50 Years Ago in Hockey – Sterner Impressive in Debut

Although he didn’t score, Swedish forward Ulf Sterner was impressive in his NHL debut as the Rangers took a 5-2 home-ice win over Boston.  In the other National Hockey League game, The Montreal Canadiens increased their lead to four points over the second-place Chicago Black Hawks last night by shutting out the Windy City squad 2-0 in Montreal.

Sterner impressive in debut

Most observers agreed that last night’s debut by Swede Ulf Sterner, the first European born and trained player in the history of the NHL, was a success.  Sterner displayed the passing and stickhandling ability of a potential star in the Rangers 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins.

Ulf Sterner was impressive in his NHL debut last night.
Ulf Sterner was impressive in his NHL debut last night.

Sterner, who stands 6-2 and weighs in at 185 pounds, played 10 shifts totalling about 16 minutes of ice time.  He was held off the score sheet, but did have a goal called back in the second period because the Rangers were apparently offside.  Boston goalie Eddie Johnston also made a great save on the rookie in the third period to deny him his first NHL goal.

Johnston surprised by shot

Johnston commented after the game that he was surprised by Sterner’s ability to get a difficult shot away. “I didn’t think he could make that shot in the third period. We had two defencemen all over him.  That was a very good shot.  It took me by surprise and I just did make the save.”

When told of Johnston’s comment, Sterner quipped: “Next time I take a shot, tell him to get out of the way.”

Fleming gave Swede a rough ride

Sterner assessed his performance this way: “I was really beat at the end of the game, and because of international rules, I’ve never been trained to hit back.  That will have to change.”

Bruins' Reg Fleming gave Sterner a rough ride in his debut.
Bruins’ Reg Fleming gave Sterner a rough ride in his debut.

Sterner was no doubt referring to his treatment by Boston tough-guy-turned-scorer Reggie Fleming.

“He’s pretty rough.  For that kind of play, they give penalties in Sweden”

Sullivan, Francis happy

Ranger coach Red Sullivan used Sterner at centre and gave him regular work throughout the game.

General manager Emile Francis had praise for Sterner as well:

“I was delighted with his play.   If he keeps playing like that, you can bet he’ll stay with us. He’s every bit as good as a Canadian player his age.  He’s going to help us.”

Earl Ingarfield - his three-point night was hardly noticed.
Earl Ingarfield – his three-point night was hardly noticed.

Camille Henry scored his 20th goal of the season for the Rangers, while Earl Ingarfield had a goal and two assists.  Other Ranger marksmen were Bob Nevin, Bill Hicke and Vic Hadfield.  Murray Oliver scored both Boston goals.

Johnston made 32 saves for the Bruins, while Ranger goalie Jacques Plante stopped 26 Boston drives.

Talbot leads Canadiens

Defenceman Jean-Guy Talbot scored both Montreal goals in the last five minutes of the game to power the Canadiens past Chicago.  His first goal came at 15:14 of the third period when he was sent in alone on Hawks’ goalie Denis DeJordy by Jim Roberts.  Talbot beat DeJordy with a nice deke before sliding the puck into the net.

Jean-Guy Talbot scored both Montreal goals.
Jean-Guy Talbot scored both Montreal goals.

Roberts architect of game-winner

Roberts was just ready to leave the ice while killing a penalty with Talbot when he took a clearing pass from J. C. Tremblay.  Chicago defenceman Doug Jarrett pinned Roberts  but the Montreal forward drove past him and drew Matt Ravlich out of position to slide the pass to Talbot.

“I just managed to get the puck through his legs”, commented Roberts on his pass to Talbot.

Jim Roberts: singled out for praise by Toe Blake
Jim Roberts: singled out for praise by Toe Blake

Montreal coach Toe Blake had praise for Roberts’ effort on the winning goal:

“Another fellow would probably have quit trying when he was caught along the boards.  But he gave that little extra effort and set up the winning goal.”

Beliveau made play for second marker

Talbot was the beneficiary of a great play by Jean Beliveau for his second marker.   Beliveau stole the puck from Chicago defenceman Pierre Pilote just inside the Black Hawk blue line and once again found Talbot all alone in front of DeJordy.  Talbot slapped the puck past the Chicago netminder to put the icing on the cake for Montreal.

Stopping Chicago superstar Bobby Hull was the key for the Montreal victory.  The Canadiens assigned winger Claude Provost to shadow Hull, and he was on the ice every time Hull came over the boards for a regular shift.  On power plays, Roberts was assigned to check Hull.  Defenceman Terry Harper seemed to be playing particularly close attention to the Golden Jet as well, slamming him into the boards on two notable body checks.

Worsley: six wins in seven games

The result was that Hull managed only five relatively easy shots on goal, all handled flawlessly by Habs’ goalkeeper Gump Worsely.  The win for Worsley was his sixth in seven NHL games this season, and his  first shut out. The turning point in the game came when he stopped Hull as he broke in along on him in the second period.

Gump Worsley turned in another great game for Canadiens.
Gump Worsley turned in another great game for Canadiens.

Gump commented, “I saw him coming through the corner of my eye.  Oh I knew it was him, all right.  Don’t worry, when Hull is on the ice, you know it.”

Worsley now has allowed only 10 goals in his seven starts this season.

George Hayes speaks

Suspended National Hockey League linesman George Hayes ended his silence regarding his differences with NHL president Clarence Campbell during a television interview last night.  Hayes said that he believes NHL officials should have more freedom and that the league has one set of rules for him and another set for the other officials.  He didn’t mention what he mean by “more freedom.”

Hayes was suspended on January 15 for refusing to submit to a league-mandated eye examination.

First suspension in 1961

Referring to the “two sets of rules”, Hayes spoke about the incident in 1961 when he was disciplined for riding a day coach on game days.  He said both he and another linesman, Ron Wicks, were on the same train.  Wicks was warned, while Hayes was suspended for two weeks.

Ron Wicks
Ron Wicks

Hayes commented, “Yet, the other time I was caught – in 1958 – they told me the next time would mean a $100 fine. A two-week suspension cost me a lot more than that.”

Won’t reconsider

Hayes says that his problems with the league stem from things they look for off the ice.

“I’ve never had any trouble on the ice. I get along with the players and I have no problems with them.

“I’ll never reconsider on the eye test, nor will I call the league.  I’ll stand on my principle that it’s an insult to ask an official to take a test.  They don’t require physicals and I wouldn’t go for one of them either.

“I can spot a quarter-inch offside from 85 feet.  I think that’s proof enough of eye sight.”

The league says that Hayes is being paid his salary while under suspension.  However, according to Hayes last night, he has not been paid since he was suspended.

Campbell originally ordered the eye tests three years ago and Hayes has refused to take the test since that time.  Other officials have said that while Campbell did order the tests, there is no clause in their contracts requiring  tests to be taken.

Imlach drawn for duty

Punch Imlach’s name finally was drawn for jury duty yesterday, however he won’t be serving on the jury for that particular trial. Imlach was challenged by the counsel for the plaintiff in a civil action.

That means that Punch must return again today and he will be subject to call for any other jury trial being held.