Tag Archives: Tim Horton

Canadiens Begin Their Win Streak!

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It took Max and Lars Eller to come through in the shootout as the Canadiens down the Leafs 3-2 in Toronto, thus avoiding suicides, bricks through TVs, and serious hairpulling throughout Habsland.

Not really a fantastic win, or even a great win. Maybe only a decent win. But it was a big one as they snap a five-game losing streak in the midst of a gigantic slump, and it has to feel good.

Now the boys can relax and maybe take in a late show with Rompin’ Ronnie and the Hawks at Le Coq d’Or on Yonge Street before calling it a night.

It began in splendid fashion as the team dominated the Leafs, outshooting them 14-3, and jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by David Desharnais and Tomas Fleischmann, although Fleischmann’s goal appeared to go in off Daniel Carr.

But as we’ve seen before, a quick start can mean little as Toronto slowly found their game and scored in the second and third periods to send the game into overtime.

It would take the shootout to decide things, and now the challenge is for the team to win two in a row, something that hasn’t happened since November 20th to the 27th when they nailed down four straight.

After that, as we all know and need to forget, the roof fell in and continued until tonight, when they grabbed two big points against a team that boasts the despicable Dion Phaneuf.

Random Notes:

I feel good about this, mainly because it wasn’t a loss. But not good enough to put on my dancing shoes and head down to the Westview Hotel, though. They’d think the grim reaper just walked through the door.

A loss would continue the nightmarish slide into Satan’s basement. But it wasn’t a loss, mainly because Max and Eller got it done in the shootout, when Galchenyuk, Flynn, and DD didn’t.

Canadiens outshot the Leafs 29-19, and were 0/4 on the power play.

Next up – Monday, when the boys travel to Columbus to take on the BJs.

Extra Random Notes:

Before the game began, Leaf greats Turk Broda, Tim Horton, and Dave Keon were honoured with inclusion on Toronto’s Legends Row, and it was emotional fifteen or twenty minutes.

Broda retired when I was two, but I saw Horton and Keon in their prime, on those great old Leafs teams.

I sat behind Keon and his wife in church in Orillia when I was young. Keon and most of the Leafs had attended Leaf trainer Bobby Haggart’s wedding in Orillia the day before, and the next day in church there was the great centreman, standing and kneeling and sitting and crossing himself, just like the rest of us.

I also have a personal story about Tim Horton. I’ve been to his doughnut shop many times.

Broda was on hand for the opening ceremonies of the arena in Orillia in 1950.

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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.

RIP.

Allan Stanley

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Derek Boogaard Joins Others Who Went Way Too Soon

After hearing of Derek Boogaard’s sudden death at just 28 years old, I wondered how many other players died during their playing careers. Sadly, over the years there have been well over 100. Below is 32 of them.

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.

 

Me And Methuselah

I became 60 years old today. I know, it’s ridiculous. It’s way too old.

If this keeps up, I’ll catch Methuselah, who apparently lived until he was 969.

When I was born, on Oct. 4th, 1950, the Rocket had only played eight seasons with the Canadiens. He’d go on for another ten years after that. Dick Irvin was coaching the Habs when my mom gave birth to me, Gerry McNeil was the goaltender having replaced Bill Durnan, and it was three long years before Jean Beliveau put the sweater on.

I was born five years before the Richard Riot and nine years before Jacques Plante decided to wear a mask for the first time. I’ve been alive for 18 of the 24 Stanley Cups Montreal has won.

I’m really freaking old. But I’ve been told a few times that I have the passion of someone half my age.

World War ll had ended only five years before my birth. Hockey telecasts wouldn’t start until I was a two-year old, in 1952. I’m the same age as Tom Petty and Jay Leno, a year older than Guy Lafleur, and three years older than Bob Gainey.

But I want to confess something. I’m glad I’m this age and wouldn’t trade it for anything younger. I mean this. I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s, in great and exciting times, and among other things, watching the Original Six teams get it on. The first expansion didn’t happen until I was 17, and so my youth was seeing what many of you only read about. 

