Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hockey Hall of Fame Photos From Collections Canada

Edouard 'Newsy' Lalonde in his mid-70s
I've been sifting through Library and Archives Canada hockey photos on the Collections Canada website and found these awesome ones from the early 1960's. They are all from the early 1960's (the Hall opened in 1961). I find it pretty cool seeing some of hockey's greats in these photos. Even though they are 30 or 40 years removed from active playing, a good hockey fan can still recognize them.
Two of the greatest defencemen of alltime, Eddie Shore at right, King Clancy 3rd from right.
Art Ross, Lloyd Turner, Lester Patrick, W.A. Hewitt, Newsy Lalonde, 'Red' Dutton on Opening night, 1961
As a kid, I remember going to the old Hockey Hall of Fame at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto. I went pretty much every year in the 1980's and judging by these photos, it looked pretty much the same as it did in the 60's. The Hall moved downtown in 1993, and the displays improved immeasureably.
Joe Malone in his early 70s and Aurel Joliat in his early 60s
Opening Ceremonies of The Hall. August 26, 1961
The Rocket, likely on his induction day in 1961 and Cyclone in his mid-70s
The Trophy Room

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sittler's Five Goal Playoff Game

"He beat me every way you could think of tonight. Sittler gives you no warning. You can't anticipate when  he comes in like you can with a lot of other guys. He just wheels around and you've got only an instant to react," the words of Flyers goaltending legend Bernie Parent after being ventilated for five goals by the Maple Leaf great.

It was 40 years ago to the day and Darryl Sittler had just equalled an NHL record for goals in a playoff game as Toronto tied Philadelphia at three games each in the Quarterfinal round.
Parent continued, "He caught me shifting my weight and I was off balance." Apparently Bernie was off balance quite a bit on this night as Toronto won 8-5.

Sittler commented, "I just got lucky again, like on February 7," the night of his famous ten point game. He shared the fact that he had put his stick under one of coach Red Kelly's lucky charm pyramids and felt that the spell worked. "The spell was marvellous". Leafs owner Harold Ballard stated that should Toronto beat "The Flyers and Kate Smith in the Spectrum" he was going to "move one of the real pyramids from Egypt to Toronto and dedicate it to 'Khufu' Kelly".

The game also featured 185 Penaly Minutes assessed to both teams a new record for a single game. Of course the Leafs went on to lose game seven by a score of 7-3, and Ballard saved the extreme cost of moving one of the great pyramids to Toronto.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Another 1980/81 Hockey Pack

Let's open up another pack of 1980/81 Topps Hockey cards, shall we! A few weeks back I chronicled the opening of my first pack of this scratch-off silliness, here and the best card I got was a Gretzky Assists Leader, not too shabby. Lets's see what we get here.
Marcel Dionne All-Star
Charlie Simmer All-Star
Boom, right on top of the pack, two First Team All-Stars Dionne and Simmer. They're worth about two and one dollars each. Two-thirds of the Triple Crown Line (along with Dave Taylor), one of the greatest lines in hockey history. Definitely a good start to this pack.
Ryan Walter
Well, the good luck didn't last long. A second year card of the serviceable Ryan Walter. At the time of this card, he was the youngest captain in NHL history. He would go on to help the 1986 Canadiens win the Stanley Cup, card worth fifty cents.
Mark Howe All-Star
Oooh, another All-Star card, and Hall of Famer! This one of Gordie's kid is worth about 75 cents. In truth, I'm not really sure why Howe got an All-Star card this season. Even though he put up 80 points in 79/80 he actually finished fifth in voting for defence, behind fourth place Jim Schoenfeld who garnered the actual end-of-season Second All-Star spot. Howe would go on to grab three First Team spots in the 80's and posted a +85 rating in 85/86, the 8th highest of all time.
Barry Long
Well, he WAS a two-time WHA Second Team All-Star, so he's got that going for him.
Blair MacDonald
Here's Gretzky's running mate on his first NHL card after having two WHA issues. I play beer-league hockey against his son, who's a realtor in North Vancouver...(he's a bit of an ass on the ice). Card is worth fifty cents.
Terry O'Reilly
The ultimate Bruin here coming off a 61 point, 265 penalty minute season in 79/80. Like I said, very Bruin-like. Fifty cents.
Don Edwards
Seventy-five cent card of the Second-Team All-Star from 79/80. Edwards shared the Vezina (which was a team trophy back then) with Bob Sauve after going 27-9-12 with a 2.57 GAA.
Larry Robinson
Here's another previous season First All-Star AND Norris Trophy winner. Robinson collected 75 points in his second of two Nirris seasons. Card worth two bucks.
Perry Turnbull
The first rookie card of the pack. Turnbull notched 16 goals his first year and would blossom to 34 goals this season. He is NOT brothers with ex-Maple Leaf, Ian Turnbull. Card is a buck.
Minnesota Team Poster
Sweet poster insert of the North Stars. This season they would surprise many by going all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose to the Islanders in five games. These posters are worth two bucks each.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hockey Photos From Government of Canada Archives

