Tag Archives: Johnny Bower

Habs/Leafs Set To Blast Off


Gally and Chucky are a tad older now (although, on the downside, Andrei Markov and Mike Weaver are too), the Canadiens are coming off some postseason deepness and liking it, and sixteen skaters (counting newcomer Eric Tangradi), are at least six feet tall.

The size factor has zoomed up considerably with Brian Gionta, Daniel Briere, and most recently Francis Bouillon, no longer in the picture. In fact, the roster, as it stands now, lists 11 guys all at 6’2″, which in my eyes is darn close to the perfect hockey player size.

It’s not that small guys can’t be key contributors. They certainly can be and it would be nonsense to say otherwise. But when there’s an abundance of small guys on one team, the team will often get bounced around like Brad Marchand’s three brain cells when the going gets rough.

It seems the Canadiens also have a nice balance of guys of young and not-quite-so-young. In fact, unless something changes, it’s only Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Bournival, Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Jiri Sekac under 25 years old, and it’s only Weaver, 36, Markov, 35, and Manny Malhotra, 34, as the overly-wrinkled veterans.

Tweaks have been made (- http://dennis-kane.com/summer-notes-from-habsville/), and the Canadiens should be labeled a legitimate contender, which is a sensational feeling. Unless you hate them of course.

It begins on Wednesday when they play the worst sports franchise in North America.

Yes, against those wacky Leafs.

It was ESPN who named the Leafs the worst, with the decision based on affordability, coaching, fan relations, ownership (honesty and loyalty), players (effort and likability), stadium experience, bang for the buck (wins per fan dollars) and title track (championships won or expected).

Pretty sure it costs an arm and a leg to see the Laffs at the ACC. They’ve increased their ticket prices by 53% this year, with the average price being $423.65.

But at ticket outlet “Vivid Seats”, one can grab a pair to see them and the Habs battle from down low, centre ice for slightly more. Just $1213 a seat.

However, if you want to wait until, say January, when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the ACC, you can get a great seat through Vivid for just $385.00!

Likeable players? Probably not on this year’s team. But Johnny Bower has always seemed likeable. King Clancy. Some of the usherettes. I’m sure there’s more.

Stadium experience? I dunno. Are the hot dogs good?

Wins per fan dollar? The team hasn’t won much of anything in four and a half decades, which makes the fan dollar so low that when I do the math, the team should be paying the fans.

You can lump “wins per fan dollars and championships won or expected” together if you want. However which way you slice it, with these two categories being part of the criteria, ESPN should just hand the award to the Leafs permanently and come up with something new.

“Championships expected”? Yes, any year now, the Leafs will win the Cup. Said Don Rickles.

I don’t pay attention to the coaching and ownership so I can’t comment. I suppose they’re trying, but it’s the Maple Leafs they own or coach. How much trying can one do?

Habs and Laffs finally set to go. A big night for sure, even if one team is the worst franchise in North America.

Signing Bonus

What a nice group of important signatures on this sheet that I managed to get my grubby hands on recently, had them authenticated, and now are mine.

A page consisting of:


The one and only Danny Gallivan. (Until now I’d never seen a Danny Gallivan autograph although there must be some floating around considering he did a lot of banquets and charity events, especially in the Maritimes.

Dave Balon, who passed away in 2007 after a 30-year battle with MS.

Max Bentley, The “Dipsy Doodle Dandy from Delisle”, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966.

GordieVic Howe
Gordie Howe and his brother Vic. Vic played 33 games with the New York Rangers in the early-1950s.

John Ferguson, who needs no introduction.

Clarence Campbell, former league prez, inducted into the HOF in 1966.

Bill Hicke, former Hab who died of cancer in 2005.

Garry Peters
Garry Peters, a Canadien for 17 games in the mid-1960s.

Plus these cool dudes –

John Bucyk – inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981
Pierre Pilote – inducted 1975
Johnny Bower – inducted 1976
Alex Delvecchio – inducted 1977

And two great defencemen-
Jim Neilson
Doug Barkley


The Great Allan Stanley

Allan Stanley died on Oct.18 and although I’m late in mentioning it, at least I am now.

