Old Blues/Gassoff articles

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Old Blues/Gassoff articles

Postby goon attack » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:15 pm

not sure if these were already posted, but here they are! I found them at a different forum and really enjoyed reading them.

Enjoy!
Marlboros find Tigers tough and talented.
Gord Walker. Globe and Mail. May 10, 1973.

The Medicine Hat Tigers swashbuckled their way to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Marlboros last night, and the worst may be yet to come for the Ontario junior champions.

The Tigers win left the Marlboros at 1-1 in the three-team round-robin Memorial Cup playoff series, and they will undoubtedly play the Tigers again Saturday night in the Cup final. The Quebec City Remparts, 5-2 losers to the Marlboros, play Medicine Hat tomorrow night.

The Tigers, big, strong and hyper-aggressive, are also excellent hockey players.

"They can play better and dirtier," said Scotty Munro, owner of the Calgary Centennials of the Western Canada Hockey League, which Medicine Hat is representing here.

"They're the dirtiest team I've ever seen," Munro said before the game, and his sentiments were endorsed by William (Red) Hunter, owner of the Edmonton Oil Kings of the same league.

If the Tigers can be dirtier than they were last night, as Munro said, the Remparts of Quebec had better wear armor plate.

The Marlboro casualty list included Glenn Goldup, who was taken to hospital for examination of suspected damage to a kneecap; Brad Winton, who missed the third period with a face that was unable to impress a high Tiger stick; and John Hughes, who came back in the second period wearing seven stitches around one eye -- four over, and three under.

X-rays revealed no serious damage to Goldup's knee. It is very painful and he will know sometime today if he will be able to play in Saturday's final.

Hughes felt the wrath of the Gassoff brothers, Bob and Brad. He was involved with Bob Gassoff in a onesided fight in the last minute of play in the first period, with Gassoff a clear victor. He pulled Hughes's sweater over his head, held him with one hand, and kept landing powerful uppercuts with the other.

On his way to the infirmary, Hughes had to pass the Tigers' bench, where the end man, Brad Gassoff, said something to him.

Hughes gave him a shove and continued on his way. Brad G. got off the bench and chased Hughes into the corridor, arms flailing away.

The Toronto bench then cleared and the Marlies were met by the Medicine Hat players, but no further fighting was done.

The Marlie defenseman, a strong part of the team's success this year, had a misconduct penalty added to his fighting major. To add further injury, his face caught a flipped puck early in the third period.

(The third Gassoff on the Tigers, Ken, stuck to hockey.)

The two outstanding Marlboro performers were Mark Howe, who scored both Toronto goals, and Mike Palmateer, who gave a spectacular performance in goal to keep the score as respectable as it was.

"We've played teams who played it rough like that," Marlie coach George Armstrong said later, "and we played our kind of hockey. We don't let it bother us. I didn't tell our players to fight or not to fight."

Medicine Hat coach Jack Shupe said he was disappointed, "very disappointed" as he put it, with his big line of Tom Lysiak, Lanny McDonald and Boyd Anderson, particularly with McDonald, who seemed to be going half speed. The line scored 112 goals during the regular season.

The Medicine Hat goals last night went to less talented players like Ryan Wecker and Ed Johnstone, who gave them a 2-0 lead in the first period, and Brad Gassoff, who got the winnner by breaking a 2-2 tie with the only goal of the third period.

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Remparts crush Tigers 7-3, gain final; Meet Marlies in title game
Gord Walker. Globe and Mail. May 12, 1973.

[excerpt]

Partisan Westerners pointed to two first period incidents as keys to their teams defeat:

In the first minute of play, strongboy Bob Gassoff shoved his stick in the face of Richard Nantais and drew a roughing penalty. Nantais was furious and wanted to get at Gassoff with a cultural exchange of fists in mind. Gassoff either didn't see him, or didn't want to get a major penalty that early, so no fight developed.

"If Gassoff had cleaned his clock then -- and he hasn't lost a fight yet -- I think he could have cooled them down," said one pro scout with Western attachments.

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McDonald, Neely, Turnbull Leafs' rebuilding blocks
Gord Walker. Globe and Mail. May 16, 1973.

[excerpt]

There were notable trends in the draft. The St. Louis Blues, for instance, seemed to be drafting in preparation for an outright war, or at least to get ready to combat the rowdy Philadelphia Flyers. On the third round they took Bob Gassoff of Medicine Hat, who is regarded as the fight champion of Western Canada junior hockey, and on the seventh round they picked John Wensink, Cornwall's undisputed heavyweight champion of Eastern hockey. They already have Steve Durbano.

