The Canadiens should have no problem with the New York Rangers Saturday night to close out the season.
The Rangers are probably out of shape. The coach lets them smoke.
Bonus non-Ranger smoking picture
Like so many other teams, and there’s about six of them, the Carolina Hurricanes are hovering around the eighth and final playoff spot. So they’re going to want to win the game tonight at the Bell Centre.
Of course, wanting, and actually doing, are two different things.
Carolina has won just one game in their past seven, although the win happened on Saturday against the Jets, which means they’re on a one-game winning streak. This team is missing two goalies, Cam Ward and Dan Ellis, due to injuries, so we might expect coach Kirk Muller to possibly don the pads the way Lester Patrick, coach and general manager of the N.Y. Rangers, did in 1928 against the Montreal Maroons at the Forum.
Montreal also has injuries. Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz have concussions, and Henri Richard and Dickie Moore have arthritis.
And how did the 44-year old Lester Patrick do against the Maroons? He allowed one goal in regulation time and his team won 2-1 in overtime. This was game two of the Stanley Cup Finals and the Rangers would go on to win it all in the five-game series.
Mind-blowing side note:
Lester Patrick, along with his brother Frank, lived for a while in the Slocan Valley, near Nelson B.C., where they played hockey and helped out at their dad’s sawmill. My daughter lives in the Slocan Valley, and I knew you’d be amazed by this incredible coincidence. And not only that, I once worked in a sawmill which was only about 700 miles from the Slocan Valley. Truly eerie stuff.
I recently read, or at least the parts they sent me, a terrific book called Behind The Moves, put together by Jason Farris, and I have to say, diving into the world of NHL general managers can be a fascinating thing indeed. All these men in suits are trying to do is win a Stanley Cup and not get fired. Two big things, I suppose. They make backroom deals, uproot families through trades, and cross their fingers that the young guys they draft don’t turn out to be busts.
The book is comprised of interviews with these mostly high-profile general managers, which leads to a veritable smorgasbord of quotes, and instead of just rambling on, I thought I’d give you a sampling of what can be found here:
“The deals are fun. Face it, it’s the highest-stakes poker game there is. If you’re good at it you stay in the game. If not, you get canned.” Brian Burke
“There isn’t a man on that team who should make any all-star team, but as a group they are almost unbeatable. It only goes to show what harmony, loyalty, pep, and cohesion can accomplish when linked together and wisely directed.” Lester Patrick talking about the 1933 Red Wings
This is a dog-eat-dog world, the NHL. Over 170 general managers in the history of the league, so many thousands of people out there who would like to be a general manager in the league….If you don’t perform, the game will eat you up and spit you out.” Jim Devellano
“For the most part, it’s all business now and the stakes are a lot higher financially…I think the need to win today and the pressure to win today on a general manager is quite different than it was 15 years ago –10 years ago even…Montreal fans had Sam Pollock for all those years and without a doubt, that core of fans cared about what happened, but the world didn’t care. Today it’s the world, the hockey world.” Bryan Murray
“If you’re getting into this business, one of the reasons you need experience is that it’s a competitive business and you’re going to be tested at every turn as a manager. You’re going to be tested by your patience, you’re going to be teasted by the owner’s patience, you’re going to be tested by the media, be tested by your coach, be tested by your players, and be tested by your peers. They’re going to give you offers where it’s going to be a battleship for a bathtub, and I think that’s why you need the experience of being around for awhile, because when you get into that (GM) club, those people are there for a reason. They’re the best in the world at what they do.” Ken Holland
“There are lots of different stories for these guys. Circumstances have a lot to do with dictating what happens (for a GM). If we hadn’t got Gretzky out of the WHA when we did, you wouldn’t be wasting your day sitting here bullshitting with me. How do you really know…whether a guy is qualified to be a general manager in this league for a number of years or why did he lose his job after two years? It’s a lot deeper question than people have answers for.” Glen Sather
“I think the big secret is not to juggle people all the time. But it’s not easy if you don’t have a good team. Patience, I guess, is probably the most valuable asset a team can have. Take young players and all of a sudden they don’t do well, so a GM gets rid of them and they do well somewhere else. The big thing with a manager is to be careful with young players.Especially if the manager isn’t coaching and the coach is anxious to win games. So the GM and coach have to have a lot of communication (about the plans for each player) because young players can blossom.” Scotty Bowman
“We went to the Stanley Cup finals in 1999 and I can tell you I know way more now than I did in 1999. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear yet to be enough (to win the Cup) but I know way more now. It needs to be that way but you always feel like you’re racing agianst the clock Can you get something done before you run out of time.” Darcy Regier
“You always knew which ones you could trust and which ones you needed to be careful around. It’s a den of thieves. The business is such that you don’t necessarily care about the ethics if it’s going to help your hockey club.” Jay Feester
1929 was the 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 little look at the good old hockey game from so long ago. (And back then, it was the Chicago Black Hawks, not the Chicago Blackhawks. The name was altered in the 1980’s.)
