shot," chronicled The Times of Stanley's first tally.

A return engagement versus Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens on December 18, 1948, was a special occasion for the Ontario born rearguard.

When Stanley arrived at Toronto's Union Station, his Mom and Dad were there to greet him, having made the trip from up north. His Dad, Bill Stanley, held the position of Fire Chief in Timmins. After his son became a Ranger he stated, "We'll be down to Toronto to see him in action the next time New York plays there."

With family and friends on-hand, Stanley didn't disappoint.

"...He fed his wings and blocked well,  gained two assists and generally looked as if he had been in the big time for years," offered Allan Nickleson in The Globe and Mail.

Early in 1949, Ranger coach, Lynn Patrick, gave this assessment of Stanley's game. "Stanley is a good blocker a good checker and he can also rough it up when he wants to," said the New York bench boss.

Stanley's stay in the Big Apple lasted until November 1954. New York's inability to evolve into a playoff contender resulted in Stanley becoming the object of fan frustrations.  He had to contend with constant abuse flowing down from the stands.

To ease the situation management shipped Stanley to Chicago, and in October 1956 he returned to the Bruins fold.

Despite helping Boston have successful campaigns in both 1957 and 1958,  they had apprehensions about Stanley's lasting-power. Nicknamed 'Snowshoes", his slow-moving style, combined with a leg injury, contributed to Boston once again moving Stanley.

Punch Imlach in Toronto, didn't share Boston's appraisal of Stanley's extended worth. He obtained the defenceman in an October 1958 trade.

Imlach thought Stanley would mature in the same manner as his Uncle Barney.

Late in his career, Barney Stanley used his hockey I.Q. to get by. He performed "when a veteran could get by on brains alone and Barney was one of the craftiest players the game has known," observed a Winnipeg columnist.

The same could be said of Allan Stanley.

"Stanley went on to play more than six hundred games for Toronto in the next ten years, as honest and dependable as a coach could ask for...," penned Imlach in his 1969 book, "Hockey Is A Battle".

The one Leaf who had the best sight lines to watch Stanley ply his trade was goalie Johnny Bower. In his book Bower wrote:

Allan was  fantastic at playing the angle on the shooter and he never obstructed my vision while doing it. He was blessed with tremendous anticipation and seemed to know where I was going to play the rebound even before I did.

Commenting about both King Clancy and Allan Stanley, former Leaf defenceman Bob Baun wrote this about his coach (Clancy) and teammate (Stanley) in his autobiography: "They were masters of the defensive zone - I think either of them could have played in a rocking chair."

Allan Stanley finally settled into his rocking chair after one season of post-season competition with the Philadelphia Flyers. Prior to departing Toronto, he captured four Stanley Cups. In 1981, the Hockey Hall of Fame summoned Allan Stanley.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Picture This

New Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment boss Tim Leiweke caused a stir over the summer when he suggested that photos of past laurels be removed from the Air Canada Centre.

After a number of Maple Leaf Alumni expressed their concerns, Leiweke reversed his course of action. Fan favourite Johnny Bower, acting as a voice of reason, eventually helped Leiweke see what all the fuss was about.

A Toronto Star cartoon (above) depicts Bower making one more save on behalf of his former teammates.

Back in January 1949, Leaf management took another approach when it came to photographs.


As the caption on the top picture indicates, Hap Day knew the importance of instilling past achievements into the mindset of rookies.

"After getting Johnny McCormack's signature on a Leaf contract yesterday, coach Hap Day, left, took the lanky Marlboro star on a tour of his office, showing him pictures of Leaf teams which have won the Stanley Cup," noted the text under the photo. "It was a subtle way of letting Johnny know the Leafs will need a lot of help from him if they're going to make a serious bid for their fourth straight world title," it goes goes on to read.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Metro Prystai 1927-2013

On October 8, 2013, former NHL player Metro Prystai passed away - OBIT - at the age of 85.

Prystai joined the Chicago Black Hawks in 1947-48. He won two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings. The first coming in 1951-52, then in 1953-54 he captured his second championship.

The above photo of Prystai (C), Bert Olmstead (L), and Bep Guidolin (R) appeared in a Toronto newspaper. The Hawks were in town for a tilt against the Maple Leafs on January 8, 1950. It shows Prystai kissing a horseshoe for good luck.

Playing at centre, Prystai enjoyed his most productive NHL campaign that year ('49-'50). He scored 29 goals and added 22 assists for 51 points.

Born on November 7, 1927, Prystai died in his hometown of Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hockey or Baseball?

How many nights does one travel up and down the TV dial only to discover nothing of interest? Last evening, however, wasn't one of those occasions.

