Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Played for Both Leafs and Wings, All-Time Team

No fewer than 11 Hall of Famers have laced up their skates for both the Maple Leaf and Red Wings franchises. Below is the all-time squad of the best to have played for both of these storied teams.

Darryl Sittler C
Red Kelly C
Norm Ullman C
Dale McCourt C
Pete Stemkowski C
Reg Noble C

Frank Mahovlich LW
Paul Henderson LW
Mark Osborne LW
Errol Thompson LW
Steve Thomas LW
Dan Maloney LW

Andy Bathgate RW
Miroslav Frycer RW
Mike Foligno RW
Claude Loiselle RW

Borje Salming D
Larry Murphy D
Mathieu Schneider D
Flash Hollett D
Bob Baun D
Carl Brewer D
Marcel Pronovost D
Jim Korn D
Jamie Macoun D
Bob Manno D
Todd Gill D
Larry Hillman D
Ian White D
Darren Veitch D
Bob McGill D
Kent Douglas D
Bob Rouse D
Marc Rheaume D

Terry Sawchuk G
Curtis Joseph G
Harry Lumley G
John Ross Roach G
Hap Holmes G
Allan Bester G
Ken Wreggett G
Jim Rutherford G
Ron Low G
Jonas Gustavsson G
Mark LaForest G

Monday, December 30, 2013

Advanced Stats, circa 1959

Here's a cool article I found in a Maple Leafs program from 1959. It talks about how they used to track each player's time on the ice back in the 1950's. It seems that Punch Imlach was somewhat interested in who was on the ice and in what situations. Sounds like the beginning of advanced statistical analysis if you ask me. All in italics below is the original article. 

 These clocks, installed in 1951 are a Gardens "first" in the NHL. Wilf Snowden and Billy Calvert trigger the timepieces with two panels of switches which they operate in the booth west of the band. From their vantage point they keep track of the players on the ice for both teams. The panels - one for the Leafs, one for the visitors - have 18 "on-off" switches each. Beneath each switch a player's name is inked on a strip of white adhesive tape before the game begins. The names are arranged so that the switches for players playing together are side by side. Wilf  and Billy can then quickly flip the switches as the players change.   

A few years ago I was able to sit in the press area at Rogers Arena for a Canucks game. I sat behind a row of guys worlking for the NHL doing pretty much the very same thing 50 years later. They were tracking ice time, hits, takeaway's, giveaways, blocks etc. Each entering in realtime onto NHL.com. They may as well have been flicking a switch on or off 50 years ago.

The 36 clocks - ordinary kitchen variety - are in a small room behind the west blues. Under each one is the name of the player who's switch in the booth is connected to his clock. the giant Sportimer over centre ice is also wired into the clocks. When the timekeeper at ice level starts and stops the Sportimer he automatically controls the clock for each man on the ice. After each period Don MacKenzie records each player's time in minutes and seconds. When the game is over the Leafs' times go to Punch Imlach. The visiting coach is given his players' totals.
I guess the coaches had no interest in the stats for the opposing team, only their own, strange.

Sometimes Don will get a call for the times at the end of a period or even during a period if a coach wants to check on a particular player. If a man's not in good condition he can't very well hide it if he's tiring after having little playing time. It's harder to cover up injuries, too. Time on the penalty bench is not counted. When Gord Hannigan was with the Leafs he once got into a game to sit out a teammate's penalty. His total playing time was logged at 4 seconds - the time taken to get back across the ice to his bench after the penalty expired. "Too slow," said coach Hap Day, when he saw the times after the game. "It shouldn't have taken him that long." It turned out that in the excitement of the game the switch for Hannigan hadn't been thrown for his short skate. This was found out when the clocks were checked after the game so they time was estimated at 4 seconds. This was a bit too long and Hannigan got a ribbing from his teammates. They wanted to know if he'd crossed the ice by way of the goal. "Wind sprints for you tomorrow," they kidded him.

Hannigan, a Centre scored 17 goals for the Leafs in 1952/53 and 29 total in his 161 game career.

Because of his experience Wilf handles the switches for the visiting players. For two periods they are skating towards him. He has to recognize them by some means other than the numbers.
"There are different ways to do this," he explains. "Some you get to know by their style. Tom Johnson of the Canadiens seems to run on his skates. When Allan Stanley played for Boston I could pick him out by the deliberate way he moved out of his own zone. Jean Beliveau's size and Gordie Howe's relaxed style easily identify them. Gus Mortson has the habit of thumping his shoulder pads while skating to his position. Of course, the helmets help a lot. Charlie Burns is easy to spot."