He was a class act who played 21 seasons in the bigs, from 1948, when he broke in with the Rangers, until 1969 when he called it a day after a season in Philadelphia.

Solid as a rock from start to finish. And rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.

Mr. Stanley also suited up with Chicago and Boston, but it was his ten seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs that he is mostly known, where he helped win four Stanley Cups, including the Leafs’ last in 1967 when he and a handful of elderly teammates took out the Habs in six games.

Stanley was 41 at the time.

I saw this fellow play many times, both live and on TV, and although my memory has faded somewhat, I still recall that he was a steady and reliable defenceman, a big fellow who would get the puck up smartly to crafty forwards like Dave Keon, Bob Pulford, and Frank Mahovlich, and who would take no nonsense in his own end.

As much as I can say I despised the Leafs as a whole, I admired greatly the individual Leaf players from then. And that most certainly included Allan Stanley.

Below is a picture I  got when I was a kid, after I’d written to the Toronto Star or Telegram asking if I could have one. It’s Maurice Richard in 1960 scoring his final goal, his 626th, and along with Tim Horton, Henri Richard, Dickie Moore and Gerry Ehman is a grimacing Allan Stanley (with the “A” on his sweater), watching as the puck eludes Johnny Bower.

Mr. Stanley was 87 when he passed away. A good long life.


Allan Stanley


A Crashing Halt

The Canadiens had a decent third period, and maybe a goal early to make it 4-2 might have set the wheels in motion, but the goal didn’t happen, and the boys get hammered 5-1 in Ottawa. That’s fine. Maybe a good kick in the ass is healthy sometimes.

Ryan White didn’t help matters by taking two minutes for roughing and two more for mouthing off to the referee in the second period when the scored was tied at one. Because of his silly lack of discipline, the Sens suddenly led 3-1 and the game for all intents and purposes was over. This type of avoidable stuff can set in motion all kinds of nasty stuff, beginning with a loss, which could lead to another loss or three, and all of a sudden a team going good becomes a team going bad.

Sport can be a fragile thing, and blowing a fuse at the official is never the smartest thing to do. The guy in stripes always wins, and White needs to put on a dunce cap and go stand in the corner.

Lars Eller went from the first line to the fourth, than back to the first, then enjoyed power play time. Was he being punished, then rewarded? Will he be on the trading block soon? Is his job secure? Hey Danno, ask that eight ball, will ya?

This was only game six. Did Michel Therrien feel Carey Price was tired? I think the coach should have gone with Price in the hopes that the winning streak could continue. Why tamper with momentum? But Peter Budaj was in nets, and you can say he was fine and the team was fairly bad, but the bottom line was five goals going in. I think I would’ve waited at least several more games before I rested our number one guy. This isn’t a forty-year old Johnny Bower we’re talking about here.

At least the Canadiens continued their power play ways, although it was just one, a Tomas Plekanec marker helped by Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz. This goal was the opener, and at that point, all was right in the universe. Then the universe exploded.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Ottawa 32-27.

The G-Force kids were mostly a non-factor all evening. I guess they can’t be expected to rise us out of our seats every night. Okay, we expect it. It’s just not going to happen, that’s all.

Erik Cole and David Desharnais really need Max back. The three compliment each other, at least they did last year, and with Max gone for awhile, it’s not the same. Cole has created some dangerous moments, but Desharnais has been mediocre at best. The good thing is, we know he can play better. So we wait.

Next up – Saturday at the Bell, when the Buffalo Sabres provide the opposition.




Things On A Sunday Afternoon

As I wait impatiently for the Grammy Awards to start, I’ve decided to show a few pictures because….well, just because. Hope you don’t mind. And is it true the Grammys people have set aside a few minutes tonight to honour  Johnny Bower’s “Honky the Christmas Goose?” Will Johnny and Lady Gaga sing a duet? Will the Rinkydinks come out of retirement?

