Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sorry Canucks Fans, The Sedin's are not Hall of Fame "Shoo-Ins"

Living in Vancouver, I am have been fully engulfed in Sedin-mania the last week or so now that the two greatest Canucks are retiring. On multiple occasions over this time I have heard the statement made in the media that Daniel and Henrik are "Shoo-Ins" for the Hall of Fame. I believe this is a case of hometown bias if not downright hyperbole. While they do have fine cases for enshrinement to the Hall (one moreso than the other), they are hardly sure things for first-year entry.

The main problem is the fact that there is a large contingent of recently retired players who are more deserved of a Hall selection than the brothers. The overall volume of players that will get in before them pretty much guarantees the Sedans will not be elected on their first attempt. Let's have a look at the numbers.

In order to equate varying scoring rates of different eras, I looked at Adjusted Points, Goals and Assists from Hockey-Reference.com. The website explains the metrics; "All statistics have been adjusted to an 82-game schedule with a maximum roster size of 18 skaters and league averages of 6 goals per game and 1.67 assists per goal." In addition, I used Adjusted Goals Created which is another era-corrected statistic that combines a players goal scoring and playmaking ability into one number. I looked at forwards who are not in the Hall of Fame, all of which have retired over the last decade or so. The Olympics category gives 5 points for a Gold, 3 for a Silver, and 1 for a Bronze.The raw numbers are below. Parentheses are players ranks in each category, (1st place: 10 points, 2nd place: 9 points, etc.) 
It's tough to go against the argument that Jarome Iginla is a lock sure-fire Hall of Famer. He tops the rankings by a wide margin with his lack of a Stanley Cup being the only knock against him. I don't really have an issue with the other guys that rank higher here than Henrik, other than perhaps Pierre Turgeon and his lack of individual accolades. The guy DOES rank tops among retired players with 1327 points and his Adjusted Points is second only to Iggy. Alfredsson, I am comfortable having ranked ahead of the brothers if solely for his longer period of peak productivity. Alfie had what can be considered productive seasons for 12 of 13 straight seasons from 96/97 to 09/10 while Henrik had 9 of 10 productive seasons from 05/06 through 14/15. 
Hossa is easily ahead of Henrik and Daniel on the strength of his 525 career goals and being a large component in three Stanley Cup wins. Marty St.Louis finishes marginally ahead of Henrik mainly due to his nine different individual awards (5 All-Star selections, 2 Art Ross, Hart and Pearson), I didn't even factor in his three Byngs. 
One major takeaway from the list is that Henrik is indeed more qualified for Hall selection than Daniel. They both have won the same number of individual awards and Daniel even has Hank beat in Olympics as he won Silver with Sweden in 2014 while Henrik sat out, but.. Daniel's claim to fame was being the goal scoring brother of the two. Of the two, he certainly was, but Daniel's 393 career goals only rank 104th all time; two more than Jean Pronovost and Dean Prentice and one behind Tomas Sandstorm. Hardly Hall-worthy company. Granted, his 442 Adjusted Career Goals move him up to 70th, he's still behind several borderline-at-best Hall candidates, Bondra, Fleury, Kovalev, Guerin, Elias, Brind'Amour, Nolan, Arnott, Doan, Leclair and Amonte. Would the Hall selection committee dare put Henrik in the Hall and not Daniel? They actually have a case to do so.
Now, I can already hear the argument that the above rankings do not incorporate in any manner the off-ice contributions, overall character and general respect held for each player. Honestly, in my opinion, most professional hockey players (with a few exceptions) can present an impressive resume of community involvement and fandom appreciation. Sure the Sedins rate high in this aspect but they are not exceptionally unique. Where they are unique (obviously) is the fact that they are identical twins that spent their entire careers starring for one team. Is that enough to push both of them into the Hockey Hall? Time will tell, but almost certainly not in their first year of eligibility. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Unidentified Maple Leafs Photo #11, Keon and The Bruins

