Toronto Maple Leafs 1967–68: Part 2

THE LEAFS BEGAN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON IN NEW YORK (STORY BELOW) ON SUNDAY, JAN. 7, 1968 AND GOT HAMMERED BY THE RANGERS IN THEIR FINAL VISIT TO THE OLD MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AT 8th AVE. AND 49th ST. THE NEW (AND CURRENT) GARDEN WOULD OPEN ON FEB. 18, 1968.

RSCN0014edited-XRSCN0018edited-XFRANK MAHOVLICH LEFT A HOST OF RED WINGS (INCLUDING DEFENSEMAN HOWIE YOUNG, 4) IN HIS WAKE DURING A 2–1 LEAFS VICTORY OVER DETROIT AT THE GARDENS — WEDNESDAY, JAN. 10, 1968.

RSCN0021edited-XTHE LEAFS LOST AGAIN TO AN EXPANSION TEAM IN THEIR FIRST–EVER GAME AT PITTSBURGH (ABOVE) ON FRIDAY, JAN. 12, 1968. THE TEAMS THEN FLEW TO TORONTO FOR A RETURN MATCH. AN INITIAL DRAFT OF THE 1967–68 NHL SCHEDULE HAD MAPLE LEAF GARDENS VACANT ON THE NIGHT OF SATURDAY, JAN. 13. AS SUCH, A SENIOR HOCKEY GAME BETWEEN THE TORONTO MARLBOROS AND BARRIE FLYERS WAS BOOKED IN AT 8 P.M. FOR WHATEVER REASON, THE LEAFS CHOSE TO NOT DISRUPT THE SENIOR OHA MATCH AND FACED OFF AGAINST THE PENGUINS IN THE FIRST NHL MATINEE AT THE GARDENS IN 17 YEARS. THERE WAS DOUBT IT WOULD BE TELEVISED UNTIL CFTO–CHANNEL 9 IN TORONTO CLEARED PROGRAMMING SPACE (BELOW) IN ITS SATURDAY SCHEDULE.

RSCN0007edited-XRSCN0026edited-XIT WAS A MISERABLE AFTERNOON FOR GOALIE LES BINKLEY AS BOB PULFORD (20) AND THE LEAFS AVENGED THE FRIDAY–NIGHT LOSS AT PITTSBURGH WITH A 7–0 ROUT OF THE PENGUINS.

1968 NHL ALL–STAR GAME

AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS ON TUESDAY, JAN. 16, IT MARKED THE FINAL MEETING BETWEEN THE NHL ALL–STARS AND THE DEFENDING STANLEY CUP CHAMPION. IN 1969, THE GAME WOULD FEATURE PLAYERS FROM THE EAST AND WEST DIVISIONS. THE ’68 MATCH WAS HELD BENEATH A PALL, AS BILL MASTERTON OF THE MINNESOTA NORTH STARS HAD DIED THE PREVIOUS DAY FROM HIS HEAD INJURY.

FSCN0046edited-XRSCN0071edited-XRSCN9978edited-XTHE ALL–STAR GAME WAS A DIFFERENT ANIMAL IN THE 60’s, AS EVIDENCED HERE WITH AN ALMOST–FIGHT BETWEEN MIKE WALTON OF THE LEAFS AND THE LEGENDARY GORDIE HOWE.

RSCN0079edited-X  RSCN0074edited-XRSCN0084edited-XFIVE DAYS AFTER THE DEATH OF BILL MASTERTON, MINNESOTA CAME TO TOWN WITH BILL GOLDSWORTHY (8) AND BOB McCORD (3). THE LEAFS WON EASILY, 5–1, ON SATURDAY, JAN. 20, 1968.

RSCN0099edited-XTHE FIRST–EVER MEETING BETWEEN THE MAPLE LEAFS AND PHILADELPHIA FLYERS TOOK PLACE AT THE GARDENS ON WEDNESDAY, JAN. 24, 1968 — A 2–1 WIN BY THE VISITORS.

RSCN0142edited-XTHE LEAFS AND BLACK HAWKS PLAYED A HOME–AND–HOME SET ON THE WEEKEND OF JAN. 27–28, 1968 — CHICAGO WINNING, 4–1, AT THE GARDENS; LEAFS PREVAILING, 3–1, AT CHICAGO STADIUM (ABOVE). THE STORY FROM CHICAGO (BELOW) WAS IN THE OLD TORONTO TELEGRAM:

RSCN0145edited-XRSCN0118edited-XGOALIE ROGATIEN VACHON BLANKED THE LEAFS, 3–0, IN MONTREAL ON TUESDAY, JAN. 30, 1968.

