NHL and the World in 1970-71

By HOWARD BERGER

TORONTO (May 22) – With the Maple Leafs golfing and looking ahead to more improvement next season, it’s time for me to look back once again – into the NHL’s past.

If you follow this corner, you know that I have often posted pages from my scrapbooks – primarily from Leaf playoff games in 1993 and ’94: the memorable Pat Burns-Doug Gilmour era. But, my collection of newspaper photos and articles dates much further – to my early-teens, in the first year of 1970 (I was 11). As you’ll see, I kept newspaper items rather sporadically during the 1970-71 season… until the playoffs. Montreal won the 1971 Stanley Cup thanks to a legendary performance by rookie goalie Ken Dryden. All seven games of the Cup final against Chicago are featured here.

This is the first in a series of scrapbook blogs I will post in the coming weeks that span four NHL seasons: 1970-71 through 1973-74.

In 1970-71, Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks joined the NHL, inflating the league to 14 teams. Future Hall of Famers Gilbert Perreault (Buffalo) and Darryl Sittler (Toronto) were rookies. A rule change that would last until 2003 had NHL teams switch to predominantly white uniforms at home; colored on the road. To balance the East and West Divisions at seven clubs apiece, Chicago Black Hawks moved to the West – with the six expansion team from 1967 – and finished 20 points ahead of second-place St. Louis. It would be Gordie Howe’s 25th and final season as a Detroit Red Wing and the NHL swan-song for Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau, who retired after parading the Stanley Cup around the ice at Chicago Stadium.

NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE HOME OPENER AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS – vs. ST. LOUIS BLUES – WED. OCT. 14, 1970. TOP PRICE FOR A LEAF TICKET WAS $6.60.

From a technological perspective, comparing today to 1970 would be like comparing 1970 to Medieval times. There was no such thing as a cellphone, lap-top computer, BlackBerry, I-Phone, Internet or social media. Almost every land telephone had a dialing mechanism; touch-tone devices were just coming into vogue. A minority of televisions had a clicking remote apparatus to switch between the seven or eight channels available in a big city like Toronto; most other TV’s required the rotation of a channel dial on the actual unit.  You were very fortunate to have color television; most were still black-and-white. Cable-TV, in its infancy, allowed viewers in Toronto to access three Buffalo channels – one per American network (ABC, NBC and CBS). Such familiar entities as CNN, FOX, TSN, ESPN, Sportsnet, and every other specialty channel, were at least a decade-and-a-half in the future. U.S. astronauts were still walking on the moon. You could take photographs with a roll of film that had to be developed and processed at your nearest drug store; waiting a week for the pictures to come back was hardly uncommon.

In 1970-71, it would be 9½ years (Nov. 25, 1980) before the oldest current player on the Leafs – John-Michael Liles – came into the world. Mats Sundin was born during the ’70-71 NHL season (Feb. 13). Wayne Gretzky and Barack Obama turned 10 that winter. Brian Burke was 17; Gary Bettman, 19. Richard Nixon was president of the United States; Pierre Elliott Trudeau prime minister of Canada. A biographical film about U.S. General George S. Patton (staring George Scott and Karl Malden) won the Academy Award for best picture. Gene Hackman won best actor for his role as Popeye Doyle in The French Connection; Jane Fonda best actress for portraying Bree Daniels in Klute. Median household income was $9,028 and a dozen eggs cost 53¢.

NEWSPAPER PHOTOGRAPH OF GOALIE ROGER CROZIER DURING FIRST-EVER GAME PLAYED BY THE BUFFALO SABRES – AT PITTSBURGH – SAT. OCT. 10, 1970.

The newspaper industry and the process of relaying information – as you can imagine – was altogether different. Whereas today, a reporter covering a hockey game will “live chat”; post updates on Twitter, and then file a game-story at the buzzer to his company’s website, newspaper accounts in 1970-71 would often appear two days later. Here in Toronto, for example, there was no Sunday paper. The Toronto Star published Monday through Saturday as did the Globe and Mail and the old Toronto Telegram – forerunner to the Toronto Sun, which began operation in November 1971. Hockey writers and columnists from that era – Red Burnett and Frank Orr of the Star; Dan Proudfoot of the Globe and Mail; George Gross and Scott Young of the Telegram – had no concept of immediacy. If the Leafs played at home on Saturday and on the road Sunday, Red Burnett’s Monday submission for the Star would originate from the road city and a tinier article would recap the Saturday match. If Leafs didn’t play Sunday, the Saturday home game – quite old news by then – would be the feature hockey presentation on Monday.