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Kehoe goal salvages tie for Maple Leafs against Blues
Rex MacLeod. Globe and Mail. January 28, 1974.

[excerpt]

ST. LOUIS -- Eddie Shack's face looked like the gory concoction of a mad makeup man after the Toronto Maple Leafs' 3-3 National Hockey League tie with the St. Louis Blues here Saturday.

However the Blues, who had publicly advertised their intentions to get the Maple Leaf winger, were still bitter at the outcome.

Although Bob Gassoff's stick-scalpel job on Shack's profile, in the second period, did not even provoke a mild admonition from referee Dave Newell, the Blues screamed later they had been jobbed by the official.

Rick Kehoe scored the tying goal for the Leafs with fewer than three minutes left in the game, to the disgust of the Blues and the crowd of 18,535.

Although the Leafs were superior throughout the game, their scoring opportunities were cancelled repeatedly by Blues' goaltender John Davidson.

The Blues, and of course the fans, thought the Leafs should have been given a penalty instead of a goal. Leaf defenseman Ian Turnbull dragged down Nick Harbaruk as the Blue's winger was barging in for a shot on goal. Referee Newell did not make a move in spite of wails of protest from St. Louis fans and players.

[...]

Jean-Guy Talbot, the Blues coach, merely muttered about the injustice of it all. Actually, he was probably relieved to get a split. The Blues didn't deserve it on their play.

Leaf coach Red Kelly, who did some resourceful juggling of his lines in this game, directed post-game visitors -- those with strong stomachs -- to take a close look at Shack's features.

There was a blount gouge near the corner of Shack's right eye, a laceration on his forehead and a bloody furrow down his right cheek. His entire cheek was the texture of raw hamburger. Five stitches were inserted in the rip near his eye. He had two more in the forehead. He also lost a tooth. "Gassoff gave it to me behind the net," Shack said. "I fell down after colliding with Lou Angotti. Gassoff kept raking me with the stick. I asked the referee about it, and he told me I was cut by a stick."

Shack aroused animosity among the Blues in a recent game in Toronto. They tried a gang assault on him then, but he escaped. St. Louis fans saw the game on television and they were outraged. The booed Shack every time he skated on the ice. The St. Louis players said there would be a day of reckoning.

Shack, who is aware he is one of the NHL's most wanted players in every rink because of past depradations, conceded this was a carryover from the Toronto game.

"That doesn't matter, though. The referee has got to call the game according to the rules. He let that guy keep hacking me with his stick. And that was the last time Gassoff was on the ice. I guess they didn't need him anymore."

[Note: I looked up the previous Leafs-Blues game, which was two weeks prior to this one, to see what Shack had done to make the Blues so angry. Turns out he'd played only two shifts, but they were eventful ones. On the first, he charged into Barclay Plager while Plager was roughing it up with Sittler, which prompted Durbano to come over and fight Shack -- but it was Durbano who got the game misconduct as third man in. On his second shift, near the end of the game, Shack induced Blues' leading scorer Garry Under into taking a game misconduct penalty for roughing up a linesman while trying to get at Shack. This lead to "a fantasic chase scene with Shack retreating from J. Bob Kelly, Bob Plager, Larry Giroux and Pierre Plante (not necessarily in that order). Shack ended in the Leaf bench, guarded by several teammates." His nickname wasn't the Entertainer for nothing, ha ha! To add insult to injury, the Leafs won 4-2.]

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Leafs intimidate Blues, earn 4-1 victory in physically tough game; Williams the Tiger in their tank
Lawrence Martin. Globe and Mail. January 16, 1975.

[...]

The belligerence began early and Williams proved he was worthy of the nickname Tiger. At the game's 37 second mark, Blues heavyweight Barclay Plager ambushed Williams with a body check at centre ice. Williams hit him back and seemed content to move on.

Plager taunted him, throwing up his hands in battle fashion and yelling a challenge.

Some other Leafs would probably have scattered, but Williams, a much smaller slugger than Plager, obliged him.

They exchanged good combinations before Williams put Plager in a headlock, pinning Plager's arms at the same time. As the crowd of 17,363 looked on, Williams, with one hand free, punched Plager numerous times.

Plager left the ice beet red from the blows and the embarrassment, and the Blues other renowned scrapper, Bob Gassoff, didn't like what he saw.