Today's (1959) iron men log more than 30 minutes' ice time each game. In recent appearances at the Gardens Howe and Andy Bathgate were clocked with 35 minutes. Doug Harvey usually goes for 37 or 38 minutes. Allan Stanley and Tim Horton are on about 35 minutes.

37 minutes for Doug Harvey. 35 for forwards Howe and Bathgate. Amazing. Of course rosters were slightly smaller back then, but imagine getting to see Crosby, Ovechkin or Toews for over half of the game. It's incredible that with the comparative lack of conditioning the players had 50 and 60 years ago that they were even able to play 35 or more minutes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Maple Leafs Christmas Card 1979/80

Not much need be said about this gem from the past. A Maple Leafs Christmas card sent out to season-ticket holders for Christmas 1979. Holes punched out in the front of the card allow the players heads to be whimsically displayed as Christmas tree ornaments or crudely drawn elves. Pure joy.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Toronto at Kansas City, Nov. 7, 1975

The lowly Kansas City Scouts hosted the slightly less lowly Maple Leafs on this Friday night in 1975. The Scouts were one year removed from their awful expansion season when they posted 41 points over 80 games. Toronto would have an 83 point season in 75/76, beat Pittsburgh in the best-of-three preliminary round before falling to the Flyers in seven. The Leafs had not won a seven game series since capturing the Stanley Cup ten seasons before.

Kansas City could only dream of that kind of "success". By earning a tie with the visiting Leafs in this game the Scouts held a 4-7-2 record. That was pretty much the high point of their season.
Their second year of existence would prove worse than their first as they won only 12 games and collected 36 points. When the next season began they were located in Denver, Colorado and renamed the Rockies.
By the time Toronto would make their final visit ever to K.C. on January 15, 1976 the Scouts were a rudderless ship. The Leafs 6-4 victory dropped the Scouts to 11-29-4. They managed to win one more game for the rest of the entire season. In fact, from December 30 onward they had an almost laughable record of 1-34-8. ONE win, thirty-four losses, eight ties. Wow. Coach Bep Guidolin was fired two days after the final Leaf visit and General Manager Sid Abel lost three games in the interim. Eddie Bush finished out the campaign with the Scouts winning one of his 32 games at the helm. His 1-23-8 record for a .156 winning percentage is the sixth worst of all-time among guys who coached at least 20 games. (Yes, five others were worse).

Boxscore from the epic battle on the date this program was issued is below. Note that "Old Egg-in-Pockets" Inge Hammarstrom and Darryl Sittler both tallied their seventh goals of the young season. Of course, Sittler would finish with 41 goals, Hammarstrom 19.

November 7, 1975
Toronto 3, Kansas City 3
First Period
1. KC Bergman 1 (Murray, Gagnon) 4:55
2. TOR Sittler 7 12:25
3. KC Charron 5 (Paiement, Bergman) 17:06
Second Period
No Scoring
Third Period
4. TOR Hammarstrom 7 (Ashby, Williams) 1:59
5. KC Harvey 2 (Rota, Gilbert) 2:37
6. TOR Weir 5 (MacDonald, Thompson) 7:44
Shots On Goal
Toronto 12 12 12 - 36
KC        13  8  13 - 34
Goalies- TOR Thomas, KC Herron

Monday, December 9, 2013

Jim Corsi, The Man Behind The Numbers

"Corsi Italy's Hero in Tie With Canada" 
This was the headline by Canadian Press on April 22, 1982 after Italy earned a surprising 3-3 draw with Team Canada at the 1982 World Hockey Championships. On the strength of 55 saves by Montreal native Jim Corsi and a goal and two assists by ex-Washington Capital Rick Bragnolo, Italy shocked a stacked team of Canadian professionals.

That year, Canada was represented by stars Wayne Gretzky, Dale Hawerchuk, Mike Gartner, Darryl Sittler, Bobby Clarke, Bob Gainey, Bobby Smith and Kevin Lowe. "Obviously we weren't ready for the game," said a dejected Smith. "Even as much as we said we did, we didn't take this team seriously enough, and it showed. It cost us a big point and it will hurt us dearly when the tournament is over."
Bob Gainey added,"Corsi played a strong game in goal. He was getting the clean shots. Then when he had to make the save, he did and kept us off the boards."

