Tag Archives: Turk Broda

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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Psst, Wanna Buy An Arena?

For just $600,000, you can be the proud owner of the Orillia arena. Of course, you have to keep in mind that it’s condemned and has to be torn down (for about $400,000), but at least you’ll own prime property in the core of Orillia where you can put in a miniature golf course or pool hall or something.

The arena was built in 1951 by volunteers, legendary Leafs goalie Turk Broda was there for the opening ceremonies, and it was where I practically lived, where I learned to bang pucks around, and where on Sunday public skating, try to work up the nerve to skate with some of the girls I had mad crushes on.

My buddies and I, Ron Clarke in particular, would trudge up and down the hill, carrying our sticks and duffel bags, and often latch on to car fenders and have them drag us down streets without the drivers having a clue that we were hitching a ride.

Sometimes Ron and I, after leaving the arena, would sit on a stranger’s porch and watch the hockey game through the window, especially those old Habs-Leafs Wednesday night affairs. The people inside, warm as toast, had no idea.

The reason the arena is condemned is because the roof might cave in. Years ago they tried to fix it by erecting god-awful steel beams to prop it up, which you can see in the photos, and these beams not only got in the way of watching the game, but some of them even find their way into the players’ benches and penalty box. Just a horrible thing, but then again, you don’t really want the roof to cave in while someone has a breakaway.

I’m not going to go on and on about all the things that occurred in this old place, after all, you have your own arenas and memories. So I’ll just stick some pictures in so you can have a look. And you can see those god-awful steel beams.

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Barilko TV

Bill Barilko was more than just a hard-hitting defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs who scored a famous overtime goal against the Montreal Canadiens in 1951, died in a plane crash in Northern Ontario, and became the subject of a Tragically Hip song.

No, he and his family were in the TV, radio, record players, appliances, and sporting goods business in Toronto.

My thinking is, televisions were very new and very rare in and around 1950, and if they wouldn’t have been so rare, maybe Barilko would have made a million bucks selling them and retired from hockey before 1951 as a wealthy man and the Canadiens might have won that series while he sat in his condo in Miami Beach, smoking cigars and watching the girls go by. But no, he played and he scored.

So I blame television on the Habs loss.

Lots In The Lineups

You can look at the Nov. 25, 1950 program lineups for the Habs and Leafs and see a few cool things.

This was Montreal’s 20th game of the season, and they would lose 4-1 to the Leafs in Toronto on this night. (Okay, that wasn’t so cool).

Gerry McNeil is in goal for Montreal in his rookie year after Bill Durnan retired after the previous season.

Number 5 for Toronto is Bill Barilko, who would score the legendary Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal for the Leafs in game 5, against these same Habs, to cap off the season. Barilko would be killed that summer when his plane crashed in Northern Ontario.

Hal Laycoe, number 12 for the Habs, would be traded to Boston later this season and was a major player in the 1955 Richard Riot.

Rocket Richard has ten goals at this point, more than anybody else on the team.

Habs #14 Billy Reay would eventually coach for 16 NHL seasons, two with Toronto and 14 in Chicago. I have a game-used stick of his from two years prior to this, signed by the entire Habs team.

Elmer Lach, number 16, is still playing and would play three more years after this.

Golly gee willikers, that’s Howie Meeker, number 11 for the Torontonians.

And Turk Broda, who was at the opening ceremonies for the brand new Orillia Arena that year, has one more shutout than McNeil at this point.

 

 

 

The Old Barn Going Down

Word has come down that the Orillia Community Centre, after 61 years as home to skaters and shooters and wrestlers and fall fairs, will be flattened and I don’t mind saying, I’m quite upset about this. It’s not that old, is it?

The Orillia Arena, in the heart of the city, is where I learned to skate. It’s where I belonged to teams and scored my first goal and scored more in later years when I became a smallish-yet-shifty right winger for the Orillia Byer’s Bulldozers bantam and midget teams.

I tried to pattern myself after Ralph Backstrom, and I used to get numerous breakaways, sort of like Tomas Plekanec, and my big move was to veer to the right of the goalie, then shoot it over to the left. But I digress.

It’s where I went to public skating every Sunday and tried to work up enough nerve to ask Brenda Clarke or Janis Emmons to skate, which meant you got to hold hands with them, which meant it was sort of like sex in a way.

The old arena is where Ron Clarke and I trudged up to from the west ward with stick and duffel bag slung over our shoulders, and I probably mentioned to him that Brenda Clark wants me to be her boyfriend. Rocket Richard came to the arena, Bobby Orr played there, I saw Orr’s brother Ron in action there often, and retired NHL great Cal Gardner was on the Orillia senior team. It even boasted a large portrait of Queen Elizabeth at one end, like the old Winnipeg Arena did.

The grand arena was built by volunteers – men after their regular work day was through, kids joining in after school, people from all over Orillia coming together and putting the thing up at a cost of $150,000. Toronto Maple Leaf great Turk Broda showed for the opening ceremonies, which I didn’t know until recently, and as the years went by, it earned its rightful place as ground zero for a bunch of kids like me.

First it’s the family home getting sold after my dad went into an old folks home, and now the arena is getting the wrecking ball. From an emotional point of view, it’s getting harder to get back there now. My heart works overtime. I just wish I could have one last skate at the old barn. Maybe even with Brenda Clark and Janice Emmons.

 

 

George Hainsworth – Great Hab (And Leaf)

George Hainsworth, who replaced an ailing Georges Vezina in the Montreal nets in 1926, carried the torch in fine fashion until 1933. He won the Vezina trophy in 1927, 1928, and 1929, and hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1930 and 1931.

