Category Archives: Chicago Blackhawks

A Little Leafs-Hawks Hockey From 90 Years Ago

1929 was a time of Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, Ace Bailey, Aurele Joliat, Dit Clapper, Lester Patrick, and so many greats of the game.

 It was a ten-team league at this time – Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, the Montreal Maroons, and the NY Americans in the Canadian Division, and Boston, the Rangers, the Detroit Cougars, Chicago, and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the American Division.

 This minute and a half home video from 1929 features Chicago and Toronto, and is a fascinating look at how hockey was played way back then. (And back then, it was the Chicago Black Hawks, not the Chicago Blackhawks. The name was changed to one word in the 1980’s.)

 And the ice cleaners at the end of the clip are something to behold.

A Rocket Program Before He Became The Rocket

      

 This is a program from the Quebec Senior Hockey League, featuring a young Maurice Richard playing for the senior Canadiens, farm team to the big club. The program is dated January 25th, 1942.

Maurice (he wasn’t called the Rocket yet) had signed with the senior club the year before, for the 1940-41 season as a 19 year old, and in his two seasons there, played only 22 games because of an assortment of injuries including ankle and wrist fractures. (Because of numerous injuries in the early days, Richard was turned down trying to enlist in the Canadian army.)

 Nine months after this game-night program, Rocket signed his first contract with the Habs, on Oct. 29, 1942, and 16 games later, broke his other ankle.

 Also listed in this program is future star and captain of the Habs, goaltender Bill Durnan, with the Montreal Royals. Other players sprinkled throughout include future Habs Floyd Curry and Glen Harmon, and Jim McFadden, who later on played for Detroit and Chicago.

Jean Beliveau Gives His Thoughts While In Vancouver

Jean Beliveau was in Vancouver this weekend and gave a really nice interview with The Province’s Jim Jamieson. I thought you might like it. 

 

Q: What does the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens mean to you?

A: I find myself to be very fortunate to be part of it; I’ve been with them since Oct. 3, 1953 when I signed my first contract. I’m a very lucky man. I’ve never been traded and been with the organization for 55 years.

 

Q: How is your health these days? You had some health issues about eight years ago.

A: One morning I was shaving and noticed something on my neck. It turned out to be a malignant tumour. I had 36 treatments of radiation. It’s been 8 1/2 years and we are more optimistic every year.

 

Q: How many children do you and your wife have?

A: I have one daughter who is 51 and two grand-daughters, 24 and 22. The first one is an artist, she paints; and the second is a nurse.

 

Q: You auctioned off some of your memorabilia earlier this year in aid of the Jean Beliveau Foundation. What does your foundation do?

A: When I retired in 1971, the Canadiens presented me with a cheque for $155,000 and I turned it into a fund. In 1993, I turned it over to the Quebec Society for Crippled Children. Now the foundation is worth about $1.5 million and we have given about $1.5 million. I’m very proud.

 

Q: You were a part of the great Canadiens teams that won five straight Stanley Cups in the last half of the 1950’s. With today’s salary cap in the NHL, do you think we’ll ever see that happen again?

A: In today’s hockey it’s going to be difficult. A team is built around four or five guys, if you’re lucky enough to have them. But it’s very difficult to keep them now. If you start playing young, you’re free at 26. Teams have to rebuild all the time.

 

Q: We seem to be seeing more hits from behind and shots to the head today. What would you do to reduce it?

A: I played 23 years and never wore a helmet. I don’t know how players can hit someone from behind when he’s facing the glass. I have a hard time with that. I hope the league finds a way to get rid of it before somebody gets seriously hurt. If you’re suspended it hits the pocketbook.

 

Q: Who was the most difficult goaltender, defenceman and forward that you ever played against?

A: I always had a lot of respect for Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk. On defence there were some great ones – Bobby Orr, because of his speed, won the scoring championship. Red Kelly in Detroit also, but every team had a great defenceman when there was just six teams. At forward, I always had respect for Gordie Howe. He could do everything. Every time we played Chicago I was out against [Stan] Mikita and against Toronto it was [Dave] Keon. The Rangers had Jean Ratelle and [Rod] Gilbert, but there were so many others.

