It was a very busy weekend in the fledgling 1966-67 hockey season. The National Hockey League saw a full slate of six games, While seven games were played in the American Hockey League, three in the Western Hockey League and five in the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A Series.
Habs, Hawks Off to Fast Starts
The Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Black Hawks both served notice to the rest of the NHL that they will be forces to be reckoned with this season. Montreal took a pair of wins from the vastly-improved Boston Bruins while the Chicago six waltzed to a pair of victories over the defensively-poor Detroit Red Wings.
The other two NHL teams, Toronto and New York, also played a home and home series, with the Rangers blanking the Leafs 1-0 at home after the clubs battled to a 4-4 tie in Toronto on Saturday.
Talbot Scores Winner for Habs
Veteran Jean Guy Talbot scored the winning goal for Montreal last night with just over two minutes to play in a cliff-hanger at Boston Garden. The young Boston squad put in a fine game at home, and only a misplay by one of the Bruins old hands allowed Montreal to grab the late lead.
Long-time Bruins centre Murray Oliver lost a puck battle to Talbot at the Boston blue line. Talbot scooped up the loose puck and then beat Bruins goalie Ed Johnston with a lightning-quick 16-footer with just 2:05 left in the game. Talbot’s goal came while the Habs’ Jim Roberts was sitting out a tripping penalty.
Also scoring for Montreal in this one were Claude Larose and Bobby Rousseau. But the big story on this night, and possibly for years to come, was the first NHL goal by rookie defenceman Bobby Orr.
Orr put in a dominating performance and gave the Boston fans every indication that he is the real deal. His goal came at 4:13 of the final frame. The precocious freshman stepped into open ice and picked off a blind John Ferguson pass in the Montreal zone. He drilled a 55-foot screened shot through a maze of players past an unsuspecting Gump Worsley in the Montreal goal.
A frenzied Boston crowd celebrated the possibly historic goal with an ovation that lasted for over a minute. For his part, Orr looked almost a little embarrassed by the whole thing.
Pit Martin had the other Boston goal in the first period.
The game was truly a heartbreaker for the Bruins, who at times dominated the game. Worsley had to be sensational on several occasions as the home side outshot Canadiens 31-22. His best stops came off a Johnny Bucyk drive off an Orr setup in the first and a block of a blazing shot from Bob Woytowich just before Talbot’s winning goal.
Montreal coach Toe Blake was impressed with the young Bostons after seeing them for six periods on the weekend:
They are a hell of an improved club. We knew what they were like because we saw them in an exhibition game last Sunday, and they played like fiends. We expected them to come out fast and now I’m glad the game is over.
Wings Drop Third Straight
Meanwhile in Chicago, the Detroit Red Wings dropped their third straight game of the young season by a 4-1 score to the powerful Chicago Black Hawks. The Wings had lost on Saturday to the Hawks 7-4 after being beaten by Boston on opening night 6-2.
Detroit coach-general manager Sid Abel wasn’t about to wait for his men to come around and made numerous lineup changes prior into last night’s contest. He brought up defenceman Bob McCord and left wing Ab McDonald from the Pittsburgh Hornets of the American Hockey League, and started Hank Bassen in goal for Roger Crozier. Bassen played well, but was unable to stem the onslaught of the vaunted Chicago offence.
Abel told reporters after the game that he will be conferring with Wings owner Bruce Norris about possible trades he has in mind. Abel has been vigorously pursuing retired Toronto defenceman Carl Brewer to shore up the blue line. Toronto manager Punch Imlach has been insisting on at least two NHL players for Brewer, with names like Norm Ullman and Paul Henderson being mentioned.
As they did in in Saturday’s game, Detroit jumped out to a 1-0 first period lead. Call-up McDonald scored the opening goal at 4:36 of the first. However Chicago took over the game in dominating fashion after that. Doug Mohns netted his first of the year six minutes later and Dennis Hull’s third came five minutes after that.
Kenny Wharram made it 3-1 with the second period’s only score. Doug Jarrett rounded out the night’s offensive activity with a third-period marker.
Chicago outshot the Red Wings 36-22, and it was only Bassen’s fine work that kept the final result respectable.
Giacomin Blanks Leafs
New York Rangers goalie Ed Giacomin stopped 24 Toronto Maple Leafs drives for his first NHL shutout as the Rangers edged the Leafs 1-0 at Madison Square Garden. It was a fine rebound performance for the second-year netminder, who surrendered six goals in his opening night assignment against Chicago.
New York defenceman Wayne Hillman broke a tense scoreless tie at 7:14 of the third period. Hillman beat Leafs goalie Johnny Bower with a wicked slap shot from about 10 feet inside the Toronto blue line. Hillman had taken a fine setup from Red Berenson and fired a low shot that caromed off a Toronto skate to the top corner of the net. Bower had no chance.
Louis Cauz of the Toronto Globe and Mail described the game as “sloppily played” in which New York out-muscled the Leafs. That’s something recent Ranger clubs had rarely accomplished against their NHL competition and signals a change in the New York style of play.