I was at a Kings-Flames game in Calgary some time ago and took this photo of Wayne Gretzky chatting with the Kings trainer. I just wanted you to see how stylish the trainer looked. Nice socks.

This isn’t just any pin, this is a homemade silver pin my ex-brother-in-law had made for me one Christmas. This is one of my all-time favourite Chirstmas presents not only because it’s a silver Habs pin but because it also came from this fellow whom I was very close to. He also doesn’t talk to me anymore. He and his brother, who was also a good guy. I’m like a stranger to them now. But I understand this kind of thing.

One was a Leaf fan and the other liked the Wings. Both hated the Habs.

This young lady was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, and also happens to be my wife’s daughter. As you are well aware, there are Habs fans all over the place, even in Boston probably. Heck, come to think of it, I know two Habs fans in Boston – Diane, who likes both the Habs and Bruins, and her sister Nancy, who is a Hab fan through and through. But that might be it. I’m sure there are thousands in St. Petersburg, though.

My son was in Berlin way back and picked me up some rocks from the Berlin Wall. I’m just not sure if I’m crazy about the picture, which is Soviet leader Leonid Breznev and East German Communist leader Erich Honecker saying hello to each other. Brezhnev was a big hockey fan and was in attendance at the four games in Moscow during the 1972 Summit Series. No idea if Honecker liked hockey but he probably told Brezhnev he did as part of kissing his ass. And lips.

As you can see, I am the world’s greatest bartender, although I’m retired from the profession. This was given to me in Sudbury, right around the time of the Summit Series. I’m very proud of this. What, you don’t have one? Hah!

Danno sent me this last night. He said he’d been saving it, and finally sent it over after the big 5-0 blitzing of those Laffs.


It’s Not Just Pros Who Win The Stanley Cup

As my dad chops ice with an axe, four sticks rest comfortably against the house. They’ll wait until the Kinch brothers and McCready and Travis and a bunch of others are ready, and I’ll share my sticks with anyone who needs one. It’s going to be another road hockey game, another big goal into the top corner, and another Stanley Cup raised by me.

I won the Stanley Cup often on that snowy, street-lit, Orillia street, and I was always a Montreal Canadien. Sometimes I was just Kane, the kid with the brush cut who had cracked the Montreal Canadiens lineup and had won the game at the Montreal Forum with a quick shot that fooled Bower.

Sometimes I’d look over as we battled hard and I’d see my mom and dad watching by the door, and I’d run faster, shoot harder, and score that winning goal that won the Stanley Cup while they watched with pride. And I was proud to show them that their son was a good hockey player. 

What it must be like for parents of real players, who sit in giant arenas surrounded by 20,000 cheering fans, and see their son down below skating in the big league.  

We used rubber boots for goal posts, and usually a red, white and blue ball that bounced too much but it didn’t matter. The street was slightly uphill, so the goalies had to make sure they stopped it because the ball would get away and roll down Elmer Avenue. But what goalie could stop Kane? It was like trying to stop the Rocket.

We had to come in at some point – often after a scrap between me and one of the Kinch brothers. But that was all. Serious cold and frozen toes didn’t stop us, lopsided scores didn’t either. Just wrestling in the snow, suppertime, or Hockey Night in Canada.

Danno sends a nice clip about a bunch of guys in Tweed who’ve kept a road hockey tournament going for years, although it’s not on the road, with stats and the Stanley Cup. And as a bonus, they show how they made their Stanley Cup, which is very cool.

Have a look. I’m sure you’d like it.

Honky Enters The Contest Fray

The good old contest is going reasonably well and it’s just shocking that some people are making fun of those poor Leafs.

Doesn’t Richard Simmons play for the Leafs?

Anyway, keep ’em coming. Just complete the sentence “The Leafs suck so bad….” and you could win a $75 gift certificate at NHL.com that the folks at Pepsi, Lays and Gatorade gave me to give to you for mentioning their Mark Messier contest Bring Home the Cup .