With that in mind, here are the NHL newspaper images I collected  in 1970-71. I turned 12 years of age in February of that season – my birthday exactly 12 days before Mats Sundin was born in Bromma, Sweden. Twenty-five years later, the original scrapbooks were falling apart. I restored them in September 1998 by scotch-taping the old pages into new books. Enjoy.

AMONG THE FACES ABOVE, JACQUES PLANTE AND DARRYL SITTLER ARE IN THE HALL OF FAME. SITTLER WAS A 20-YEAR-OLD ROOKIE IN 1970; PLANTE, 41, A GRIZZLED VETERAN OF 16 NHL SEASONS – LEAFS HAVING PURCHASED HIM FROM ST. LOUIS.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS FIRST NHL GAME

PACIFIC COLISEUM, FRI. OCT. 9, 1970 vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS

TORONTO STAR SENT HOCKEY WRITER FRANK ORR TO VANCOUVER FOR THE CANUCKS NHL DEBUT – A 3-1 LOSS TO THE L.A. KINGS. THE FRIDAY-NIGHT GAME – CALLED BY FUTURE HALL OF FAMER JIM ROBSON – WAS TELECAST ACROSS CANADA ON CBC.

TWO DAYS LATER – ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON – CANUCKS WON THEIR FIRST NHL GAME, BEATING THE LEAFS, 5-3, AT PACIFIC COLISEUM IN TORONTO’S SEASON OPENER. ??

HAVING BEEN FIRED BY THE LEAFS IN APRIL 1969, PUNCH IMLACH RE-SURFACED AS GENERAL MANAGER AND COACH OF THE EXPANSION BUFFALO SABRES. HERE, IMLACH POSED WITH GILBERT PERREAULT – NO. 1 SELECTION IN THE 1970 NHL DRAFT.

BUFFALO SABRES FIRST NHL GAME

PITTSBURGH CIVIC ARENA, SAT. OCT. 10, 1970

STORY? AND SUMMARY? FROM BUFFALO’S TRIUMPHANT NHL DEBUT.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS HOME OPENER

MAPLE LEAF GARDENS, WED. OCT 14, 1970 vs. ST. LOUIS

I REMEMBER BEING AT THIS RUGGED AFFAIR, AS LEAFS BEGAN THEIR HOME SCHEDULE BY ROUTING THE BLUES – JACQUES PLANTE WINNING HIS TORONTO DEBUT. 

SUMMARIES FROM LEAFS HOME OPENER AND SABRES FIRST NHL LOSS.

BEST WISHES FROM PIERRE.

TORONTO STAR GAME STORY FROM FIRST VISIT TO THE GARDENS BY VANCOUVER CANUCKS – WED. NOV. 11, 1970. PAT QUINN WAS ON DEFENSE FOR VANCOUVER.

1971 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

GLOBE AND MAIL STORY (BY DAN PROUDFOOT) FROM STANLEY CUP QUARTERFINALS: TORONTO at NEW YORK – GAME 1 – WED. APR. 7, 1971. LEAF PLAYER IN ABOVE PHOTO IS CENTER JIM HARRISON (12). RANGERS GOALIE IS ED GIACOMIN.

LEAFS CAPTAIN DAVE KEON IS HOUNDED BY FORMER (AND FUTURE) TEAMMATE ROD SEILING (16) AND GLEN SATHER (6) OF NEW YORK RANGERS DURING GAME 1 ACTION OF STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, APR. 7, 1971.

TORONTO STAR REPORT FROM GAME 1 IN NEW YORK.

SCORING SUMMARY FROM LEAFS/RANGERS SERIES OPENER.