Hall Coming Back
Chicago Black Hawks all-star goalie Glenn Hall, who said he had retired prior to training camp, has apparently reconsidered. Chicago coach Billy Reay told reporters that Hall has agreed to terms and will report to the Black Hawks some time this week.
Reay feels Hall will be ready to step into the Chicago lineup almost immediately:
Hall doesn’t take very long to get in shape. He’ll take two days.
This is very bad news for the rest of the NHL, given the Chicago squad’s fine showing in the season’s first week. Hall has been a member of the NHL’s first or second all-star teams in each of the past nine seasons. He was unavailable for comment.
Aces Trip Amerks
In the marquis American Hockey League game last night the Quebec Aces edged the defending Calder Cup champion Rochester Americans 4-3 at Rochester. The Americans blew a 3-1 lead on their home ice before over 5,100 fans.
Wayne Hicks led the Quebec attack with a pair of goals. Jean Guy Gendron and Bobby Rivard added singles. Terry Clancy, Mike Walton and Bronco Horvath replied for Rochester.
It was a rough weekend for Amerks goalie Bobby Perreault, who has faced over 70 shots in the last two games he played. Rochester coach Joe Crozier was displeased with his defence, especially the tandem of Duane Rupp and Don Cherry.
Bisons Finally Win
The Buffalo Bisons have finally won their first game of the AHL season. Larry Wilson had a goal and two assists to lead Buffalo to a 6-4 win over the Cleveland Barons at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo.
Buffalo scorers were Wilson, Billy Dea, Brian Smith, Wayne Larkin, Dennis Kassian and Greg Pilling. Bob Courcy had a pair for the Barons, with Tom McCarthy and Cec Hoekstra adding the others.
Hershey Pounds Providence
Hershey Bears ripped the Providence Reds 7-2 last night in Providence. Seven players shared in the Hershey offence with Chuck Hamilton, Gary Dornhoefer, Gil Gilbert, Gene Ubriaco, Bruce Cline, Roger DeJordy and Mike Nykoluk netting the goals. Pierre Brillant and Bob Leduc replied for the Reds.
Seals Dull Blades
The California Seals downed the Los Angeles Blades 3-1 last night before over 5600 fans in a Western Hockey League game at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
George Swarbrick, Charlie Burns and Forbes Kennedy were the California marksmen. Dick Meissner ruined California goalie Jack McCartan’s shutout bid with the only Los Angeles goal.
Young Dave Kelly played well in a losing cause between the pipes for the Blades.
The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association has suspended Frank Boucher, the commissioner of the maverick Canadian Major Junior Hockey League. The CAHA also amended its regulations in an effort to entice CMJHL players to return to the CAHA fold.
CAHA president Fred Page said the association had voted to uphold suspensions for players and governors of the new league, but that they had agreed to revoke suspensions of players who wished to join teams under the CAHA umbrella.
The CAHA referred to the players in the CMJHL as “innocent victims” who have been taken advantage of by the team owners of the new loop. The CMJHL has teams in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Estevan and Weyburn.
In a telephone interview with the Canadian Press, Boucher said that he was pleased to be suspended by the CAHA. He said the move was an attempt by the CAHA to break up the new league.
I can only say I was suspended for attempting to prevent the CAHA from breaking their own regulations. I would not want to be part of any organization that cannot live up to its own regulations. I don’t want any part of it.
One of the major issues that the CAHA has with the CMJHL is that the league plans to act as the agent for all of its players who turn professional. The CMJHL will negotiate all professional contracts with NHL or other pro teams that wish to sign graduating juniors.
- Black Hawks coach Billy Reay is converting Chico Maki to centre to work with Bobby Hull and Ken Hodge. Phil Esposito is being moved to the third line with Dennis Hull and Eric Nesterenko.
- Boom Boom Geoffrion says his rib injury will be healed sufficiently and he will resume playing with the New York Rangers this week.
- Frank Hamill and Richie Bayes scored the goals as Toronto Marlboros edged Oshawa Generals 2-1 in OHA Junior A play. Ron Dussiaume scored for the Generals.
- Stan Mikita leads the NHL scoring race after the weekend with nine points.
- Roger Bellerive scored three goals to power the St. Louis Braves to a 4-3 win over Oklahoma City Blazers in a CPHL game last night in Oklahoma City.
- Michigan governor George Romney dropped the puck for the Detroit Red Wings home opener Saturday at the Olympia. Romney actually donned skates and a Red Wing Jacket to perform the ceremonial faceoff.
Retired police detective, involved in hockey at all levels for over 50 years. Member of Society for International Hockey Research and presently a video analyst for the leader in advanced hockey analytics (we work exclusively for 2 NHL clubs, and provide advice on an ad hoc basis to many other clients). Currently the Assistant General Manager for the Pelham Pirates of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Previously owned the Faceoff computer hockey simulation and also provided all player ratings for the EA Sports series of NHL computer games from the late 90’s into the mid 2000’s.