His opportunity to get into the action came later when Pierre Plante held Brian Glennie, who slashed back at Plante. Gassoff entered as the third man, threw the Leaf defenseman to the ice and rained about four blows to Glennie's head.

Blood rolling from his eye, Glennie skated off to the clinic as the St. Louis fans cheered wildly.

Gassoff received a game misconduct from referee Ron Wicks.

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Leafs end victory famine on road; Gassoff tames the Tiger
Lawrence Martin. Globe and Mail. February 4, 1975.

The marquee at St. Louis Arena billed the main event last night as an encounter between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the St. Louis Blues. For the record the Leafs, led by Errol Thompson's two goals, ended their five game dry spell on the road with a 5-3 triumph.

But that spectacle, and a great goaltending battle between Doug Favell and Eddie Johnston, were upstaged by a third period brawl between Dave (Tiger) Williams and the Blues' defenseman-policeman Bob Gassoff.

The Tiger, unquestionably, got the worst of several left hands from Gassoff, as sticks, gloves and sweaters were shed for combat. But Williams, who earned a goal, assist and a split decision with Pierre Plante in an earlier skirmish, wanted to go another round after officials had pried Gassoff away from him.

He did some speed-skating to get away from linesman Steve Christison but ran straight into the arms of the other linesman, Ray Scapinello. Several curses later, he tried to evade both men, covering all the ice between the St. Louis and Toronto goals. It was to no avail. Gassoff turned down the invitation when he was herded onto the St. Louis bench and Tiger, who showed some of his best shifts as a Leaf this night, was headed off by Ron Ellis and Darryl Sittler.

[...]

Williams, who was the winner of a quarrel with Barclay Plager the last Leafs-Blues skirmish, stung St. Louis at 27 seconds, taking a pass from Ellis as he swept around Bob Plager in the St. Louis end.

Seconds later Plante tried to sting the Tiger back, as the two locked in an unloving embrace in front of Leaf goaltended Favell. While Plante and Williams wrestled to a draw, Floyd Thomson was pounding Toronto centre Sittler in another bout. All combatants received majors for fighting and Flavell took a minor for fleeing his crease in time of crisis.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Blues win fights but Leafs rally for 3-3 tie; Kelly points to back-checking
James Christie. Globe and Mail. February 10, 1975.

The fights were scored unanimously in favor of the St. Louis Blues, but the hockey match was declared a 3-3 tie and the season record a success by Toronto Maple Leafs' coach Red Kelly.

[...]

The opening period also provided the first of two fights in the match, as Toronto's mild-mannered Ron Ellis, who hadn't been in a scrap since a 1973 pre-season game, took a pummelling from Floyd Thomson. Ellis landed one solid right hand just as the round ended, but received a three-stitch gash on his lower lip.

[...]

The awaited rematch between Williams and Gassoff was prevented for 59 minutes and 58 seconds as the two were never on the ice at the same time until the final faceoff.

Gassoff, who pounded on the boisterous Leaf during Tuesday's match in St. Louis, hammered away at Williams' face, cutting him over the left eye and around the mouth. The Blues' defenseman was also assessed a match penalty for head-butting.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hull slashed on wrist, sidelined 4 to 5 weeks
CP. Globe and Mail. Sept. 28, 1976.

WINNIPEG (CP) -- Gerry Wilson, team doctor for the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association, said yesterday he hopes the injured wrist of star left-winger Bobby Hull will be healed within four to five weeks.

Dr. Wilson said an X-ray indicates Hull's left wrist was dislocated in Sunday's exhibition game between the Jets and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League.

He said the wrist has been put in place and supported by a plaster cast. The cast will be replaced by a light splint after about 10 days, then after a further 10 days the splint will be removed.

If all goes well, Hull should be back in the Jets' lineup in four to five weeks.

Hull, voted the most valuable player in the WHA last season, suffered the injury when St. Louis defenseman Bob Gassoff brought his hockey stick down on Hull's hand during the third period. Gassoff had just finished serving a two-minute minor penalty for high-sticking Hull.

Asked if the Jets plan to file a formal protest, general manager Rudy Pilous said, "To whom are you going to protest?"

"Mind you," he added, "this is a calculated risk that you take in exhibition games. We're not appreciative of the charging tactics of Gassoff last night, but what the hell are you going to do?"