On Leafs TV the Toronto Maple Leafs took on Nashville, 48- hours after suffering their first loss of 2013-14. For Leaf supporters it was a chance to see how the Buds would respond. Despite their 3-1 record, most of Toronto's victories haven't been pretty. Their goalies, in particular Jonathan Bernier, get the credit for the teams first six points in the standings.

The one blemish came on Tuesday when Patrick Roy and company downed Randy Carlyle and company 2-1 at the Air Canada Centre.

If hockey isn't your game, Detroit and Oakland tangled in game five of the American League Division Series. The winner earning the right to advance against the Boston.

In today's modern world of advanced technology, there is no reason to miss any action. A split-screen feature enabled me to watch both hockey and baseball. One with audio and the other silent. Since hockey contains more fluid action, I decided talking heads weren't necessary. Baseball with its slower pace needed more spice and the banter filled the void between pitches.

From a visual perspective, it was amazing how similar in colour the Nashville and Oakland uniforms were. On the split-screen they appeared to blend together like mustard smeared on a hot dog. The boys of summer and winter sharing the same space.

A one-timer off a hockey stick being matched by a bat connecting with a baseball. A quick glove save by Jonathan Bernier. Detroit Tigers backstop Alex Avila using his catching mitt to prevent pitches from getting past him.

A black puck. A white ball. Ice on one side of the screen and grass on the other. Pitcher versus batter. One defenceman battling two forwards. Plays going off-side at the blueline. Foul balls down the first base line.A referee consulting with a linesman. The home plate umpire huddling with the third base ump.

When all was said and done, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Tigers prevailed. Bernier not allowing a goal and Justin Verlander not allowing a run.

I swear I could hear the television director say, "and fade to black." It was my cue to go to bed. There would be more to watch tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Tradition Continues

Opening night in the National Hockey League is always a special occasion.

The 2013-14 campaign kicked off with the Canadiens hosting the Maple Leafs. In an entertaining contest, Toronto edged the Habs by a 4-3 score.

Back on December 23, 1918,  Montreal and Toronto helped usher in the 1918-19 season. Like 2013, the summary reveals a final score of 4-3, but it was the Canadiens earning the victory 95 year-ago over the Toronto Arenas.

One of hockey's greatest goalies, George Vezina, stole the spotlight in Montreal's win. "Vezina was the outstanding star of the game," declared The Globe in their game story on Christmas Eve. The report went on to detail Vezina's performance. "In the early periods Arenas bombarded the visitors net and threatened to pile up a commanding lead, but the Montreal wizard proved equal to the occasion and made marvellous stops."

No matter the era, the anticipation of game one is what keeps every fan coming back for more. Points are on the line and hope springs eternal for a championship year.

In 1918, Montreal got the jump over Toronto, however, the other night it was Toronto's turn.

The fun and excitement is only beginning.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chicago 1934: The First Stanley Cup

The opening paragraph in a newspaper report said it all:

For the first time in its history, the Stanley Cup went to Chicago tonight (Dateline:Chicago, April10), won by the Black Hawks, who took a defensive overtime battle from Detroit Red Wings, 1-0.
As we all watch Chicago and Boston clash in the 2013 Stanley Cup final, we turn the calendar back to 1934, when Chicago claimed their first championship.

Chicago opened the 1934 Cup final on the road at Detroit.

 On April 3, the Black Hawks needed double-overtime to defeat the Red Wings 2-1.

 After winning game two by a 4-1 score, the Black Hawks headed home with a 2-0 series lead in their best-of-five confrontation.

At Chicago Stadium, Detroit found their scoring touch and produced a 5-2 victory in game three.

The Black Hawks second crack at closing out the series came in game four on April 10.

After regulation time failed to settle the matter, the two clubs went into overtime tied 0-0. In the first extra-time period, goalies Charlie Gardiner (Chicago) and Wilf Cude (Detroit) remained in a stingy mood.

What tipped the scales in Chicago's favour was a penalty called against Red Wing Eddie Goodfellow for tripping Tommy Cook in the second overtime stanza.

Just past the ten-minute mark with Chicago on the power play, Mud Marsh, who scored the first NHL goal at the new Maple Leaf Gardens on November 12,1931, deposited the Cup-winning-goal. "...March drove in from the right, pulling loose from  Buswell (Detroit defence Walt Buswell) and slashed a shot into the cage behind Cude," noted the newspaper account.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

The wonderful game of hockey is perhaps the greatest bond between a father and his children.