 

Q: Who was the best player you played with on the Canadiens?

A: Well, Maurice [Richard] of course, but I used to play with him mostly on the power play. My line was [Bernie “Boom Boom”] Geoffrion and Bert Olmstead, so we had two offensive lines and a good checking line. Also, we had Doug Harvey on defence. He could control the speed of the game like a general out there.

 

Q: The Canadiens power play was so dominant in the 1950’s that you actually forced the NHL to change the minor-penalty rule because your team would often score multiple goals on the same man advantage.

A: We had Maurice on the right, Bert Olmstead or Dickie Moore on the left, and and Harvey and Geoffrion on the point. One night against Boston (Nov. 5, 1955) I got three goals in 44 seconds on the power play. So they changed the rule that a player would come out of the box after one goal.

 

Q: How have you seen the NHL change through expansion?

A: I’m not surprised there are a few cities in the south that seem to have problems. Here in Canada, everybody has skated and they know about the game. In the morning when I check the summary of the games, I look at shots and attendance. In the US, the attendance is increasing it seems after the Super Bowl.

 

Copyright (c) The Province

Guest Blogger With A Great Name Tells His Story

A fellow in Vermont contacted me after finding this site, and sent in this story.  He and I have one major thing in common. We have the same name. 

The Hockey Story of another Dennis Kane
 
I recently came across your site and was drawn, I admit, less because I am a die-hard fan of the Canadiens, than because I think you are the first other Dennis Kane I have come across.  I am, I’m sure you will be relieved to know, a hockey fan, both my daughters and my son played through high school.  The oldest two played club hockey in college and the youngest is aiming to play in college next year.  She is now playing for the Taft School in Connecticut.  So I have been to countless youth games.
 
I was raised in New Jersey and was never a hockey fan growing up.  Upon moving to Vermont to go to graduate school I discovered the college game where a ticket to get into some University of Vermont games was as tough as getting in to see the Yankees when they were winning.  What really got me hooked was following UVM when Martin St Louis, Tim Thomas and Eric Perrin played together and the team went to the Frozen Four.  St. Louis and Perrin were amazing to behold and once I saw St. Louis come within 1 second of scoring a hat-trick of short-handed goals.
 
My friend and I started a tradition of taking my son and his friend to college conference tournaments every spring for eight years and they still talk about those trips to rinks all over the northeast US.  We also began to follow the UVM players in the NHL including John LeClair, Patrick Sharp and now, Torrey Mitchel of the Sharks and so have seen a bunch of games of the Lightning, Bruins and Blackhawks.
 
My one hockey experience at the Fourm was watching the USA play Canada in the World Cup and seeing Gretzky, LeClair, Hull  and a host of majors stars play an amazing game (from our perspective, anyway).  It was quite an experience cheering for the USA at that game.  Not much of a hockey history compared to a life-long Canadiens fan I’m sure.
 
I still live in Vermont.  I’m 60 years old and play in a fantasy hockey league with my son and his friends. (I won last year).  My branch of Kanes was for many years in northern NJ and has been traced to Ireland.
 
I put your site on my favorite list and will be checking in on my hockey rounds.  The Canadiens look good this year and seem to be strong in every position.  It would be a great thing for them to win it all this year.
 
Nice to come across you.  You might be interested to know that I have always remembered when I was in high school in some literature class the teacher used my/our name as an example of a particularly smooth sounding phrase, a “euphonious” phrase that she compared to Mark Twain’s favoite of “cellar door”……..go figure……my 15 seconds of fame.
 
Nice to come across you
 
dennis

Dennis Kane
Director
VT Higher Education Collaborative
VTHEC.org

The Carolina Hurricanes Have A Secret Weapon

It should be really interesting to see how the Canadiens rebound from their less-than-stellar performance against Anaheim when the Carolina Hurricanes blow into town.

 

The Hurricanes are no slouches so far this season, but they’re not setting the world on fire either. Led by Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, and Rob Brind’Amour, this team has so far garnered a 4-2-1 record for nine points. Montreal stands at 5-1-1 for 11 points, so they haven’t exactly left the Canes in their dust.

