While the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs took verbal shots at each other after their tumultuous game one, the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks relaxed and took it relatively easy after an opening game that could have gone either way.
The Black Hawks made news off the ice when co-owner James Norris announced that coach Billy Reay has accepted his offer to remain as coach for at least another season.
The announcement by Norris and general manager Tommy Ivan, says that Reay will continue under the rather curious arrangement that has been in place for the past two seasons. Reay has no contract, but rather is employed under the terms of a “verbal agreement”.
Norris wanted to send a message making it clear that rumours of Reay’s dismissal were erroneous.
“I was amazed to hear that there have been little things indicating we might discharge Billy. We’re making this announcement now to dispel any rumours that we would let him go. That’s been the last thing we have thought about.”
Reay was happy with the news.
“This is the kind of a job I’ve always wanted in hockey, and I have a lot of pride in it.
“Although this was a rebuilding year for us, the opportunity was there for us to finish first. We didn’t make it, but the challenge is still there.
“Certainly this club is not going to be any worse next year. I think it is improving.”
Meanwhile, the Hawks coach must have liked what he saw from Bobby Hull in a rather light workout. Hull was skating with his usual speed and grace, and flying up and down the left wing in his familiar powerful stride. He showed no ill-effects from his recent knee troubles.
Hull was asked for a report on the sore knee but declined comment.
“No medical reports. That stuff has to come from the coach.”
Wings lose at races but a good bet in series
The Detroit Red Wings spent a relaxing afternoon in Toledo, Ohio, at the local pony track. Frank Orr of the Toronto Star followed the Wings on their equine outing and reports that most of the players are better at shinny than wagering.
The Wings were in great spirits as the players needled each other about sums, both great and small, lost on the day.
Gordie Howe was asked if he contributed to a few bushels of oats for the racers.
“Heck, it would be cheaper to grow oats out west and then ship them down here than pay for them through the $2 window.”
The Wings’ high spirits are a result of the efforts of coach Sid Abel and his solid core of veterans, including Howe, Bill Gadsby, Marcel Pronovost and Alex Delvecchio. Abel realizes the value these veterans contribute.
“It would be silly of me not to take advantage of the experience and knowledge of these men. For instance, Howe has been around hockey for almost as long as I have, so he is a big help. We talk over things we should try and they can all offer suggestions.
“The races supply a good change of pace for the boys. We all sit together in the stands and have a million laughs. It gets our minds off hockey for a time and shortens the time between games. No one bets a great deal. Toledo is also a good place to stay. Although it’s only 60 miles from Detroit, the people seldom recognize the players so we aren’t bothered.”
Olympia ice bad
Both teams complained about the ice at the Olympia in game one. Abel was very unhappy about the surface.
“I can’t remember worse ice. If Chicago doesn’t complain about it, they should. We certainly intend to because it hurts our chances at home.”
Chicago defenceman Elmer (M00se) Vasko agreed agrees. “The ice wasn’t so hot. Even during our practices before the game there were big chips in the surface.”
- New York Rangers general manager Emile Francis is picking Toronto to upset Montreal despite the Canadiens’ game one victory. Francis says “I still think Toronto is the club to beat.”
- Detroit defenceman Bill Gadsby feels this is the year he will finally win the Stanley Cup. “This is my seventh crack at being on a Cup winner – my seventh playoff. Maybe seven is my lucky number.”
- Montreal defenceman Terry Harper, who was cut for six stitches and received a slight concussion at the hands of Frank Mahovlich in game one, will play for the Habs tonight.
- The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that it has learned that Milt Schmidt will return as coach of the Boston Bruins next season. The paper also says that Hap Emms, owner-manager of the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA Junior A Series, a Boston farm club, will become the new general manager of the Bruins. An announcement is expected within a week.
- Clarence Campbell has advised Wilfrid Hamel, the mayor of Quebec City that a prime requisite for successful operation of an NHL team in that city would be that the public would have to purchase at least $1,000,000 worth of tickets each season.
- Jim Pappin scored two goals to lead Rochester Americans to a 5-1 win over the Quebec Aces in AHL playoff action. The Amerks lead the series 2-0.
- Jacques Plante made 26 saves to lead the Baltimore Clippers to a 2-0 win over the Hershey Bears in the other AHL game. Baltimore took at 2-0 series lead thanks to goals by Dick Meissner and Ulf Sterner.
- Former NHL referee Bill Chadwick has turned down an offer to become referee-in-chief of the league. The offer was made by president Clarence Campbell. Chadwick said, “Truthfully, they couldn’t afford me.” The position pays $17,000 a year. Chadwick is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, elected last June.