With the Boston Bruins enduring yet another losing season with a last-place finish almost certainly assured, it seems that management and players are now at odds. Things are going from bad to worse and there is no end in sight to what is rapidly becoming a downward spiral towards oblivion.
Coach Sends Players to Hotel
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported that Bruins coach Milt Schmidt yesterday sent two players back to the team hotel during practice at the Detroit Olympia. Schmidt was seen by reporters coming out of the Bruins dressing room yelling something. Shortly thereafter, Bruins forwards Reggie Fleming and Tommy Williams emerged from the dressing room and left for the hotel. Schmidt said the two players had been loafing on the ice.
Williams had apparently been singled out by Boston general manager Hap Emms for poor play and was benched. This is despite the fact he is the team’s third-highest scorer. Williams’ team mates are mystified by Emms’ treatment of the NHL’s only American-born and trained player.
One player, who wanted to remain anonymous, explained how the team feels:
“I heard that he was benched Sunday night in Chicago on Hap’s orders. They want him to be more aggressive. But Tommy’s game is scoring goals and we need goals considering we have only one win and one tie in our last 16 games.”
Williams is understandably upset at his lack of playing time, and can’t understand why he was benched.
“When you’ve quit school to give everything to a career in professional hockey, it worries you. But I know I can play in this league.”
Another player sees Emms’ ties with former Niagara Falls junior players as problematic:
“That’s one of the problems around here. Dornhoefer (who replaced Williams) played for Hap’s junior team at Niagara Falls. You’d be surprised at how much partiality is being shown to former Niagara Falls players. Wayne Rivers has been playing well in the minors, but he came to us from the Detroit organization. So Dornhoefer, who has been sitting on the bench down there, got called up.”
Former Bruin forward Ab McDonald, who was dealt to Detroit in a summer trade, experienced last season’s last-place performance and all the negativity that went with that. He talked about how owner Weston Adams often interfered with Schmidt’s coaching, to the extent that the team was trying nonsensical plays in games that weren’t even successful in practice.
Another unnamed Bruin veteran commented that isn’t the case now, but things may even be worse:
“We don’t have any of that since Hap took over. But this may be even worse. For instance, he hasn’t called Eddie Johnston by name since he returned to the team. He’s on Al Langlois’ back too. Now it’s Williams.”
NHL to Bruins: Control Green
Meanwhile, the Bruins have been told by the league that they must exercise better control over defenseman Ted Green. Officially, NHL president Clarence Campbell has told the team to “look into Green’s conduct” with a view to “curbing wildness.”
New York Rangers president William Jennings went on record as saying that he has placed a bounty on Green. Jennings made the statement after Green injured Ranger forward Phil Goyette with a spearing infraction last week. Goyette will miss a month with internal injuries.
The league has taken no action against Jennings.
Green told reports that he had considered suing Jennings over the comments. He gave up on that idea because of a fear of retribution from the league:
“I’m afraid they might black-ball me if I took a governor to court. I’ll wait to see whether the league does anything.”
Green was sorry for the incident involving Goyette, and yesterday in Detroit explained what it’s like to be Ted Green:
“You have to realize what it’s like for me in that rink. From the time I first step out until the game’s over it’s ‘get Green, kill him.’
“Every guy on the club takes a run at me to get a rise out of the crowd. I know I had a lot of fights in the first couple of years, but I’ve cut down.
“Yes I hit Goyette, but it was accidental. Why would I want to go after him? He’s not a rough, aggressive player. You hardly notice him until he scores. I’m sorry he got hurt.”
Even opposing players are taking shots at Emms. Goyette was quoted in a New York player yesterday talking about Emms:
“Bruins have a bush-league manager who’s turning the NHL into a bush league with that spearing. It’s not classy hockey but I guess that’s what they want in Boston. You don’t have to have the puck. They’ll hit you over the head anyway.”
Buffalo to Spend for NHL
A week or so ago it was reported that the city of Buffalo is interested in applying for a National Hockey League expansion franchise. Now the Buffalo Courier-Express is reporting just how serious the city is by putting a price tag on renovations to Memorial Auditorium.
Buffalo Mayor Frank A. Sedita confirmed reports that the city is ready to spend $2,500,000 to bring the arena up to NHL standards. It is presently home to the American Hockey League Buffalo Bisons.
Memorial Auditorium now has a seating capacity of 9,850. That number would become 16,000 by raising the room of the building by 18 feet. This would accommodate the addition of a balcony which would house the extra seating.
Sedita says he is planning to include funds for the arena expansion in the city’s 1966-67 budget, a plan that has been approved by the auditorium board.
Rangers Switch Goalies
It looks like the Ed Giacomin experiment in New York could be over. The Rangers sent the 26-year-old rookie to Baltimore of the American Hockey League and recalled Cesare Maniago to take his place.
Giacomin was acquired from the AHL’s Providence Reds last summer for five players. He was the winner in a three-way battle in training camp with Maniago and veteran Don Simmons. Maniago was the odd man out to start the season, although many felt he performed the best of the three in camp. It’s thought that the large outlay of players the Rangers made to get Giacomin gave him the edge.
Over the past couple of weeks, Giacomin’s play had deteriorated severely. Soft goals became a problem and even team mates complained of losing games because opposing goaltenders outplayed Giacomin regularly.
Maniago, who at six feet, three inches is the tallest goaltender in the NHL, was picked up from Montreal in a summer deal. He has had stints in the league with Canadiens and Toronto.
Rangers defenseman Harry Howell is enthusiastic about Maniago’s promotion, likening him to former New York netminder Jacques Plante:
When I look at him, I think I am looking at a tall Jacques Plante. He handles himself the way Jacques does.
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.