Category Archives: Maurice Richard

A Brief Bee Hive Moment: Hal Laycoe’s Big Night With The Rocket

 From 1934 to 1967, if you mailed in a Bee Hive Corn Syrup coupon, they would send you a free photo of most any player you requested. They were divided into three groups over the years, and this photo of Hal Laycoe comes from Group 2, which covered the years between 1944 to 1964.  Bee Hive photos were fun to collect and because everyone asked for the Rocket or Beliveau or Horton  or Armstrong etc, the lesser players like the Habs’ Tod Campeau and Vern Kaiser and others are extremely rare and valuable.

Hal Laycoe had been a friend of Rocket Richard’s when both played for Montreal, but after Laycoe was traded to Boston, he and the Rocket took centre stage one night in what led to a big-time piece of hockey history.

It happened like this. Laycoe had highsticked Richard one night in Boston, but play continued with no penalty called. This upset the Rocket very much. He skated up to Laycoe, smashed him in the face and upper body with his stick, and was soon subdued by the officials. But this didn’t stop Richard. He kept breaking away from the linesmen to get at this former friend, Laycoe, and he even broke his stick over the Bruin player’s back.

Linesman Cliff Thompson got hold of Richard again, but the Rocket broke loose and punched Thompson twice, which wasn’t the greatest idea. It simply wasn’t a good situation all round.

All of this led to Richard’s suspension of the remaining games in the season, plus the entire playoffs, and you know the rest of the story.

Of course it was the 1955 Richard Riot on St. Patrick’s Night In Montreal.

 

 

 

You Didn’t Think It Would Happen. Fascinating Facts Are Back!

 
Fascinating Fact #1…..Kyla Bremner, a woman wrestler competing for Australia in this year’s Beijing Olympics, is a native of my town, Powell River, BC. She’s on the Australian team because her mother is Australian. But make no mistake, she’s a Powell Riverite.

Fascinating Fact #2……I recently saw a documentary on Russian Czar Peter the Great. Peter would often go incognito to Europe, with a shaved mustache and old hat, and the documentary showed a painting of him in this mode. And lo and behold, he looks a dead ringer for deceased Russian hockey star Valeri Kharlamov.

 

Fascinating Fact #3….Maurice Richard wore number 15 before he changed to number 9, which was the weight of his daughter Hugette when she was born. (9 pounds). (I think you already know this, though.)

 

Fascinating Fact #4……When the Rocket was playing for the Verdun juniors in 1939, he took boxing lessons in the off-season. He became so good at it that he was entered into a Golden Gloves competition, but a damaging punch in the nose by his coach prevented him from participating.

 

Fascinating Fact #5…..New York Astrologer and psychic Monte Farber, bragging about the accuracy of his predictions, claims to have predicted that the New York Giants would beat the Green Bay Packers and win the Super Bowl. I’ve saved the clipping about his other prediction, which I’ve kept on my fridge since the spring, because I’m curious if he’s going to be right or not. He predicts the New York Yankees will face the San Francisco Giants in the 2008 World Series. Right now the Yankees are about five games back, and the Giants ten.

Fascinating Fact #6…..Leaf star Darryl Sittler and his wife Wendy were staying at Paul Henderson’s house and looking after their three daughters when Henderson scored those big goals during the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series.

The Best Jobs In The World. Yes – Better Than Your Job.

1. Retired Famous Race Horse. You were Northern Dancer and Secretariat, and you were the toast of the town. You retired on top of the world and were given a fancy stable and told to get out into the field and make love to the finest fillies out there. Whenever you feel like it. Every day.

2. Guy Who Crashes Cymbals In A Symphony Orchestra. You’re in Carnegie Hall, and the horns and violins are working their way up to big crescendo. The crowd is enthralled, and then, at the precise moment, you crash your cymbals.
That’s it! And for this you get to wear an expensive tuxedo, make lots of money, and probably even sign a few programs!

3. Red Fisher. Play poker with the Rocket, Beliveau, Harvey, and Geoffrion on trains to Chicago, Boston, and the rest. Go for a cold one after the game with Lafleur, Savard, and Robinson, and talk shop. Cover the Montreal Canadiens and become just one of the boys for nearly fifty years. HE MAKES ME SICK.

4. George Martin. He’d put on his cardigan sweater, jump into a limo to take him to studios like Abbey Road, and help the Beatles weave their magic on their recordings. He was there almost from the start, and he also made zillions doing it.

5. Playboy photographer. Do I really need to explain this one?

6. Phil Pritchard. Phil’s job is to babysit the Stanley Cup, 12 months a year. He takes it all over North America and Europe so players from the winning team can show it off where they live. He brings it out onto the ice with his white gloves on when a team wins it in the final game. He’s practically married to it, and it never talks back.

It’s A Big Year For The Habs And Their Fans. And I’m Counting Down. How Many Days To Go?

