Toronto Maple Leafs rookie right winger Ron Ellis took a large step in proving he belongs at the NHL level last night, scoring two goals and adding an assist as he led his team to a resounding 5-1 win over the Chicago Black Hawks. The line of Andy Bathgate between Ellis and Frank Mahovlich was dominant throughout. Bathgate scored once and added three assists, while the Big M counted a goal with two helpers. Ron Stewart also scored for Toronto.
Sawchuk makes Gardens debut
Black Hawks’ Bobby Hull ruined Terry Sawchuk’s shutout bid when he tied the score at 1-1 near the 12-minute mark of the first period. That was as close as the game would get. Leafs outshot the visitors 35-27 and got great goaltending from veteran Terry Sawchuk, who was making his first start at Maple Leaf Gardens. A throng of 14,349 fans cheered every save made by the veteran netminder, who will certainly be a hall of fame candidate when his playing days are over.
Bruins a bust in Montreal
In the other NHL game last night, the Montreal Canadiens also won in convincing fashion, blasting Boston 6-2. The game was basically no contest as the Habs scored twice in each period.
Six players shared in the Canadiens bounty of goals. They were rookie Yvan Cournoyer, Jean Beliveau, Claude Provost, Dave Balon, Ralph Backstrom and Jacques Laperriere. Johnny Bucyk and Bobby Leiter replied for the Bruins.
The Bruins lost centre Murray Oliver early in the match when he was rocked by a thundering body check from Habs’ rearguard Ted Harris. He suffered twisted knee ligaments and the Bruins fear they may have lost him for a while. That check seemed to deflate the Bruins’ balloon and it was all down hill from there. Montreal outshot the visitors 36-25.
Adams gives the dreaded “vote of confidence”
You can always tell when the vultures start circling. The horrendous Boston start to the season finally prompted team president Weston Adams to make the obligatory “we’re behind the management and coaches” statement earlier today.
“I don’t think any useful purpose can be served by pushing the panic button at this time. Certainly we’re in bad shape but I don’t think as bad as our record. It’s the usual story when you’re losing, everything pyramids against you.”
“Take Saturday night for instance, we lost a key player, Murray Oliver with a knee injury just when it looked like we were going to play a good hockey game.”
Adams confirmed that the Bruins would be interested in any players that the Toronto Maple Leafs might be sending to the minors, but he has not asked any NHL team for handouts. It has been suggested that the NHL might have to shell out somewhat in the same manner that it did in the 1950s when the Chicago Black Hawks were the league’s sad-sack club.
It won’t be long until we hear the management types preaching the “practise patience” theme. The Boston club is very bad right now but does have several promising youngsters at the junior level. While kids like Orr, Goldsworthy and Parent might have a future, they are years away from contributing in any way, shape or form, and it’s doubtful that the fans in Boston are willing to put the faith in untested youngsters who haven’t, and might never prove anything.