Jim Corsi, the creator of the statistical evaluation system that bears his name was an ex-teammate of Gretzky and Lowe just two years prior. In the Oilers inaugural NHL season of 1979/80, Corsi played 26 games posting a 3.65 Goals Against Average splitting duties mainly with Dave Dryden and Ed Mio. The season before, Corsi led the WHA with 3 shutouts for the Quebec Nordiques. 

Below is the box score for the '82 World Championship game.

April 21, 1982
Canada 3, Italy 3
First Period
1. CAN Barber 14:51
2. ITA Farelli (Bragnolo) 19:57
Penalty - Tomassoni 18:18
Second Period
3. CAN Gainey (Hartsburg, Smith) 14:40
4. ITA Bragnolo (Bellio) 19:58
Penalties - Barber 9:08, Manno 18:31
Third Period
5. ITA Priondolo (Bragnolo, Tenisi) 2:28
6. CAN Van Boxmeer (Smith) 6:39
Penalties - Bragnolo 6:03, Ciccarelli 8:10
Shots On Goal
CAN 17 22 16 - 55
ITA 11 7 7 - 23
Attendance - 4,178

Interestingly, along with Bob Manno who was an All-Star for Toronto that season, Italy also boasted  a Slap Shot legend on their defence. Detroit native Guido Tenisi played all seven games for Italy after having portrayed the non-speaking Billy Charlesbois in the classic movie Slap Shot.

Corsi continued as a pro in the Italian league until retiring in 1992 and represented Italy in 8 different World Championships. He'd return to Montreal in the 90's and put his Concordia University engineering degree to use as he became a math and science teacher as well as coaching goaltending on the side. He coached for Concordia, McGill, St. Mike's Majors and Canadian Women's team before joining the Buffalo Sabres full-time in the early 2000's. 

The genesis of of his analytic system began while he was wrapping up his playing career in Varese, Italy and was further developed by Gabriel Desjardins of behindthenet.ca. Corsi states, "I was trying to measure the amount of work that a goalie does, this fella (Desjardins) tied it into the work that players do, and he was kind enough to say it was based on my work originally.  Hence, we have this Corsi number."

As advanced hockey analytics gain popularity and acceptance, it's nice to know the man behind the Corsi number was an actual player and goaltender no-less, who saw and analyzed the game from the trenches and not just a number cruncher. Jim Corsi was and is both.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

WHA International Series 1978

"The Soviet team seemed nervous to me...it was their first taste of international competition," said Whalers coach Harry Neale. "But they started to show some good things in the third period." Soviet coach Boris Majorov agreed with Neale's assessment of his team's performance. "We were very nervous," he said through an interpreter."It seemed to me that it took a while for our players to realize that the Whalers were just another team."

These two programs are from the World Hockey Association International Series of 1977. Separate teams of Soviet and Czechoslovakian All-Stars played one game each against every WHA team. These games counted in the standings for the season. December 14 was the first game for the Soviets on the tour, and it showed as they were trounced by the New England Whalers 7-2.

December 14, 1977
New England 7, Soviet Union 2
First Period 
1. NE Rogers 11 (Pleau, J.Carlson) 3:50
2. SOV Biljaletdinov 1 (Semenjov) 9:27
3. NE Antonovich 13 (Keon, Ley) 13:17
4. NE Keon 7 (McKenzie, Roberts) 14:15
Penalties SOV Lavrentiev 16:10, NE Antonovich 17:13
Second Period
5. NE Pleau 10 (Rogers, J.Carlson) 3:12
6. NE Pleau 11 (Rogers) 8:56
7. NE Lyle 11 (Carroll, Mayer) 11:12
Penalties NE Hangsleben SOV Shostak 6:15, NE Rogers 13:06
Third Period
8. SOV Biljaletdinov 2 (Bragin, Semejov) 14:25
9. NE Mark Howe 5 (G. Howe, Hangsleben) 17:48
Penalties NE Carroll 2:29, SOV Shostak NE Selwood 5:21
Shots On Goal
SOV 11 9 14 - 34
NE    17 11 8 - 34
Goal- SOV, Vasilenok, NE Smith
Attendance - 9,939

Big night for the line of Larry Pleau, Mike Rogers and "The Forgotten Hanson Brother" Jack Carlson.  He was originally slated to be in the movie Slap Shot with his brothers and fellow professional hockey players Jeff and Steve. Jack however signed with the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA before filming began and was replace by Dave Hanson.

