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Throughout the season we will be taking an occasional look back at some significant moments in NHL history. This is the PHT Time Machine. Today we look back at the Boston Bruins’ 1970 Stanley Cup Final win over the St. Louis Blues and some of the significant moments in that series that were NOT Bobby Orr’s game-winning goal.

It is not uncommon to see replays of Bobby Orr’s 1970 Stanley Cup clinching goal around this time of year because it is one of the most well known plays in NHL history. It will no doubt be even relevant this season because the 2019 Stanley Cup Final between the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins is a rematch of that series.

For the Blues, it was the third year in a row they qualified for the Stanley Cup Final by coming out of the NHL’s “expansion division” and the third year in a row they were swept by one of the league’s Original Six powers.

That series has become known almost entirely for Orr’s game-winning goal (his only goal of the series, by the way) but it was far from the only notable development, play, or performance in that matchup.

We are using our latest PHT Time Machine to look at some of the moments that history may have forgotten.

Blues goalie Jacques Plante was saved (literally) by his mask

Following a four-year retirement in the mid-1960s, Plante made his return to the NHL at the start of the 1968-69 season as a member of the second-year Blues franchise, and alongside fellow future Hall of Famer Glenn Hall won the Vezina Trophy (which was at the time awarded to the goalies on the team that allowed the fewest goals in the league) and helped lead the Blues to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Blues relied on three goalies during the 1969-70 season (Ernie Wakely also saw significant playing time as Hall had retired after the 1968-69 season only to come out of retirement during the season) and entered the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins with Plante in net.

But mid-way through the second period disaster struck when Phil Esposito deflected a Fred Stansfield slap shot, striking Plante squarely in the forehead and knocking him unconscious. He would spend several days in the hospital.

The recap and description of the play (this from the May 5, 1970 Edmonton Journal) is jarring.

This is the play.

Plante would never play another minute in the series, and it is impossible to wonder what would have happened in the series had he not been injured. He only played five games in the playoffs that year for the Blues, finishing with a 4-1 record and an almost unheard of (for the time) .936 save percentage.

The duo of Hall and Wakely finished with a 4-7 record (with all four wins belonging to Hall) and a sub-.900 save percentage in the playoffs, while both struggled in the series against the Bruins.

Wakely, who dressed as the backup at the start of the series, replaced Plante in Game 1 and surrendered four goals before giving up six in the team’s Game 2 loss. He was replaced by Hall for Games 3 and 4 in St. Louis, and while he fared marginally better he was no match for the Bruins’ relentless offensive onslaught.

Plante’s mask saving his life and from further injury came just a decade after he popularized the use of the goalie mask and helped to make a staple of NHL equipment.

This Was The Bruins’ Return To Relevance

Throughout much of the 1960s the Bruins were the laughing stock of the NHL’s original six.

Between the 1959-60 and 1966-67 seasons the Bruins won just 149 games, and were one of just two teams that had failed to win at least 230 during that stretch (the Rangers won 177). They never made the playoffs during that stretch, only twice finished out of last place, and never finished higher than fifth.

But in starting in 1966 things started to change for the Bruins.

Orr made his debut as an 18-year-old during the 1966-67 season and immediately started to transform the team, the league, and even the way the game was played, forever altering what we could expect from defenders with the puck.

One year later they made one of the most significant trades in franchise history when they dealt Pit Martin, Jack Norris, and Gilles Marotte to the Chicago Blackhawks for Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, and Stanfield. It was a deal that turned out to be laughably one-sided in the Bruins’ favor and helped build the foundation of a team that would not only finally return to the playoffs after an eight-year drought, but also win two Stanley Cups between 1970 and 1972.

Esposito and Hodge were all-star level players on those Stanley Cup winning teams, while Stanfield proved to be an outstanding complementary star that was a virtual lock for at least 25 goals and 70 points every year he played in Boston.

This probably wasn’t the best of the early-mid 1970’s Bruins teams, but it will always be a significant one for snapping what had been a 29-year championship drought with a legendary postseason performance that included a 10-game winning streak. After winning Games 5 and 6 in Round 1 against the New York Rangers, the Bruins then swept the Chicago Blackhawks in Round 2 before sweeping the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.

The series itself wasn’t really all that competitive, either. While the Blues had been swept in the Stanley Cup Final in each of the previous two seasons against the Montreal Canadiens dynasty they still managed to hold their own in each series, losing several games by just a single goal.

This series was not that. The first three games were all blowouts in the Bruins’ favor, while the Bruins held a commanding edge on the shot chart in every game and ended up outscoring them by a 20-7 margin.

