Thursday, December 5, 2019

1938/39 Maple Leafs Program

Usually I will share my latest vintage program over at Maple Leafs Programme Project but this one is just too good. From the 1938/39 season, this program is from a game between the Leafs and the visiting New York Rangers. The Rangers ended up winning the match by a score of 3-2 as Dave Kerr out-duelled Leafs Turk Broda. The player pictured on the cover is not stated, but he bears a resemblance to Bob Davidson.
Pretty cool listing by W.A. Hewitt of hockey's stars from 1900-1939.
Above is a full page advertisement featuring a great interior photo of Maple Leaf Gardens. I cropped and enlarged it below.
Another ad shows game action between the Rangers and Leafs. A few of the players are identifiable. The middle Leaf is Syl Apps, and #11 has to be Busher Jackson. The Ranger goalie is Dave Kerr who played every game for the Rangers in the previous two seasons.
Next is an advertisement from Quaker Oats for some terrific Leafs memorabilia.
Below is an ad for Golden Crest Dairy depicting hockey figures in the classic pose of Leaf great Charlie Conacher (see below).
Finally, I would remiss not to include the announcement to see the great Horace Lapp at the Royal York Hotel. Looks like a ripping good night out!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Connor McDavid's Hot Start

Connor McDavid is living in the 1980's. Well, at least his scoring exploits are living in the 1980's. After scoring a ridiculous 17 points in the Oilers first seven games of the season, he is producing at levels not seen in decades. He is only the third player in 30 years to collect at least 17 points in his first 7 games of the season. The other two, Wayne and Mario. Those two made a habit of storming out of the gates, Gretzky did this on 8 different occasions, while Lemieux did it 4 times. Perhaps most amazing is the fact Lemieux started the 2002/03 campaign with 16 points in his first 7 age 37.

Of course, the old tale of  league-wide scoring rates rears it's head while comparing different eras. Below are the hottest starts in modern NHL history with each season's league goal scoring rate included.

PLAYER YEAR  G-A-Pts       NHL  G/GP avg
McDavid 19/20     5-12-17              6.23

Lemieux  86/87    10-9-19                7.34
Lemieux  88/89    13-13-26              7.48
Lemieux  92/93     8-14-22               7.25
Lemieux  95/96     9-11-20               6.29
Lemieux  02/03     4-12-16               5.31

Gretzky   82/83      6-11-17                7.73
Gretzky   83/84     10-10-20               7.89
Gretzky   84/85     10-11-21               7.77
Gretzky   86/87      5-16-21                7.34
Gretzky   87/88      5-12-17                7.43
Gretzky   88/89      7-10-17                7.48
Gretzky   90/91      6-11-17                6.91
Gretzky   93/94      4-13-17                6.48

Stevens   92/93       9-9-18                  7.25

Dionne   79/80       6-13-19                 7.03

Nicholls  88/89      6-11-17                  7.48

To put it in perspective, McDavid's current output would equal Gretzky's best start of 21 in 84/85. Lemieux's best start of 26 points in 88/89 is the equivalent of 27 points in 84/85. Perhaps even more impressive, his 16 points in the height of the dead-puck era in 2002/03 translates 23 points in 7 games...again, at age 37.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

1939 Toronto Maple Leafs Program

Here is the latest addition to my Maple Leaf Programme Project, the quest to collect a game program from every season in the history of Maple Leaf Gardens. I believe this is the 42nd of 50 seasons between 1930/31 and 1979/80 that I have a program from Maple Leaf Gardens. A few of them are from wrestling or ice-capades events at the Gardens and one is a Junior game. These all count for my purposes. 
This latest acquisition is from April 1939, an Allan Cup Finals game between the Montreal Royals and the Toronto Goodyears. The Royals would eventually win the Allan Cup by three games to two.
The Goodyears were led by future NHLers Don Metz, Peanuts O'Flaherty, Hank Goldup and 22 year-old future Leafs Coach/GM, George "Punch" Imlach. The Royals boasted two future big-leaguers in Buddy O'Connor and Gerry Heffernan.
The cover of the program has a wonderful painting of a Leaf skater, not identified inside the program.  Looking through the photo database of the Leafs of that era, I believe the player pictured is Bob Davidson (photograph below).
Davidson would play twelve NHL seasons, all for Toronto. He posted his best numbers in 1943/44 when he tallied 47 points in 47 games. Davidson retired after the 1945/46 season.
 This program is loaded with great advertisements of the day including the great interior shot of The Gardens in a Department of Highways Ontario ad. The fellow below seems simply enthralled with his piece of Wrigley's Doublemint gum.
The ad for the Globe and Mail newspaper shows a terrific action shot of the Maple Leafs baseball club of the Triple A, International League. You could have got yourself a brand new Pontiac Arrow Coupe for a mere $880. That equals approximately $15,000 today, which is still a steal. 
The NHL scoring stats to that point showed Leafs Gord Drillon having an outstanding playoffs. Unfortunately the Leafs ended up losing to Boston by four games to one. Drillon produced only two assists in the five games. Boston's Bill Cowley ended up tops in playoff scoring with 14 points.
Above, Maple Leafs players enjoy their pre-game cereal with Bee Hive Corn Syrup. Apparently it aids digestion AND builds strength! Below, an ad for Dunne Skate Company of Toronto. I would love to strap on a pair of these bad boys and go for a whirl. 
 As per usual for this time, the back cover is adorned with a full colour ad for cigarettes, specifically Sweet Caporal.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Guy Carbonneau, Unexpected Hall-of Famer