Si Griffis, Newsy Lalonde, Allan Parr, Smokey Harris, Sibby Nicholls, Frank Patrick, Jack Ulrich, Tommy Phillips
I recently discovered the online archives of the Library and Archives of the Government of Canada. Within, I found these terrific old hockey photos. The first one (above) is labelled simply Vancouver Hockey Team 1912-13 with a few familiar faces but no names listed. The Society for International Hockey Research database made identifying these guys fairly easy. The team is the Vancouver Millionaires and the photo itself it looks as if the team picture was taken in a sauna room. I'm not certain why an all wood room was chosen as location for this, but I like it.
Vancouver Asahi 
The next photo from the archives is this cool one of the Vancouver Asahi hockey club. The Asahi (Morning Sun) are better known as a baseball squad from Vancouver's Japanese community competing in the Terminal League from 1914 until 1941. It would seem the club also had a hockey team, at least in 1919/20. The club was disbanded when after the attacks at Pearl Harbour, Japanese Canadians were subsequently re-located to internment camps.
W. Johnston
The last two photos are titled simply "W. Johnston of the Vancouver Hockey Club. March 1915". I'm assuming this is just a Senior level squad from way back when, but I can find no W.Johnston in the databases. For that matter, I can find no mention of a team specificlly referred to as Vancouver Hockey Club. Either way, I like the olde-tymey logo.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

How To Watch NHL Playoffs with No Canadian Teams, From a Leafs Fan

In the change room of my beer-hockey game the other night, as we put on our pungent gear,  the topic arose of the upcoming NHL playoffs. My defence partner Pat Kelly (of CBC's "This is That" radio program) shared that it will be tough for him to watch the playoffs this year with no Canadian based teams qualifying. Not at all, I told him. As a Maple Leafs fan, I have become accustomed to watching the post-season with no rooting interest. This season will be the tenth of the last eleven that Toronto has not made the cut to play extra hockey in April. Regardless of this, I look forward to the playoffs every season. Honestly though, the majority of fans of Canadian teams should be quite familiar with no playoff hockey along with us Leafs fans. Edmonton has missed the last ten post-seasons, Calgary has missed 6 of the last 7, Winnipeg 4 of the 5 seasons they've been back in Manitoba and even Ottawa has now missed 4 of last 8. Here's some easy ways to enjoy the playoffs when your team doesn't make it.

1. Enter a Playoff Draft Pool
This is a no-brainer. Personally, I've been in a regular season and playoff draft with the same bunch of guys for over twenty years. Every October and April we gather to select players for our pool teams, this is a terrific way to create or maintain interest in the NHL post-season. Last year I drafted Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith with my first and third picks and ended up with five of my ten selections in the Cup final. This of course made it much more interesting for me to watch the playoffs and allowed me to win the pool by 11 points.

2. Cheer For a Favourite Former Player of Your Non-Qualifying Team
For me this season, it's the James Reimer rule. Perhaps the most well-liked player the Leafs have had in years was traded at the deadline to San Jose. Predictably, he has excelled with a superior team in front of him, and may challenge Martin Jones for playoff starts. It's tough not to root for a guy like Reimer. Phil Kessel, now of Pittsburgh, may also garner some support from fellow Leaf fans during the playoff run. Maybe I'll just pick a Penguins/Sharks final, could happen.
3. Cheer Against Your Most Hated Team
This one is usally easy for me, I cheer for whomever Montreal or Vancouver are matched up against. Man, that 2011 Cup Final was just terrific. This one may prove to be tougher this year with no Canadian teams in the playoffs, in that case, perhaps cheer against teams with players that you hate, like Ryan Kesler's Ducks or Brad Marchand's Bruins.

4. Ask Your Wife or Kid To Pick a Team
This works sometimes when doing my weekly NFL picks. I'll ask my 10-year old daughter, "Honey, who would win between a Bear and a Lion?" or "Which colour do you like more, green or orange?"
You can try this with the NHL playoffs if you want. "Sweety, who will win between the Sharks and the Ducks or the Panthers and Bruins?...umm it's another name for a bear." Then you can ask, "OK, who will win between a King and a Wild?...umm, a Wild? I'm not sure either dear."

5. Pick the team with the Most Canadian-born Players
I've had friends of mine use this method for Stanley Cup Finals that don't involve Canadian teams. Looking at current rosters of playoff and possible playoff squads, the number of Canadian born players on each roster is as follows;
Florida 16, NY Islanders 15, Anaheim 15,  St.Louis 15, Philadelphia 14, Los Angeles 14, Dallas 14, San Jose 13, Pittsburgh 11, Minnesota 10, Washington 10, Chicago 10, Nashville 10, NY Rangers 10, Boston 9, Detroit 8,  Tampa Bay 7
So, you can cheer for a Florida or Islanders vs. Ducks or Blues Final. More likely, just cheer for Anaheim and St. Louis to meet in the conference final and take it from there.
6. Root for Overtime
Personally, this is the real main reason that I watch playoff hockey. I watch each and every game that goes to overtime, and I hope they go three or four extra periods. I have great memories of Petr Klima scoring against the Bruins in the 1990 Final and Pat LaFontaine against the Capitals in 1987. Or, even game one of the 2007 playoffs when Dallas and Vancouver went almost 4 extra periods. The longer these go on, the better. The desperation and exhaustion of the teams in these games is rivetting to me. Also, there are no television timeouts and commercials in playoff overtime, this is a good thing. Cheer for a game to get to overtime, grab a beer and sit back and enjoy. To make it even more enjoyable, I allow an extra beer for each extra overtime period.
Using one or all of these simple suggestions, I'm certain the fan of any Canadian NHL team will still be able to enjoy the upcoming playoffs. Hopefully this will be the last year this happens for a long, long time.

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