John Bucyk was the feel good story and offensive star for Bruins

There is always that one veteran player on every championship team that has been around forever, experienced defeat, and never had their chance to lift the Stanley Cup. They become the sympathetic figure for the postseason and the player that “just deserves it because it is their time.”

For the 1969-70 Bruins, that player was John Bucyk.

Bucyk had been a member of the Bruins since the start of the 1957-58 season and was a rock for the team every year. And every year the Bruins just kept losing. Finally, at the age of 34, the Bruins broke through and got him a championship and few players on the team played a bigger role in that win.

Bucykfinished the series with six goals, including a Game 1 hat trick that helped the Bruins set the tone for the series.

He scored at least one goal in every game in the series, while his Game 4 goal tied the game, 3-3, late in the third period and helped set the stage for Orr’s winner.

It was a big moment for the entire organization as almost no one on the team had ever experienced a championship season.

That core would go on to win another Stanley Cup during the 1971-72 season. The Bruins would have to wait until the 2010-11 team to win another one after that.

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Legendary hockey reporter and analyst Stan Fischler will write a weekly scrapbook for this season. Fischler, known as “The Hockey Maven,” will share his knowledge, humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

Today, he remembers the first NHL All-Star game. (Photos courtesy Hockey Hall of Fame)

Those of us who were around for the first NHL All-Star Game, in Toronto on Oct. 13, 1947, treated it as if this was the seventh game of a Stanley Cup Final.

Since it was the first of its kind and pitted the defending champion Toronto Maple Leafs against the All-Stars, there was an extra-special aura about the event, plus it was being played on Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

[RELATED: Full NHL All-Star Game coverage]

“HOCKEY’S GREATEST SHOW,” blared a huge ad in the Globe and Mail newspaper.

There were storylines galore, starting with the fact that no player from the Cup champion Maple Leafs had been voted to the First All-Star team.

“Coach Hap Day will attempt to prove that his fellow strategists made a colossal error in passing up his boys on the all-star selects last Spring,” wrote Jim Vipond in the Globe and Mail.

Globe and Mail columnist Jim Coleman wrote: “The Maple Leafs will be skating against a team which probably is the best aggregation of players ever assembled on one ice surface.”

Who could argue with that assessment?

Dick Irvin, who was coaching the All-Stars, had two Hall of Fame goaltenders in the Montreal Canadiens’ Bill Durnan and the Boston Bruins’ Frank Brimsek.

Irvin, coach of the Canadiens, had four defensemen, Butch Bouchard and Ken Reardon from Montreal, and Jack Stewart and Bill Quackenbush of the Detroit Red Wings.

The forwards were the Canadiens’ Maurice Richard, the Red Wings’ Ted Lindsay, all three members of the Boston Bruins’ Kraut Line, Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart, and all three players from the Chicago Blackhawks’ Pony Line, Max Bentley, Doug Bentley and Bill Mosienko. Also on the roster were the New York Rangers’ Edgar Laprade, Grant Warwick and Tony Leswick.

There was much debate over who would win, with Bruins general manager Art Ross saying, “Sorry for (Maple Leafs GM Conn) Smythe. The All-Star team is unbeatable.”

Smythe replied, “Ross had better bring a supply of aspirins with him. We’ll shove the whole Leaf team down his throat.”

Rangers GM Frank Boucher was more objective: “If an all-star team played several games together I have not the slightest doubt they could beat all comers easily. But since this is not so I shouldn’t be surprised if Toronto defeated the All-Stars.”

The pregame ceremonies had an aura of pomp and circumstance with Ontario Premier George Drew handling the honorary face-off, and referee King Clancy and linesmen Jim Primeau and Eddie Mepham wearing midnight blue uniforms specially ordered for the game. But once the puck was dropped no player was standing on any ceremonies.

“The clash was ‘exhibition’ in name only as the opposing players ripped into each other with Stanley Cup gusto to the noisy delight of 14,318 fans,” Vipond wrote in the Globe and Mail.

The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Harry Watson at 12:29 of the first period, and then Bill Ezinicki scored 1:03 into the second to make it 2-0.

Slowly the All-Stars began to gel, and Max Bentley scored at 4:39 of the second to make it 2-1.

Syl Apps scored for the Maple Leafs to make it 3-1 at 5:01 of the second, but Warwick got the All-Stars back within a goal at 3-2 at 9:25 of the second.

Richard tied it 3-3 28 seconds into the third period, and then set up Doug Bentley’s go-ahead goal at 1:27.

When the clock ran out, the All-Stars skated away with a 4-3 victory.

The event had a gross gate of $25,842, of which $17,228 was earmarked for the new players’ pension fund and $8,614 to the Toronto Community Chest.