RSCN0163edited-XLEAFS SPENT THE WEEKEND OF FEB. 3–4 IN PENNSYLVANIA — GAINING A 3–3 TIE AT PITTSBURGH ON SATURDAY; THEN LOSING, 4–1, TO THE FLYERS IN THEIR FIRST–EVER GAME AT PHILADELPHIA:

RSCN0166edited-X  RSCN0157edited-XMAPLE LEAFS WENT TO CALIFORNIA FOR THE SECOND TIME AND LOST TO THE SHAMEFUL OAKLAND SEALS, 4–3, ON SUNDAY, FEB. 11, 1968:

RSCN0180edited-XRSCN0187edited-XANOTHER DEFEAT FOLLOWED AT LOS ANGELES THE NEXT NIGHT — MONDAY, FEB. 12, 1968 — IN A FIRST VISIT TO JACK KENT COOKE’S FORUM IN INGLEWOOD, CALIF.

RSCN0196edited-XRSCN0200edited-X  RSCN0207edited-XHOME FROM CALIFORNIA, THE LEAFS LOST THEIR FIFTH CONSECUTIVE GAME — 4–2 TO THE MONTREAL CANADIENS, AT THE GARDENS, ON WEDNESDAY, FEB. 14, 1968.

FSCN0220edited-B-CBILL FRIDAY ANGRILY WARNS FRANK MAHOVLICH (27) TO STAY OUT OF THE REFEREES’ CIRCLE DURING A DISPUTED PLAY AT END OF GAME AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS ON SATURDAY, FEB. 17, 1968. LEAFS LOST AGAIN, 3–2, TO THE NEW YORK RANGERS. NEW YORK CAPTAIN BOB NEVIN IS CLOSE BY.

FSCN0227edited-XTORONTO’S SEASON–HIGH LOSING STREAK HIT SEVEN IN A 5–1 HOME LOSS TO ST. LOUIS ON WEDNESDAY, FEB. 21, 1968; THE BLUES AVENGING THEIR 8–1 HUMILIATION AT THE GARDENS IN LATE DECEMBER. HERE, DEFENSEMAN BOB PLAGER (5) CROSS–CHECKS RON ELLIS TO THE ICE.

RSCN0244edited-XRSCN0236edited-X  RSCN0247edited-XFSCN0233edited-XRSCN0111edited-XCHICAGO BEAT THE LEAFS, 1–0, AT THE GARDENS ON WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28, 1968.

RSCN0250edited-XA 4–1 LOSS FOLLOWED FOR THE LEAFS AT BOSTON GARDEN — THURSDAY, FEB. 29, 1968.

RSCN0260edited-X  RSCN0265edited-XFSCN0252edited-XFSCN0267edited-XTHE FINAL GAME BEFORE ONE OF THE BIGGEST TRADES IN LEAFS HISTORY RESULTED IN AN EASY 5–2 WIN OVER THE LOS ANGELES KINGS AT THE GARDENS — SATURDAY, MAR. 2, 1968.

RSCN0270edited-XFSCN0279edited-XHOCKEY FANS IN TORONTO AND DETROIT AWOKE MONDAY MORNING, MARCH 4, 1968 TO THE NEWS OF A STUNNING TRADE BETWEEN THE TEAMS — FINALIZED LATE SUNDAY NIGHT. THE LEAFS SWAPPED FRANK MAHOVLICH, PETER STEMKOWSKI, GARRY UNGER AND THE NHL PLAYING RIGHTS TO CARL BREWER FOR AN ENTIRE FORWARD LINE: NORM ULLMAN, PAUL HENDERSON AND FLOYD SMITH.

RSCN0301edited-XNEW LEAF FLOYD SMITH CRUISES IN FROM OF FLYERS GOALIE DOUG FAVELL AT THE GARDENS ON WEDNESDAY, MAR. 6, 1968. ALL THREE PLAYERS OBTAINED FROM DETROIT SCORED GOALS FOR THE MAPLE LEAFS AS TORONTO WHIPPED PHILADELPHIA, 7–2:

RSCN0283edited-XRSCN0291edited-X  RSCN0296edited-XSHACK vs. ZEIDEL at MAPLE LEAF GARDENS

WITH THE PHILADELPHIA SPECTRUM CLOSED BECAUSE OF WIND DAMAGE TO ITS ROOF, THE FLYERS STAYED IN TORONTO AND PLAYED BOSTON IN A “HOME” GAME ON THURSDAY, MAR. 7, 1968. IT FEATURED ONE OF THE MOST INFAMOUS STICK FIGHTS IN NHL HISTORY — BETWEEN EDDIE SHACK OF THE BRUINS AND LARRY ZEIDEL OF THE FLYERS. MY LONG–TIME PAL, LARRY MILLSON, COVERED THE GAME FOR THE TORONTO TELEGRAM:

RSCN0341edited-XRSCN0338edited-XRSCN0308edited-XFORMER LEAF FRANK MAHOVLICH CAME BACK TO TORONTO WITH THE DETROIT RED WINGS SIX NIGHTS AFTER THE MAMMOTH TRADE (SATURDAY, MAR. 9, 1968) AND SCORED EARLY ON BRUCE GAMBLE. THE LEAFS FELL BEHIND, 5–1, BUT ROARED BACK FOR A THRILLING, 7–5 VICTORY:

FSCN0312edited-XRSCN0376edited-XTIM HORTON (7), PAUL HENDERSON (19) AND ALLAN STANLEY SCRAMBLE FOR THE PUCK BESIDE GOALIE BRUCE GAMBLE AGAINST ST. LOUIS FORWARDS CRAIG CAMERON (21) AND TIM ECCLESTONE DURING LEAFS–BLUES 3–3 TIE AT ST. LOUIS ARENA — WEDNESDAY, MAR. 13, 1968. BLEAK PLAYOFF PICTURE FOR THE DEFENDING CHAMPS WAS DETAILED HERE BY LOU CAUZ OF THE GLOBE AND MAIL:

RSCN0379edited-X  RSCN0384edited-XFSCN0389edited-XBACK HOME ON SATURDAY, MAR. 16, 1968, THE LEAFS UPSET BOSTON, 3–0. BRUCE GAMBLE RECORDED THE SHUTOUT, MAKING A KEY SAVE (BELOW) OFF PHIL ESPOSITO (7) OF THE BRUINS.

FSCN0387edited-XTHE MAPLE LEAFS ROAD GAME OF SUNDAY, MAR. 17, 1968 WOULD HAVE BEEN PLAYED IN PHILADELPHIA HAD THE SPECTRUM NOT BEEN CLOSED WITH WIND DAMAGE TO ITS ROOF. INSTEAD, THE LEAFS AND FLYERS PLAYED AT THE COLISEE IN QUEBEC CITY, HOME OF THE FLYERS’ AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE FARM TEAM. PHILADELPHIA PREVAILED OVER TORONTO, 7–4, AND GEORGE GROSS (d. Mar. 21, 2008) WAS ON HAND FOR THE TORONTO TELEGRAM:

RSCN0395edited-XRSCN0401edited-XRSCN0446edited-XLEAFS WERE OFFICIALLY ELIMINATED FROM THE PLAYOFFS AFTER LOSING, 3–2, TO THE CANADIENS AT THE MONTREAL FORUM ON WEDNESDAY, MAR. 20, 1968. HERE, FORWARD DICK DUFF IS STOPPED BY HIS SPRAWLING FORMER LEAFS TEAMMATE JOHNNY BOWER.

RSCN0551edited-XRSCN0454edited-BRSCN0437edited-X  RSCN0440edited-XRSCN0431edited-XFORMER RED WING NORM ULLMAN AND EX–LEAF FRANK MAHOVLICH (27) COLLIDE IN THE FIRST GAME BETWEEN THE CLUBS AT DETROIT OLYMPIA — THURSDAY, MAR. 21, 1968 — SINCE THE SEVEN–PLAYER TRADE 18 NIGHTS EARLIER. TORONTO WON, 5–2, AND BEGAN A 5–1–0 STREAK TO END THE SEASON. THIS NO–PRESSURE–TYPE TEAR WOULD BECOME TYPICAL OF LEAF TEAMS IN THE 2000’s.

RSCN0416edited-X  RSCN0421edited-XFSCN0457edited-XLEAFS BEAT THE RANGERS, 3–1, AT HOME ON SATURDAY, MAR. 23, 1968 (ABOVE); THEN LOST, 4–2, IN THE RETURN MATCH THE FOLLOWING NIGHT AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN:

RSCN0465edited-X  RSCN0468edited-XRSCN0471edited-XIN THEIR FINAL MID–WEEK GAME OF THE SEASON, LEAFS CLOBBERED THE EVENTUAL STANLEY CUP–CHAMPION MONTREAL CANADIENS AT THE GARDENS — WEDNESDAY, MAR. 27, 1968.

FSCN0477edited-XLEAFS BLANKED CHICAGO, 4–0, IN THEIR FINAL HOME GAME — SATURDAY, MAR. 30, 1968:

RSCN0554edited-XTORONTO FINISHED ITS DISAPPOINTING SEASON WITH A THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN, 4–1, AT THE BOSTON GARDEN — SUNDAY, MAR. 31, 1968. LEAFS FINAL RECORD WAS 33–31–10 FOR 76 POINTS:

RSCN0567edited-X  RSCN0569edited-XRSCN0565edited-XFINAL LEAF SCORING AND GOALTENDING STATS FOR 1967–68:

RSCN0579edited-XEMAIL: HOWARDLBERGER@GMAIL.COM

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