Joe Primeau Sr. and Joe Primeau Jr. share a moment on the ice in December 1947.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

An Original Six Final

It always has a nice ring when the Stanley Cup final includes two Original Six teams. This time around, Boston and Chicago add to the rich history of clubs from hockey's Golden era battling for Lord Stanley's mug.

The Boston Bruins got their first taste of Cup final competition in 1926-27. They met Ottawa in a best-of-five series, which ran from April 7, 1927, to April13, 1927. Game one ended in a 1-1 tie and Ottawa defeated Boston in game two by a 3-1 score. When play shifted to Ottawa for game three, the two clubs couldn't settle the matter in regulation time. After twenty-minutes of overtime, the score remained deadlocked at one apiece.

In a rough and tumble game four, Ottawa got two goals from Cy Denneny and one from Frank Finnegan to down the visiting Bruins 3-1. "The Ottawa machine was functioning properly and confidently tonight and they made few mistakes," noted The Globe in their game story the following day.

"When Ottawa won the second and fourth games by identical 3-1 scores, they were declared the winners of the Stanley Cup for 1927," wrote Brian McFarlane in his book "The Stanley Cup".

The Chicago Black Hawks first dipped their skates into the Stanley Cup final pool in 1930-31. Their opponent for all the chips was the Montreal Canadiens. The first two contests of the best-of-five showdown were held in the Windy City, with game one getting underway on April 3, 1931. Following two games in Chicago, the two teams hit the rails and travelled north to Montreal for what turned out to be three contests.

A fifth and deciding game took place on April 14, 1931.

Thanks to a line composed of Johnny Gagnon, Aurel Joliat, and Howie Morenz, the Habs sent their fans home happy with a 2-0 victory. After a scoreless opening frame, Gagnon broke the ice in the second stanza with an assist going to Joliat.

Howie Morenz added an insurance marker in period three. "In the last period Canadiens were beset with a ferocious Chicago drive, but responded with attack for attack and eventually Howie Morenz broke clear at centre ice. He raced in around Wentworth (Cy) and whistled the puck past Gardiner (Charlie) for his first goal since the regular season ended," observed The Globe in their account of the Stanley Cup winning game.

Although the Bruins (1927) and Black Hawks (1931) both went down in their maiden voyages, one will emerge as champions in 2013 and add another Stanley Cup to their trophy case.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Winter Classic

Snapped these two photographs when I attended a Leafs- Bruins playoff game.

 The sweaters were designed for Toronto and Detroit when they take part in the upcoming Winter Classic. They are on display at the Air Canada Centre.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Headline: May 24, 1979

It may not be on the same scale as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but a Stanley Cup celebration can contribute to civic pride.

And no other franchise in the National Hockey League can match the Montreal Canadiens for  putting on a victory party.

In 1979, after bumping off the New York Rangers four games-to-one, Montreal held their Cup parade on May23. It was the Habs fourth straight championship.

What amazed most observers was the short period of time it took to travel the parade route. This was accomplished by ditching separate floats and packing players and management under one roof in a sight-seeing bus.

"There were people shouting, people crying, people pulling their hair," stated Montreal forward Mario Tremblay. "It's really unbelievable to see everybody in the street to cheer us. This is what winning the Stanley Cup is all about."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Headline: May 22, 1956

In a trade made on May 21, a youngster, Eric Nesterenko, and a veteran, Harry Lumley, were shipped to Chicago by Toronto in exchange for cash.

While Lumley played goal the following season (1956-57) with Buffalo in the American Hockey League, Nesterenko flourished with the Chicago Black Hawks. He remained in Chicago for 16 seasons and played on their 1961 Stanley Cup team.

Lumley, eventually made it back to the NHL in 1957 with Boston.

Since this was an off-season transaction, both Lumley and Nesterenko were occupied with other matters. Lumley, was involved in the auto industry as a partner in two car dealerships. Nesterenko, had just started a job with Toronto Hydro at their Leaside Station.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Headline: May 20, 1971

In addition to winning four Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bobby Baun added another piece of silverware to his collection in the spring of 1971.

For his outstanding work during the 1970-71 campaign, Baun was selected by club directors to receive the J.P. Memorial Cup. This in-house award was created to honour Bickell, who played an important part in the formation of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Maple Leaf Gardens.

Bobby Baun returned to his first NHL home on November 13, 1970, in a trade between Toronto and St. Louis. The Leafs sent Brit Selby to St. Louis in exchange for their former defenceman. Baun left the Leafs in the 1967 expansion draft and he became an original member of the California Seals.

Upon returning to the Maple Leaf  fold, Baun's contributions on the blue line enabled Toronto to break-out of an early season slump and work their way to a playoff spot.