Only 62 days until the Montreal Canadiens, chomping at the bit, suit up in Buffalo for their opening game of the 2008-2009 season. They’ll look splendid, these men in their red, white, and blue uniforms, the same kind as worn before by Howie and Maurice and Jean and Guy. They’ll be fast. Their passes will be perfect. Their shots will find the back of the Sabres’ net. It’ll be their first win in a long line of wins in the season.

The second win will come the next night when they take the short hop into Toronto, where a third of the crowd will cheer for them, and where again, they’ll be fast, their passes will be perfect, and their shots will find the back of the net.

62 days to go. We’ll go through the Beijing Oympics. The mosquito bites will heal. The evenings will become shorter. Kids will have new lunchpails and school clothes. A few more weeks and cottages will be boarded up for another year. Baseball will wind down. Football will be in full swing. There’ll be a chill in the early morning.

The boys are golfing now. They’re barbequing. They’re sitting in their back yards and having the neighbours over. Ryan O’Byrne is behaving like a saint.

Every day they work out. They practice on ice and on floors. They lift heavy things, and they run. They do all the things players of yesteryear rarely did.

They’ll be ready when they go to Buffalo.

This is the year they can win the Stanley Cup. They know it, I know, and most Habs fans know it.

And Buffalo fans will know it when the game is over, 62 days from now.

Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll. Or Reading This Blog. Tough Choice

There’s lots of reasons why I hate long holiday weekends.

 

Instead of reading this blog, you’re peeing in some bacteria-infested lake with a slimy bottom, or sitting on a porch of a cottage, swatting mosquitos and black flies and looking at your watch.

 

It’s your fault that we’re having trouble with gobal warming. You and your fancy cars and ATV’s, bombing around, burning gas that’s becoming more expensive than a Georges Vezina rookie card, just so you can get away for awhile and throw a frisbee around.

 

How do you expect to learn about the Rocket and Mats Sundin and Tom Kostopoulos and the rest when you’re half drunk in the bush, playing crib and ogling the chicks in bikinis when your wife or girlfriend are bent over the fire checking the corn on a cob?

 

If you stayed home and did nothing, time would go slower for you and your long weekend would be even longer. But no, you choose to fight long lines of traffic, long lines into the beer store, and burn precious gas as time flies by. And by the time you reach your beach, cabin, cottage, fishing creek, the weekend’s half over and pretty soon you’ll be burning more gas as you stop and start along the highway going home, usually while nursing a hangover and thinking that you have to get up early tomorrow and go to work.

 

After a few hours in the wilderness, don’t you realize how much you stink with body odour?

 

If you’re a young person in your late teens, early twenties, you’re probably thinking that after buying the perfect bathing suit, the coolest sunglasses, the flip flops, the tanning lotions, and the ipods, you’re going to be partying like crazy and end up getting laid. But before you know it, you’re puking, you can’t find your false teeth, and that chick you wanted to get to know better bolted like a deer after you started making amazonian whoops at the top of your lungs while telling everyone you have to go take a dump.

 

What’s wrong with a nice quiet evening at home. You turn on some soft blues, pour some wine, light some candles, and settle down to some joyous Kane blog reading?

 

Who needs long weekends? Canoe rental places do. Beer stores do. Mosquitos do. I don’t.

 

And you don’t either if you really think about it. But don’t worry. If you absolutely need to spend all that coin on gas and beer and new shades, and all that time going to and from for a few smelly hours of frisbee, then go ahead. No one will stop you.

 

Just remember this. You’re missing good blog stuff.

 

But I’ll be here when you get back. 

 

 

Steve Buzinski and The Rocket

I tried to get in touch with someone from the Buzinski family. I tried Saskatoon and Swift Current. I tried Calgary, where Steve Buzinski’s son Peter was supposed to live. But I had no luck anywhere. It’s too bad. I would’ve liked to have learned more about the man.

Buzinski was a goalie for the New York Rangers on the night of November 8, 1942, when Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard scored his first-ever goal in the NHL.

Of course, being scored on by the Rocket was nothing to be ashamed of. Richard scored on dozens of the poor, padded chaps. This Ranger rookie just happened to be the first, that’s all.

Rocket was 21 years old and wore number 15 at the time for the Habs. He had yet to change to number nine, and he was still a few broken bones away from becoming the icon he became.

Buzinski had been called up from the minors to replace the Rangers’ goalies Chuck Raynor and Sugar Jim Henry, who were both enlisted to fight in the war overseas. Buzinski’s career was only nine games, letting in 55 goals, and he had a not-too-good average of more than six goals a game.

The Rangers soon released Buzinski, and the youngster returned to Swift Current and worked for the federal government until his retirement.

I would have liked to have known what Buzinski thought about his Rocket connection. Was he proud of the fact? How was the goal scored? Did the Rocket scoop the puck up for a souvenir? And why did Buzinski not play in the minors after being released by the Rangers?

