A controversial goal by Henri Richard in overtime gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings and the 1966 Stanley Cup. Richard bunted a puck past Red Wing goalie Roger Crozier at 2:20 of extra time as he slid towards the net and then into Crozier.
Crozier felt that Richard, as the two collided, swept the puck into the Detroit goal with his hand. Richard, of course, disputed that notion. Game films were inconclusive.
Richard described the game-winner:
“The coach (Toe Blake) called it when he sent me out for that shift in overtime. He said ‘Henri I have a feeling you are going to get the winner for us.’ He was right but it should have been one of the other guys who played so well.
“I tried to swing my stick at the puck when Dave Balon passed it out from the corner. Their defenceman (Gary Bergman) tripped me into the puck. It just hit my leg here above the knee and bounced ahead of me into the goal.”
There was much confusion around the scoring of the goal. Many of the over 15,000 fans didn’t realize how the puck had entered the net.
For Richard, it was his first goal of the series, and the first overtime winner of his career.
Early on in the game it appeared that the Habs might run away with Game 6. In the 81-degree heat of the Olympia in Detroit, Montreal came out quickly and had more zip than the Wings. Canadiens scored the only goal of the first period, thanks to captain Jean Beliveau.
Leon Rochefort scored just 11 seconds after the half-way mark of the game and it looked like the Habs had the game in the bag. But the Wings staged a stirring comeback as they looked to force a seventh game back in Montreal.
Norm Ullman scored just before the 12-minute mark of the second to narrow the Montreal lead to 2-1. The goal definitely lifted the Detroit club’s spirits and although they tried, they were unable to tie the game before the middle stanza had concluded.
It was a tense third period that became even more so when Floyd Smith tied the game at the 10:30 mark. Smith deflected a Gary Bergman point shot past Canadiens netminder Gump Worsley and the Olympia crowd went into a frenzy.
The Wings put forth a great effort to take the lead, but Worsley and a stout Montreal defence kept them off the score sheet as the third period wound down.
That set the stage for Richard’s winner early in the extra session.
Crozier Awarded Conn Smythe Trophy
The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for the veteran Detroit team. It wasn’t for lack of effort or enthusiasm and goalie Crozier could hardly be faulted for any of the goals that beat him. Crozier was so effective in the series that he was award the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Along with the hardware and $1,000 bonus, the little goaltender received a brand new Ford Mustang.
Crozier was an unlikely winner. He was injured in the fifth game and clearly wasn’t 100 % healthy. But he gamely played on and was the main reason Detroit even made it to the final after a tough semi-final series with Chicago.
In accepting the award, Crozier said he was terribly disappointed in not winning the Cup, but that this award would take some of the sting out of the loss. He was not happy about the winning goal:
“They beat us on a bad goal. Henri Richard scooped the puck into the net with his hand. I went after the referee Frank Udvari, but he was away back in the corner on the play, couldn’t see what was going on. It was illegal, should have been called back.
“That’s a heckuva way to lose a game like that one. Our guys played their hearts out and deserved a better fate.”
Red Wings coach Sid Abel felt his team deserved to win the game:
“They weren’t the better team tonight. We were and we lost.”
Canadiens coach Toe Blake, rumoured to have coached his last game, was thankful for Richard’s heroics:
“The Pocket Rocket got me off the hook. They tied the game up when I put Bobby Rousseau in Henri’s centre spot for one shift. And I had ‘goat’ written all over me before he came up with that winner.”
For Blake, it was his seventh Stanley Cup win in 11 seasons of coaching. The has been much discussion that this was his last season behind the Montreal bench. He was reminded of the 7-11 combination:
“Lucky numbers on the dice and for me in hockey. Maybe I should quit now. But this is neither the time nor the place for such a decision. I’ll make up my mind after a trip to Florida with my wife.”
Lynn Patrick Named GM of St. Louis Blues
Former Boston Bruins general manager Lynn Patrick has been tabbed as the first general manager of the expansion St. Louis Blues. The Blues are slated to being play with five other National Hockey League expansion teams in the 1967-68 season.
Sidney Salomon Jr., team president, said Patrick will assume the dual role of manager-coach and he will have free reign in running the hockey team.
Patrick say his first job will be to name an assistant to serve as head scout and director of player personnel.
“Then the two of us will get a complete book on every player in professional hockey. We’ll set up a network of part-time or “bird dog” scouts. We’ll line up some junior affiliations.”
Oil Kings Whip Generals
The Edmonton Oil Kings had a shockingly easy time as they disposed of the Oshawa Generals by a 7-2 score in the first game of the Memorial Cup Final at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
The Oil Kings displayed speed and size in dominating the Eastern champs. While the 4,510 fans at the Gardens were disappointed with Oshawa’s dismal performance, they had to be impressed by Bobby Orr, even in a losing cause. Orr scored the first goal of the game on an end-to-end rush and displayed a heretofore unknown talent for fighting later in the game. Orr had a spirited out with Edmonton’s Dave Rochefort, winning the decision when he body-slammed the Edmonton player after landing several solid blows.
Unfortunately for Oshawa, Orr was their only player who wasn’t physically overmatched. Not one other Generals player stepped up like Orr did.
Ross Perkins scored two goals for Edmonton. Singles came from Ross Lonsberry, Galen Head, Allan Hamilton, Garnet Bailey and Jim Harrison. Chris Hayes had the other Oshawa goal.
WHL All-Stars Announced
The Western Hockey League announced its All-Star teams yesterday. Top vote-getter was Vancouver centre Billy McNeill, who was named the centre. His team-mate Gilles Villemure is the goalkeeper.
Portland placed two players on the squad – right-wing Cliff Schmautz and defenceman Connie Madigan. Victoria also placed two players – left-wing Bob Barlow and defender Fred Hucul.
Second team forwards were Guy Fielder (Seattle), Bill McFarland (Seattle), Wayne Connelly (San Francisco). The defensemen are Larry Cahan (Vancouver) and Sandy Hucul (Victoria). Goalie is Don Head of Portland.
NHL Rumour Mill in High Gear
With the end of the National Hockey League season last night, the rumour mill swung into high gear. The impending expansion of the league from six to 12 teams has names very familiar to hockey fans possibly ending up in new destinations. But a rumoured trade topped the stories circulating among hockey folks.
Dick Beddoes of the Toronto Globe & Mail says that the New York Rangers have offered veteran defenceman Harry Howell to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Carl Brewer. Brewer was considered one of the finest defencemen in hockey before sitting out this past season in retirement.
Beddoes says that the Maple Leafs are definitely talking to teams about Brewer. The preferred deal for the Leafs, says Beddoes, would be a swap with Chicago that would Hawks’ centre Stan Mikita to the Leafs. The Hawks won’t do the deal even-up and are reported to be looking at the Leafs Dave Keon as part of any deal.