The only blemish was the broken left ankle sustained by Mosienko during the second period, an injury that sidelined him for a month.

“He was one of our key men,” Blackhawks forward Johnny Gottselig said. “And a potential 60-point man.”

To replace Mosienko, the Blackhawks and Maple Leafs engineered what at the time was the biggest trade in hockey history. On Nov. 2, 1947, Toronto acquired Max Bentley and forward Cy Thomas, while Chicago received forwards Gus Bodnar, Gaye Stewart and Bud Poile, plus defensemen Bob Goldham and Ernie Dickens.

With Bentley leading them, the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cups three times (1948, 1949, 1951) in the next four seasons.

Despite the injury to Mosienko, the all-star game became an annual affair, with Chicago chosen to host the second game. Blackhawks officials wanted it cancelled because of the Mosienko injury but NHL President Clarence Campbell insisted that it be played, and it was.

Once again the All-Stars beat the Cup champion Maple Leafs, this time 3-1 at Chicago Stadium, on Nov. 3, 1948.

While the game has gone through several changes, when the players skate out for the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game at SAP Center in San Jose on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS), it will be the renewal of a wonderful staple of the hockey season.

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Legendary hockey reporter and analyst Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for Fischler, known as “The Hockey Maven,” will share his humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

This week features a 1968 interview with Hockey Hall of Famer Babe Pratt, one of the NHL’s best defensemen of the late 1930s and 1940s. Pratt, then 52, talked with Stan in his office at a New Westminster, British Columbia, lumber company two years before returning to hockey as assistant to the vice president of the expansion Vancouver Canucks.

Here are highlights of that conversation:

Did you grow up in a hockey atmosphere?

Absolutely. Winnipeg is a wonderful hockey town; and was when I was a kid. In our town we had great teams going back to the 19th century with clubs from our city winning the Allan Cup (senior hockey championship in Canada) and the Memorial Cup. We had a lot of hockey heroes. Mine was Frank Frederickson, who had come from Iceland and lived near us. I watched Frank play and wanted to be just like him. We had something like 64 rinks for kids 12 years and younger.

When did you think about making hockey your career?

I was good enough to move up the ladder to junior hockey in Kenora, Ontario, not that far from Winnipeg. I had a fine coach, Sandy Sanderson, who had great compassion for [young players], and he developed my game to a point where the New York Rangers sent a scout to see if I was for real. This particular scout was Al Ritchie, who worked for the Rangers boss, Lester Patrick. After investigating me, Al told many people that I was the greatest prospect he ever scouted. Al and Lester invited me to Rangers training camp in the fall of 1934.

What was that camp like for a raw rookie like you?

Competition was really keen. Lester had invited 23 amateurs, and 16 of them made it to the NHL. Guys who made it to the Rangers included a pair of brothers; forwards Neil Colville and Mac Colville; defenseman Muzz Patrick and forward Lynn Patrick. Other good ones were Alex Shibicky, Phil Watson, Don Metz and Mel Hill — all forwards — as well as defenseman Joe Cooper and goalie Bert Gardiner.

How did you compare to them?

Lester Patrick, who made all the decisions for the Rangers, wanted me to turn pro. But I still had two years of junior hockey left and was ready to go back to amateurs. But when two of Patrick’s regular defensemen, Ching Johnson and Earl Seibert, got hurt Lester asked me to stay and work out for 10 days. After practicing with big stars like the Cook brothers, Bill and Bun, as well as Frank Boucher, I really felt I belonged with the big club. Still, I eventually went back to juniors; which was the right thing to do. Our team finished first and I led the league in scoring.

When did you make it to the NHL?

After I won the scoring title in juniors, Lester brought me back to the next Rangers camp. He liked what he saw but said I needed a bit of work in the minors, so I went down to Philadelphia for two months. No harm in that since I was playing alongside the Colvilles, Shibicky and Watson. We all got better in Philly and made it up to the big club. We were tickled because we were a part of the youth movement Patrick had started in the late 1930s.

How well did the youth movement work?

The best. Lester also had promoted guys like his sons, Lynn Patrick and Muzz Patrick, along with Bryan Hextall, Ott Heller and Art Coulter. By, the 1938-39 season we reached the playoffs before losing in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins. Once the next season began, we had a real powerhouse — and when it was over, we had beaten Conn Smythe’s Toronto Maple Leafs for the Stanley Cup. Smythe had said the 1940 Rangers was the greatest hockey team he’d ever seen. When we came to Toronto for a game, Smythe would advertise us as “The Broadway Blues, Hockey’s Classiest Team.”

What made your Rangers so good?