 After years of absolute zero buzz around his Hall of Fame candidacy, Guy Carbonneau was surprisingly voted in as an Honoured Member. Personally, I don't agree with the selection of "Carbo" to the Hall, in my mind, there are probably forty other players I'd put in ahead of him. His supporters point to the fact that Carbonneau won three Selke Awards, three Cups and was the top defensive forward of his era. I'm not sure that's enough for enshrinement. To be blunt, if Guy Carbonneau is a Hall of Famer, then Buffalo Sabre Craig Ramsay is a Hall of Famer. Let's look at the numbers.
The stats do indeed back up the fact that Carbonneau was the top defensive forward of his time. Looking at, Carbonneau was the player with the most Defensive Point Shares over his time in the NHL. From 1982/83 through 1999/00 he was credited with 23.4 DPS, ahead of five legit Hall of Fame members; Gilmour, Gretzky, Francis, Andreychuk and Yzerman. Carbo was almost two full points ahead of second place Gilmour, so the praise for his defensive prowess is warranted. Is this enough for him to garner Hall of Fame membership? His offensive totals certainly don't help his argument.
In a career which spanned the highest scoring era in modern NHL history, Carbonneau managed to produce 0.50 points per game. Over 1318 career games he scored 260 goals and 663 points. Even with his defensive contributions, these numbers are hardly worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement.
In comparison, during the course of his career, Craig Ramsay was at least as good defensively as Carbonneau. Through his 14 seasons (1971/72 to 1984/85) Ramsay produced more Defensive Point Shares than Carbo in three fewer seasons. His 23.9 ranked only slightly behind Bobby Clarke for second overall during the span. As with Carbonneau, Ramsay was surrounded by Hall of Famers, finishing just ahead of Lafleur, Shutt, Trottier, Dionne and Barber. As well, in three fewer years, Ramsay scored 252 goals (8 less than Carbonneau) and 672 points (9 MORE than Carbo).
Where Carbonneau had five 20 goal seasons and had career a high 57 points, Ramsay had eight consecutive 20 goal seasons and topped out at 71 points on two occasions. Ramsay even played in the All-Star game in 1976, something Carbonneau never did. Ramsay also led the NHL in Shorthanded Goals in 77/78, which Carbo never did and over his career scored only six less shorties in 248 fewer games.
Ramsay and Carbonneau's careers actually over-lapped for three seasons from 1982/83 to 1984/85. Carbonneau who was 9 years younger, had his top point production of 57 points in 84/85, the season Ramsay won his Selke Trophy. Carbonneau finished fifth in the Selke voting that year.
All in all, if Guy Carbonneau is a member of the Hall then so is Craig Ramsay. Do we really want to open that can of worms?

Monday, May 27, 2019

1970 Blue Line Hockey Board Game

In addition to the 1957 NHL board game I picked up at the flea market last weekend, I grabbed this beauty. It's a 1970 game from 3M Sports called Blue Line Hockey. 
The back of the box replicates the cool front imagery, the inside of the box displays the many aspects of hockey that are not necessarily conveyed in this game. The game itself seems to have not evolved much from the 1957 issue I posted last week. If anything, the quality of the game has DE-volved, as the 1957 game had some fantastic graphics on the game pieces. 
The game pieces in 1970's Blue Line Hockey shown below are, I suppose more durable than the 1957 cardboard punch-outs, but they are not even close to as appealing a design.
Again, we see the eye-boggling giant checkerboard hockey rink. Truly a sight for sore eyes.
The one thing they did nail is the nicely embossed texture to the back of the game board itself.
The rules are on the inside of the game box. If you feel like trying to delve into them, go ahead. When I look at this, I have flashbacks of high school geometry. Not good memories.
The game does however come with this handsome, stand-alone scoreboard.
This slide-rule tool needed to decipher your scoring does indeed take a point or two away on the fun meter. If you are inclined to torturing your eyes, and being hypnotized by the game surface, as well as a major in calculus or trigonometry...then this game may be just for you!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Played for Both Bruins & Blues, All-Time Team