The Czechs fared even worse than the Soviets on this tour, getting hammered on this date by the Oilers in Edmonton. "Cowboy" Bill Flett potted four goals including a natural hat-trick. 

December 14, 1977
Edmonton 6, Czechoslovakia 1
First Period
1. Edm Micheletti 5 (Ferguson, Callighen) 0:29
2. Cze Kolar 1 (Vlcek, Cernik) 11:45
Penalties - Cze Cernik 3:17, Edm Flett 15:06, Edm Micheletti 19:55
Second Period
3. Edm Flett 12 (Micheletti, Rota) 16:51
Penalties Cze Bench 2:51, Edm Micheletti 11:47, Edm Langevin 14:12, Cze Cernik 17:39, Edm Hamilton 18:00
Third Period
4. Edm Flett 13 (Chipperfield, Rota) 1:55
5. Edm Flett 14 (Chipperfield, Rota) 15:50
6. Edm MacDonald 8 (Guite, Campbell) 17:59
7. Edm Flett 15 (Chipperfield, Guite) 19:57
Penalty - Callighen 12:30
Shots On Goal
Cze 7 13 12 - 32
Edm 14 8 14 - 36
Goal - Cze Kapoun, Edm Dryden
Attendance - 15,412

When all was said and done the Czechs managed only one win against WHA competition going 1-6-1 in the eight games and getting outscored 41 to 20. The Soviets won three, compiling a 3-4-1 record with 27 goals for and 36 against.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Canada vs. Soviets, 1969

Here's another cool program in The Den's collection, from an exhibition game between the national teams of Russia and Canada at the brand new Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. The Canadians proved no match for the Soviets getting pounded by a score of 9-3. Canada's coach Jackie McLeod insisted that his team "can skate with the Russians, do everything they do just as well, and when they do it can beat the Russians".

This was the third of an eight game tour by the Soviets across Canada having beaten the Canadian National squad in Winnipeg 5-3 in the first game. Petrov and Maltsev each potted a pair before 8,500 at Winnipeg Arena. Chuck Lefley also had a pair with Billy MacMillan adding the third for Canada. This game was the debut in Canada of Russia's young goaltender Vladislav Tretjyak.

In game two at Winnipeg the Canadians got revenge with a 4-3 win ending a winless drought against the Russians of almost three years. Bob Murdoch scored the winner at 3:09 of the third on Russia's other rookie goalie Vladimir Shapovalov.

In this, the third game in Vancouver, Russian coach Anatoly Tarasov didn't even dress two of his better players Vitaly Davidov and Vyacheslav Starshinov and Evgenie Zimin and Alexsander Maltsev saw no action until early in the third period. 22 year-old Ken Dryden was bombarded with 45 shots by the Soviets in front of a full-house of 13,157 spectators.

Dec 20, 1969 at Vancouver
Russia 9, Canada 3
First Period - 1. Russia Petrov (Kharlamov, Kuzkin) 6:37, 2.Russia Kharlamov (Mikhailov, Petrov) 9:25, 3. Canada Huck (King, Murdoch) 12:33, 4. Russia Solodukhin (Grigorjev, Andreyev) 17:27 Penalties - Mikhailov 13:33, Firsov 14:55, Andreyev 18:31, Huck 19:29.
Second Period - 6. Russia Andreyev (Grigorjev, Solodukhin) 6:18, 7. Canada Bayes (Mott, Poirer) 7:12, 8. Canada Murdoch (Heindl) 10:31,  9. Russia Polupanov (Firsov) 13:05, 10. Russia Petrov (Kharlamov, Mikhailov) 19:08 Penalties - King 4:59, Mikhailov double-minor, Kharlamov, Huck, Heindl 8:09, Petrov 11:10.
Third Period - 11. Russia Grigorjev (Petrov, Andreyev) 3:33, 12. Russia Shadrin (Malysev, Gusev) 16:37 Penalty - Carlyle 4:26
Shots On Goal
Russia    18 14 12 - 44
Canada    7  10  6  - 23
Attendance - 13,157

Below is the itinerary for the Soviets as listed in the program.

Upon travelling to Victoria for the fourth game on Sunday afternoon, coach McLeod declared, "It's hard to talk about a game like Saturday. It is easier to say, for instance, that it might give us enough pride to beat these guys in Victoria." McLeod apparently knew his team quite well as Canada won by a score of 5-1 before a packed house in Victoria. 

