50 Years Ago in Hockey: Rod Gilbert’s Surgery and Other Notes

New York Rangers star forward Rod Gilbert underwent spinal fusion surgery yesterday at a New York City hospital. Early indications suggest that the operation was a complete success.

The operation, which took over three hours, was performed by Dr. Kazuo Yanagisawa, the Rangers club physician. The doctor said he was very pleased with the surgery and termed it “100 % successful.”

The 24-year-old right winger had developed into one of the top forwards in the National Hockey League over the past couple of seasons. Last year he amassed 25 goals and 36 assists to lead the Rangers in scoring. This season in 35 games he managed 10 goals and 15 assists. He re-injured his back last summer and wore a brace this season. The brace inhibited his play and with no improvement in his condition, the decision was made to operate right away.

Barkley Has Surgery

Doug Barkley
Doug Barkley

Another NHL star also had surgery yesterday. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Doug Barkley underwent an operation on his injured eye in Detroit. Results of the operation are not known but the 27-year-old is said to be resting comfortably.

Barkley was struck in the eye by a stick Sunday evening in a game against Chicago. The surgery was performed at the Detroit Osteopathic Hospital to stop hemorrhaging and to repair a tear in the back of the eye.

Detroit Red Wings team physician Dr. Milton Konley said that it will be several days before the extent of the damage to the eye can be properly assessed, or if there is any permanent damage.

Barkley will remain in hospital for about 10 days and will miss at least two weeks of playing time.

Howie Young in Hot Water Again

Howie Young
Howie Young

Former NHL defenseman Howie Young is in hot water once again. Now playing for the Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League, Young has been benched by the WHL for what has been termed a “vicious” stick attack on Vancouver Canucks player Bob McCusker.

Young was fined $200 and suspended six games.

McCusker suffered a 10-stitch gash to his face when struck by Young’s stick.

Patrick told reporters “I thought it was vicious.”

It was ridiculous, there was absolutely no need for it.

Referee Lloyd Gilmour told the Los Angeles bench after the incident that “If Young as much as went near any Vancouver player he would get a penalty.”

Gilmour admitted that he did not see Young strike the Vancouver player with the lumber. He knew the two were battling for the puck behind a net.

When I saw McCusker’s face I got as mad as I’ve ever been.

Gilmour filed an official report with Al Leader, the WHL president after the game. Leader made his decision based on Gilmour’s report and statements from both teams.

Patrick subsequently benched Young for the rest of the game. When the team embarked on a three-game road trip on Sunday, Young was left at home.

While not condoning Young’s action, Patrick tried to shed some light on the situation:

Young has personal problems and they were in evidence before this incident and before this game.

Nats Player Loses Eye

John Russell, a forward with the Canadian national hockey team, has lost the sight of his left eye as a result of an injury suffered in a game January 24.

Russell, 25, is a second-year political science student at the University Manitoba. He was injured during a game against the Memphis Wings of the Central Professional Hockey League when a puck was deflected and struck his eye.

The National Team has released a statement saying that a benefit game for Russell will be held February 10 in Winnipeg. The nationals will play the NHL Oldtimers at the Winnipeg Arena. All proceeds will go to a trust fund to assist Russell in completing his university education.

Rangers Demote Two

Don Simmons
Don Simmons

The New York Rangers yesterday sent two players to their American Hockey League farm club in Baltimore and promoted one player for a trial. Veteran goaltender Don Simmons and centre Ray Cullen will join Baltimore immediately.

Simmons, 34, had been used sparingly by the Rangers this season. He played in only 8 1/3 games, allowing 37 goals. His demotion makes room for Cesare Maniago, who returns from the injury list. Ed Giacomin, who started with the Rangers early, was sent to Baltimore and returned two weeks ago, remains with the big team.

Cullen started the season in Baltimore and was promoted to the Rangers two weeks ago. He played seven games with New York, netting one goal and three assists.

The Rangers earlier had announced that they were bringing up 19-year-old defenseman Allan Hamilton for a four-game trial. Hamilton plays for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Central Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Ab McDonald to Minors

Ab McDonald
Ab McDonald

The Detroit Red Wings have sent veteran left winger Ab McDonald to the Memphis Wings of the Central Professional Hockey League.

Red Wing general manager said that the move would give McDonald a chance to get his injured right leg back into shape. He had been suffering from a muscle strain.

Hockey Player Awarded $3,010 in Damages

The Manitoba Court of Appeals upheld an award of $3,010 to a young hockey player who lost an eye in a game nearly three years ago in Hartney, Manitoba. Kenneth Agar, 19, of Killarney, Manitoba was awarded the sum after he was struck in the face during the game on March 4, 1963.

The defendant was Brian Canning, whose stick made contact with Agar’s face.

The judge in the case was Mr. Justice F.M. Bastin of the Manitoba Court of the Queen’s Bench. He said that the conduct of a player in a sporting match is instinctive and not premeditated. However, he ruled that a player must understand that a line must be drawn and when this line is reached, there is grounds for action.

Mr. Justice Bastin ruled that he was satisfied that Agar had struck Canning on the back of his neck during the course of the game. He said that Canning’s action of striking Agar in the eye went beyond what could be considered normal retaliation.

Adams Lists All-time All-stars

Maurice Richard
Maurice Richard

Jack Adams, former general manager and coach of the Detroit Red Wings and the first recipient of the Lester Patrick Award, listed his choices for an all-time NHL all-star team.

In New York to accept the Patrick Award, Adams. 70, was asked who he would put on an all-time team. He chose three Red Wings, and moved a player arbitrarily to a different position.

“I’d pick Gordie Howe at right wing and use Maurice Richard at left wing. I know Richard played the right side, but he was a left-handed shot so he can be my left wing.

“At centre I’d use Milt Schmidt, who was a great puck handler. On defence it would be Jack Stewart and Eddie Shore. My goalie would have to be Terry Sawchuk.”

"Black" Jack Stewart
“Black” Jack Stewart

Howe, of course, is a current Red Wing superstar and has spent his entire career with Detroit. Adams is credited with discovering Howe, now in his 20th season and the only NHL player to score 600 goals.

Stewart played the bulk of his career with Detroit before finishing up with Chicago. Sawchuk, now with Toronto, spent the bulk of his years with the Wings as well.

Schmidt, now the coach of the Bruins, played 16 seasons for Boston. Shore is another Bruins legend who now owns the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League. Richard had an 18-year career with the Montreal Canadiens and is the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season.