Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Connor McDavid, Sizzling Hot


Future Edmonton Oiler Connor McDavid is making quite a mockery of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. His team Erie holds a two games to one lead over Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL Semifinals. McDavid has played 12 games and ripped 18 goals and 14 helpers for 32 total points. Crazy. He's eight points up on second place Nick Ritchie. Just how does this performance compare to previous top rated prospects since 1990? Let's have a look at what these 18 year old phenoms did in their final junior playoff year, including the Memorial Cup if applicable.

Player, Team, Year GP-G-A-Pts Pts/Game
Connor McDavid, Erie, 2015         12-18-14-32  2.67
Taylor Hall, Windsor, 2010            23-22-22-44  1.91
John Tavares, Oshawa, 2009          14-10-11-21  1.50
Patrick Kane, London, 2007           16-10-21-31  1.94
Rob Schremp, London 2006           19-10-37-47  2.47
Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, 2005     18-20-22-42  2.33
Corey Perry, London, 2005             22-15-30-45  2.05
Corey Locke, Ottawa, 2003            23-19-19-38  1.65
Brad Richards, Rimouski, 2000      16-17-30-47  2.94
Pavel Brendl, Calgary, 1999           24-25-28-53  2.21
Justin Papineau, Belleville, 1999    25-22-32-54  2.16
Vinny Lecavalier, Rimouski, 1998 18-15-26-41  2.28
Cameron Mann, Peterboro, 1996    29-31-18-49  1.69
Jarome Iginla, Kamloops, 1996      16-16-13-29  1.81
Alex Daigle, Victoriaville, 1993         6-5-6-11    1.83
Pat Falloon, Spokane, 1991            19-18-18-36  1.90
Eric Lindros, Oshawa, 1991           16-18-20-38  2.38

These are guys that were highly touted as NHL prospects and all are from their 18 year-old season of junior. As we can see, not all of them panned out as expected. One of the highest point per game rate here is Robbie Schremp who has played just over 100 NHL games and spent the past season in Sweden. Even still, McDavid's production is better than even re-knowned junior studs Crosby, Tavares or Lindros. 

How does McDavid compare with final junior playoff seasons of some of the greats of all-time?

Player, Team, Year GP-G-A-Pts Pts/Game
Bobby Orr, Oshawa, 1966                         29-21-43-64 2.21
Guy Lafleur, Quebec, 1970                       27-43-36-79 2.93
Gilbert Perreault, Montreal, 1970             28-34-40-74 2.64
Marcel Dionne, St.Catherines, 1971         20-34-30-64 3.20
Mike Bossy, Laval, 1975                          16-18-20-38 2.38
Wayne Gretzky, Sault Ste. Marie, 1977   13-6-20-26   2.00
Dale Hawerchuk, Cornwall, 1981            24-23-24-47 1.96
Brian Bellows, Kitchener, 1982               20-22-19-41 2.05
Pat LaFonatine, Verdun, 1983                  19-14-26-40 2.11
Mario Lemieux, Laval, 1984                    17-30-25-55 3.24
Vincent Damphousse, Laval, 1986           14- 9-28-37  2.64
Joe Sakic, Swift Current, 1988                 10-11-13-24 2.40

Obviously, it's common for the top-rated junior players to dominate during the swan-song of their junior career. This is not to say that McDavid is guaranteed to be as good as Gretzky or Lafleur or to be a bust like Schremp or Cameron Mann. It sure is fun to compare the numbers though.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

1966 Coca-Cola Booklet, Dave Keon


A few months back I posted my Johnny Bower version of this cool promo from Coca-Cola, I recently picked up the Dave Keon issue. Who better to teach kids "How To Play Forward (Defensive)". 

A young Keon with Father Bauer of St. Mikes
Keon taking the puck from, it looks like  Frank Mahovlich

Pure hatred for the Habs










Keon with his little pal, Red Kelly



Keon and the Prime Minister

Thursday, April 16, 2015

1961/62 Maple Leafs Shirriff Coins


One of the newset additions to the Den is this wonderful item. A 1961/62 Maple Leafs coin set with the display shield. These were issued by Salada Foods in Shirriff potato chips and Salada tea, jelly, pie-filling, and pudding. 1961/62 is the only year the shields were available by order. 


These shields are made of a flimsy plastic and are usually chipped along the edges like mine, if they survived at all. Check out the entire 20 coin set featuring everyone from Mahovlich and Keon to Larry Keenan and Johnny MacMillan.





Below is an ad for the original coins and shields.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cyclone Taylor 1956; Not Enough Individuality In Hockey


Cyclone Taylor, out for a skate at the PNE Forum in 1948

"There aren't enough individual stars in hockey today simply because the young lads aren't being given a chance to develop their own style." 
This was hockey legend, Fred "Cyclone" Taylor in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen from December 1956. He continued, "There used to be Howie Morenz, Syl Apps, along with many others, to catch the eye of the public. Now Jean Beliveau is a standout despite today's method of training an athlete. But there isn't much chance of finding another Apps or Morenz because the hockey people are too busy with their system of mass-hockey. They don't appear to want individuality."
Cyclone may have had a good point, that season (1956/57) was somewhat lacking in real star power after a select few. This was the last good season for Maurice Richard before retiring in three years, and other than Beliveau, Howe, Lindsay and Bathgate the league was fairly non-descript. Others finishing in the top twelve in scoring that year were Ed Litzenberger, Don McKenney, Johnny Wilson and Real Chevrefils. 
Taylor continued his analysis, commenting on youth practices held at Vancouver's Kerrisdale Arena,"They have 40 to 60 youngsters on the ice at the same time. They get very little hockey because they're crowded into one end of the rink." Taylor also blames the advent of television as one of the problems as well,"Folks have taken to the habit of taking things easy in their living-rooms. It'll wear off though, and when that time comes hockey should have something to offer the public, not just the mass gang-stlye game in evidence these days."
Taylor, who was 71 years old at the time even admitted that he may come across as a crabby old man, "Of course, anything I say would sound like sour grapes. They'd just shrug me off as an old-timer who refuses to admit hockey players today can match the stars of another era." Fear not Fred, your complaints and points are astute today as they were 60 years ago.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mystery Maple Leafs Photo; Jan. 21, 1959

Harris, Olmstead, Chadwick, Duff
Here's another of the photos of Maple Leafs behind the scenes found in the City of Toronto Archives. This one is actually dated January 21, 1958 which really helps in naming the unidentified players, although this one was fairly easy to figure out.

On the left is a 23 year-old Billy Harris who was in the midst of his best NHL season. He would finish second on the team in scoring with 22 goals and 52 points. The next one over is the easily recognizable Bert Olmstead. He was claimed from Montreal prior to the 58/59 campaign in the Intra-League draft and had a nice year with 41 points, fourth on the Leafs.

Second from right, wearing the goalie pads is Ed Chadwick who had played every game the previous two seasons but was in the midst of being challenged by Johnny Bower at this point. Chadwick played 31 games in 58/59 posting a 2.97 GAA, but would play only 8 additional NHL games in his career. On the right is Leaf point leader in 58/59, Dick Duff who scored a career high 29 goals and 53 points.

The Leafs on January 21, 1959 were in their second month under the control of new coach Punch Imlach. They finished with 65 points in 70 games, fourth in the NHL, sneaking into the playoffs on the last day of the season. They eventually lost in the Cup final to Montreal four games to one. On the day of this photo however they had reason to smile, having just beat the Habs 3-1. The reason these four were photographed together becomes clear when we learn that Chadwick turned aside 32 of 33 shots and Harris, Olmstead and Duff were the goal scorers.
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