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THE HOCKEY WARS RESUME

Oct. 18, 1954
Oct. 18, 1954

Table of Contents
Oct. 18, 1954

Pat On The Back
  • Herewith a salute from the editors to men and women of all ages who have fairly earned the good opinion of the world of sport, regardless of whether they have yet earned its tallest headlines

Table of Contents
  • New York crowds have been jostling into Madison Square Garden night after night this month to have their spines chilled at biggest and most important of U.S. rodeos. This fall, as always, the best of Western cowboys have come East—for tough animals and tougher men nothing tops the big-town roundup

Soundtrack
Spectacle
Belmont Futurity
The Queen
Football Nuisance
Sailing
McDonald On Gordon
Motor Sports
Under 21
Golf
Tennis
Football
Health
  • In this Saturday's game the average player, who can expect one injury each season, faces his biggest risk of being knocked out of action

Column Of The Week
Acknowledgments
Fisherman's Calendar
Bowling
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

THE HOCKEY WARS RESUME

A great northern sport launches its six-month spectacle of speed, precision and thrills. And once again the champion Red Wings are the team to watch

Major league ice hockey has never pretended to imitate major league baseball—although their seasons virtually overlap at both ends. But last week, as the National Hockey League opened its 38th season, U.S. and Canadian fans sensed that hockey, too, has its New York Yankees. Their names: the Detroit Red Wings, who have won the NHL title six years running. In three of those years the Wings have also won the Stanley Cup postseason play-offs between the four top teams after all six clubs have finished their tedious 70-game grind. This season the Wings are favored to make it seven crowns in a row. Montreal and Toronto are regarded as the only serious contenders. Both hope to throw a jolt into the champs.

This is an article from the Oct. 18, 1954 issue Original Layout

As a fiery sidelight to the team race this season, fans hope to see a renewal of the famous scoring duel between two of hockey's greatest right wingers: Detroit's Gordie Howe (242 goals in eight seasons) and Montreal's Maurice (Rocket) Richard (384 goals in 12 years). Before the opener Howe said he considered team play more important than his goals. The Rocket kept mum. That night's results: Detroit edged Toronto 2-1 as Howe missed six scoring chances; Montreal beat Chicago 4-2 with Richard scoring twice.

PHOTOWHITE-JERSEYED ROCKET RICHARD FIRES ONE OF HIS TWO GOALS TO LEAD MONTREAL TO 4-2 WIN OVER CHICAGOPHOTOALTHOUGH DETROIT WON OPENER OVER TORONTO, 2-1, RED WINGS ACE GORDIE HOWE (AT RIGHT) FAILED TO SCORESIX PHOTOS

View this article in the original magazine

National Hockey League Preview

CLUB
FINAL 1953-'54 STANDINGS

COACH

TEAM PROSPECTS

1
Detroit
Red Wings

GEN. MANG.—JACK ADAMS
ARENA—OLYMPIA STADIUM
The seemingly invincible defending Stanley Cup champions are shooting for their seventh straight NHL title. Most home Wings games are Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 8:30. Prices are scaled from $1.20 to $3.50 in the 12,500-seat stadium.

Rookie Jim Skinner, 36, is up from the efficient Detroit farm system replacing Coach Tom Ivan, who moved to Chicago as general manager. Skinner inherits a stand-pat club with Kelly, Lindsay, Sawchuk and Howe already established among hockey's greats as individual and team stars. Rookie Skinner's problem: starting with a top team, he will be expected to win.

"Production Line" of Delvecchio centering for Howe and Lindsay probably the best in existence. Returning forwards Skov, Leswiek, Pavelich, Prystai, Reibel are all reliable skaters. Kelly, Woit, Pronovost and Goldham make up rugged defensive corps and Sawchuk is as good as they come in the nets. Peters retired but Bonin and Poile have come up from Edmonton. The Wings, in almost every expert's opinion, figure to repeat.

2
Montreal
Les Canadiens

MAN. DIR.—FRANK SELKE
ARENA—MONTREAL FORUM
Les Canadiens, usually colorful, always rough, have missed the play-offs only once in 12 years-Each of the 13,531 Forum seats has been sold for every game since 1945. Prices are $1.50 to $3.25 for Thursday at 8:30, Saturday at 8:15.

Dick Irvin, 62-year-old senior NHL coach, goes into his 15th Montreal season with a problem at center and goal, Lach and McNeil having retired. However, Irvin feels he has no worries. "We'll be stronger than last year," he reports. "Everyone at the beginning of the season thinks they're going to finish in first place. If they don't, they should."

A sure bet for one of the three top spots, Montreal's title chances may depend on the goal-tending skill of Plante, a hot replacement for McNeil last year, but now faced with his first 70-game stretch of major opposition. In front of him Harvey is great. Age may slow down Bouchard and Richard, but Beliveau, Moore and Geoffrion should improve. Newcomers are centers Marshall (already injured) and LeClair, right winger Litzenberger.

