50 Years Ago in Hockey: Habs Back in Series

The Montreal Canadiens revamped their lineup and juggled their lines for last night’s third game of the Stanley Cup final series against the Detroit Red Wings. Coach Toe Blake’s moves paid off as the Canadiens rebounded for a 4-2 win over the Wings at the Olympia in Detroit.  Detroit now leads the best-of-seven series two games to one.

Blake juggled his lines and moved Leon Rochefort into the lineup. He also gave winger Dave Balon regular duty with Rochefort on a line centred by Henri Richard. The trio had a very effective night.

Tremblay’s Big Goals the Difference

Gilles Tremblay
Gilles Tremblay

Gilles Tremblay, who was Detroit’s chief Montreal nemesis during the regular season with 10 goals against the Wings, continued in that role last night. Tremblay, moved on to a line with Jean Beliveau and Bobby Rousseau, scored two goals in the third period to provide the Habs with their margin of victory.

Detroit jumped out in front early in this one. Norm Ullman scored just 4:20 into the game, sending the Olympia crowd into a frenzy. But the Canadiens roared back to take a 2-1 lead before the end of the initial frame on goals by Balon and Beliveau.

Almost as if they knew that letting Montreal back in the series could be a fatal mistake, the Red Wings did everything they could to take control of the game in the middle stanza. They outshot the visitors by a 15-9 count, but goalie Gump Worsley in the Montreal net had perhaps his finest game of the year and kept the Red Wings at bay. The second period ended as did the first, with the score 2-1 for the defending Cup champs.

That’s when Tremblay took over. The swift-skating left winger scored two quick goals to start the third period and remove all doubt about the outcome. Coach Toe Blake said that the goal to make the score 3-1 was the game’s turning point:

“Tremblay’s quick shot to give us a 3-1 lead turned the game our way.”

Tremblay then scored his second on a power play just under two minutes later.

Canadiens held the edge the rest of the way, and Worsley was solid when he had to be. Gordie Howe narrowed the gap to 4-2 for the Wings with a meaningless goal with one second left on the clock.

Detroit coach Sid Abel felt his team may have “flattened out” a bit against Canadiens in game three:

Sid Abel
Sid Abel

“They roughed us up and we just flattened out a little from the pace we held in the first two games. We still hold the edge and the pressure is still on them to win here Sunday.

“Sure we’d like to have won this and wound this thing up at home in the next game, they’ve got a good hockey club and you just can’t run over them.”

Abel also agreed that Tremblay’s early third period goal changed the game dramatically:

“When that third goal went in, I could hear the shoelaces loosening all the way along our bench.”

Montreal coach Blake now thinks the series will turn into a battle royale:

“Now we have breathing room. Now we will go.

“Being 2-1 is a hell of a lot better than being 2-0. Detroit is a fine team and now it will be a real dog fight the rest of the way.

“We got a good game out of everyone. Our centres were just great. They were the difference between tonight’s game and our first two games.”

Some writers opined that Blake’s move of using Balon more and inserting Rochefort into the lineup smacked of desperation. Montreal general manager bristled at the suggestion:

“It was not a desperation move. We had intended to bring Leon up if Quebec Aces were eliminated from the American Hockey League playoffs long before we got two games down to Detroit in this series.

“He earned the promotion with a fine season and excellent playoff performances against Rochester. We have felt for some time he could help us on right wing.”

Stanley Cup on Tour

St. Louis Blues executives with the Stanley Cup
St. Louis Blues executives with the Stanley Cup

While the Red Wings and Canadiens fight for Lord Stanley’s historic mug, the venerable trophy is being taken on a tour of the new cities slated to join NHL’s expansion division in 1967-68. Last night the Cup was in St. Louis.

Sid Salomon Jr., the point man for the new St. Louis Blues, chose the occasion to host the team’s first press conference. Salomon, calling his new club their “baby” liked the trophy to a teething cup in a curious reference.

Aloys P. Kaufman, president of the Chamber of Commerce and former mayor of St. Louis assured the gathered throng that the Stanley Cup would be a frequent visitor to the city:

“This luncheon is the forerunner of a subsequent luncheon we will hold when the Blues win the first of many, many NHL championships.”

