News and notes from around National Hockey League training camps.
Crozier’s Illness Makes Him a Lightweight
Roger Crozier, the slightly built Detroit Red Wings goaltender whose spectacular rookie season earned him last year’s Calder Memorial Trophy is slated to report to the Wings’ training camp next week in Detroit. What will make him different from most players getting ready to gear up for the impending NHL season is that Crozier will be weighing in under his regular playing weight.
When most players show up for camp, the early days are spent working off a few pounds of summertime “good living”. Most of them, however, won’t have spent their summers the way Crozier did. Crozier languished for two weeks in a Bracebridge hospital.
Crozier, who exhibited signs of fatigue at various points during his freshman NHL season, was determined to build himself up over the summer. His goal was to increase his strength and stamina, and get his playing weight up to 170 pounds. That all went by the wayside when he was struck down by pancreatitis. He told Paul Rimstead of the Toronto Star that he awoke one morning with severe pain in his abdomen:
“I woke up one morning with pains in my stomach and I couldn’t stand up. So I went to the hospital in Bracebridge and they kept me there for two weeks.”
Addressing concerns that the malady was somehow connected to ulcers Crozier had suffered at age 16, he put those and other worries to rest:
“This is something else. I went from 170 to 155 pounds, but I’ve regained three pounds since I’ve been out. When I came out of the hospital, I was a bag of bones.
“I’ll just have to be careful, but I feel okay now. I see no reason why it should affect me much. I’ll wait until I get to camp, then have the club doctor prescribe a diet for me. Apparently it can recur if I over-indulge in anything, especially fatty foods.”
Crozier’s optimism is good news for the Red Wings. With all teams mandated to dress two goaltenders this season, the Wings don’t really have an NHL-tested number-two man. Their chances of repeating as NHL regular season champs will be severely diminished should last year’s rookie-of-the-year be unable to assume a full workload this time around.
Leafs Lose Keenan, MacDonald
The Toronto Maple Leafs have already lost two players to physical ailments as training camp opened this week in Peterborough. Both Larry Keenan and Lowell MacDonald will be going under the knife to have their particular ailments treated and will miss significant time.
Keenan, 25, had a big year with Toronto’s WHL team at Victoria last season. He scored 35 goals in the regular season, and followed up with five more in the playoffs. General manager-coach Punch Imlach was counting on Keenan to win a spot on the wing with the Leafs this fall.
That plan has been scuttled by a serious knee injury suffered by the native of North Bay, Ontario this summer. He will have surgery to repair torn cartilage and may be out of action until Christmas. This is a severe blow to a youngster who has always been considered a good prospect since his final year at St. Mike’s when he was a key cog in their 1961 Memorial Cup championship team. It finally looked like Keenan’s time was now, after his fine season last year and several spots opening up on the Toronto forward unit.
MacDonald’s health issues are not quite as severe as Keenan’s, but he will miss some training camp time after having his tonsils removed yesterday. MacDonald was acquired last May from Detroit in the eight-player transaction that saw Andy Bathgate and Billy Harris leave the Leafs.
MacDonald, now 24, hails from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. He has been in the Detroit organization since 1959 and was the big scoring star for Memorial Cup champion Hamilton Red Wings in 1962. He had 14 goals and seven assists in only 14 playoff games for the Junior Wings, leading all scorers.
MacDonald has had good scoring success at the AHL level so far in his pro career, but just hasn’t been able to crack the NHL lineup so far. He is optimistic that a change of scenery would give him the boost he needs to become an NHL regular.
Regan Tries With Leafs
The Leafs have granted 35-year-old Larry Regan a tryout with the NHL club. Regan, who last played in the NHL in 1960-61, has been coaching for the past two seasons in Austria.
Regan approached Imlach and requested a tryout shortly before training camp.
Imlach: “Regan is here as a free agent. He wants to get back with the pros and we owe him a chance somewhere in the chain.”
Dzurilla a No-Go
Vladimir Dzurilla, goaltender for the Czech national team, will not be given permission to attend the Toronto training camp. Dzurilla sent a cable to Imlach Wednesday evening saying that neither the Czechoslovakian Hockey Federation, nor his club team Slovan Bratislava, would give him the required permission to play in Canada.
Dzurilla was sent a formal invitation to training camp earlier in the summer. The Leafs did stipulate that if the netminder was able to attend camp and showed promise, he had to promise to stay in North American for at least the full season.
Four players with excellent hockey blood lines are in Toronto’s training camp.
Brian Conacher, son of Canada’s athlete of the first half of the 20th century Lionel Conacher, is given a good chance to make the squad as a penalty killer and spare forward.
Gary Smith, an elongated goaltender with the unusual nickname of “Suitcase”, is the son of Des Smith, a forward in the 1930s with Montreal Maroons and Boston Bruins. Gary has a brother Brian, who is with Springfield of the AHL.
Defenseman Wayne Mosdell, 20, is the son of former Montreal Canadiens centre Kenny Mosdell. He played last season with the Toronto Marlboros.
Terry Clancy, 22, is the son of Leafs Hall of Famer and assistant general manager King Clancy. Terry split last season between Rochester of the AHL and Tulsa of the CPHL. He’s a 6-1, 19o-pound right winger.
Toronto has also added Bob Apps, son of the legendary Syl Apps, to their negotiation list. He played CFL football last season with the B.C. Lions. He is not in training camp but hasn’t ruled out a future in hockey.
Cooke Buys Lakers – NHL Next?
Jack Kent Cooke, a Toronto native now living in the United States, has completed a purchase of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Cooke paid a record price of $5,175,000 for the California team.
The news leaked out yesterday, and Cooke admitted that he has completed the transaction. He says he has no partners in the deal, and deposited a cheque for the entire amount into escrow.
Cooke is the former owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League and is a part-owner of the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. He is also actively seeking an NHL franchise for Los Angeles and many see this move as a precursor to gaining NHL acceptance.
Cooke said that obtaining the Lakers increases his desire to land an NHL team for southern California. He says that both his hockey and basketball teams would play out of the same building.
Cooke’s main competition for the NHL franchise will come from a group that owns the Los Angeles Blades of the WHL.
- Former Chicago and Montreal defenseman Bob Turner has been named coach of the Regina Pats of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Turner is a Regina native who played in the NHL from 1956-1963.
- Carl Duff, younger brother of Montreal’s Dick and Rochester’s Les, is slated to play for London of the OHA Junior A Series this season.
- Rudy Migay has been named coach of the Tulsa Oilers of the CPHL.
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.