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The Vintage Leaf Memories Podcast - Episode 5

Two moments stand out for me from the 1964 Stanley Cup finals between the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings. (And neither is the famous Bobby Baun overtime goal, though that obviously will always be a huge part of the Maple Leaf legacy.) And those two moments are what I harken back to in the latest installment of “The Vintage Leaf Memories” podcast.

The Leafs won the Stanley Cup that year, their third championship in a row.  But it was far from easy, as I discuss during the program. Interestingly, before they ever got to the playoffs in the spring of ’64, that winter the Leafs and GM/coach Punch Imlach did something rather daring—they made a major trade on the day of a game, but more significantly, it was a deal which had repercussions for the Leaf organization for years to come.

The blue and white traded off two tremendous young wingers, Dickie Duff and Bob Nevin and two promising juniors (players that I also talk about during the podcast who turned out to be very solid NHLers), in return for two somewhat aging New York Ranger veterans: Andy Bathgate (pictured with the Rangers at right) and Don McKenney.

The cost to the Leafs, long-term, was huge, but who “won” the deal could be debated forever.

I hope you enjoy Episode 5.

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4 comments:

  1. Hi Michael, I like your site and always read everything including all the comments on it. I just turned 62 today so I have to say I have been a Leaf fan probably almost as long as you. I was pretty upset, I actually cried in 1965 when the Leafs didn't win the Cup, at that point in my life I thought it was a given that the Leafs win the Cup every year. Anyway I think getting Bernier was a smart move for Nonis. I know you like Reimer but what if 2014 is a repeat - Leafs lose because Reimer can't handle a rebound? Reimer makes a mistake and another season is a write off. That won't happen this year because they have Bernier and if he screws up Nonis still has a job - if Reimer screws up Nonis is out the door. Maybe I am being overly optimistic but when I look at last year's roster and compare it with this years I am thinking this could be the year or at least a better year. In game seven a year ago against the Bruins Bozak was and Fraser were injured. So if you assume a healthy team Bozak plays and Fraser and Ranger scratches the Leaf lineup compared to last year in the game 7 collapse is:

    Reimer - Bernier
    Frattin - Bolland
    Grabovski - Clarkson
    Liles - Rielly
    O'Byrne - Gleason
    Colborne - Holland
    MacArthur - Raymond
    Komorov - Bozak

    So to me it looks like eight players are all better than a year ago - it may not win the Cup but to me the players they have now are better than a year ago and with those eight players the Leafs would have beat the Bruins.

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  2. Hi Alton- I always enjoy your posts here. We may see the Bernier/Reimer thing a bit differently, but that's why we're fans, eh?

    From where I sit (and we all see the same picture differently sometimes!) I have never placed blame on Reimer for Game 7- never will. Bernier may well become a top playoff goalie and if so, then Leaf fans can celebrate having a high-end NHL goaltender here. Until then, he has played well, but it proves little from my perspective. Every goalie has weaknesses, Bernier included. Reimer is not alone.

    So I'm not prepared to throw Reimer under the bus. If fans prefer Bernier, that's great. All part of rooting for a team and being a fan.

    As for the overall team improvements you cite, yes, there are some nice additions. Some bemoan the loss of Grabbo and MacArthur, for example, but those changes don't concern me too much. Nice players but replaceable, as many players are. Komarov is missed but Bolland may help mitigate that a bit if he returns- and he brings more offence. Clarkson may yet find his niche here, and that could be very important.

    Right now I am neither terribly hopeful or discouraged. I've said all year, even with the serious back steps, that the team should be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. They still have the capability of being that. We'll see how things go in the second half! Thanks Alton!

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  3. Hi Michael.
    I am anxiously waiting for your write-up on last nights game (if you have the heart for it). Seeing the camera picking up some very disappointed young faces in the crowd was as bad as it could get for me considering that many can't afford to go to games at the ACC. For the youngest fans present this game was downright upsetting. For the parents a waste of hard-earned money. Much harder to deal with- a car full of children who want to know why their heroes have let them down. How do we answer THOSE questions?

    I expected anger, frustration from most players, and certainly Kessel, Lupul and a few others have always shown how much they hate to lose. JVR was laughing-with a score of 7-1. If Burke had seen it there would be one less Leaf headed to the Olympics.

    We all know that this team is very capable of competing- this isn't a lack of talent and adding players, whether it's injured players returning or bringing in new players is not going to change the mindset of the Leafs. We are seeing a team determined to play as well or as poorly as it will take just to stay above water. Are we seeing several players showing a demand for a new coaching staff in the one way they know they can, without taking themselves completely out playoff contention?
    C.N.

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    1. You make a good point about the kids in the stands. I've often that about that over the many years Ive followed the team. Home game. Saturday night. When they play that poorly, some youngster who is maybe going to a game for the first time, or their parents managed to get or afford tickets, will have that as their "Leaf game" first memory. It's not to say it's a crushing event, just disappointing.

      I will likely post a bit later today. I may not react specifically to the Ranger game. I'm thinking of a slightly different kind of post. Thanks C.N.

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