Friday, April 25, 2014

Maple Leafs Win The Cup; 50 years ago today

"That fluke goal by Baun Thursday night in overtime is what killed us," lamented Gordie Howe after Toronto defeated Detroit in game seven of the 1964 Stanley Cup finals. Howe continued, "I can't remember the last time I was this tired. These playoffs were really tough, especially on an old guy like me." Detroit coach Sid Abel added his analysis of the final game, "That second goal by Keon in the final period finished us." Toronto had held a 1-0 lead since Andy Bathgate scored 3:04 into the game when Dave Keon scored in the fifth minute of the third.

Punch Imlach said of his team, "They acted like champions and they played like champions. Three of them went out there with their legs frozen. What more can I say - what more could I ask?" Along with Baun's broken leg, Carl Brewer had his ribs and leg frozen and Red Kelly suffered damaged knee ligaments in game six. After game seven he was taken to hospital in a wheelchair.

Inside the champions' dressing room afterwards there was a combination of joy and chaos. Captain George Armstrong repeatedly drank champagne from the Cup as prompted by photographers until he finally had to yell for help, "Someone else hold this thing. You guys have been fighting for this all year, now the least you can do is hold it for a second."

Carl Brewer slumped against the wall and sang "The Maple Leaf Forever".

Ed Litzenberger opened beer bottles on his skates.

Several players heaved President Stafford Smythe in the showers.

Prime Minister Lester Pearson shook hands all around.

Above the din, Eddie Shack shouted at Imlach, "When's the next practice Punch?"

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