The Cup was brought to St. Louis by a Pinkerton’s security guard and former Toronto television and radio personality Ed Fitkin. Fitkin is now the main assistant to Los Angeles franchise owner Jack Kent Cooke.

Rochester in AHL Final

Larry Jeffrey
Larry Jeffrey

The Rochester Americans fired 50 shots at Quebec Aces goalie Gary Bauman en route to a 6-3 win and a berth in the Calder Cup finals. In fact, it was one of the most wide-open games in recent memory, with 45 shots being taken by the Aces at Bobby Perreault in the Rochester goal.

The Amerks took a 3-0 first period lead and were never headed. Larry Jeffrey, Bronco Horvath and Jimmy Pappin were the marksmen. Quebec got one back in the second before Darryl Sly made it 4-1 and that was pretty much it. Mike Walton and Jeffrey with his second rounded out the Rochester scoring.

Orr Stars for Oshawa

The Oshawa Generals took a 2-1 lead in their Memorial Cup Eastern Canada Final with a 3-0 win over the Shawinigan Bruins. Orr scored the game-winner and set up two other first period goals in a dominating performance. The fourth game in the best of five series will be Friday in Shawinigan.

Orr’s goal came at 1:59 of the first period on a power play. He had a chance at a second goal in the second period when he was awarded a penalty shot, but his try missed the net.

Bruins goalie Phil Myre was a standout once again for the Québec champs. He faced 39 Oshawa drives and had it not been for his work, the score would have been much more lopsided.

Expansion Teams Provide Rumour Fodder

Ken Reardon
Ken Reardon

Although they will not begin play for more than a year, the six new expansion franchises are generating lots of rumour and speculation as they prepare to hire management and coaching personnel. There is no shortage of candidates for posts with the various teams

One person who won’t be a candidate is former Montreal Canadiens executive Kenny Reardon. He has asked that his name be taken out of consideration for the general manager position for the new Los Angeles entry in the National Hockey League. Reardon says he prefers to stay in Montreal.

“Yes I was interviewed. They asked me to be a candidate for the job and I went out there to look over the city and the organization. But when I got home, I telephoned them to say I wasn’t interested.

“Los Angeles was the city I was most interested in, but I’ve had other offers. I started thinking about it , though, and I’ve decided to stay in Montreal for the present. I have four children, you know.”

Reardon was in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago with former Habs legend Maurice Richard.

Another hot commodity for the new clubs is Scotty Bowman, coach of the Montreal Junior Canadiens. One report has him headed to San Francisco  to be the coach of the Seals under expected general manager Rudy Pilous. Yet another idea has him taking over the general manager-coach duties of the OHA Junior A Hamilton Red Wings, replacing Pilous.

Bowman himself discounted those stories:

“No chance that either will happen.”

Another report has Bowman being approached by the new Minneapolis team. Boston Bruins director of player personnel Wren Blair is thought to be the front-runner for the general manager’s job there.

Wren Blair

However, Boston sources say that Blair has been told he will succeed Hap Emms as general manager of the Bruins and he has been made an attractive offer to stay in Beantown.

If Blair does accept the Minneapolis post, the thought is that he would take Oklahoma City Blazers coach Harry Sinden with him to run the bench in Minnesota. Sinden’s Blazers won the CPHL championship this season.

Red Burnett of the Toronto Star says his sources have told him that when Rudy Pilous is formally announced as the new hockey guru in San Francisco, he will bring with him Bob Wilson, now a scout in Boston. Wilson is the former head scout of the Chicago Black Hawks credited with discovering Bobby Hull.

Burnett says that the general manager list for new teams shapes up like this: San Francisco – Pilous; Pittsburgh – Jack Riley; Minneapolis – Blair; Philadelphia – Bud Poile and Los Angeles – Hal Laycoe.

Burnett says that although many think Bowman will follow Blair to Minnesota, the Junior Habs coach could take over the junior operation in Oshawa as coach-general manager.

Hans Tanner of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that Riley will announce his resignation as American Hockey League president and take over the Pittsburgh NHL team within the next two weeks.

Riley would not comment on the report, but Tanner says the AHL president was contacted by San Francisco, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.