Tag Archives: Johhny Bower

Name Scribblings

Tim Thomas has just signed an exclusive autograph deal with some company which obviously has money to burn, for $300,000 for one year.

I pulled out my trusty calculator and found that if Thomas signed 8×10’s that sold for 20 bucks, he would have to sign 15,000 in one year for this company to get their money back. That’s a lot of pictures. Are there 15,000 people out there willing to buy Tim Thomas’ autograph?

That’s good work if you can get it. All that money for signing your name. As much as the Prime Minister makes. You can even write off all the pens you go through as a business expense in your Online Tax Software.

I wouldn’t spend 20 cents for a Tim Thomas autograph. In fact, if I was rich, the only autographs I would consider buying would be Babe Ruth’s, Howie Morenz, and the Beatles.

I did, however, have a look in eBay for you if you’re interested in a Scott Gomez autograph! And no, there’s no need to thank me.

I found lots stuff signed by Gomez, and they range from five bucks to thirty bucks. Can you imagine how much beer you could buy for thirty bucks? There was an 8×10 of Gomez in a Habs jersey selling for $15.32 or best offer. I don’t mind the 32 cents part.

And I noticed a Scott Gomez game-worn pair of skates from when he was a Ranger, selling for $300.00. This might be a good deal, but only because the skates might cost more than that at the local sporting goods store anyway.

And by the way, his signature sucks. Look at this mess. In my mind this is just laziness and shows no respect for the fans.

Now have a look at these that I also noticed on eBay. These are people who take their time, and show respect to the fans. Nice signatures, that you can read. Jean Beliveau, Johnny Bower, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, and John Bucyk.

 

Gentlemen, Start Your Skates

Carey Price is under the weather and may not play in the season opener Thursday night in Toronto. C’mon Carey, shape up. Up and at ’em. Eat six raw eggs and drink a half pint of cod liver oil.

Or if all else fails, smoke a doobie. But not too close to game time.

Finally, after all these months, hockey returns for real. And the schedule maker may have other issues, but having the Habs and Leafs go at it in game one is very good. 

It goes without saying that Habs and Leaf fans love when these two play each other. The rivalry between teams is an old one, a great one, and for those who don’t know, many years ago, many, many years ago, the Leafs were a force to be reckoned with.

I know. I read it somewhere in the Old Testament.

I have my mom’s diary beside me that she wrote when she was a teenager, and the entry for April 18th, 1942 is: “The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup tonight for the first time in years.” She was right. It had been ten years since they’d won it before that, in 1932. Overall though, the team in blue has captured the hardware 13 times, which is better than anyone else except our guys, of course. (Detroit has won it 11 times, the Bruins five).

And imagine the Stanley Cup playoffs ending on April 18th.

My mom knew the Leafs’ Bucko McDonald when she was growing up in Sundridge, Ontario, where he’s from, and it’s entirely possible she liked the Torontonians as a young girl. Maybe all those times she helped me type letters to the Montreal Canadiens at the kitchen table, she was secretly a Leaf fan and never mentioned it. (Bucko is known for another reason too: he coached Bobby Orr in nearby Parry Sound when Orr was a wee lad and McDonald can certainly claim some responsibility for helping Orr grow as a player in his formative years).

As a hockey fan, I have great respect for much of the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Conn Smythe and Frank Selke building the team in the early days; Turk Broda, Syl Apps, Hap Day, the Kid Line, Bill Barilko. Later, Tim Horton, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Johnny Bower.

The Eddie Shack – John Ferguson battles that usually led to bench-clearing brawls. Backstrom and Keon lining up for a faceoff. Punch Imlach with his fedora and arrogant smirk. Harold Ballard saying and doing the outrageous, often distastefully and lacking a certain amount of grace and decorum. But he was a fixture and mover and shaker at the Gardens for decades.

All those many nights when the Canadiens and Leafs went toe to toe at the Forum and Maple Leaf Gardens and fans got their money’s worth in spades.

The story of hockey in many ways is the story of Montreal and those dastardly Toronto Maple Leafs.

But I’m a Habs fan, and so I do what I always do – hope for a Montreal slaughter, a gigantic take-down of the boys in blue. I want a demolishing, a trouncing, a slaughtering, a one-sided embarrassment. It’s not too much to ask.

Bring ’em on. Bring on Komisarek with the bad passes and bad penalties, bring on the unlikable duo of Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Kessel. In fact, on the subject of Grabovski, here’s a lovely little read in case you missed it; Couple sues Maple Leaf.

Random Notes:

Roman Hamrlik is still nursing his sore knee but seems almost ready. Andre Markov says it’s a secret when he’ll return, and Mike Cammalleri stays in civvies for one night only for getting down and dirty against the Islanders in pre-season. Hey, you don’t mess with Cammy.

 

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.

 

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