But I couldn’t find any of his family, so I have no idea.

Free Stuff For A Guy Who Doesn’t Need Free Stuff

Business people in Vancouver have decided to sweeten the pot for Mats Sundin, as if twenty million just might not be enough for this aging star.

 

People who make in a year what Sundin tips at his favourite restaurant are offering, among other things, free luxury cars from two different dealers, and a lifetime of free dental work, including all the fancy stuff like bridgework and dental surgery. Another has offered a lifetime of cosmetic work for His Worship’s girlfriend, like facials, nails, and whatever else it is that women get done. Then there’s the usual free meals, free drinks, free clothes, free this, free that.

 

In fact, it looks like an absolute free ride for Sundin if he chooses the Canucks.

 

Montreal, on the other hand, has offered seven million dollars a year, but their extra enticements seem a little more tempting. There’s that chance for Sundin to finally win a Stanley Cup. There’s the opportunity to wear the fabled Montreal Canadiens sweater. He can hang around with Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore. If he did excel, he’d join the list of great Habs like Richard, Beliveau, Harvey, Moore, Lafleur, and Mahovlich, instead of a list that includes Smyl, Linden, Rota, and Kurtenbach. He’d play in the most exciting rink in the best hockey city in the world. And he’s three thousand miles closer to Sweden than Vancouver is.

 

Surely that should be more than enough.

 

But if he decides to play, wherever he goes, he’d better be good. It’s getting a little silly.   

My Dad Came From The Days When Hockey On The Radio Was Just As Good Seeing It On High Definition

My dad was born in 1920. He’ll be 88 in a couple of months.

 

He told me yesterday he really misses hockey from days gone by. About Foster Hewitt on the radio on Saturday night, telling him how Turk Broda was making a sprawling save, about Blake and Richard, Bill Barilko and Busher Jackson and all the grand old players from way back when.

 

Saturday night was a big night, he said. And when television came along, the only problem was the game started at the beginning of the second period.

 

After that he said he didn’t understand all the money players are making now.

 

Then we changed the subject and went on about chasing Nazi war criminals in South America.

Get Out Of Your Easy Chair, Mats, And Do What You Should Be Doing

I’m not like Mats Sundin. I have to go to work today. So do you.

 

I think Mats Sundin will sign with the Montreal Canadiens. And it’s only because the main rival to the Habs for Sundin’s services are the Canucks. Thank goodness it’s the Canucks. Everyone else has spent their allowance.

 

And even though Vancouver has offered Sundin three million a year more than Montreal, the bottom line is, Sundin wouldn’t mind winning a Stanley Cup, which the Canucks won’t be doing anytime soon. And his previous team? There’s a thousand jokes about that.

 

But the Habs will. Maybe even next year. Sundin knows this, of course, and anyway, what’s a lousy three million? Sundin lights his cigars with that kind of money.

 

I do however, think it’s a little rude on Sundin’s part to make teams wait. He’s a good player but he’s not the Rocket. And I’ll bet he’s enjoying the attention.

 

Just retire at 40 or 41, Mats. Consider yourself lucky that teams like the Montreal Canadiens are willing to pay you seven million dollars and give you a chance to win the Stanley Cup, something that was only a hallucinatory dream in Toronto. And of course, Mats, that along with your aging birth certificate comes aging bones, and if you go on the injury shelf, Montreal still pays you your millions.

 

So it’s a win-win for you. You probably don’t play a lot, you win a Stanley Cup, and you make your seven million. WHAT”S THE PROBLEM? 

 

Retire at 38 years old and turn down millions of dollars? Imagine?

 

How many of us can do that?

 

 

 

 

 

Take A Break From The Madness And Watch Something Wild!

Jaromir Jagr’s been reported to have signed with the Russian club Avangard Omsk of the new Continental Hockey League, and the list gets smaller.

 

The Continental Hockey League will begin play in September, and consists of 24 teams, 20 of which are from the Russian Super League, plus one lower-tier Russian club, plus teams from Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Latvia. The plan is to also land teams from Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic etc down the road, and be a major rival of the NHL.

 

So  that’s where Jagr is going, if the reports are true, and anyway, I’m not sure he would’ve been a good fit in Montreal. He’s just a shell of his former self. And anyone called Yammy and not Rocket, le gros Bill, or le Demon Blond, probably doesn’t belong in a cherished Montreal Canadiens uniform anyway. These uniforms are reserved for players NOT called Yammy.

 

This free agent madness has been going on for days now, and I’m sure you’re as tired as me about all the nonsense of overspending, speculation, Mats Sundin, Marian Hossa, waiving no-trade clauses, blah, blah, blah.

 

You need a break. So just click on this gem sent to me by Mike, and allow a lttle amazement into your life. If you don’t speak french, don’t fret, the talking only lasts a few seconds. Then the real action begins. Enjoy today, enjoy a break, enjoy some pool.            dominoespool