Boston / Toronto 1969 playoff series

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by The Panther, Oct 13, 2018.

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  1. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    Anyone old enough to remember this one? Saw it?

    1968-1969 was the first real year of the "Orr-Esposito" Bruins' run, with Espo getting 126 points, Orr winning his second straight Norris, and the Bruins jumping way up to 100 points (42-18-16).

    In the playoffs, Boston swept aside Toronto in four straight, before falling to mighty Montreal in six games.

    What I'm curious about is the playoff series with Toronto, and in particular, the way Boston completely destroyed the Leafs in games one and two at Boston Garden.

    Looking at the stats, the Leafs had a decent team that season. They were only one to two years removed from their '67 Stanley Cup win, and put up a good 35-26-15 record (a considerable improvement on the previous season). They'd gone 2-4-2 against Boston that regular season and the scores all look competitive... until late in the season when the Leafs lost the second game of a home-at-home 11-3 at Boston (on March 16th, 1969). Tim Horton was -5 in that game, while five different Bruins had 4 points or more (Bobby Orr, amazingly, did not get a single point on the eleven goals scored!).

    So maybe you chalk that bad loss up to being fatigued after the fast-trip to Boston for the second game in two days.

    But then, the playoffs start. Toronto loses 10-0 in game one, and 7-0 in game two. How does that happen?

    That means in three consecutive games in Boston Garden (from mid-March to early April), the Leafs -- two years removed from the Stanley Cup, having a winning record, and with nine Hall of Famers in the line-up -- lost by a combined score of 28-2.

    Esposito scored 9 points in those two playoff games (Orr only two). Leafs allowed 91 shots on goal in the two games. Yikes!

    The scores back in Toronto were close, Boston winning 4-3 and 3-2 (and putting another 73 shots on net).

    Anyway, does anyone know if there was any major blow-back on the Leafs' organization for those humiliating losses? (If that happened today, Shanahan might be publicly flogged on Yonge Street.) A team laden with quality players and then still with a winning tradition losing 17-0 in consecutive playoff games is not normal.

    What happened to the Leafs in April 1969?
     
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  2. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Saw it on TV.

    Well post prime Toronto HHOFers with the exception of Keon, spotty goaltending.

    Bruins were a physically dominating team in the smaller Boston Garden.

    Imlach was fired at series end.
     
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  3. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Yeah, long train coming actually. The wheels had fallen off years earlier, the Leafs shocking the hockey world in winning the Cup in 67. Against all odds. A freak. A blip of the kind you sometimes see in hockey, sport. Anyone really paying attention & realistic about the club, watching it essentially being deconstructed, farms sold off etc since 63, 64... icing teams held together by electrical tape, heat pads, plaster of paris, gauze & stitches.... not ready for prime-time players being iced & that lot further hobbled by Imlachs' ongoing Shenanigans & who were supposed to be "complimented" by Vets to show them the way ... many who's tanks were empty, barely running on fumes..... just on & on.
     
  4. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Well, I can only speak to this comment rather subjectively as I was a kid in the 60's, lived in an isolated bit of suburbia, we werent Seasons Ticket holders, no idea what others elsewhere within the city thought of the Leafs beyond my own circle of friends & relatives, what I'd read in the paper, see on TV during intermissions, what went down on the ice of course. Reporters back then were pretty much in ownerships pockets so youd never read or even hear anything negative. No one had any idea just how bad things had become following Conn Smythe's sale of his shares to his son Stafford & Harold Ballard along with their partners..... Imlachs' arrival & so on.

    We didnt know about Carl Brewers "issues" or that he along with Frank Mahovlich & Mike Walton had to be hospitalized for "mental exhaustion" as it was politely referred to back in the day having essentially been "broken" by Punch. That they were grossly underpaid, over-taxed physically, mentally abused. That Stafford & Harold were Party Boys in way over their heads & cash poor, selling off the farms, giving away the future for next to nothing or worse in some cases while simultaneously robbing from the till's... Hey. They were winning Cups' playing System Hockey. And that was all that mattered. That was the picture presented. All was good with the world. The Leafs were winning Cups, Toronto ascendant challenging Montreal for 1st City Status with pretensions to being "World Class", some thinking they'll be surpassing even NYC as the Center of Commerce, Arts, Sport.