"In naming Baun the winner, it was stressed he always exemplified the image of what Maple Leaf players should be," noted a newspaper report.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Headline: May 17, 1950

No matter the era, every young hockey player dreams of making a careeer in the game. A true sense of making it comes when a prospect signs his name on a pro contract.

Future Leaf captain and four-time Stanley Cup champion, George Armstrong, signed his first professional contract om May 16, 1950.

After inking his deal, Armstrong spent one season with Toronto's American Hockey League farm team, the Pittsburgh Hornets. In 1951-52, "Chief", participated in 50 contests with Pittsburgh and 20 wearing the Leafs blue and white.

Over the next 19 seasons, starting in 1952-53, Armstrong became a Maple Leaf forever and retired having played only for Toronto.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Original Six Playoff Hockey

It was a long time between playoff home wins for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Boston Bruins. Their victory in game six on Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre was Toronto's first since March 31, 1959.

During regulation time on that eventful evening in '59 at Maple Leaf Gardens, both clubs scored two goals. The Toronto marksmen were Gerry Ehman and Brian Cullen. Boston forwards Jerry Toppazzini and Bronco Horvath beat Toronto goalie Johnny Bower.

In overtime, Frank Mahovlich emerged as the hero. Picking-up a deflected puck off defenceman Jim Morrison, the Leaf forward unleashed a backhand that got past Harry Lumley in the Boston cage. Mahovlich's tally came at 11:21 of extra-time.

Beyond 1959, Boston and Toronto met in three quarter-final series in 1969, 1972, and 1974. In these encounters, Toronto managed to win only one game.

This victory came on April 6, 1972, when the Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 4-3 at Boston Garden. Jimmy Harrison's winner came in overtime and was scored against Gerry Cheevers.

Other than this thrilling win, Boston dominated, outscoring Toronto 24-5 (1969), 18-10 (1972), and 17-9 (1974).

When I attended game four on May 8, 2013, the Leafs playoff home ice losing streak against Boston was still intact. No matter the outcome, it was a brilliant display of Original Six playoff hockey.

Boston vs. Toronto. Wednesday May 8, 2013. Air Canada Centre, Toronto. Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals. Final Score: Boston Bruins-4 Toronto Maple Leafs-3 (OT)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Headline: May 15, 1961

On May 15, 1961, came news of the death of a true National Hockey League pioneer - Tommy Gorman.

In his role as a general manager, Gorman won seven Stanley Cups. His ability to assemble talent resulted in the Ottawa Senators becoming a dynasty in the early 1920s. Gorman's squads were crowned Cup champions three out of four years from 1920 to 1923.

Over the next two decades, Gorman managed Stanley Cup teams in Chicago and Montreal (one Cup for the Maroons and two with the Canadiens).

Known for his sense of humour and willingness to call things as they were, are evident in the following story.

After another NHL executive was called on the carpet for tampering, Gorman confronted him. The smoking gun in this case was a letter Gorman's counterpart sent to an opposition player.

During their discussion, Gorman spelled out the true mistake his colleague made.

"You fool...why didn't you use the telephone?," Gorman asked his rival.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Different Result

It was like 1959 all over again for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they faced the Bruins in game seven of the 2013 Eastern Conference quarter-finals last night. The last time Toronto and Boston engaged in a seventh and deciding contest was on April 7, 1959, at Boston Garden.

Toronto entered the final frame down by a 2-1 score. Goals by Vic Stasiuk and Leo Boivin gave Boston the advantage. Toronto's tally came off the stick of Larry Regan.

Bob Pulford's unassisted marker early in the third pulled the Leafs even. On the play, Pulford directed a shot on goal and went in after the rebound. Boston goalie, Harry Lumley, attempted to control the puck, but Pulford shot it into the net.

As time ticked away, it looked like overtime was a possibility. The Leafs, however, had other plans.

"Big Frank (Mahovlich) hurtled down (the) left wing, drew Fern Flaman and passed over to Ehman, Gerry turned the puck loose just as as he hit left defenceman Morrison (Jim)," noted Red Burnett in the Toronto Daily Star on how the winning goal took shape. "The shot hit the far post and caromed around behind the unhappy Lumley.

Unfortunately for Leaf fans, the same result couldn't be reached in 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Headline: May 13, 1958

Considered to be one of the best to ever lace-up skates, Gordie Howe won his third Hart trophy (most valuable player) in 1958.

After all the votes were counted, Howe took top spot, followed by Andy Bathgate (New York Rangers) and Doug Harvey (Montreal Canadiens).