 

However, the Canes have a special weapon, like so many great teams in the past have had. Boston had Orr, Edmonton, Gretzky. Detroit, Yzerman, Chicago, Bobby Hull etc. etc.

 

Carolina has Sergei Samsonov.

 

You can’t really look at the numbers. Okay, so he has no points and is minus 3 after seven games. But I’ll just bet, by the time the season has wound down, this Russian forward will have accumulated probably four goals and two assists!   

 

You know, there was a time when Samsonov was a real player – when he was a fresh-faced newcomer in Boston. He had been a primo Junior star in Russia, and in his first year in Boston, he won rookie of the year. But it all went away, never to be seen again, like dinosaurs, or Milli Vanilli.

 

Samsonov was soon dealt to Edmonton where they paid this underachiever 7.05 million over two years, and of course, he underachieved. From Edmonton it became Chicago, then the minors, and now Carolina, where they’re giving the guy 7.6 million over three years.

 

Every good young player in the minors, and those in the NHL making much less than Samsonov, must wonder what kind of Houdini tricks this guy knows.

 

Samsonov was the ultimate failure in Montreal too. In his year there, 2006-07, he notched nine goals and 17 assists in 63 games. He had become the new Vladimir Krutov, which certainly would give Canucks fans something to shudder about.  However, there’s no word on Samsonov’s hot dog eating abilities, which Krutov was a force to be reckoned with during his short stay in Vancouver in 1989. He was labelled Vladimir Crouton.

 

Montreal really needs this game on Tuesday. Get back to their winning ways. Get back on track. Don’t let Samsonov score.

 

And I’d like to see Alex Kovalev explode. It’s time. He needs to have a big season, like last year.

Another Brief Beehive Moment – Billy Reay Was The Guy With The Fedora

 For the longest time when I was a kid, I had no idea Billy Reay played for the Canadiens. I associated him with the enemy, and the enemy only.

 

The very first time I went to Maple Leaf Gardens, Billy Reay was the guy I could see from my seat in the greys, and he wore a fedora as he stood behind the Leafs bench, coaching his Leafs and trying to beat the Habs.

 

Of course, lots of men wore fedora’s back then. But he was the only one standing behind the Leafs’ bench.

 

And I was surprised when I learned when I got a bit older that he had once been a solid player for the Montreal Canadiens.

 

Reay played left wing in Montreal from 1945 to 1953, winning two Stanley Cups with Montreal in 1946 and  1953. After that, he coached the Leafs from 1957 to 1959, but the interesting thing is, some of the Habs brass wanted to hire him as coach in Montreal in 1955 but decided to go with Toe Blake instead.

 

So he didn’t get the job with the Habs and ended up with the Leafs a couple of years later in 1957, and two years later was replaced by the feisty Punch Imlach, another guy with a fedora. In 1963 he began coaching the Chicago Blackhawks and remained there until 1977.

 

Billy Reay holds the honour of inventing one of hockey’s more cherished traditions – raising the arms and stick in celebration after scoring a goal.

 

But in my mind, he was the guy in the fedora standing behind the Leafs bench who I could see as I looked way down from the greys in Maple Leaf Gardens.

 

(For all the Brief Beehive Moments, with more in the future, just go to Brief Beehive Moments in categories and click away.)

 

 

See Ya Later Mats. Welcome Aboard Robert Lang!

Waiting for Mats Sundin to figure out what he wanted to do turned sour after about the first month. And finally, in the middle of September, with training camp close to happening, Bob Gainey made his move.

 

Because I’m sure Gainey was even more sick of the Sundin thing than we were.

 

So he went out yesterday and landed centre Robert Lang from Chicago, and now the team is set for training camp with all the pieces in place, and scoring Lang instead of Sundin isn’t that bad a thing at all.

 

It’s all strength down the middle now, with Lang, Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec, Maxim Lapierre, and Kyle Chipchura.

 

Robert Lang’s been around. He’s 37 now, and has played with six previous teams, LA, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, and Chicago, and was even Alex Kovalev’s centreman in Pittsburgh. He’s a playmaker who averages 50 points a year, and is going to be, in my estimation, a key player with the Habs.

 

This means the Canadiens are now a mix of older and young, of experience throughout, with Carey Price beginning his second full season.

