Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Flyers, Rangers, 40 Years Since the Last Game Seven

Dorhoefer Puts Flyers In Cup Finals read the Associated Press headline in May 6, 1974. This game was the last time the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers played a game seven, until this evening. After sweeping the Atlanta Flames, the victory put the Flyers into their first ever Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins. The Rangers had beaten Montreal in six games before bowing out almost 40 years ago today.

In 1973/74 Gary Dornhoefer was a 30 year old veteran among up and coming stars Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Rick MacLeish. In this seventh game the Rangers Bill Fairbairn opened the scoring before MacLeish tied it at one with just over five minutes remaining in the first period. The goal was amazingly the 11th in 11 playoff games for MacLeish who would end up with 13 in 17 games overall. Orest Kindrachuk put the Flyers ahead for good early in the second before Dornhoefer made it 3-1. Steve Vickers made it 3-1 early in the third ahead of Dornhoefer's eventual game-winner nine minutes into the final frame. Pete Stemkowski made it a tense final five minutes for Philly but Conn Smythe Trophy winner Bernie Parent shut the door for the Flyers who out-shot New York and Eddie Giacomin by 46 to 34.

The Flyers would of course go on to beat Boston 4 games to 2 to take their first Cup. Dornhoefer played four more seasons in Philadelphia before retiring in 1978 with 202 career goals in 725 games. He moved into broadcasting and was a colour commentator for Hockey Night in Canada from 1978 to 1986.

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?"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bobby Baun and The Broken Leg Goal; 50 Years Ago Today

"Goal Made Ankle Feel Better"
That was the headline by the Canadian Press fifty years ago today after Toronto Maple Leaf, Bobby Baun scored the overtime winning goal in game six of the Stanley Cup finals. "The puck came back to me on the bounce just inside the line. It was on edge, I swung and saw it take a big hop into the net," Baun was quoted after the game. The goal, at 1:43 of overtime at Detroit's Olympia equaled the Stanley Cup final at three games apiece. Baun, of course had been carried off the ice on a stretcher in the second period after collapsing in front of Johnny Bower while taking a faceoff. Baun had earlier been hit on the outside of his right leg by a Gordie Howe shot and continued playing. It was on the ensuing faceoff, as he spun on that right leg did he fall to the ice in pain.

Baun being carted off in the 2nd period
Baun would return before the period was over and after the game speculated he had suffered a pinched nerve, "Let's wait until the doctor looks at it before we try to say what it was, but that winning goal sure made the ankle feel lots better." He had indeed suffered a hairline fracture of his fibula. Detroit defenceman Bill Gadsby lamenting the winning goal said afterward, "I didn't see the puck until the last second, then it was too late to get the stick out of the way. The puck just ticked enough to deflect past Terry." Sawchuck himself added, "It's simple, Baun's shot hit Gadsby's stick and went past me. I couldn't move on it. That's all. You saw the game."

Baun would not actually find out he had been playing on a broken leg until he allow his leg to be x-rayed until after Game Seven, which he played in with his leg heavily taped and frozen. He was even named one of the game stars in the 4-0 Toronto victory.

Interestingly, the 1964 finals could have been remembered for something entirely different that Bobby Baun's heroics. It was on the verge of becoming the first EIGHT game Stanley Cup final in history. As the Canadian Press wrote before the seventh game, "Should the teams remain tied after one overtime period Saturday, Toronto's curfew law would force an eighth game in the Ontario city." Toronto the Good and it's puritan ways would have caused Stanley Cup history.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Archived Maple Leafs Photos

Dec 2, 1967

I found these old photos in a Toronto archive website, some great forty-plus year old action shots. The first one is of the first year Oakland Seals visiting Maple Leaf Gardens. Toronto won this game 3-0, out-shooting  Oakland 49 to 38. Leaf Jim Pappin and Seals goalie Charlie Hodge are shown trying to track the flight of the puck. Ron Ellis potted his 10th and 11th of the season, Mike Walton had his 14th, Tim Horton collected two assists and Johnny Bower notched the win.

April 18, 1967
This one is the sixth and final game of the semi-finals from the previous season. Toronto beat Chicago 3-1 to advance to the Cup Finals, out-shooting the Hawks 37-35. Leaf defenders Larry Hillman (2) and Marcel Pronovost (3) are watching Terry Sawchuk kick out a shot as Lou Angotti looks to pounce. Brian Conacher and Pete Stemkowski beat Glenn Hall for goals while Pat Stapleton scored for the Hawks.

April 29, 1967
Ron Ellis (8) gobbles up the lose puck as Terry Sawchuk looks on and Larry Hillman guards the crease. Toronto took a three games to two Stanley Cup Final lead over Montreal on goals from Pappin, Conacher, Pronovost and Keon. Sawchuk turned aside 37 of 38 shots for the victory.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Keon Hat-trick Eliminates Habs, 50 years ago today

Some cool photos from the Montreal Gazette newspaper after the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Canadiens in game seven of the 1964 Stanley Cup semi-finals. Above is Dave Keon scoring the winning goal with 15 seconds left in the third period to complete his hat-trick.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1949 Montreal Gazette Hockey Cartoons, Part 3

Another batch of John Collins' hockey cartoons about the 1949/50 NHL season from the Montreal Gazette.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

1949 Montreal Gazette Hockey Cartoons, Part 2

Here's a few more fantastic hockey themed cartoons from the pen of John Collins. They appeared in the Montreal Gazette in November and December of 1949.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

1949 Montreal Gazette Hockey Cartoons

In my time spent on google newspaper archives, I have come across some terrific sports themed cartoons in the old Montreal Gazette paper. These fantastic pieces of artwork were done by John Collins. Collins was one of Canada's greatest cartoonists and from 1941 to 1973 was the official cartoonist of The Gazette. As well as sports themed subjects he tackled all matter of national and international political events. During the hockey season, he did a hockey themed editorial cartoon every second day or so. 

These ones are from the first few months of the 1949/50 NHL season and commonly depict the angle from a Montreal Canadiens view and their quest to supplant Toronto as the top team in the league.

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