Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Maple Leafs Magazine Project #7

Here's two nice covers from the late 1970's featuring "The King" Borje Salming. The first one is an Action Sports Hockey magazine issued in February 1978 while Salming was in the midst of his fourth of six consecutive All-Star seasons. The previous year, 76/77 he was named to the First All-Star team after producing 66 assists and 78 games. Salming finished second to Larry Robinson for the Norris Trophy by a vote of 186 to 157. The King's season was so good that he even finished fourth in Hart Trophy voting (the highest defenceman) and also placed fifth in voting for the Lady Byng Trophy.
The second magazine is another Action Sports Hockey dated March 1979 again with Salming on the cover. This season, Salming put up 73 points in 78 games and was again named a Second Team All-Star. He also finished seventh in Hart Trophy voting, the second and final time he received votes as Most Valuable Player in the league.
Inside this issue there is also an article on Leaf goaltender Mike Palmateer being one of the top goalies in the NHL. In fact he placed third in All-Star voting behind only Ken Dryden and Chico Resch. Palmateer also placed fifth in Hart Trophy voting on the strength of a 2.96 GAA and .909 Save Pct. The Maple Leaf goalie actually topped the NHL in a stat called Goals Saved Above Average with 48.84. This mark still stands as the fifteenth best season all-time. Sadly, 1978/79 would prove to be Palmateer's last great season as knee issues limited his ability and he played only five additional seasons.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Maple Leafs Magazine Project #6

I've always quite liked the illustration of Eddie Shack attacking a Montreal Canadien on the front of this 1965 Hockey Illustrated magazine, probably because it's from the pen of Jack Davis. Davis was a re-knowned illustrator in the second half of the 20th century, perhaps best know for his work in Mad Magazine. The 1965/66 season proved to be one of the best in Shack's career as he posted 26 goals after scoring only 5 the previous season.
Inside the magazine, there is an article titled "Big League Hitters Are Baun...Not Made" about the bodychecking prowess of Leaf defender Bobby Baun. He was in the midst of his tenth NHL season but would play only 44 games in 65/66 with no goals and a mere six helpers.
In February 1966 Hockey Illustrated once again featured the Leafs, picturing Johnny Bower and Bobby Hull on the cover. Bower posted a career high Save Percentage in 65/66 with a .930 mark. This was the fifth time in seven years that Bower topped the NHL in Save Pct. Appropriately there is an article inside titled "Johnny Bower's Secrets of Goaltending".  Toronto would finish fourth this season with 74 points and lose to Montreal in the Semi-Finals 4 games to 2.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Maple Leafs Magazine Project #5

Here are two beautiful magazines with Toronto Maple Leaf covers from 1964. The first is a December 1964 Hockey Illustrated featuring a terrific shot of Johnny Bower stretching to make a save against Red Wing Marcel Pronovost. The Leafs had won the previous three Stanley Cups, but would slip to fourth place in the 1964/65 season and lose to Montreal in the Semifinal. Toronto had claimed goalie Terry Sawchuk in the Intra-League Draft in June 1964 in order to help the now 40-year old Bower in the Leaf nets. Bower, who played 51 games in 63/64 in front of back-up Don Simmons, had his workload cut to 34 games in 64/65. The duo of Sawchuk and Bower proved successful enough to garner the Vezina Trophy as Toronto allowed the least number of goals against. 
The article headline inside the magazine declares "The Leafs will be stronger than ever!", alas The Big M was a bit off in his assessment. Mahovlich himself was voted to the Second All-Star squad alongside teammate Carl Brewer, but it seemed the Leafs were aging out of their Stanley Cup window.
Dave Keon is pictured on this nice cover of "Official Sports Inc Hockey" magazine as he battles two un-named Boston Bruins. Like most Leafs, Keon's numbers dipped a bit from the three-time Cup winning season 63/64 to 64/65. His points dropped from 60 to 50 and he even slipped a spot in the Lady Byng voting from 2nd to 3rd. Although Keon was only 24-years old, the Maple Leaf core (Armstrong, Kelly, Bathgate, Horton, Bower & Sawchuk) around him seemed to have reached their prime and were on the decline.

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