 

The Canadiens gave up a second-round draft pick in 2010, which is fine. Because this is a team gunning for all the marbles this year, their 100th season, and the time is ripe.

 

This Lang thing puts me in a good mood. I’ve got big expectations for him. They say he might he play alongside Kovalev, just like in the old days. And he seems really happy to come to Montreal, which is of the utmost importance. “You never want to get traded or have to move your family,” he said, “but I think it’s going to be a great situation. It’s a great hockey town.”

 

Of course it is, Robert. It’s the greatest hockey town on the planet. You’re walking into a great thing, and I know you’re 37 years old, but you now belong to a historic and legendary team and you’re going to do great.

 

Welcome aboard, Robert. Wear the CH with pride.

 

ALSO:

 

Patrice Brisbois has resigned with the Habs and this is good too. Brisebois, mistakes or not, is a classy guy with something to offer, but unless there’s an injury from another blueliner, he won’t see tons of ice time. 

 

And this is another guy who wants to play in Montreal and had hoped that Gainey would resign him so he could stay. And he may even pop the odd power play goal.

Mothers Throw Things Out. It’s Just What They Do. No One Knows Why… Plus… A Boston Bruin Behaving Badly.

Even in 1934 the Boston Bruins were a dastardly bunch. Of course, that’s not anything new. Every year they’re a dastardly bunch.

 

Why is that? Does it have something to do with the Babe Ruth curse, or trading Bobby Orr to Chicago?  I think it’s something only schooled professionals might be able to figure out.

 

For example, in 1934, Bruins defenceman Eddie Shore clubbed Toronto’s Ace Bailey over the head. In fact, he clubbed him so hard, he ended Bailey’s career by fracturing his skull.  But worse than that, he almost ended the poor guy’s life.

 

It was such a terrible situation that later that same year, a charity game between the Leafs and the league’s best players was held in Toronto to help the Bailey family, and $23,000 was raised.

 

And this was the beginning of the annual NHL all-star game. 

 

When Shore did this to Bailey, my father was 14 years old, and he felt bad about what had happened. So he wrote a little get-well letter to Bailey while the player lay between life and death in a Toronto hospital.

 

A while later, a letter arrived for my dad, and it was from Bailey’s wife, thanking him for his kind thoughts.

 

And what happened to the letter?

 

It disappeared when he went into the army, never to be seen again, he explained. Must have got thrown out by his mother, he added.

 

Why do mothers throw out their kids’ good stuff, like hockey cards, baseball gloves, favourite t-shirts that might only have a few holes in it, and letters from Ace Bailey’s wife?

 

Mothers might not be as dastardly as the Bruin Bruins, but they throw out good stuff.

Bring Back Hockey Coins

 This is a set of Sherriff/Salada hockey coins from 1961-62. I’ve had these since I was eleven years old. They came in Jello and potato chips, and I pressured my mom to buy handfuls of Jello instead of just one or two. So we had a kitchen cupboard with lots of open boxes of Jello in it. I also ate more potato chips than any one human should possibly eat.

 At school we would play closest to the wall, just like hockey cards, and I was devastated if my hoard of coins had dwindled. But on the other hand, if I went back to class after recess with dozens more than I had started out with, then all was right with the world. I think it was kind of like having sex before I really knew what sex was.

 You could send away to the company for the shields, which I did, but after putting them in their holes and trying to hang them on the wall, most would fall out because they didn’t fit well. So I added small amounts of glue to the backs. When you see these coins in their shields on ebay, which you don’t see very often, most have been glued like mine.

 These plastic hockey coins began the year before, in 1960-61 and I had a bunch of them years ago, but not anymore. They also came out as metal coins in 1962-63, and I still have the full set of these.  And there were no shields available for these other years.

 The coins made a comeback in 1967, but I don’t think they became all the rage like they were in the earlier years. These later coins have become quite rare and valuable because, I suppose, there just weren’t that many.

 Baseball and football also had their own coins, as did old cars and airplanes. But it’s the hockey coins that I cherished the most. 

 They should bring back hockey coins for the modern generation. Maybe they’d get kids away from computer games for awhile.