3
Toronto
Maple Leafs

MAN. DIR.—CONN SMYTHE
ARENA—MAPLE LEAF GDNS.
Hockey-Crazy Toronto hasn't seen the Leafs finish first since 1948. New General Manager Clarence Day thinks this may be the year. Home games are every Saturday, some Wednesdays, at 8:30. The prices for 12,586 seats: from $1.25 to $3.50.

Coach King Clancy, 51, did well last season and thinks his club is 20% stronger now and that "we have a helluva chance." King, ex-Leaf star and an NHL referee, is banking on top performances from veterans Smith, Lumley and Thomson, and thinks Capt. Kennedy will have another fine year. Clancy plans to eliminate "cheap penalties" by tossing $25 fines at all chronic offenders.

Only three newcomers can expect to find berths on the new Leaf club. One is Creighton, acquired in a trade for Flaman from Boston. The others are Rookies Cahan and Cullen. Much depends on Vezina Trophy-winning Goalie Lumley, Capt. Kennedy and the hoped-for improvement of Armstrong, Horton, Bailey, Boivin, Bolton and Nesterenko. Clancy, dissenting from popular opinion, says that Montreal, not Detroit, may be toughest.

4
Boston
Bruins

PRES.—WALTER BROWN
ARENA—BOSTON GARDEN
Manager-Coach Lynn Patrick got the Bruins into the play-offs a year ago, may have a tougher time of it this season. Bruins Most home games are Sundays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:30. Tickets for the Garden's 13,909 seats go from 70¢ to $3.50.

Lynn Patrick, 42, son of Lester Patrick, the first Ranger coach, is in for trouble if Goalie Henry, a strong backbone in recent years, tires during the long pull. Lynn likely won't get as much out of Schmidt, now in his 16th season, but he says, "This is the most spirited and balanced team I've had in Boston. Fast and aggressive, nobody's going to push us around."

All Bruin hands must come through with a top showing if club is to move up. Loss of Creighton to Toronto and retirement of Peirson will hurt scoring punch unless Mohns, Chevrefils, Mackell and Sandford find the range and stay with it. Defensively Flaman will throw his weight around plenty. Final standings may depend on how well the team, never known for its precision play-making, can do against the play-off-hungry Black Hawks and the arch-rival young Rangers.

5
New York
Rangers

MANAGER—F. BOUCHER
ARENA—MADISON SQ. GDN.
Launching their 29th NHL season, Ranger officials gloomily recall but three titles and second division finishes for Rangers the last 12 years. Games are usually Sundays and Wednesdays at 8:30. Tickets for 15,284 seats: 70¢ to $4.50.

Murray (Muzz) Patrick, 39-year-old brother of Lynn, starts his first full season as Ranger coach after his team showed amazing improvement toward end of last year. Says optimistic Muzz, a tough prewar Ranger defenseman, "We've got a good young club which may surprise a lot of gloom merchants who seem to feel sorry for us already."

Only a miracle, it seems, can keep the Rangers off the cellar steps. Top goal-scorer Hergesheimer will nurse a broken leg until December. Lewicki, ex-Leaf, may fit well on line with Mickoski and Raleigh, but "kid" line of Bathgate, Murphy and Rookie Popein is untested. Gone are the Bentleys, Riese, Kullman and Buller. Returning is ex-Captain Stanley to bolster the defense, and Laprade takes over as penalty killer. Goal spot strong: Worsley, with Bower on call.

6
Chicago
Black Hawks

GEN. MANG.—TOMMY IVAN
ARENA—CHICAGO STADIUM
Last place finishers for six of the past eight seasons, the Hawks have undergone house-Black cleaning from front office to bench. Chicago's hopes are highest since the war. Most games are Sunday at 8:30; 16,666 seats scaled from $1.25 to $4.

Rookie Coach Frank Eddolls, 33, ex-big leaguer with N.Y. and Montreal, guided Buffalo to AHL title last year to earn the Hawks job under new General Manager Tommy Ivan. Replacing Sid Abel, Eddolls' chief problem "is to develop our young fellows fast." Both Ivan and Eddolls think they have the personnel to move into serious play-off contention.

Last year Hawks won only 12 games, scored a measly 133 goals. Revamped team is built around dependable, over-worked Goalie Rollins, but will miss Mosienko (who retired) and Fogolin (temporarily injured). Defense has been strengthened by acquisition of Hollings-worth from Montreal, Martin from Boston. Other newcomers, all experienced, are Sullivan from Hershey, McCormick and Gamble from Montreal, Hassard and Timgren from Toronto.