50 Years Ago in Hockey: Imlach to Gamble on Bruce?

After losing the first game of their Stanley Cup semi-final series to the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Punch Imlach is considering the possibility of switching his goaltender for tonight’s second game. Terry Sawchuk was the Toronto netminder in game one’s 4-3 loss and Imlach was lukewarm about his performance. The superstitious Imlach might play a hunch and go with Bruce Gamble.

Gamble, you may remember, was brought up from the Leafs’ farm team at Tulsa of the Central Professional Hockey League as a last resort when goalies Sawchuk, Johnny Bower and Gary Smith went down with injuries. All Gamble did was win five and tie two of the 10 games he appeared in, shutting out the opposition in four of those games.

Because of that performance Imlach regards Gamble as somewhat of a lucky charm. Knowing that going down by a game to a team as good as Canadiens are could be disastrous, Imlach will likely consider anything that will maximize his chances of evening the series tonight.

Punch Imlach
Punch Imlach

Imlach said last night that he would wait until about an hour before game time to name his starter. He told Paul Rimstead of the Globe and Mail that he was undecided:

“I’ll sleep on it. The odds, of course, say I should go with Terry Sawchuk again, but I really don’t know. I’ve never been a guy to listen to the odds.”

Sawchuk played game one only because Bower was stricken with a bad case of the flu. He won’t dress for tonight’s game either, and if his condition doesn’t improve, he won’t be available for Tuesday night’s game back in Toronto.

Maple Leafs physician, Dr. Hugh Smythe, says the bug that is affecting Bower and team-mate Red Kelly is a water-born virus.

“Toronto’s supply of drinking water is naturally chlorinated. But that doesn’t kill an influenza virus. Everybody knows how the beaches and lake water around Toronto are polluted. So the water used for our domestic consumption really comes from a cesspool serving 2,000,000 people.”

Dr. Smythe says that the only way for Leaf players to avoid the flu for an entire season is to drink bottled water.

Hawks Injury Woes Make Abel Smile

Sid Abel
Sid Abel

Detroit Red Wings coach and manager Sid Abel was upbeat despite his team’s loss on Thursday to the Chicago Black Hawks. Part of his optimism can be traced to the news out of Chicago that two key players for the Hawks may not be able to play in game two.

Superstar goal-scoring machine Bobby Hull suffered a knee injury in game one and the Hawks were divulging few details on his condition. However, Hull himself described the injury as a mild knee sprain. Black Hawks team doctor Myron Tremaine did not disagree.

Also in the questionable category is defenseman Doug Jarrett. He injured his back in a collision with Detroit rookie defenseman Bert Marshall and left the game in the second period. He was taken to hospital for x-rays and observation and will stay there until Sunday.

The Hawks and Red Wings next meet on Sunday afternoon. The game will be a historic occasion, the first Stanley Cup playoff game to played during the afternoon. It will also be the first playoff game broadcast nationwide in the United States, on the NBC .

Abel says that his team played  a strong physical game one and he plans no changes for the matinée contest on Sunday:

“We’ll play it the same way on Sunday. We’ll try to wear them down. We’re like George Chuvalo going against Cassius Clay. Our best chance is to play it rough.”

Chicago coach Billy Reay knows his team has its hands full with the Red Wings. He also knows they must respond the hard-nosed style the Wings employ:

“This series started tough and it could get tougher. We held Detroit to one win in 14 regular season games – and now it’s one out of 15. How long do you keep a club like Red Wings from exploding in your face?”

General Close in on OHA Title

Wayne Cashman (A) scored three times for the Generals.

The Oshawa Generals need just one more victory to claim the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A title. The Generals thumped the Kitchener Rangers 8-2 last night at home in Oshawa to take a 3-0 lead in the series.

The Generals were dominant in this one, particularly their first line of Danny O’Shea, Wayne Cashman and Bill Little. That threesome produced six goals – three by Cashman, two from O’Shea and a singleton by Little. Denny Sanford and Bobby Orr also found the range for Oshawa.

John Barber and Jack McCreary replied for  the Rangers.

Seals Slash Blades

Tom Thurlby
Tom Thurlby

The San Francisco Seals, still in the hunt for a Western Hockey League playoff spot, left it all on the ice as they hammered the Los Angeles Blades 8-0 last night.

Young Joe Daley, playing for the Seals on loan from Memphis of the CPHL, registered his second shutout in four games with the Seals. Daley is with San Francisco as an emergency replacement for injured regular goalie Jack McCartan.

Tom Thurlby and Al Nicholson scored two goals each for the winners. Singles came from Ron Schock, Del Topoll, Mike Harvey and Ron Harris.

For the Seals to claim a playoff spot, the Seattle Totems must lose at least one game this weekend against the Portland Buckaroos.


Harry Howell: Detroit-bound?
Harry Howell: Detroit-bound?
  • Larry Mickey scored two goals to lead the Minnesota Rangers to a 3-1 win over the Tulsa Oilers and a 2-1 lead in their CPHL playoff series.
  • Boston Bruins president Weston Adams says the team has offered Milt Schmidt another one-year contract to coach the team.
  • Toronto is considering moving their WHL farm team in Victoria to Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Montreal’s Dick Duff will earn the final credits needed to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree this summer.
  • Los Angeles mayor Sam Yorty says he is in talks with Jack Kent Cooke, owner of the new Los Angeles NHL team, to find a suitable location on which a new arena can be built.
  • Joe Sgro, trainer of the Nashville Dixie Flyers of the Eastern Hockey League, has been offered a job in the New York Yankees organization.
  • Hal Walker, sports editor of the Calgary Herald, says that Punch Imlach is “definitely committed” to be the coach and general manager of the new Los Angeles NHL team.
  • Walker says that one of Red Kelly, Allan Stanley or Joe Crozier will succeed Imlach as coach, with Stafford Smythe taking over as general manager.
  • Another Walker rumour has the Rangers sending Harry Howell to Detroit for winger Bruce MacGregor.
  • Louis Fusk of the Quebec Chronicle and Telegraph says that Rudy Pilous has turned down a $30,000-a-year offer to coach the new San Francisco NHL team.