I ate dinner with the Leafs (I know, the Leafs) at their training camp in Peterborough when I was 13. I saw the Rocket play live, as well as Jacques Plante and Doug Harvey and the rest. At one game in Toronto, my dad corralled Toe Blake and had him go into the dressing and get Doug Harvey’s autograph for me.

I saw Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Tim Horton, Stan Mikita, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Esposito, Terry Sawchuk, Dickie Moore and all those old greats play, either live or on TV, and I was a 21 year bartender working in Sudbury when the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series was held.  And while in my 30’s I spent an evening drinking beer with an old man named Aurele Joliat.

When I was 13, the Beatles came to America for the first time and played the Ed Sullivan Show. And in the summer of 1966 when I was 15, I saw the Beatles live in Toronto.

I was a teenager when all that classic rock you know the words to was fresh and new. I went to the Atlantic City Pop Festival held two weeks before Woodstock and saw a very similiar lineup as in Woodstock, and I was a 22 year old in the crowd at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum in 1973 enjoying Led Zeppelin.

You’re doing your own thing now, seeing your own players you’ll tell your grandkids about, and singing along to your own music. I say savour everything, because believe me, from the bottom of my heart, you’ll be 60 before you know it.

But don’t despair. Getting older isn’t a bad thing at all. You’ll just have to trust me on this.

Ron And Dennis’ Excellent Adventure

The other day the phone rang and it was my old friend Ron Clarke, and although he lives in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, he was in Vancouver visiting his 34 year old daughter who has terminal lung cancer.

Ron and I go back further than any other of my other friends as we were childhood buddies and schoolmates and we played road hockey and  held on to bumpers of cars and got free rides as the unsuspecting drivers made their way through snowy streets. He and I traded hockey cards, smoked our first cigarettes together, went through minor hockey, and he started hanging around with a girl in grade seven and ended up marrying her after they dated for about ten years.

Ron and I went our separate ways because he was a straight-laced guy who wanted no part of what was happening with the counter-culture in the 1960’s, and I was the opposite. But we always remained friends over the years anyway.

After talking to Ron, I remembered a time when we were 12 year old altar boys and one of the priests was not only the big shot priest, the Monsignor, but he also somehow had a connection to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It might have something to do with St. Michael’s College in Toronto but I’m not sure. 

Monsignor Lee asked Ron and I one day if we’d like to go to Peterborough for the day and visit the Leafs in training camp, and off we went. Turns out Monsignor Lee had more than just a slight connection with the Leafs. It was almost like he was part of them.

In the afternoon, we had dinner with the team, for gawd’s sakes, although the players, Keon, Horton, Mahovlich, Baun, Pulford and the rest were on the other side of the room. Ron and I sat at a table with King Clancy and Jim Gregory, and the two of them, with the Monsignor, told old stories about when they did this and when they did that, and although I don’t recall any of the conversations, I can still picture  Clancy being really funny and Jim Gregory doing most of the talking.

Later on, we had primo seats at the Peterborough arena to see the Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks play an exhibition game and we went down to the boards and got Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita’s autographs.

Then, back to Orillia we went, an hour away.

Back to the present. I spoke briefly on the phone with Ron’s daughter, Jocelyne, and I told her she was going to beat her lung cancer. She said that’s not what any of her doctor’s have told her.

Addendum:

Ron and I also went to Barrie at about the same age as when we went to Peterborough, and he and I helped the AHL Buffalo Bisons trainer and stood behind the bench as stick boys for an exhibition game between the Bisons and Rochester Americans. Don Cherry played for Rochester but it didn’t matter at that time, (I only know because I still have the lineup sheet), and the only players who made an impact on me where Gilles Marotte, Billy Dea, and Fred Stanfield.

I also remember Ron and I coming home from playing hockey at the arena in Orillia and noticed the Habs-Leafs on TV in someone’s living room. So we sat outside the window and watched the game without the people knowing.

Tim Hortons Opens Its Doors In PR

Yes indeed, Powell River’s very first Tim Hortons opened its doors today and we were there. The place was packed.

And because this is a Habs blog, I can say that Horton played 24 years in the NHL, 1446 games, none of which were with the Montreal Canadiens. He was strong as an ox and tough to get around, but I’m sure Ralph Backstrom and Henri Richard zipped by him on several occasions.