He was also goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1933 to 1937, after being traded by Montreal for Lorne Chabot, and took the Leafs to the Cup finals in 1935. Eventually he would be replaced in the Leafs net by a young up-and-coming Turk Broda.

George ended his Hall of Fame career (inducted in 1961) by returning to the Habs late in the 1937 season for four games.

This must have been some kind of goalie. In the 1930 playoffs, he went 270 minutes and 8 seconds without allowing a goal. That’s four and a half games.

George Hainsworth was killed in a car crash in Gravenhurst, Ont., on Oct. 9, 1950. I didn’t know it at time. I couldn’t read the newspapers because I was only five days old.

Gravenhurst is 20 miles north of my home town, Orillia.

 

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.

 

And The Survey Says……Habs

A recent poll conducted by the Ipso-Reid research company has found that one-third of the 1015 people surveyed say the Montreal Canadiens are Canada’s Team. I thought that was already decided. Taken for granted. A no-brainer.

But it’s only a third of the people. And if you’re wondering about the Toronto Maple Leafs, wonder no more. They garnered 25 percent of 1015. That means 253 people, a lot of people, think The Leafs, who haven’t won anything in 42 years, should be called Canada’s Team.

I’m thinking Ipso-Reid did part of their survey in a couple of retirement homes. They spoke to old fellows in wheelchairs with blankets over their legs, and the old guys, God bless ’em, talked about the days of Charlie Conacher, Busher Jackson, Syl Apps, Hap Day, and Turk Broda, and they wept and blurted out as the nurses came running that the Leafs are Canada’s Team.

Then I think the Ipso-Reid bunch went to a Jefferson Airplane reunion concert, and between tokes, the now-aging baby boomers said the 1967 Stanley Cup was like, totally far out, and yes, the Leafs are Canada’s team.

Either that or the other thing. Of course anyone who happens to be a Leafs fan isn’t going to suggest that the Montreal Canadiens, the team they wish would get run over by a bus, should be Canada’s team. You’re a pretty bad fan if you’d do this. Imagine a good Habs fan talking to the guy from Ipso-Reid and saying,”Yes, I feel the Toronto Maple Leafs are Canada’s team.”

Ain’t gonna happen. It goes against nature, like Bob Probert trying to figure skate. 

Ipso-Reid didn’t stop there, although that’s the big one. They also found out that 62% of Quebecers feel Maurice Richard is the greatest Hab ever, while only 44% of Ontarians thought that to be the case. People in Ontario prefer Jean Beliveau for “the best” label.

I think it’s the Rocket, but I know lots of folk who say Beliveau. Either way, you can’t go wrong. I’m just glad neither of them ever became a Leaf.

Imagine.


Leafs More Important Than World Peace And Global Warming

Due to the Canadiens-Sabres game not being televised, I made an executive decision. Instead of listening on the radio, I watched the Leafs-Detroit game, as a sort of scouting mission. You see, I’m not only an almost-owner and almost-stickboy and almost the guy who makes the players’ wives comfortable, but I’m also an almost-scout. I wanted and needed to get a feel for the Leafs, who the Habs open up against Oct. 1st.

I didn’t see much. Grabovski has put on weight. One of the players walked in to the rink wearing a fedora. Fans were quiet. Komisarek slammed a few guys but not much else, which is what he did in Montreal, although listening to the pre-game patter from the CBC boys, you’d think he was the saviour and a nice blend of Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey. I’m now absolutely convinced these guys paid no attention whatsoever to the Habs last year. Because if they did, why would they speak in such glowing terms about this bum?

From time to time I put aside my scouting duties to check in at the Bell Centre, and I noticed Ryan O’Byrne had a fight, Buffalo led 2-0 in the first and scored a short-handed goal. Short-handed goals are unacceptable. I also noticed that Carey Price is in goal and I’m slightly concerned. This is a guy who needs a big night and it’s not starting out that way.

I then saw on replay that O’Byrne destroyed the guy after the guy hurt Tom Pyatt. See Komisarek? That’s how you fight.

And why can’t the Habs, at some point in time, when all the stars are aligned, not allow any goals in a game? Shutouts are unheard of with this team. When was the last time they had a shutout, 1993? (Just looked it up. It appears both Price and Halak had one shutout each last year although that could be a misprint.)

Back in Toronto, Komisarek just thumped a guy near the net. I thought the announcers were going to have an orgasm. He also threw the puck up the middle which of course was intercepted, and took a bad penalty. Get used to it, Leafs fans, you’ll be seeing a lot of bad passes and bad penalties.

2-2 in Montreal. This is much better.

3-2 Montreal. Much, much better. Price came through in fine fashion. From the stats, it looked like a rough game, a good game, a game that should’ve been televised. Imagine, Leafs coast to coast on CBC, and the Habs nothing. But no wonder – Mike Komisarek and Jonas Gustavsson are the best players who ever lived. And there’s talk now that Gustavsson (The Monster) is better than Terry Sawchuk and Turk Broda combined and will soon be inducted into the Hall of Fame, even though he’s only played three periods in the NHL.

I couldn’t be sure but was that JIm Hughson and Craig Simpson kissing The Monster’s ring in the corridor after the game?

Random Notes:

Habs finish pre-season with four wins, two losses and one shootout loss, for nine points. That’s pretty good but of course it doesn’t compare with the magnificent, brilliant and overwhelming display of  hockey shown by the Leafs who now have ten points. That’s why CBC shows the Leafs. They’re just too darn good not to.