STORY IN MONDAY’S GLOBE AND MAIL (APR. 12, 1971) FROM GAME 3 OF LEAFS-RANGERS SERIES AT THE GARDENS TWO NIGHTS EARLIER. NOTE HOW AN INCOMPLETE ACCOUNT OF GAME 4 ON SUNDAY IS PRESENTED IN THE MIDDLE OF STORY.

GARRY MONAHAN  (20) OF LEAFS SCORES ON GILLES VILLEMURE DURING GAME 3 OF SERIES WITH RANGERS. NEW YORK CAPTAIN BOB NEVIN (8) AND LEAF FORWARD BILL MacMILLAN (23) ARE ALSO IN THE PHOTO. 

GLOBE AND MAIL PHOTO FROM OPPOSITE END OF THE RINK SHOWS PAUL HENDERSON (19) OF LEAFS SCORING ON GILLES VILLEMURE DURING GAME 3, WITH RON ELLIS CRUISING IN FRONT. IT WOULD STILL BE MORE THAN 16 MONTHS BEFORE HENDERSON SCORED HIS LEGENDARY GOAL AGAINST RUSSIANS IN THE 1972 SUMMIT SERIES.

STORIES ? AND SUMMARIES ? FROM WEST DIVISION GAMES IN OPENING ROUND OF THE 1971 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS. CHICAGO SWEPT PHILADELPHIA IN FOUR; MINNESOTA KNOCKED OFF ST. LOUIS IN SIX. BLACK HAWKS WENT ON TO FACE NEW YORK RANGERS IN ONE CUP SEMIFINAL; NORTH STARS CAME UP AGAINST MONTREAL IN THE OTHER.

          

MONTREAL-BOSTON 1971 PLAYOFF

THE 1971 QUARTERFINAL BETWEEN BOSTON AND MONTREAL IS ONE OF THE MOST RENOWNED PLAYOFF BATTLES IN MODERN-DAY NHL HISTORY.

BRUINS WERE DEFENDING STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS IN 1970-71 AND BLEW AWAY THE REST OF THE LEAGUE IN THE REGULAR SEASON, COMPILING A RECORD OF 57-14-7 FOR 121 POINTS – 12 BETTER THAN SECOND-PLACE MONTREAL. BOSTON SCORED 399 GOALS, OBLITERATING THE NHL MARK OF 303 IT SET THREE SEASONS EARLIER. PHIL ESPOSITO PORED IN A REMARKABLE 76 GOALS, SMASHING BOBBY HULL’S RECORD OF 58. BOBBY ORR COMPILED A SURREAL 102 ASSISTS – A ONE-SEASON RECORD FOR A DEFENSEMAN THAT MAY NEVER BE ECLIPSED. NEEDLESS TO SAY, BOSTON ENTERED THE ’71 STANLEY CUP TOURNAMENT AS A PROHIBITIVE FAVORITE.

SEVEN GAMES LATER, THE BRUINS WERE DONE.

SPECTACULAR GOALTENDING FROM UNHERALDED NEWCOMER KEN DRYDEN ENABLED MONTREAL TO PULL OF ONE OF THE BIGGEST UPSETS IN STANLEY CUP HISTORY. AFTER BRUINS WON THE SERIES OPENER, 3-1, AT BOSTON GARDEN, AN ASTOUNDING TURN OF EVENTS IN GAME 2 PUT CANADIENS ON THE RIGHT PATH. BOSTON HAD A 5-1 LEAD 15½ MINUTES INTO THE SECOND PERIOD AND LOST, 7-5. A SEE-SAW BATTLE THE REST OF THE WAY CULMINATED WITH MONTREAL DEFEATING THE BRUINS, 4-2, IN GAME 7 AT BOSTON GARDEN ON THE AFTERNOON OF SUN. APR. 18. CANADIENS WENT ON TO PLAY MINNESOTA NORTH STARS IN THE STANLEY CUP SEMIFINALS.

TORONTO STAR ACCOUNT OF GAME 1 IN BOSTON.

BRUINS DEFENSEMAN DON AWREY (26) UPENDS MONTREAL FORWARD MARC TARDIF IN FRONT OF GOALIE GERRY CHEEVERS DURING GAME 1 OF HABS-BRUINS SERIES.