You could even buy a Leafs’ jersey with this money! I’m sure they don’t cost much.

My new examples:

“The Leafs suck so bad, Johnny Bower tells everyone he was just a recording artist (Honky the Christmas Goose) so people won’t know what he really did for living.”

The Leafs suck so bad their groupies wear burqua’s.

The Leafs suck so bad the writers who cover the team have asked to be transferred to the obituary-writing department.

And here’s some shocking examples from people with very few morals:

dishonest john Says:
The Leafs suck so bad when you look up the word vacuum in the dictionary you find a Leaf team picture.

  •  Phil Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad they put Pamela Anderson to shame

    Danno Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad they’re just like my artificial Xmas tree. Back in the basement every year by January.

    Bryan Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad, they can’t even beat ‘em in the bowling alley, let alone on the ice.

    Tony Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad cause…..it’s hockey, not…..boxing!

    jan’scanuckhouse Says: 
    The Leafs suck soooo bad that I have come up with several:
    #7.-that they don’t even know the Stanley Cup has a colour.
    #6.-that Hoover contacted them to inquire about their secret.
    #5.-that they tried lately to trade Luca Caputi for Matt Cooke.
    #4-that the Haitian Embassy has cancelled their season tickets.
    #3-that Stamkos will get another mittfull of pts in TO tonight.
    #2-that even Don Cherry’s new book doesn’t mention them.
    and the #1 reason is that even David Letterman doesn’t have time for them…………….

    Christopher Cordahi Says: 
    Hope this doesn’t get you in trouble with Pepsi.
    The Leafs suck so bad, they deserve a crappy cheer like Eh, O’Leafs Go.

    Derry Says:
    Hey Dennis,The Leafs suck so bad ,they were all kicked out of hicke class.

    Robert Rice Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad, physicists have discovered a black hole forming at their training complex.The Leafs suck so bad, the ECHL has offered them admission into their league.The Leafs suck so bad, the stick boy has demanded a trade.

    Lefty Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad they’re the suckiest sucks who ever sucked.

    Danno Says:
    The Leafs suck so bad that there’s this pal of mine who was this cute little dog who watches all the Leaf games with him on TV. And one night I saw the little dog in a corner of the room crying his eyes out. So I asked my pal “What’s wrong with your dog?” He says, ‘Oh, never mind about that, he does that every time the Leafs suck.” So then I ask him “What does he do when they play great?’ He says, “I don’t know. He’s only nine years old.”And the moral of the story is:Too much truculence inevitably leads to suckulence.

    Mike Williamson Says: 
    DK, I’ll keep this short.
    The Leafs suck,because they are the LEAFS

    Christopher Cordahi Says:

    Ex-Leaf Lee Stempniak says the Leafs suck so bad that being traded to play in an empty building in the desert is a career improvement.

    jan’scanuckhouse Says:

    The Leafs suck so bad that their training camp is actually the set of “The Biggest Loser.”

    Phil Says: 
    The Leafs suck so bad… Why do I even bother? It’s just a waste of breath.

    Diane S. Says:

    Dennis the Leafs suck so bad that their fans are actually movie extras at the games paid by the mgmt. and not fans at all.

    The Leafs suck so bad that puck bunnies are now dust bunnies and not interested because bunnies only like hockey players.

    Habs Win But Shooters’ Guns Remain Quiet

    A quiet, uneventful, slightly boring 2-0 shutout by the Habs and Jarry Halak over the Florida Panthers is a nice thing. A good thing. A great thing. Two points.

    But the fact that the scorers have stopped scoring is a bad thing. (And Brian Gionta’s empty-netter doesn’t enter into the scheme of things.)

    Let’s face it – Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri have cooled off. Brian Gionta has yet to find his pre-injury legs, and Andrei Markov can’t be expected to carry an offensive load all the time when he’s a defenceman. Andrei Kostitsyn, who’s also been hot lately, is injured. Scott Gomez plays a steady game and gets his points, including two assists tonight, but isn’t one to usually pull the big trigger.