Time to identify another rare photo from my pals at Vintage Sports Images here in North Vancouver. The Maple Leaf is obviously Dave Keon but there is no year or any other info with the photo. The game took place in Toronto as determined by the Leafs wearing their dark blue sweaters.
The Bruins wore this or a very similar gold jersey with sleeve numbers from 1958 to 1967, but Toronto only wore this particular jersey in the 1962/63 season. That was the first year the Leafs added numbers to the sleeves and the following years the Leaf crest had a thin blue outline added it. The photo has to be from the 1962/63 campaign.
In that season, the Bruins dressed two goaltenders and they both wore number 1, Eddie Johnston and Bob Perreault. Their photos from around this time period, at a similar angle to the photo, are below.
Bob Perreault

Eddie Johnston
It's obvious the goalie in the photo is Bob Perreault who only played 22 games in 1962/63 for Boston. Looking at old boxscores, we find that he played the first three of eight Bruins games in Toronto that season.
  • Oct. 13, 1962 a 2-2 tie in which he stopped 43 of 45 Leaf shots.
  • Dec. 1, 1962, he allowed 8 goals on 43 shots in an 8-2 Toronto win.
  • Dec 15, 1962, he is pulled after allowing his fifth goal on 28 shots, a goal scored by Dave Keon. He was replaced by Johnston, the Leafs won 8-2 once again.
The other two Bruins are fairly easy to I.D. The helmeted player behind Keon is Charlie Burns and #21 is Jerry Toppazzini. The December 15 game is the only of the three in which Keon scored a goal on Perreault. Often times these old photos depict an important moment of the game, so I'm fairly comfortable saying the photo is from the mid-December 1962 match. If not, it is narrowed down to those three at the very least.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Olympic Hockey Card of the Day; 1936 Canada vs USA

Here's a German issued card issued in 1936 as part of a set commemorating the Olympics in Garmisch-Partinkirchen, Germany. The text on the back of the card is translated;
"Canada and the USA did not come to the expected final round of the gold medal, they played for the silver and bronze medal on the closing day." 
Indeed, on February 16, Canada defeated the US by a score of 1-0, details of the affair described in the Montreal Gazette;
"The Canadian team blanked the United States, 1-0 in a stubbornly fought game today, ensuring England's hold on her first Olympic hockey championship and giving Canada second place in the final standing. Dave Neville, brainy wingman of Montreal gave Canada victory by scoring unassisted less than three minutes after the start of the game. Neville took the puck on a faceoff pass from Alex Sinclair, centre of Port Arthur, weaved through the American defence and scored easily. 
The Olympic hockey series, born of trouble, closed amicably enough  and today's tussle, while hard-fought was clean and marked by good feeling on the part of the contestants. Canada finished second to England, which "iced" a team strengthened by six Canadians, because the Britons played a sound defensive game to hold the United States to a scoreless deadlock last night. Previously the English defeated Canada in the semi-final round, 2-1. By the odd manner in which the playoffs were arranged England did not have to play Canada again, so the one stunning defeat Canada's defending champions suffered in the whole series proved their downfall in the final reckoning...However, the present Dominion team was still regarded as the best here by observers.
In today's match, witnessed by Reichsfuhrer Hitler, Paul Goebbels and other high officials of the German government, the Americans attacked consistently as it was announced prior to the games a 1-0 triumph for the Americans would give them the title on the basis of a better goal-average. However the Canadians, despite injuries to Walter 'Pud' Kitchen and Ralph St.Germain which kept them out of action, played a strong defensive game after scoring a goal. It was as though the Olympic crown itself were at stake rather than merely second place. 
Hitler was kept busy during the period intermissions signing autographs for the eager fans who surrounded him. The Chancellor seemed to have great admiration for the playing of Phil Labatte, a French-Canadian who stars for Baltimore Orioles of the US Eastern Amateur Hockey League. Hitler applauded Labette frequently."
The players pictured on the card are as follows left to right:
Canada Bill Thomson, USA #8 John Shaughnessy Jr, USA goalie Tom Moon Sr, #9 Canada RW Arnold Deacon, #5 Canada Alex Sinclair, #4 USA is tough to tell. There are no roster numbers for the US listed online. Judging by the fact he shoots right-handed and using the boxscore below, #4 can be any of five different players (Labatte, Ross Jr., Smith, Spain, Stubbs).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Olympic Hockey Cards of the Day, 1956