Balance. Our first line scored 38 goals; the second 37 and the third line, 36 over the season. Plus, we had three great centers — Clint Smith, Watson and Neil Colville. — as well as so many good wingmen that we were able to put pressure on the other teams even when we were a man short. Our power play was so strong that in one game Toronto took a penalty and we kept the puck in their zone for the entire two minutes — and scored two goals [Editor's note: Players who were assessed minor penalties served the full two minutes until 1956-57]. Our goaltender, Davey Kerr, was one of the best; so was our coach, Frank Boucher.

Babe Pratt of the New York Rangers.

What was your relationship with Lester Patrick like?

For the most part it was good, until near the end. Lester liked me, and I loved playing in New York. It was a great hockey town and still is. Lester made sure we appreciated the city and would tell us about the great actors and actresses. But after a while Lester got disturbed with me; maybe because I always kidded him about his frugality. One of my favorite lines was, “Patrick isn’t tight with money, he’s adjacent to it!” Eventually Lester had a chance to get two players for me, so he did me a favor and sent me to Toronto in a 2-for-1 deal. With the Leafs I won another Cup and the Hart Trophy.

What was it like joining the Maple Leafs?

I went from one character to another — Rangers boss Lester Patrick to Conn Smythe, who ran the Leafs with an iron fist. As the Leafs [general] manager, Conn was the greatest exhorter hockey has ever known. And he had the greatest coach in Hap Day. What made things unusual was that I was the only player in hockey to room with his coach. Some people thought it was because I’d be under the coach’s thumb, but I didn’t feel that way. I always thought it was because Hap was a lonely man who needed my company. Whatever the case, I had some great times with Hap and the Maple Leafs.

How good were you in Toronto?

Good enough to win the Hart Trophy in 1943-44, when I got 57 points in 50 games — playing defense. That record lasted 20 years before Pierre Pilote of Chicago got 59 points in 70 games. But my greatest thrill was beating Detroit for the Stanley Cup in 1945. The series went a full seven games and in the last game we were tied in the third period when we got a power play. Our center, Nick Metz, sent me a pass When I got the puck I skated in from the point and made a double-pass with Nick and got it back on my stick. I slid a long one past Harry Lumley in the Detroit net, and it turned out to be the Cup-winning goal.

How did the second Cup differ from the first?

We had more stars when I was with the Rangers, but we also had some good players on that Leafs team. Our goalie, Frank McCool, was rookie of the year and guys such as Teeder Kennedy, Gus Bodnar, Elwin Morris and Hill were good players. Still, I felt that if any one person could have been given the Cup to keep for himself that year, Hap Day should have gotten it for the way he handled our club in ’44-45. Hap was the man who made it all work.

What do you remember about NHL greats?

Bruins center Milt Schmidt had the most drive. Milt also was a great puck-carrier, as was Syl Apps of Toronto and Neil Colville of the Rangers. No question, the greatest goal-scorer was Montreal’s Maurice Richard, but “Rocket” wasn’t the greatest player. Of the guys I’ve seen, the greatest was Jean Beliveau of the Canadiens. He was a polished performer who could do everything — stickhandle, shoot, the works! As for the little guys, I liked Doug Bentley with the Black Hawks and Boston’s nifty center Bill Cowley. Those two could really make plays. On defense, I’d go with Doug Harvey and Jack Stewart. “Black Jack” never was the puck-carrier that Harvey was, just a real, sound, fine defenseman.

You’ve been revered for your humor; what funny scenes can you remember?

When I was with the Rangers, we were beating Detroit 6-1 just after Red Wings general manager Jack Adams had gotten his citizenship papers. Suddenly a fan yelled out, “Hey, Adams, it’s a good thing you got citizenship; now you can get home relief!” Another time we were leading the [New York] Americans by about six goals when a voice from the balcony yells down to me, “Hey, Walter, why don’t you turn the net around; nobody’s looking!”

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Robin Lehner has been a nothing but gift to the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans.
There is just so much negativity surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks right now. Of course, that is understandable when you find yourself toward the bottom of the standings even though a year ago the team was deemed a “retooling” team on the fly.

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You can really understand why fans are angry about the retooling nonsense that was spewed when the Chicago Blackhawks fired Joel Quenneville over a year ago. A retooling on the fly symbolized a month or so of bad hockey, not two wasted seasons for a team deemed “playoff caliber”.

The Blackhawks’ first two forward call-ups this season — Matthew Highmore and Anton Wedin — are reliable bottom-six grinders, but their potential caps out at that.

The Hawks’ third forward call-up — Dylan Sikura, promoted Sunday from the AHL — brings more skill and a much higher ceiling.

