Things couldn’t get much worse for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager – coach Punch Imlach these days. His club put on a completely punchless performance last evening as they were shut out by the Chicago Black Hawks 3-0 at the Chicago Stadium. To make matters worse, one of his best defensemen has left the team.
Golden Jet Gets Two
Bobby Hull scored twice to lead the Black Hawks over Toronto. His goals came in the first two periods against Johnny Bower. Young Gary Smith took over for the final frame and gave up a goal to Doug Mohns.
The game was a listless affair, at least on the part of the Maple Leafs. Their power play was ineffective on the 10 chances it had.
The Leafs lost left-winger Larry Jeffrey, who left the game in the third period with an apparent knee injury.
Bobby Baun AWOL
More distressing to Imlach than the loss of a meaningless game was the unscheduled absence of defenseman Bob Baun. The nine-year veteran did not show up for the team flight to Chicago, and no one connected with the club was able to shed any light on where the rock-steady blue liner might be.
Reporter Paul Rimstead of the Globe and Mail suggested that Baun’s sudden departure was the result of an ongoing contract dispute, and that he may not be the only Leaf who chooses to absent himself from training camp.
Rimstead reported that several other players, including Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Bob Pulford and Dave Keon, were in cahoots with Baun. If they all decided to sit, the consequences could be drastic.
It is known that all the above players are unsigned and all were in heavy negotiation with Imlach on Friday. Imlach wanted them all signed by the weekend, and he didn’t get what he wanted.
Both Imlach and Baun were asked about the situation. As expected, both replied with the classic “No comment” statement.
Contract Negotiations Front and Centre
Contracts are a touchy subject with NHL general managers and players this fall. Bobby Hull is reportedly asking for $100,000 a year from the Black Hawks. Co-owner Jim Norris is adamant Hull won’t receive anywhere near that amount.
Hull compares himself to superstars in the other major sports and thinks, not unreasonably, that he is in the same class and should be compensated accordingly.
Contract amounts are guarded by the teams more carefully than Fort Knox gold . Players rarely know how much their team mates are making, so if several Toronto players are comparing notes, the Leafs might end up shelling out more than an amount with which Stafford Smythe would be comfortable.
Hull realizes this as well, and has gone on record as saying that any NHL player who wants to know what he is making need only pick up the phone and dial his number – he’s happy to share that information.
Hull also has gone on record as saying that players should stick together when it comes to contract negotiations.
This fall, players seem to be just a tad more militant when it comes to these issues. The players feel that management has had things their own way for far too long and they are seeking reform. One thing they would like to see eliminated is a rule instituted two years ago.
Waiver Rule Gives Management the Edge
This little-known rule allows a team to ship a protected player to the minors for a year without having to clear waivers. This is how Toronto has managed to banish Eddie Shack to the Rochester Americans. Shack must swallow his pride and report to the AHL club if he wants to be paid. He has absolutely no recourse. Even if another NHL team wants his services, the Maple Leafs can be quite content to leave him in the AHL until next fall at this time.
If Imlach wants to make an example of Baun, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that he could find himself joining Shack across Lake Ontario in Rochester.
Rangers Double Bruins
After being blanked in the first period, the New York Rangers scored three times in each of the next two en route to a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins in an exhibition game played at Kingston, Ontario.
Newcomer Johnny McKenzie scored twice for the Rangers. He was also credited with a third goal, but after the game, he made sure that Garry Peters was correctly identified as the scorer of the marker in question. Billy Taylor, Bill Hicke and Mike McMahon also connected for New York.
Ron Stewart, Reggie Fleming and Don Awrey replied for Boston.
Eddie Giacomin and Don Simmons split the goaltending duties for the Rangers. Giacomin surrendered all three Bruins goals on 15 shots. Simmons faced 14 Boston drives and handled them flawlessly.
Habs Down Aces Again
The Montreal Canadiens skated to an easy 7-4 win over the Quebec Aces last night at the Montreal Forum.
Bobby Rousseau paced the Montreal attack with a pair of goals. Other Canadien scorers were Jean Beliveau, Gilles Tremblay, Jim Roberts, Henri Richard and Yvan Cournoyer.
Quebec goal-getters were Gordon Labossiere, Cecil Hoekstra, Leon Rochefort and Don Blackburn.
Charlie Hodge was in goal for Montreal, while Gary Bauman handled the net for Quebec.
- Leafs rookie Brit Selby will have to clear waivers if the Leafs wish to send him to the minors after he plays six games with the big club.
- Bobby Orr set up the tying goal and scored two others as Oshawa gained a last-second tie with Kitchener in their OHA Junior A opener.
- New York Rangers sent goalie Cesare Maniago to Baltimore of the AHL.
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.