Four years ago I posted a bunch of vintage (mostly German) Olympic cards from as far back as 1928, here. Now it's time to share a few new additions to my collection since then. The card above pictures the Soviets battling the Germans in the 1956 Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. The Soviet player is the great Vsevolod Bobrov, pictured below. Bobrov topped the tournament with 9 goals in 7 games as the Soviets took home their first ever Hockey Gold medal. He would go on to coach the Russian squad in the Summit Series in 1972.
The German text on the back shown below loosely translates to:
"The Soviet ice hockey players took every meeting seriously. They defeated the German representation, which consisted only of players of the Federal Republic, in the final clear 8:0 goals."
The Soviets won all five games in the Olympic tournament, outscoring their opponents 25-5 including a 2-0 win over Canada.
The next card shows the game versus Canada which took place on Feb. 4, 1956. The Canadian behind the net is Ken Laufman who's 8 assists topped the tournament. The Canadian in front is most likely Paul Knox who had played one game with Toronto Maple Leafs the previous season and led these Olympics with 12 points.
The back of this card is translated from German as; 
"This Canadian attack was exemplarily repelled by the hardly surmountable Soviet back-team. With 2:0 goals, the Soviet team won the last game of the tournament and became Olympic champion, world and European champion."

Friday, February 9, 2018

70 Years Ago Today, Canada Reclaims Gold

"The airmen ended the nine-country round robin tournament in a first-place tie with Czechoslovakia but a superior goal average hoisted the Maple Leaf to the top of the flagpole as the Fifth Winter Olympics drew to a close"
so described Jack Sullivan, Canadian Press writer as published in the Montreal Gazette on February 9, 1948. He continued:
"The team which few in the Dominion gave much chance to succeed went through the tournament unbeaten to give Canada her second championship in the Winter Olympics-writing the name of the Flyers alongside that of Barbara Ann Scott, ladies figure-skating champion.
Murray Dowey, 22-year old blonde netminder from Toronto, registered his fifth shutout in eight games and Wally Halder, the team's top scorer during the games with 21 goals and eight assists, fired the shot that proved to be the winner in the first period. Patsy Guzzo added the second Canadian goal in the middle period and Reg Schroeter made it 3-0 before the midway mark of the third as the Canadians clung grimly to their lead."
Team Photo from The Gazette
The boxscore from the final is below:
The recap in the Gazette continued describing the victory;
"During the second and third periods the partisan Swiss crowd, taking exception to some of the referee's decisions, hurled snowballs at the Flyers. The ice conditions and the refereeing were so bad that at times the game threatened to develop into a farce. The officials from Britain and Belgium were pointedly in favour of Switzerland, some of the latter's decisions being almost unbelievable. 'We played eight men-Swiss players and the referees-and still beat 'em' said Cpl. George McFaul, RCAF trainer.
Halder's goal, scored less than five minutes after the game began was the neatest of the tournament. He literally ran over the slushy ice, travelling the length of the rink to fire a low corner shot which the Swiss goalkeeper managed to kick out. Three Swiss jostled him but he grabbed the rebound and fired again. The netminder deflected the puck behind the net and Schroeter returned it to Halder, who though still hemmed in by three rivals banged it in."
The final table of standings is below. Canada won the tie-breaker with Czechoslovakia on a formula of Goals For divided by Goals Against.
"The victory celebration was hilarious. After posing for a group photograph in the middle of the ice, the players clambered over the boards, yelling and whooping it up.With Mara as team captain standing on the top step of the rostrum, they were presented with gold medals. Other members of Canada's Olympic team grabbed them as they scooted for the stadium dressing room. They blew kisses to the crowd, gave the thumbs-up sign and yelled excitedly, 'We've done it, boys'."