Earlier, Winnipeg coach Bobby Kromm criticized not only Gassoff's performance but also the game's officiating, particularly that of referee Rob Kolari, who, he said, "let things get out of hand."

"What really galls me is if the game had been officiated properly Gassoff wouldn't have been on the ice. He would have been in the penalty box all night."

The Jets won the game, 6-2.

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Gassoff, Frig are suspended
CP. Globe and Mail. March 28, 1977.

MONTREAL (CP) -- Len Frig of the Cleveland Barons has been suspended for three games by the National Hockey League and Bob Gassoff of the St. Louis Blues for two, as the result of separate incidents.

Gassoff was assessed a match penalty for deliberately attempting to injure Ranger defenseman Carol Vadnais during a game in New York March 20.

Gassoff swung his stick at Vadnais's head and was banished from the game by referee Dave Newell. The stick did not make contact with the Ranger player.

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Bob Gassoff dies in car crash
AP. Globe and Mail. May 30, 1977.

VILLA RIDGE, Mo. (AP) -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Bob Gassoff was killed last night in eastern Missouri, the Missouri highway patrol said.

Gassoff, 24, was northbound on Franklin County Route M about 7:10 p.m. when his motorcycle apparently crossed the centre line and hit a car head-on, authorities said.

The driver of the car, Douglas Kleklamp, 19, of Villa Ridge, was not injured. Gassoff was dead on arrival at St. Francis Hospital in Washington, Mo. Neither driver had any passenger.

Villa Ridge is a community of 100 about 30 miles west of St. Louis.

Gassoff, a native of Quesnel, B.C., was drafted by the National Hockey League team in the third round of the 1973 amateur draft. He played full-time with the Blues for the past two seasons.

In 77 games for the Blues last season he scored 6 goals and assisted on 18 for 24 points. He served 254 minutes in penalties.

---------------------------------------------------------

Sports Roundup
Globe and Mail. October 24, 1977.

The widow of defenseman Bob Gassoff of the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League has filed a suit in Clayton, Mo. seeking $3 million in damages from Blues' centre Garry Unger, his wife, and a Franklin County man. Gassoff was killed May 30 when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a car driven by Douglas W. Kleklamp, who, the suit states, was employed by Unger when the accident occurred. The suit alleges that Mrs. Dianne Gassoff has been deprived of her husband's income and her son has been deprived of his father and his income for his upbringing.

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Half a season with the Leafs
James Christie. Globe and Mail. January 12, 1980.

[excerpt]

The Leafs are skating in St. Louis, prior to the game. A woman with a small child comes to the edge of the rink. Dave Williams skates over to her and they talk for a moment, then he takes the child in his arms and almost ritually skates around the rink where the child's father played.

The father, Bob Gassoff, was one of Williams' toughest rivals on the ice. Gassoff died in a motorcycle accident before his wife gave birth.

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Tiger's book a good read
Martin O'Malley. Globe and Mail. Oct. 22, 1984

[excerpt]

Williams lists the toughest players, the funniest players, and the best fighters in the game. Bob Gassoff, who played for the St. Louis Blues and who died in a motorcycle crash, easily is the toughest hombre Tiger's ever encountered, which must mean pretty tough indeed.

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Like father, like son: Young Bob Gassoff continues a Quesnel hockey dynasty
Jack Keating. The Province. Vancouver, B.C. Oct 15, 1996.

Bob Gassoff knows his dad would be proud of his first junior hockey game in Quesnel.

"I had a Gordie Howe hat trick," said Gassoff of his showing in a Chilliwack Chiefs' 9-4 win over the Quesnel Millionaires. "A goal, an assist and a fight.

"I don't think I let anybody down. They expected the fight. They didn't expect the goal and the assist. We got a little of everything."

The son of legendary NHL tough guy Bob Gassoff, the 19-year-old is returning to his father's roots in the B.C. Hockey League.

Quesnel-born Gassoff Sr. was killed in a motorcyle accident on May 30, 1973, after a St. Louis Blues team barbecue. His wife Dianne was seven months pregnant with Bob Jr., their only child, who was born in St. Louis on July 24, 1973.

Now 19 years after his father's death, the teenage Gassoff is following his father's path as a rugged, hard-nosed defenceman.

The 5-foot-11, 190 pounder, who played the last two seasons with Sioux City of the U.S. Junior Hockey League, has joined the BCHL Chiefs in hopes of landing a scholarship at a U.S. college next year.