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But Sikura, a 166-pound featherweight, doesn’t have the right body or playing style to ever stick in the NHL as a third-line defensive specialist or fourth-line scrapper.

For him to carve out and maintain a full-time roster spot with the Hawks, he’ll have to prove he can produce offense at a solid rate.

“This time around, [I want to] just prove that I can play, I can stay, be an every-day kind of guy up here,” Sikura said. “There’s times last year — toward the end of the year — where I was proving myself a little bit, and I’m excited to get a fresh start and another chance.”

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Sikura played 33 games in 2018-19 for the Hawks and infamously failed to score, despite stellar performance in virtually every other regard.

The winger spent a lot of time with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad on his second call-up and finished with the highest Corsi rating (55.4 percent) and scoring-chance ratio (53.2 percent) on the team. Yet he tallied only eight assists.

He’s hoping to get the first-goal subject out of the way quickly this month.

“That’s something that’s important for me — down there [in Rockford], I get a chance … to score goals,” he said. “Obviously that’s something I’d like to do at this level, so hopefully we can put this to rest soon.”

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Sikura has scored goals aplenty with the IceHogs. He leads the team with nine goals and 16 points in 22 games, and he scored 17 goals and 35 points in 46 games last season.

When the Blackhawks signed Robin Lehner this offseason, many fans were rather confused. Now, here we are two months into the season and all I have to say is Robin Lehner is a gift from the hockey gods.

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Lehner is a player who is not afraid to speak his mind, or try and spark something from his teammates. Media and fans alike read into his “wake up” comments to his teammates when he was pulled against the Avalanche, yet no one understands what Lehner was saying.

Lehner was not trying to blame the players or trying to say he is better than them. Instead, he is just saying they can play better as a team, something the Blackhawks have struggled with so far this season.

Chicago has relied heavily on Robin Lehner to steal games for the Blackhawks. He stole a point from the Arizona Coyotes a few nights ago, and even submitted his application for save of the year during that game. Just watch the incredible save Lehner made during the game on Sunday night.

Save of the Year candidate from Robin Lehner. Wow. #Blackhawks

— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) December 9, 2019

Sure, I know that was just one game and one great save. However, when you look at the numbers, the play of Robin Lehner is actually very remarkable.

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In games that Robin Lehner has won, or lost in OT, he has faced 38 or more shots in 8 out of the 10 games. This includes an incredible 53-save effort against the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 44-save effort against the Coyotes en route to a shootout loss.

Yes, Robin Lehner might not have the best shootout numbers, but rather than scrutinize those numbers, how about we scrutinize the Blackhawks for failing to end the game earlier? Robin Lehner has been forced to stand on his head all season, and things will not change.

The Blackhawks racked up a season-high 27 penalty minutes in Sunday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes, 17 of which came from Dennis Gilbert alone. And it all came on one sequence.

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After watching Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers deliver a hit from behind on Alex DeBrincat that went unpenalized, Gilbert skated half the length of the ice to confront Demers and initiated a fight with the 11-year NHL veteran. The scrap didn’t last long, but Gilbert was assessed a two-minute penalty for instigating, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.

DeBrincat said after the game he appreciated Gilbert sticking up for him and so did the Blackhawks bench, most of whom gave Gilbert fist bumps and head taps as he was escorted out. But it came at a time when the Blackhawks were leading 3-2 near the midway mark of the second period and, unfortunately for Gilbert and the team, the Coyotes capitalized on the power play to even things up at 3-3 and it turned out to be the last goal scored in regulation.

“I thought it was a dirty hit,” Gilbert said. “His numbers were showing and he decided to follow through and make the hit still. So it’s tough, having to get an extra penalty for it. It’s no fun and watching them score on the power play, they tie the game up and we end up not getting the win, which is unfortunate. But if you let that stuff happen to players on your team, especially your best players, it’s going to keep happening.

“I’m not a fighter by any means; it kind of happens that coincidentally it’s two games in a row. But I’m going to stand up for myself and for my teammates. … I’m not going to sit back and let somebody get taken advantage of, whether it’s on the ice or walking down the streets in Chicago.”

Generated 12/10/2019.
We owe Corey Crawford a lot, but at the end of the day, I want to see Robin Lehner in the net every night. He is a great teammate who is not afraid to speak his mind about tough topics around in the league.

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Lehner is guaranteed to be in Chicago until the end of the season. I believe it is time to re-sign him before he realizes he might have an easier time winning with a team like San Jose.

I hope Robin Lehner continues to shine in the NHL for a long time. At only 28 years of age, he still has some great years of hockey ahead of him. Hopefully, all in a Chicago Blackhawks’ sweater, of course.