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Maple Leafs Players; First NHL Goal, Twice in one Game

Maple Leafs defencemen Travis Dermott and Justin Holl each scored their first NHL goal on January 31, 2018 against the Islanders. This was the first time Toronto had two players score their first ever goal in the same game in 33 years.
On January 16, 1985 in Los Angeles, rookies Bill Kitchen and Ken Strong each tallied their first NHL marker, the boxscore is below. In a strange coincidence, the two sets of first NHL goals were both scored consecutively, and each within about five minutes of each other. 
In addition, Justin Holl became the first Maple Leaf defenceman to score a goal in his first NHL game since Claire Alexander did it on November 30, 1974. Holl would add a goal the very next night in his second NHL game becoming the first Maple Leaf to score in his first two games since Daniel Marois did it in October 1988. Holl is also the first Maple Leaf defenceman EVER to score in each of his first two games.
Jan. 16, 1985

For Bill Kitchen this goal would prove to be the only one of his NHL career. He finished with 1 goal and 5 points over 29 games in 1984/85. He played the following season with AHL's St. Catherines Saints before retiring in 1986. Ken Strong had a far more prolific career than Kitchen, scoring a total of TWO goals over 11 NHL games. He also played for St.Catherines the following season before heading to play in the Austrian League for the next ten seasons. He represented Austria in two World Championships and the 1994 Olympics.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Canucks Penalty Box, 1948

The Vancouver Public Library recently released some terrific old hockey photos online, the one above  was titled simply Vancouver Canucks vs Skyhawks Hockey Fight, April 14, 1948. It shows some heated action in the penalty box, but does not name any of the players pictured. The Skyhawks were the San Diego entry in the old Pacific Coast Hockey League.
Checking the Society for International Hockey Research Database, the bleeding #10 of SanDiego is identified as Arley Carlson. Left-Winger Carlson was 24 years old at the time in his fifth professional season. In 1947/48 he posted 12 goals, 41 points in 43 games for the Skyhawks. Carlson was born in Virginia, Minnesota and would go on to star with the amateur Rochester (Minnesota) Mustangs for seven years. Virgina, Minnesota is also the hometown of Jeff, Jack and Steve Carlson of the movie Slap Shot fame. From what I can find,  although his age would fit, Arley Carlson is not the father of the movie brothers, but the odds are he is related to them.
To the right hand of Carlson is another Skyhawk identified through the SIHR photo database as Stan Warecki. The 22 year-old Warecki potted 37 goals in 47/48, second on San Diego and his 16 goals in 14 playoff games topped the league.
The Canuck player in the penalty being addressed by Carlson is a little harder to identify, seeing as he is facing away from the camera. However, on the front of his sweater is a partially obscured number that can appears to be either 2,3,8 or 9. Defenceman Chuck Millman wore #2 and is pictured below. 

#3 on the Canucks that season was ex-NHLer Mac Colville, shown below. His hair and jaw-line don't seem to match the player in the photo.
Another possibility is #8 Bob Ballance, shown next. He could quite well be the player facing Carlson in the photo. The Canucks #9 that year belonged to Bernie Bathgate, but he didn't play in the playoffs that season. The player must be either Millman or Ballance.
A look at hockeydb.com shows the Canucks and Skyhawks both finished third in their divisions in 1947/48. San Diego had 67 points in the 66 games finishing nine behind first place L.A. Monarchs while Vancouver's 71 points were 16 in arrears of Seattle Ironman. Vancouver knocked off Tacoma and Seattle before reaching the final, San Diego had beaten San Francisco and Fresno in the Southern Division.  The teams split the first two games in San Diego each winning by a 3-2 score. Back in Vancouver, the Canucks found their scoring legs, winning game three 7-5 on April 12, 1948 and 7-6 on April 15. This photo must be from that April 15 match and simply mis-labelled. The following day, in Game five, Vancouver would take the championship with a 7-3 victory.

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