 Here's a fun thing I like to do every once in a while, assemble a squad of players who played for two distinct franchises. I did it for Leafs/Wings when they played in the Winter Classic a few years back. Also, I'm working on a squad of guys who played for both the Canucks and Leafs that includes such names as Vaive, Benning, Butcher and Kurtenbach. What follows is the all-time team of players who at some point in their careers, suited up for both of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finalists Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.
The fact that goaltender Hannu Toivonen is pictured at the top may seem a strange selection, but he is  the only retired player to play his entire career ONLY for Boston and St. Louis. Currently playing, David Backes has done the same, playing for only St.Louis and Boston. Toivonen came up with the Bruins in 2005/06 playing behind Tim Thomas and Andrew Raycroft, during the summer of 2007 he was dealt to the Blues for Carl Soderberg. He would back-up Manny Legace for the 2007/08 season before bouncing between Finland, the AHL and Sweden before retiring in 2013.
The All-Time Bruins/Blues team will begin with two Centres who were traded for each other in February 1992, Craig Janney and Adam Oates. Combined the two played 1010 games for the two franchises, producing 1203 points. They can definitely anchor the combined squad. Behind these two, current Bruin David Backes would have to fill the third Centre slot, having played 928 games with 551 points for the two teams. Fourth Centre will be Ron Schock who although known more as a Penguin, played near equal amounts of games for Boston (128) and St. Louis (122). Other Centres who played mostly for one team with a cup of coffee for the other, include Derek Sanderson, Vlad Sobotka, Terry Crisp, Craig MacTavish and Mike Walton.
The Right Wingers on the team go as follows; Joe Mullen (half a season with Blues at the end of his career), Brad Boyes (who spent his first 6 seasons between the two teams),  Dave Christian (three seasons with Boston/St. Louis) and Bill Guerin (203 total games for the clubs). On Left Wing we have Geoff Courtnall who started his career with three full season with Boston and finished it with four for St. Louis. Glen Sather played two full years with the Bruins in the late 60's and one with the Blues in 74/75. The pickings get slim after this with Garnet "Ace" Bailey playing a total of 303 games for the two and Scott Pellerin the longtime Blue who played half a season with the Bruins in 2001/02. 
On Defence we can start with Dennis Wideman who spent his first two seasons with St. Louis before being traded for Boyes and playing three more for Boston. Stephane Quintal came up for four seasons with Bruins before joining Janney in the Oates deal. He played all of 1992/93 with the Blues before moving on. Guy Lapointe, known more as a Canadien Hall of Famer, played his last two full years with St. Louis and Boston respectively. Don Awrey spent his first ten years with the Bruins before being dealt to the Blues and producing 21 points in 75 games in 73/74. Other defenders to have played for both franchises include; Rick Zombo, Jamie Rivers, Gordie Roberts, Glen Featherstone and Barry Gibbs.
Now we get to the Goalies. Hall of Famer Jacques Plante has to make the list having helped lead the Blues to two Cup Finals in 1969 and '70. His stint with Boston was short and sweet, finishing up his NHL career going 7 and 1 with a 2.00 GAA to end the 1972/73 season. Eddie Johnston played 11 years with Boston and 4 for St. Louis and would rightfully claim the top spot on the merit of 562 career games for the teams. Current Bruin back-up Jaroslav Halak of course played four seasons with the Blues prior to moving to the Islanders. Rounding out the goalie brigade are the likes of Jon Casey and Vincent Riendeau.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

1957 Copp Clark NHL Board Game, Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens

Check out this gem that I picked up at the flea market this past weekend. It was prominently displayed by my regular dealer who has a permanent set-up at the Vancouver Flea Market. It's one of those items that the second I saw it, I knew I would be walking away with it. I've never seen it before, but what a beauty.
This board game was issued in 1957 by Copp Clark Publishing Company of Canada as a fully licensed game from the NHL. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens and their logos are wonderfully displayed on the game box lid. The company, Copp Clark can trace it's roots back to 1841 and still exists today solely as a book publisher. Perhaps their most well-known board game was Rummoli, which they created in 1940.
The back of the game board has more great graphics as well as a textured "gator skin" finish. Manufacturers sure put a lot of quality and care into their products in the 1950's. Upon opening the three-panelled game board, the players are met with a hypnotizing checker-patterned hockey rink.
I haven't thoroughly read the rules, but it seems to be a simple dice-rolling game, checker moving game. But in this game, you don't merely move simple checkers. Check out below the fantastic game piece players. Printed on thick cardboard, each of these full-colour, wonderfully designed pieces fit into small puck stands. Each piece is double sided and is a fine example of 50's style design. The amazing thing about the game I purchased, the players have yet to be removed from their original cardboard sheet. As much as I would enjoy punching them out and giving the game a play, these men are staying in the state they are in. I am however considering scanning them and printing it out for a t-shirt.
I certainly was a good day at the flea market!

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