Game 154 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

Game 154
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Saturday, December 3, 1938
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Maple Leafs, well rested and at full strength, gave their poorest home ice display of the National Hockey League campaign in Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday night while bowing to the lowly but up and coming Montréal Canadiens by a score of 3 to 1.

And, to make matters worse for the Leafs and 10,354 cash customers, two of the Toronto team’s most effective regulars – Gus Marker and Bingo Kampman – received bad injuries that caused their removal to hospital after the game.

Old Man Injury Jinx, in the latest of his frequent visits to the Leafs’ camp this season, saw Kampman terribly gashed in the calf of the right leg during an accidental collision with Blake against the end boards in the final fifteen seconds of play. The unwelcome old gent also saw Marker taken out of the game with torn ligaments in his left knee during the first period, when Gus collided with Summerhill. Both Toronto players were taken to Wellesley Hospital, where their teammate Buzz Boll already was a patient.

The casualty list of the game, in which referee Babe Dye issued only five minor penalties, reads something like an after battle bulletin from the Spanish Civil War. Dye’s brand of refereeing certainly did not cause the Leafs’ defeat, but it was no credit to him or to the NHL. Three Leafs and two Canadiens came under the care of Dr. J.W. Rush, the Toronto club physician.

Kampman has a cut four inches long in the big muscle on the calf of his leg. The wound is about three inches deep, and it required four layers of stitching – about fifty stitches in all. If everything heals as is hoped, he should be out of bed in about ten days, and be ready for light skating practice soon after that.

Marker will leave the hospital today with his knee in a cast. He may be out of action for about three weeks. Jimmy Fowler received three stitches on his right temple for a cut that went down to the bone. Rod Lorrain of the Canadiens, whose head was cut on a goal post, got four stitches, and Walter Buswell had to be bandaged over the lip as a result of a high sticking episode. Buswell also suffered a slight concussion of the brain.

Not a penalty was dished out for any of these head injuries – and it was quite evident that linesman Hap Day saw several instances of absolutely illegal play that referee Dye did not see. But, according to the league’s new method of officiating this season, linesman Day was powerless to call what referee Dye obviously had missed. The NHL governors, who legislated the new plan of officiating into the book, will argue that the plan should not be condemned just because one official had a bad night. That’s very true – but the fact remains that John and Jenny Fan did not like the whole setup on Saturday night, and they voiced their disapproval in no uncertain terms.

Just why the Leafs have to go so stale whenever they get a layoff of a week in the schedule is one of the prize mysteries in major league hockey. Of course, everybody knows that a young team thrives on regular and frequent competition, but still that does not explain why or how the Toronto squad could look so disorganized and helpless as they did at various stages of Saturday’s game. And, that’s not taking any credit away from Les Canadiens, who put up a battling and well-knit display that was far different from the showing they made here on November 12, when the Leafs trimmed them decisively by 4-1.

The Leafs’ line of Thoms, Jackson and Marker was thrown out of kilter the first time they went on the ice, when Marker was hurt. Parsons filled in for Marker, but the line never got clicking effectively, even if Busher Jackson did score the Leafs’ only goal during a five man ganging attack after the Frenchmen had run up a 3-0 lead.

Saturday’s game marked the return to the Leafs’ lineup of Gordon Drillon, the ace sniper of the entire league last season. But, judging by Gordie’s showing after the long layoff with a broken thumb, he and Syl Apps will have to get acquainted all over again. Apps toiled tirelessly, but he and his right wing mate could not combine. The work of the Chamberlain, Metz and Kelly line was marred by shooting that can best be described by the word “atrocious.”

In some quarters, Claude Bourque, the Canadiens’ rookie goaltender, was given major credit for his team’s victory, and the Leafs’ defeat. This writer cannot agree with that view. Most of the shots that Bourque had to handle until well on in the third period were weak, and from almost impossible angles. The youngster played splendidly and coolly when the Toronto team put on very heavy pressure after the score had been built up to 3-0. But long before that, Leaf after Leaf had obliged Bourque by firing high, wide and wild when they had him at their mercy.

The Habitants took the lead just past midway in the first period, when the aggressive Toe Blake, who always plays extremely well on local ice, tipped Paul Haynes’ pass through the Leafs’ defence and then knifed through himself to hoist the rubber past Broda, who had dived out. Incidentally, the Turk was not timing his dives well in Saturday’s puck party, and he often experienced trouble while trying to capture rebounds. Blake made a real job of outguessing both the defence and the goaler.

The Leafs showed to best advantage in the early stages of the second period, when more than once it looked as if they were about to net the equalizer, but with only two minutes left to play, Herbie Cain broke loose with Bill Summerhill from Leafs’ pressure. Cain’s wide pass put Summerhill around the lone Leaf safetyman. The former Pee-Wee of local public school hockey picked a net corner with his shot.

After the Leafs had fumbled around without cohesion in the first few minutes of the third period, Stew Evans and Georges Mantha put the verdict pretty well in the bag by barging out of a ganging attack and getting around a lone Leaf rearguard to set up a loose puck in front of Broda. Evans easily flipped it into the twine.

It was rough and wild shinny after that, and although the Leafs raided recklessly, they only got one goal back. And that came during a wholesale batting and slapping session around the Canadiens’ cage after thirteen minutes had gone by. Jackson got the goal, and Thoms and Horner were credited with assists.

The only humourous incident of a game that had darned few bits of humour for Torontonians was the brief scrap that took place on the penalty bench between Reg Hamilton, the big Leaf defenceman, and Gagnon, the mite-sized Canadien forward, after they had been thumbed off together in the second period. It was like a tussle between a five ton truck and a Model T Ford – and it lasted just about as long.

Buzz Boll was released from hospital on Sunday after having received additional treatment for the knee injury that has kept him on the sidelines for a long time.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, December 5, 1938

1st Period
MTL GOAL – 11:43 – Blake (Haynes)
MTL PEN – Summerhill
TOR PEN – Hamilton

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 18:00 – Summerhill (Cain)
MTL PENS – Evans, Gagnon
TOR PEN – Hamilton

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 06:21 – Evans (Mantha)

TOR GOAL – 07:21 – Jackson (Horner, Thoms)

MTL – Bourque (W)
TOR – Broda (L)

MTLGoaltenders: Claude Bourque. Defence: Walter Buswell, Stewart Evans, Georges Mantha, Cy Wentworth. Forwards: Toe Blake, George Brown, Herb Cain, Polly Drouin, Johnny Gagnon, Paul Haynes, Rod Lorrain, Babe Siebert (C), Bill Summerhill, Jimmy Ward.
TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Jimmy Fowler, Reg Hamilton, Red Horner (C), Bingo Kampman. Forwards: Syl Apps, Murph Chamberlain, Bob Davidson, Gordie Drillon, Busher Jackson, Pep Kelly, Gus Marker, Nick Metz, George Parsons, Bill Thoms.

MTL – 3-7-1 (.318)
TOR – 4-5-2 (.455)