Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Maple Leafs 1932 Stanley Cup Win by Lou Marsh

I was recently sifting through the online archives of the Toronto Star newspaper and came a cross the account of the Maple Leafs' first Stanley Cup victory. The April 10, 1932 account of the game by the legendary Lou Marsh reads like poetry at times. The writing of the day certainly was more flowery and descriptive than today, but Marsh took it to the highest level. I've posted the entire write-up but have highlighted some of the best prose below.

"There is the unmistakable answer to the slimy insinuations of the Slippery Sam’s who insidiously sent it out over the “grapevine route” that the Maple Leafs would toss off Saturday night’s third Stanley Cup game for the sake of two more big gates for the Gardens and their club."

Apparently there was talk that the Leafs, after winning the first two games of the best-of-five on the road, they would rather extend the series to enjoy at least one additional home gate. Marsh took great exception to this notion.

"And what a lacing the Leafs gave Colonel Hammond’s Hussars in their emphatic answer to the murderous attack upon the integrity of professional hockey."

I had to look up hussar, it refers to a variety of light cavalry. Hammond was of course the original president of the New York Rangers.

"There never was a moment when the issue was in doubt – never a second when that mob of hockey-mad fanatics doubted the integrity of the team or its ability to trounce the Patrickmen."

"Stop me if you have heard this before – No team you ever saw would have beaten those Leafs Saturday night! They were a team – a real team. Every man jack was in there and starring – doing his bit plus."

This third game, even though only a 6-4 win for Toronto was apparently dominated by the Leafs throughout. Patrickmen refers to coach Lester Patrick.

"Lester Patrick tried everything in a hockey general’s repertoire to stem the avalanche of speed. His big, burly defence men hurled themselves into the Leaf forwards relentlessly and his forwards not only tried to match speed with speed but crashed as recklessly as dervishes crashed Gorden’s squares of British redcoats."

Although difficult to confirm, I'm assuming this reference pertains to the American revolution.

"And the crowd acknowledged their keen, rugged, plucky effort by cheering them to the echo as they fraternized with the joy-mad Leafs and together – victor and vanquished – they dragged their weary, battered bodies to the showers."

After the game, the Maple Leaf Gardens faithful applauded the efforts of the plucky Rangers before they exited the ice surface.

"The Leafs stepped out like quarter horses – all hot and raring to go."

I may get this line tattooed across my back, it's so great.

"In the last two minutes of play young Chuck Conacher, 205 pounds of TNT, let one of his smoke shots go from away over by the fence just inside the blue line. Roach, as game as a badger, threw himself in front of the sizzler and it hit him under the heart. The terrific impact drove him back into the nets, but he straightened up again and the puck was cleared."

Here, Marsh describes an incident were Ranger goaltender John Ross Roach was nearly incapacitated by a drive from Leaf Charlie Conacher.

"The Mighty Man from Ottawa – just a wan drawn shadow of the sturdy warrior who started out last November for the Leafs – battled his way down and made the play for Blair’s first goal, which was the opening tally, and he laid it into every Ranger attacker who came roaring down his side of the defensive area."

This could be no-one other than The King, King Clancy that is. 

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