    I quite honestly dont ever recall any of the people I knew as a kid wearing rose colored glasses, overt "homers" who thought the Sun shone out of the Leaf players, Imlachs or the Smythes asses. They, nor did I "idolize" individual players but instead "appreciated" the players for their efforts & performances and that included the players on the other 5 teams in the NHL at that time, during that era, last decade plus of the 6 clubs. Their wasnt the depth of "Tribalism", the sort of self centered & self aggrandizing obnoxious chest thumping & flag waving that has since proliferated, spread like a nasty virus following the 60's amongst the Leaf fan base & elsewhere of course. The rivalry between Montreal & Toronto, once the hottest ticket in the game transcendent of the game itself and if you were really a fan youd have admired the Canadiens players, Blake et al as much as you would have the Leaf players, Imlach, more so in fact given that Montreal was not entirely one dimensional as under Imlach the Leafs were. The Habs were in full color, creative, like the city of Montreal. Toronto, black & white. Boring. Staid. Militaristic..... for further color, the exciting Blackhawks, wide open Barn Burners with the most dynamic & exciting player in the League, in generations really, Bobby Hull. Stosh. Pilote. Hall.

    Even the lesser teams, Boston & NY, some fabulous players. Always entertaining. So for myself, my friends in that era, we were not Leaf fans, we were fans of the game, of the entire NHL, and much more interested in playing the game & dreaming of playing professionally than ever actually idolizing individual players or going all feral, tribal. You did that on your own team, in your life. Not vicariously through Fandom. You "admired" players sure enough but you understood that there was a considerable amount of not just hard work but actual luck involved in the game, and that disrespecting or trash talking an opponent simply wasnt on. Never underestimate an opponent. Fatal mistake. Never over-estimate your home teams chances. Be realistic. Be honest. Objective. Dont be gloating when you do win. Just basic common sense & courtesy for Gods Sake. So little we see of this anymore, in todays World. Riots in Vancouver. Taking a knee in the NFL. Every fall since 68, this is the year the Leafs begin their re-build, march to glory.... whatever. Hows that working for ya Boys? About 3 injuries away from circling the drain, being flushed yet again.

    So I dont really know what to tell you, that Shanny there would be lynched in after winning a Cup wheels fall right off. Different World. Entirely possible he'd receive Death Threats. That LeafNation loses their collective minds alrogether & burns the downtown core to the ground if they lost in a 7 Game OT Cup Final the year after winning or what have you. Hard to say. What I can say is Toronto today is not the City of my youth. Night & Day. And not for the better. Have not lived there in 30yrs and between app 73 & 88 off & on. This whole phenomena of Hockey Tribalism which is beyond highlighted here at hf Boards on the Team Pages whereby if lets say a Bruins fan posts on a Habs GDT thread "Good luck guys, no matter who wins she'll be a good game" only to be REPORTED & like issued with a WARNING for Trolling... well, what can ya say, right? WTF is wrong with people? Hockey is a family. Or wishing such & such a team Relocates. Fans "unworthy". Malicious, avaricious intent. Charming. No time for Tribalism.
     
  5. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    I was at all 4 games as a poor college student and I look back and wonder how I did it.

    My one vivid memory was standing behind the Leafs bench roughly 10 minutes after the game ended and Punch suddenly appeared and a woman called out 'We will see you next year' and Punch replied with a smile, 'Nope, they just fired me'.

    I went to Toronto with a tour group that had connections with the Bruins and we flew up on Mohawk Airlines with a stop in Keene, NH. We arrived on Saturday morning and got settled in at the Royal York. The games were on Sat and Sunday night and we looked for a place to party pregame in Toronto.

    I will never forget the bell captain's reply to our question on where to go for fun - He simply said BUFFALO as it was Easter weekend in Toronto and EVERYTHING was closed. The Bruins even went to Buffalo after Game 3 for drinks :biglaugh:

    A week later something happened in Montreal that made me question if the NHL was rigged,

    upload_2018-10-14_15-5-44.png


    upload_2018-10-14_14-59-49.png upload_2018-10-14_15-2-12.png

    Notice the TV listing for 4 PM - THE MASTERS

    CBS to this day has a hands-off approach to The Masters and they do whatever Augusta National wants. That telecast would start at 4 PM exactly and if the hockey game wasn't over tough. Still a three hour window should be enough unless the game went to overtime.

    Of course, it did :biglaugh:

    upload_2018-10-14_15-23-14.png


    Montreal ended the game at 3:58 PM

    upload_2018-10-14_15-41-12.png

    CBS was off the hook - keep in mind this is only 5 months since the Heidi Game fiasco on NBC - but they would have had to pull the plug on the hockey game as the contract with The Masters was ironclad.

    After the game, we went back to the Mount Royal Hotel and some of the CBS people were there. They said that night that Referee Bill Friday was told the game MUST end by 4 PM. Turned out CBC and SRC were in the same bind over The Masters.

    The only plus for me that night was the bartender felt sorry for us and gave us 4 tickets to the baseball game the next afternoon. It was the first ever home game for the Expos.






     

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