The re-instated pros for team Canada, Brian Conacher and Billy Harris actually played like pros with Harris counting points on the first four goals. Wayne Stephenson's shutout was broken by Starshinov with just over seven minutes remaining.

Dec 21, 1969 at Victoria
Canada 5, Russia 1
First Period - 1. Canada Adams (Conacher, Harris) 2:36, 2. Canada Harris (Adams) 6:53 Penalties - Gusev 3:27, Starshikov 8:48, Stephanson 10:18, Carlyle 14:33, Kharlamov 14:56
Second Period - 3. Canada Conacher (Mackenzie, Harris) 9:20 Penalties - Paladjev 0:45, Kharlamov 6:50, Murdoch 10:58, Starshikov 12:23, Paladjev 15:51
Third Period - 4. Canada Poirer (Mackenzie, Harris) 3:15, 5. Canada Lefley (Mott, O'Malley) 4:38, 6. Russia Starshikov (Paladjev, Ragulin) 12:47 Penalties - Solodukhin 5:14, Harris 13:31
Shots On Goal
Tretjyak Russia 11 12 14 - 37
Stephenson Canada 10 10 10 - 30
Attendance - 5,388

Game five of the tour in Ottawa pitted the Russian Nationals against the Junior A Ottawa 67's reinforced by All-Stars. The juniors proved no match, losing 8-3. The following night, game six of the series,  the Russians trounced the London junior team by a score of 14-2.

McLeod's National team put Canada back in the winner's circle in the seventh game of the tour at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens with a 3-2 victory. Fran Huck, Barry MacKenzie and Bill Heindl marked the tallies for Canada while Vladimir Petrov and Valery Kharlamov scored for Russia. The Soviets outshot Canada 38-28 but 20 of them were in the first period before Canada got their game in gear. They were limited to six in the third period on goaltender Wayne Stephenson. Heindl's winner was scored at 15:01 of the second period, beating Tretjyak with a 15-foot shot that bounced off the goalie's pads. "It was a screaming shot," a jubilant Heindl said afterwards. From across the dressing room someone yelled, "Yeah, it must have been going about three miles an hour."

In the eighth and final match at Montreal's Forum, the previous year's Memorial Cup champions beat the Russians 9-3 before 18,507 spectators. Bolstered by eight minor-pros for the game the winners were led by their own Gilbert Perreault with two goals and three assists. Rejean Houle of the AHL's Montreal Voyageurs added two goals and two assists. The strengthened Juniors outshot the Russians 36-30.

After the final game, Soviet coach Tarasov he would back in March for the World Championships to be hosted in Montreal and Winnipeg "with a surprise for you." The surprise would end up being on the entire hockey world, as Canada would withdraw from hosting and participating in those championships. The dispute arose over the allowing of professional players to compete at the Worlds, and would keep Canada out of the tournament until 1977 when pros were finally permitted to play.

Game action in the program of a previous season's tour

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks, 1964

5,080 spectators watched the three-time defending Stanley Cup champions put on a clinic at the Vancouver Forum against the Western Hockey League Vancouver Canucks. This program is from the game that took place September 29, 1964. Toronto was in the midst of a a Western tour which would take them from Vancouver to Seattle, Long Beach, San Francisco and Portland.

A couple of interior pages of the program. Lineup page below.

Vancouver goalie Marcel Paille was outstanding turning aside 47 shots in the 6-2 loss. Leafs scored four in the first 14 minutes on goals from Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Ron Stewart and Gerry Ehman. Bob McCusker and Jim Baird tallied for Vancouver.

Toronto went on to best Seattle 7-1 before 8,601 on the opening night of the brand-new Seattle Coliseum the following night. They then beat the Los Angeles Blades 10-3 and San Francisco by 5-3.
The Leafs were finally beaten in their final game of the exhibition road trip by Portland on October 6. The Buckaroos held off the champs 3-2 on goals by Larry Leach, Art Jones and Ron Hergott. The star for Portland was goalie Rick Charron who stopped a ridiculous 27 shots in the third period alone. Mahovlich and Jim Pappin scored for the Leafs.

Full page in the program showing the previous season's WHL All-Stars

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Maple Leafs vs. NHL All-Stars, 1968

The Hockey Den and it's Maple Leaf Programme Project already has a few Toronto game programs from the 1967/68 season, but I still have to pick this one up recently when I saw it at a show. This is from the 21st NHL All-Star Game and pitted the reigning Stanley Cup champs Toronto against the league stars. The game was on Tuesday, January 16, 1968 at Maple Leaf Gardens and was won by the Leafs 4-3 in front of an All-Star record crowd of 15,740.