"There's probably a little more finesse in the USJ, and it's a little more physical up here, which is definitely more my style," said Gassoff, who had 196 and 198 penalty minutes in the last two seasons. "So I wanted to play a year up here before moving on to the college ranks."

The Gassoffs are Quesnel hockey legends -- Bob Sr., Brad and Ken all played for the Medicine Hat Tigers in the early '70s. Bob Sr., who earlier played for the BCJHL Vernon Essos, had a league record 388 penalty minutes on the Tom Lysiak/Lanny McDonald-led Tigers that won the WHL crown in '72-73.

Drafted in the third round of the '73 draft, Bob Sr. played two full seasons with the Blues and was developing into an all-round defenceman before his tragic death at age 24.

"I do look up to him," said the younger Gassoff of his dad. "It is weird because I never got to know him. But I do look up to him. I think about him all the time, every day. Not a day goes and not a game goes by where I don't take a moment and relax and think about him. And I know he watches me."

After his father's death his mother remained in St. Louis. Young Gassoff was a regular at Blues games where his dad's retired No. 3 jersey hung from the St. Louis Arena rafters.

Brian Sutter, Bernie Federko, Larry Patey, Tim Bothwell, Bruce Affleck. Bob Hess, Blake Dunlop, John Wensink were all part of his childhood while Brett Hull, Jeff Brown, Brendan Shanahan and Curtis Joseph were part of his teenage years.

"I was fortunate enough to be in the atmosphere where I'd meet some of the guys and know probably 80 per cent of the guys that my father played with and get a chance to talk to them," said Gassoff, who spent many summers visiting family in Quesnel. "I'm always interested. From what I hear he was one of the toughest."

Bob Jr. plays like his dad.

"I like to play tough," he said. He has one goal and three points with 17 penalty minutes in seven games for the 7-1 Chiefs.

"He's kind of a chip off the old block," said Chiefs coach Harvey Smyl, who beat out Langley, Surrey and Penticton for Gassoff's BCHL services. "I'm not going to say dirty. But he's an aggressive type of player. Bobby plays very physical. He can certainly handle his own in a fight. He's done extremely well. He's all that we thought he was and more."
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Re: Old Blues/Gassoff articles

Postby abc789987 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:06 pm

Wow, glad I took the time to read this. I wish I was alive to see some of these games.

Goon, I think I finally understand why you are always saying this league has been pussified. I don't think I have ever seen a hockey game like the ones that were described above.
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Re: Old Blues/Gassoff articles

Postby goon attack » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:41 pm

abc- the game is still wonderful and the quality of the games is much, much better but it's just not as intense, at least not for me. just watch that clip from 1981 I just posted. It looks so funny compared to how it is now.

Back then, the players were just rougher characters across the board. There were just a lot of angry guys out there and it manifested in a lot of fighting, roughing, and the like...

The games were just more exciting back then because not only was the sport awesome, but the tension when say Chicago was in town was so thick, it really dominated the vibe of the entire Arena. You could expect violence on the ice and in the stands. it was NOT kid friendly, at all. You were pissed off in the stands and the players were pissed off on the ice. Beer and smoking was everywhere and it was really a more 'salty' experience.

A bygone era for sure. I'm sure some of the older guys would have a better perspective on the 70s than me. I really started paying attention right about the end of Gasser's career. A lot of it is real fuzzy since it's been so long and I was so young.
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Re: Old Blues/Gassoff articles

Postby section319 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:20 pm

That's the kind of experience I would like to have in the stands now, I'm sick of all the kids. If I want to yell someone is being a pussy out there, I think I should be able to.
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Re: Old Blues/Gassoff articles

Postby goon attack » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:35 pm

yeah, back up until about say the early 90s you could pretty much yell anything you wanted and not many people seemed to care.

I was only booted from the premises twice. 8)
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Re: Old Blues/Gassoff articles

Postby Winning Unlimited » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:01 pm

I'm reading through "the code" right now. Great stories in there too. Yes, hockey has indeed become pansified. I'd have thought that some flashy kid like Perron would've lit up the league back then, but he may not have been able to get up more than once!

Did you know that early on, forward passes were illegal?
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Re: Old Blues/Gassoff articles

Postby #1ELPBluzFan » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:15 pm

I remember seeing Gasser play...and I remember hearing about his "untimely death" when it happened. It was an AWFUL thing...Bob Plager talks about it in his book "Tales from the Blues Bench", by the way.
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