It was an off day yesterday for the Stanley Cup final series, but the Montreal Canadiens, up two games to none, had to work while the Chicago Black Hawks took the day off. The Montreal workout wasn’t particularly onerous, as the Habs went through a 30-minute skate designed to loosen the players up after a 16-hour train ride from Montreal.
Some writers criticized Canadiens coach Toe Blake for overworking his charges. Blake felt that after the long train ride, a light workout was definitely in order. Blake also bristled at suggestions from reporters that Montreal has this series in the bag.
“We’d be Stanley Cup Champions if this was a two-out-of-three series. But it’s best-of-seven and Hawks are far from dead.”
Blake also confirmed that there would be no lineup changes for tonight’s third game.
Montreal general manager Sam Pollock feels that his club faces a stiff test in the Chicago Stadium and he would like to see the Habs generate more offence.
“We’ve been fortunate because the other team isn’t scoring either. So far we’ve managed to tie up their scorers, but how long can we do that?”
Chicago coach Billy Reay will be happy to be back home in Chicago, where the Hawks will have the last change. It will give him an opportunity to get Bobby Hull away from the relentless checking of Montreal’s Claude Provost. Reay feels that Provost’s tactics on Hull are not within the rules of the game.
“Provost has that stick of his right against Bobby’s chest every time he gets near him. He isn’t yanking him around with it, so the refs have been ignoring it. But what he is doing is hooking just the same.”
Reay is not planning any lineup changes for game three.
“I don’t want to make a judgement on our players until after we’ve played Canadiens on our ice. The Canadiens go awfully well in Montreal, particularly if they get the first goal.
“But we have to do a lot more skating if we hope to get back in this thing. Injuries have hurt us, but we didn’t get much last night out of a couple of guys who are supposed to be healthy.”
Rochester takes first AHL final game
The Rochester Americans won the first game of the Calder Cup final series last night. The Amerks edged the Hershey Bears 2-1 in overtime. Gerry Ehman scored the game winning goal at 13:39 of the first extra session.
Ehman’s goal was set up by a great play by defenceman Duane Rupp to keep the puck in the Hershey zone. Rupp fired a quick pass to Ehman who beat goalie Claude Dufour from close in.
Jim Pappin had the other Rochester goal. Dave Draper scored for the Bears.
St. Paul wins CPHL championship
The St. Paul Rangers defeated the Tulsa Oilers 2-1 last night to win the Adams Cup and the championship of the Central Professional Hockey League. The Rangers won the series four games to two.
Paul Andrea scored both goals for St. Paul. Mike Walton was the Tulsa goal-getter.
St. Paul goalkeeper Marcel Pelletier was spectacular in keeping Tulsa off the scoreboard as they mounted a late third period charge after Walton’s goal with just less than three minutes to play.
Niagara Falls up 3-0 over NOHA champs
The Niagara Falls Flyers took a three games to none lead in their best-of-seven Memorial Cup Eastern semi-final with a 6-2 win over the Garson Native Sons last night in Niagara Falls. It was a listless performance by the Flyers who were clearly looking past this series in anticipation of the Eastern final.
Six players shared in the Niagara scoring, with Dave Woodley, Steve Atkinson, Jim Lorentz, Bill Goldsworthy, Jean Pronovost and Don Marcotte the goal-getters. Frank Hamill and Charley Phillips counted for Garson.
Niagara outshot the visitors 39-21.
Jacques Plante suggests a larger goal crease
Veteran New York Ranger goaltender Jacques Plante says that a larger goal crease is necessary to protect netminders from the beatings they are taking on a nightly basis.
“They should make the crease larger and legislate strongly against players who go in there.
“The crease is private property, about the only place a goalie has any margin of safety. At least he’s supposed to be safe, but we’re taking more and more of a beating every season and no one is getting penalized.”
Plante, who has always been an innovative sort, became the first goaltender in modern times to regularly wear a mask in 1959. He made his comments on the goal crease after Toronto goalkeeper Johnny Bower complained bitterly about being manhandled by the Montreal Canadiens during their Stanley Cup semi-final series.
Plante says that the present goal crease, which measures eight feet by four feet, is too small. He suggests it should be enlarged to 10 feet by six feet.
“That would give us plenty of working room and keep the forwards out where they belong. When pucks are loose in the crease, we could do something with them and the official’s decision would be clear-cut – anyone invading that deep gets a penalty.”
Gump Worsley, who was traded from the New York Rangers to Montreal in exchange for Plante, disagrees.
“We get hit enough now in the smaller crease. With an enlarged one, we’d have to move out farther and we’d get hit more.”
While Plante’s idea has merit, it would have to follow the same process as all other proposed rule changes. Plante must formally submit the proposal to the NHL rules committee. If approved at that level, the final decision would have to be made by the board of governors.