    And the plumbers have unfortunately stayed plumbers – Lapierre, Moen, Laraque, D’Agostini, Pacioretty, and sadly, Glen Metropolit, who made a huge impact earlier in the season and was counted on to be a consistent go-to guy but hasn’t lately. On many nights, the only difference between the plumbers on the team and the plumber who changed the pipes under my sink is the Habs plumbers keep their pants pulled up.

    All in all, we’re just not getting our money’s worth from much of the lineup.

    Goaltending, whether it’s Halak or Carey Price, has been good lately, both contribute nicely when called upon, and Tuesday’s shutout is a beautiful thing for all concerned. Pierre McGuire may be completely in left field when he insists that the Habs are obliged to trade Halak. What’s wrong with two good goaltenders? Toronto won their last Cup in 1967 because of the work of both Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk. Without both playing like they did, the Habs would’ve won that year.

    And Bob Gainey says he’s willing to look at extending Halak’s contract. It’s an ongoing saga.

    Random Notes:

    Devils in town on Saturday. This, of course, will be a real test for the Habs. The Devils are sitting first over-all in the east and they have the added plus of having a goalie named Martin Brodeur who historically brings his A-game to Montreal. Win this game, boys, and we’ll all be mighty proud.

    Montreal outshot Florida 39-38. but it seemed like a 21-20 game to me. Or am I still coming down off the magnificent World Juniors?

    The Leafs Haven’t Won Since Pamela Anderson Was A Virgin

    Leaf fans line up on Toronto's Yonge St. for the big 1967 Stanley Cup parade
    Leaf fans line up on Toronto's Yonge St. for the big 1967 Stanley Cup parade

    The Toronto Maple Leafs, who play the Habs on Tuesday, haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967.

    We all feel terrible about this. It’s a really long time ago, 42 years. And 42 years means – if you were born in 1967, you’re old enough to be a grandparent. You were born long before home computers and digital cameras. Electric typewriters were state-of-the-art technology. The Beatles still liked each other. Brand new cars that year are now antique classics. I was a rotten teenaged bastard at this time.

    Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Pamela Anderson were born in 1967. Expo 67 opened in Montreal. Not one player now playing in the NHL was born yet. And because there were no computers, it meant there were no blogs to remind everyone that the Leafs haven’t won in 42 years.

    It’s a long time ago.  A long, long time ago.

    Don Cherry had just turned 33 when the Leafs last won. Ron Maclean was 7, Jacques Martin 14, and Leafs coach Ron Wilson was 12.

    And Leaf players now? George Armstrong is 79, Dave Keon 69, Frank Mahovlich 71, Bob Pulford 73, Allan Stanley 83, and Johnny Bower is 85.

    Cost of Living 1967 (in the US, but similar to Canada)

    How Much things cost in 1967
    Yearly Inflation Rate USA 2.78%
    Yearly Inflation Rate UK 2.7%
    Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 905
    Average Cost of new house $14,250.00
    Average Income per year $7,300.00
    Average Monthly Rent $125.00
    Gas per Gallon 33 cents
    Average Cost of a new car $2,750.00
    Movie Ticket$1.25
    Polaroid Camera $50.00
    Parker Pen Set $11.95
    The Federal Minimum Wage is increased to $1.40 an hour


    A Close-Up Glimpse Of The Rocket’s Last Goal


    In the spring of 1960, Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard scored his final goal of his brilliant career. It was his 626th goal, and it occurred in Toronto during the Habs four-game sweep of the Leafs to win their fifth Stanley Cup in a row. When the series ended, the Rocket retired, although he did attend training camp briefly the next season.

    When this photo was printed in one of the Toronto papers, I mailed a letter there, with the help of my mother or father of course, asking if it was possible to have a photo, and they indeed sent me a 6×8 black and white glossy which has lived in my old scrapbook ever since.

    Players in the photo include the Rocket, Tim Horton #7, Allan Stanley, Henri Richard, Johnny Bower, and Dickie Moore. You can see Moore looking in the net where the puck is.