Howe Loved His Car, And Other Tidbits

 Stories From Various “The Hockey News'” Over The Years:

Oct. 1, 1947 – More Canadian hockey players have married American girls while playing with Hershey than any other US city.

Oct. 13, 1948 – According to rave notices, the best young goalie in professional hockey circles will be in the nets for the Indianapolis Capitals during the 1948-49 American League season. He is Terry Sawchuk.

Feb. 10, 1951 – There are 10 Detroit Red Wing bachelors and the writer wants to know if you are woman-haters or the right one just hasn’t come along. “Only been in love once in my life – that was with my first car, a ’34 Chevy,” said Gordon Howe. Red Kelly chipped in: “Brunettes or blondes are fine, but I can’t get along with another redhead. I want a wife who’s a good cook. A brunette would do for me.”

Oct. 11, 1958 – Doug Harvey, vice-president and director of the NHL players’ pension fund, admitted player representatives were not sure their pension was being handled properly and asked the owners to allow a survey to be taken.

Oct. 24, 1964 – The NHL’s new rule that forbids a goalie to from deliberately falling on the puck may change the way goalies are penalized. For example, in the recent All-Star game, goalie Charlie Hodge was victimized when he smothered the puck and was given the first penalty ever incurred by a goalkeeper in the 18-year history of the classic.

Nov. 3, 1972 – Harold Ballard, president of Maple Leaf Gardens and Toronto Maple Leafs, was sentenced Oct. 20 to three years in the Kingston Penitentiary for fraud and theft. The nearly 70 year old Ballard, who was convicted Aug. 15 of 47 counts of fraud and theft involving $205,000 diverted from the Gardens, was emotionally shaken by the sentence.

March 8, 1974 – The world of hockey is mourning the death of one of its greatest competitors, Tim Horton. The 44-year old Buffalo Sabres defenceman was killed in a single car accident at 4:30 a.m. Feb. 21 near St. Catherines, Ont. Horton was returning from Toronto where the Sabres had played a game.

Feb. 4, 1983 – The Seattle Breakers of the Western League swapped the rights to left winger Tom Martin in exchange for a used bus.

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

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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.

The Buffalo Sabres Are Almost A Canadian Team, Eh?

The thing about the Buffalo Sabres, who the Canadiens play Friday night in their season opener, is that for the most part, they’ve been fun to watch over the years, with the French Connection, Scotty Bowman, Punch Imlach, Tim Horton, and that little pipsqueak Daniel Briere, all doing their thing, many of them, or most of them, at the old Memorial Auditorium.

 

And did I mention the French Connection?

 

But then there’s the Sabre sweater, which looks like it came from George Jetson’s closet.

 

Certain teams must sometimes ask themselves the question – what was so wrong with the original sweater?

 

I’d probably like the Sabres slightly more if they were in the west instead of the east. But because they’re in the east, they’re going to be trying their best to be right up there in the Eastern Conference standings, which means they’re gonna try and beat the Habs.

 

And I have no time for such attitude.

 

The city of Buffalo itself might as well be in Canada. It’s close to the Canadian border, just down the road from Niagara Falls, and their snowstorms are as good or better than ours. I don’t know if folks there say “eh” but it wouldn’t surprise me. And they have a rich sporting history, with major and minor league baseball teams over the years, and of course the Buffalo Bills of the NFL.

  

And Buffalo had the Buffalo Bisons, a great American Hockey League team for years (1940-1970) but got bumped aside when the Sabres came into being. So Buffalo is a good, solid hockey town. How can it not be, with all those snowbanks, ice, and chicken (Buffalo) wings?

 

 Like I said, it might as well be Canadian.

 

Montreal needs this opening game. A nice jump out of the gate would be good, get the ball rolling, grab a quick two points, and then head up to Toronto to play the Leafs, a team which needs no introducton. They don’t deserve it.

 

So the Canadiens season begins on Friday, and it’s about time. Summers are nice and all that, but the road to the Stanley Cup trumps all the beaches, canoes, and frisbee-throwing out there.

 

And they have to start by beating those Sabres, eh?