SUMMARY FROM GAME 1 – AT BOSTON – APR. 7, 1971.

BRUINS FORWARD JOHN McKENZIE LOOKS FOR PUCK IN FRONT OF GOALIE KEN DRYDEN IN GAME 3 OF PLAYOFF CLASH AT MONTREAL FORUM,  APR. 10, 1971. HABS DEFENSEMAN GUY LAPOINTE IS SPRAWLED ON THE ICE. CANADIENS PREVAILED, 3-1.

1971 STANLEY CUP FINAL

MONTREAL CANADIENS vs. CHICAGO BLACK HAWKS

AN INTRIGUING CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND SAW THE BLACK HAWKS PREVAIL IN THE FIRST TWO GAMES AT HOME, ONLY TO HAVE STELLAR ROOKIE KEN DRYDEN AND THE CANADIENS ROAR BACK TO WIN FOUR OF FIVE AND THE STANLEY CUP IN GAME 7 AT CHICAGO STADIUM.

GAME 1: at CHICAGO – TUE. MAY 4, 1971 

BOBBY HULL (9) AND JIM PAPPIN RAISE STICKS AFTER PAPPIN’S WINNING GOAL AT 1:11 OF SECOND OVERTIME. KEN DRYDEN IS SPRAWLED ON ICE. OTHER MONTREAL PLAYERS ARE TERRY HARPER (19), JACQUES LAPERRIERE (2) AND MARC TARDIF (11).

GAME 2: at CHICAGO – THU. MAY 6

CHICAGO DEFENSEMAN BILL WHITE (2) WATCHES PUCK ENTER NET BEHIND GOALIE TONY ESPOSITO. MONTREAL CAPTAIN JEAN BELIVEAU IS AT FAR LEFT IN PHOTO.

GAME 3: at MONTREAL – SUN. MAY 9

PETER MAHOVLICH OF MONTREAL CROWDS TONY ESPOSITO, WITH CHICAGO DEFENSEMAN BILL WHITE ENTERING THE FRAY. ALL THREE WOULD PLAY – 16 MONTHS LATER – FOR TEAM CANADA IN FAMED 1972 SERIES AGAINST THE RUSSIANS.

GAME 4: at MONTREAL – TUE. MAY 11

GAME 5: at CHICAGO – THU. MAY 13

DENNIS HULL (10) OF CHICAGO SCORES ON KEN DRYDEN AT 10:57 OF THE FIRST PERIOD. MONTREAL DEFENSEMAN GUY LAPOINTE (5) TRAILS THE PLAY.

GAME 6: at MONTREAL – SUN. MAY 16 (AFTERNOON)

DENNIS HULL OF CHICAGO CIRCLES BEHIND MONTREAL NET AS KEN DRYDEN AND DEFENSEMAN J.C. TREMBLAY (3) TRY TO CORRAL LOOSE PUCK.

BOBBY HULL (9) – CHECKED BY JACQUES LAPERRIERE – EYES  PUCK, AS  GOALIE KEN DRYDEN EXHORTS TEAMMATE GUY LAPOINTE (5).

GAME 7: at CHICAGO – TUE. MAY 18

MONTREAL FORWARD PETER MAHOVLICH TAKES OFF WITH PUCK IN FRONT OF BLACKHAWKS WINGER CLIFF KOROLL. HABS WON, 3-2, TO CAPTURE STANLEY CUP.

NHL PRESIDENT CLARENCE CAMPBELL PRESENTS STANLEY CUP TO MONTREAL CAPTAIN JEAN BELIVEAU (LEFT) AS TEAMMATES HENRI RICHARD (ABOVE) AND MARC TARDIF LOOK ON. BELIVEAU RETIRED AFTER THIS GAME.

          

CONN SMYTHE TROPHY WINNER KEN DRYDEN (LEFT); CHICAGO DEFENSEMAN DOUG JARRETT (4) TYING UP HENRI RICHARD (RIGHT) AS STAN MIKITA LOOKS ON.

UP NEXT: SCRAPBOOK IMAGES FROM 1971-72 NHL SEASON

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