Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Unidentified Maple Leafs Photo #10, Bob Pulford


Here's a great unidentified photo from Vintage Sports Images. The Maple Leaf #20 is obviously Bob Pulford and he's in all alone on Chicago Black Hawk goaltender Glenn Hall. The players in the background are all fairly easily identified as well. The Maple Leaf is Billy Harris and Hawks #4 is Elmer "Moose" Vasko. The distant Black Hawk is #11 Bill Hay. Next, attempting to decipher the season it took place.
The Leafs added numbers to their sleeves for the 1962/63 campaign so it has to be prior to that. As for the Hawks, their sleeve numbers prior to 1961 were overlapping the elbow stripes. In 1961/62 the number was moved to the position in the photo. This would make the pic from that 61/62 season.
Game was played in Chicago as evidenced by Chicago wearing darks, Toronto their whites.
Leafs finished with 85 points in 70 game in 1961/62, good for second place, 10 points up on third place Chicago. The two teams met in the Stanley Cup final that year, with Toronto winning 4 games to 2. 
Bob Pulford scored 7 goals in 12 playoff games, one behind league leader Bobby Hull. He also recorded the only hat-trick of that playoff season, notching three goals in Toronto's 8-4 win in Game 5 of the final.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Maple Leafs Quaker Oats Booklets, Late 1940's

Check out these beauties. The latest additions to The Den are a couple of rare 70 year old items. These are two booklets issued by the Quaker Oats company in the late 1940's, just loaded with player headshots, hockey tips and most importantly; glowing recommendations of the goodness of Quaker Oats cereal. The first one was put out for the 1947/48 season and pictures Syl Apps and Hap Day on the front (above). The back cover of the booklet is below, the books (measuring about 5 x 7 inches) could be ordered simply by mailing in one box top.
Inside, the booklet is filled with hockey stars, each and every one proclaiming the wonders of a Quaker Oats start to their day; "the proteins, minerals and vitamin B1 help build muscles", "necessary for stamina and strength", etc.
In addition to hockey and nutritional tips, you could have ordered these terrific "Maple Leaf Premiums" shown below. I would proudly wear that "embossed ring" today, especially if I could get one for only 7 box tops and 15 cents!
In addition, kids could order up some swell new hockey equipment. 1940s gloves for 10 box tops and $3.75...yes please. I do have in my collection, some of the photos that could have been ordered.
The following year, Quaker Oats put out pretty much the same booklet only this time it was laid out horizontally. The 1948/49 issue shows Ted Kennedy on the cover (below).
Wouldn't you know, the Leafs won the Stanley Cup again in '48. Such heady times.
There was a changing of the guard as Syl Apps retired and Kennedy took over as Maple Leaf captain (yes, the Leafs used to actually have captains in the old days). Teeder still manages to reiterate his affirmation of Quaker Oats from the previous season, word for word.
All the Maple Leafs enjoyed the splendours of a Quaker Oats breakfast!

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'."


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