Here, various hockey writers select their 1st and 2nd season All-Stars to that point in the 67/68 season. A second-year Bobby Orr receives great accolades after producing 9 goals and 26 points through the first 41 games of the season. Although he collected an assist on Norm Ullman's goal eight minutes into the last period, Orr suffered a bruised shoulder after colliding with Leafs' Frank Mahovlich earlier in the game. "He cross-checked me", Orr said. "It's tender now, but I don't think it's going to put me out of action." In fact he would be out of action with the shoulder trouble for a few games before injuring is knee in early February.

Maple Leaf goaltender Bruce Gamble held the All-Stars to two goals on 30 shots over the first two periods. Regular goalie Johnny Bower missed the game after suffering an elbow injury. Youngster Al Smith, up from Central League Tulsa played the third period for Toronto and turned aside 9 of 10 shots securing Toronto's victory.

Leaf goals were scored by Murray Oliver, Allan Stanley, Pete Stemkowski,  and Ron Ellis. Stan Mikita, Ken Wharram and Ullman scored for the Stars. New York's Ed Giacomin and Terry Sawchuk of the Kings shared duties for the All-Stars.

Here's the lineups for the game including statistics up to that point in the season. The Leafs sat in fourth place in the new Eastern Division with a 19-14-8 record but would end up missing the playoffs  all together.
NHL stats to that point in the season

Cool ad featuring Leaf goalie Johnny Bower.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Seattle Totems Beat The Soviets

I added this program of the Seattle Totems from the Western Hockey League to the Den recently. It's from a game in March 1974 but pictures a terrific cover shot of the Totems playing the Soviet National team. Gennady Tsyganov is shown battling Seattle forward Dave Wisener.

The game took place on January 5, 1974 when the touring Soviet National team rolled into Seattle, Washington. In lieu of playing NHL teams due to financial problems, the Russians toured through the Western Hockey League. Having already beaten Phoenix, San Diego and Portland as well as trouncing Seattle 9-4 just over a year prior, this last game of their tour was expected to be a cake-walk.

The Totems who would not even make the playoffs in this the last ever season of the WHL somehow surprised the Soviets with a convincing 8-4 win. This Soviet squad was pretty much the same one that Team Canada had narrowly beaten 15 months before. Vladislav Tretiak was in net for them on this night and Soviet goals were tallied by none other than Boris Mikhailov, Valery Kharlamov, Alexsandr Yakushev and Alexsandr Bodunov. All were veterans of the Summit Series and the first three scorers along with Tretiak may very well be the four greatest Russian players ever.

On this night however, they were no match for the Totems. Seattle's line of Wisener, Dave Westner and Don Westbrooke scored five of the eight goals with Westbrooke earning the ONLY hat-trick ever by a North American player against the Soviets. This threesome would play exactly zero National Hockey League games over their combined careers.

The Soviets fired 49 shots on the Seattle goaltending duo of Bruce Bullock and Dan Brady while Tretiak was aerated for 8 goals on 31 shots. Bullock was a Vancouver Canuck in their inaugural NHL season playing 16 games over three seasons with a 4.79 GAA, Brady never made The Show.

Of course a mere three months after losing in Seattle, the Soviets would capture their thirteenth World Championship allowing only 18 goals over the 10 games of the tournament.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Malkin's 21 Assists, Most in One Month in 17 Years

Evgeni Malkin just wrapped up the month of November with 21 assists in 15 games. This was the most helpers by a player in a calendar month since 1996. The guy who last collected 21 assists in January of 1996 was Wayne Gretzky. The Great One did it in 13 games on the way to a 79 assist campaign.

Of course this was far from the best assist total in any one month of Gretzky's career. In fact, he collected at least 25 assists in 11 different months over his career. Five different times he had months of over 30 assists! Gretzky's best month total was in December 1985 when he notched an amazing 36 assists over only 14 games.

Amazingly, this was his first of FOUR months in a row in which he would have at least 25 assists. Naturally this was the season that Gretzky set the all-time record for assists in a season with 163.

His amazing run included along with 36 assists in December, 31 in 15 January games, 26 in 11 February games and 31 in 14 March games.

Gretzky's last 30 assist month was in March of 1988 when he had 33 in 14 games. For Malkin, he's on pace to eclipse his personal best of 78 when he led the league the only other time in 2008/09.

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