During the 1957-58 campaign, "Mr. Hockey" played in 64 games, scoring 37 goals and 44 assists for a total of 77 points. Previous to his win in '58, Howe captured the Hart in 1952, 1953, and 1957. He would go on to once again claim the Hart 1n 1960 and 1963.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ottawa vs. Montreal - 1923

Looking back on the Sens-Habs series, which ended last night in Montreal, their tribute performance to the WWE in game three stands out for many who took in the action. However, when it comes to unrest and disorder, this contest couldn't hold a candle to a previous tilt between these two historic franchises.

 Back in 1923, the two rivals met to determine an NHL champion, who would advance to play for the Stanley Cup.

Game one of a two game series, where the number of goals were the deciding factor, was played on March 7, 1923, at Montreal's Mount Royal Arena.

"The game ended in a riot when a spectator started to beat up referee Marsh (Lou) as he came off the ice," began a game story in The Globe. "The police rescued the official and the Ottawa players were escorted to their dressing room. The crowd rushed the ice and minor fights started."

And what caused the Montreal fans to go over the edge? "The crowd first became incensed at the officials when Joliat (of Montreal) drew three minor penalties in the opening twenty minutes of play," noted the story. "From then until the finish it was almost a parade to the penalty box."

A total of 12 penalties wre handed out, with Montreal getting 10 and Ottawa only one.

Aurel Joliat

"Coutu was the worst offender, getting a match foul for deliberately striking Dennenay (of Ottawa)over the head just after the latter had tallied the first goal.

Dennenay's goal came in the second frame.

"Near the close of the match Sprague Cleghorn (of Montreal) attacked Hitchman...which resulted in the Ottawa player leaving the ice with a badly cut head."

These infractions put a huge dent in the Canadiens manpower situation. According to the newspaper account, Montreal played shorthanded for 41 of the 60-minutes of regulation. At times they were either down-one-man, or played 4-against-6, and 3-against-6.

As hostilities exploded after the game, only time would bring the disorder to an end. "Attempts to stop the mix-ups by striking up the National Anthem proved futile and the incipient riot died of its own accord."

Although Montreal won game two on March 9th by a 2-1 score, it was Ottawa who headed west to play for the Stanley Cup. They outscored Montreal 2-0 in game one, and their lone marker in game two gave them the series victory.

After defeating Vancouver in a best-of-five series, Ottawa took on the Edmonton Eskimos for Lord Stanley's mug. The visitors from the east defeated Edmonton in game one of their best-of-three showdown by 2-1 margin. On March 31, 1923, Ottawa were crowned Stanley Cup champs when they downed Edmonton 1-0 in game two.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Headline: May 9, 1969

Even when it came to selecting an All-Star Team, Bobby Orr rose above the competition.

When the results of voting by the National Hockey League Writers' Association were released for 1968-69, Orr secured 176 of a possible 180 points.

His nearest rival with 175 points was Chicago left winger Bobby Hull.

While Orr, at 21 years-old, was the youngest member of the 1969 All-Star Team, Gordie Howe held the title as the oldest at 41. Howe earned 174 points and started at right wing.

Joining Orr on the blue line was veteran Tim Horton. The Maple Leaf defenceman raked-in 123

On the Second All-Star Team, Boston's Ted Green (77 points) and Montreal's Ted Harris (67) were paired together.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Headline: May 8, 1975

Considered one of the best at turning a situation to his teams advantage, Scotty Bowman was at his best following a playoff defeat to Buffalo.

Unhappy over the officiating in a semi-final game played on May 7, 1975, Bowman expressed his displeasure to reporters following the contest.

"I think the crowd reaction influenced the referee. But that's what home ice is all about isn't?," asked Bowman after the Canadiens fell 5-4 to the Sabres. The victory allowed Buffalo to take a 3-2 series lead.

Bowman clearly planted a seed for game six, but no amount of mind-games prevented Buffalo from advancing to the Stanley Cup final against Philadelphia.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Headline: May 6, 1974

On the road to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1974, the Philadelphia Flyers advanced to the Final by defeating the New York Rangers in a series that went seven games. The deciding contest was played on May 5, 1974.

"When you win a big game like we did from the Rangers, no one is too tired. We're too hungry to be tired. We want that champagne, the big bonus and the honor - mostly the honor," said Philadelphia goalie Bernie Parent, on looking forward to facing the Boston Bruins.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Headline: May 3, 1967

After their Stanley Cup win the night before against Montreal, the Maple Leafs received plenty of press coverage.

"It may sound corny, but this has to be the greatest thrill of my life. I've had a lot of wonderful moments in hockey and other Stanley Cups but nothing to equal this," stated Maple Leafs goalie Terry Sawchuk after game six.