And the ice cleaners at the end of the clip are something to behold.
I’m in Nelson visiting the Habs 2027 first-round draft pick and his two sisters who will probably either play for the Women’s Olympic hockey team or win a Nobel Peace Prize, and I decided to check out this little city which has a main street very similar to my old home town Orillia. The info below came from a Nelson website and I thought it was pretty interesting, especially the “Stanley” part.
“Located in the Selkirk Mountains, on the shore of Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia, the city of Nelson was founded in 1886 and was originally called “Stanley” after Canada’s Governor General, Lord Stanley. Nelson’s hockey roots reach much further, however, producing great NHL talent including Danny Gare, Pat Price and Greg Adams. The small city was also the hometown of Lester and Frank Patrick, hockey’s royal family, whom many credit with creating modern hockey with several innovations including the addition of blue lines, the forward pass, penalty shots and the playoff system.”
Some things never change, I suppose. Especially when it comes to hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And now that I’m on a bit of a roll with neat old ads and stuff from old newspapers, I think you’ll find this very interesting. Because even though these Letters to the Editor of the Toronto Star date back to 1940, they very well could be today.
Hope you enjoy.
To the Sports Editor:
“Well, here we are at the end of another sports year. Living as I do in Hogtown (Toronto), I glance back through the months to count the renowned trophies that are now being displayed in Hogtown. But I seem to have lost track of some of them.
Can you help me out? Where is the Grey Cup, the Stanley Cup, the Allan Cup, and the Memorial Cup?
Where, oh where, can they be?”
“PS. – By the way, may I take this opportunity of lodging a protest over the foolish and most confusing custom of referring to hockey seasons in terms of two years, such as 1934-35, 1935-36, 1936-37 etc.
The hockey leagues have already opened their 1940 seasons. True, they beat the gun, but what difference? The 1939 championships were won last spring – in 1939. Why anyone wants to confuse us by tacking 1939 onto the front of the 1940 season is more than I can see.”
LETTER NUMBER TWO
“Being a constant reader of The Star I would like to express my objection to the remarks of President John Kilpatrick in Lester Patrick’s plan to cut down whistle blowing.
I have attended hockey and baseball games for over 20 years and have always made it my business to ask as many real fans of both games as possible what type of game they prefer.. Evidently Mr. Kilpatrick is an American so we will take his national game of baseball to start with. Nine out of ten ball fans would prefer a ball game ending in a 6-5 score to one finishing in a 1-0 score.
As for hockey, I would say the percentage increases. If you would make a survey of hockey fans here in Toronto, or anywhere else in the NHL, you will find it 12 to 1 in favour of a more open game, meaning bigger scores and lesser whistle blowing. After all, it’s the fans who keep the NHL in existence and it seems it is high time they were taken into consideration. Even if it is only to the extent of finding out if they want less whistle blowing and a more open game with more scoring. After all, you must remember the sports writer’s opinions and the fans who pay are often of oppoite views.
I don’t say go back to the old seven man hockey, but before the blue line was brought into effect there was some wonderful hockey played. Not all whistle blowing. Did you ever hear of a fan leaving a game that finished in a scoreless tie that felt he got his money’s worth?
Fascinating Fact #1. I asked my wife who the most handsome player in the NHL is, and she said it’s a tie between Jose Theodore and Sheldon Souray. She also said, however, that Max from Dancing With The Stars beats everybody. Everybody but me, I think she said.
Fascinating Fact #2. Babe Ruth transcends all sports, so he gets in Fascinating Facts. Ruth was notorous for not paying attention to the fringe players on his team, the Yankees. One day Tony Lazzeri introduced, for fun, a relief pitcher to Ruth who had been with the team for four years already, only Lazzeri said this was a new player just out of Princeton. Ruth was impressed about the Princeton part and welcomed the “new” player with open arms.
Fascinating Fact #3. In the early 1910’s, Lester and Frank Patrick pioneered professional hockey on Canada’s west coast, and the first two artificial rinks built in Canada were in Victoria and Vancouver.
Fascinating Fact #4. Defenceman Noel Price, an important member of the early and mid-1960’s Montreal Canadiens, now lives in Ottawa. He was one shy of playing 500 games, and is also a member of the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Price won a Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1966.
Fascinating Fact #5. Toe Blake, a man of great words, once said, “if my son ever decides to become a goalie, I’m going to hit him over the head with a goalie stick.”
Fascinating Fact # 6. My midget coach was a man named Jack Dyte. In 1943 he played 27 games with the Chicago Blackhawks, and that was it for his NHL career. He managed one goal and no assists during this stint. But the thing was, he chewed tobacco at our practices and spit the juice on the ice. So the surface had dozens of brown spots all over it. I always wondered how he got away with that.