Showing posts with label oakland seals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oakland seals. Show all posts

Saturday, April 11, 2015

7 NHL Stars Who Played For The California Golden Seals

harry howell 1970-71 o-pee-chee hockey card
The Califonia Golden Seals existed in the National Hockey League for just a short nine year span from 1967-68 to 1975-76. Originally dubbed the Oakland Seals, the team was one of six expansion teams to enter the NHL for the 1967-68 season. Despite the fact that their nine years were nothing more than dismal, several decent players passed through the organization.

Harry Howell

Harry Howell is the only player in the Hockey Hall of Fame that ever dressed for the Golden Seals. Howell played just the 1969-70 season and part of the 1970-71 season with the club after 17 years with the New York Rangers. After 28 games in 1970-71, he was traded down the California coast to the Los Angeles Kings. The 1966-67 Norris Trophy winner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.

Bryan Watson

Bryan ‘Bugsy’ Watson was best known for the time he spent in the penalty box but he was also a decent defenseman. Now 41st on the NHL’s all-time list of penalty minute leaders, he was once number one. Watson finished his NHL career with 2212 PIM in 878 games. Watson played one season with the Oakland Seals, 1968-69. His NHL career spanned from 1963-64 to 1978-79, also playing for the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals.

Bobby Baun

In the final season of the ‘Original Six’era, 1966-67, Bob Baun was the hero of the Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup victory. The following season, he was on the blue line for the Oakland Seals, a team that won just 15 games. 1967-68 was the only season Baun spent in California during a career that started in 1956-57 and ended after the 1972-73 season. Baun also played three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.

Carol Vadnais

Carol Vadnais played sparingly for the Montreal Canadiens during the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons. He became a regular in the NHL with the Seals in 1968-69. Vadnais spent two years with California before moving on to bigger and better things with the Boston Bruins. Carol played a total of 1087 regular season NHL games between 1966-67 and 1982-83 with the Canadiens, Golden Seals, Bruins, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

Reg Leach

Drafted third overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, Reggie Leach never really caught on with the Big Bad Bruins, playing just two partial seasons with the club in 1970-71 and part of 1971-72 and scoring just a total of nine goals. Playing with the California Golden Seals until the end of the 1973-74 season, Leach’s goal scoring ability began to blossom. It was with the Philadelphia Flyers that Leach exploded. He scored 61 in 1975-76 and 50 in 1979-80. He scored 19 in 16 playoff games in 1975-76 earning him the Conn Smythe Trophy in a losing effort. He won two Stanley Cups with Philadelphia, included a victory over the Bruins in 1974.

Charlie Simmer

Charlie Simmer was a third round pick of the Seals in the 1974 NHL Draft. He was a seldom used forward by California and even by the Cleveland Barons when the team was relocated there for the 1976-77 season. However, after being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1978-79 and being stuck on a line with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor, Charlie showed the hockey world what he could do. Simmer scored 56 goals in each the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons as a member of the Triple Crown Line. Those goal totals were accomplished in just 64 and 65 games. Simmer played 712 NHL games with the Seals, Barons, Kings, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Dennis Maruk

In the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft, the last for the Golden Seals, they finally got it right. In the second round, they drafted Dennis Maruk. Maruk scored 30 goals in his rookie season and 36 with the Barons two years later. He topped out with 60 goals and 136 points in a Washington Capitals uniform in 1981-82. Dennis played 888 regular season NHL games with the Seals/Barons/North Stars and Capitals and scored 356 goals over that time.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

1st Stanley Cup Playoff Action For The 1967 NHL Expansion Teams

lowell macdonald los angeles kings 1968-69 o-pee-chee nhl hockey card
For the 1967-68 hockey season, the National Hockey League added six expansion teams to double the number of teams in the league. Although the six new franchises were dismal, their odds of reaching the post-season were quite good. The NHL, in all their wisdom, created two divisions, the East and West. In the East, they placed all the existing ‘Original 6’ teams. In the West were all the expansion clubs. No matter their record, the top four in each division qualified for the playoffs.

That said, four of the six expansion teams, despite none having a .500 record, saw their first playoff action in their first year of existence. Because of the odd division setup, one of these four teams would get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup finals.

Here’s a little history into each of the six 1967 expansion team’s first experience with the Stanley Cup post-season, in no particular order.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins were slow out of the gate and did not qualify for the playoffs until their third year in the NHL. In 1969-70, Pittsburgh placed second in the West Division with just 64 points in 76 games, 26 points behind the division leader, the St. Louis Blues. During the regular season, the team was led offensively by Dean Prentice with just 51 points in 75 games. The Penguins were coached by Red Kelly.

Pittsburgh came up against the Oakland Seals in the quarter-finals and swept the series in four games. Oakland had finished the regular season fourth with 58 points. The Seals were tied in points with the Philadelphia Flyers but were awarded the final playoff spot on more wins. Two games were decided by just one goal and the fourth game went into overtime. In the semi-finals, the Penguins fell to St. Louis in six games.

In the post-season, Pittsburgh was led by Michel Briere. The rookie had five goals and eight points in ten games and was said by many to be on his way to super-stardom. Unfortunately, in the off-season, Briere was involved in a car accident that placed him in a coma. He died a year later.

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings finished their inaugural NHL season with 72 points, placing second in the West, one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers. Another Red Kelly coached team, Los Angeles was led by Eddie Joyal during the regular season, contributing 57 points in 74 games.

Los Angeles came up against the Minnesota North Stars in the quarter-finals and the series went the full seven games. The Kings held a 3-2 lead in the series but Minnesota won game six in overtime then blew out the Kings in game seven, 9-4. L.A. was led offensively in the series by Lowell MacDonald and Doug Robinson who totalled seven points each.

The Kings would win their first playoff series the following year. In the 1968-69 Stanley Cup quarter-finals, Los Angeles beat their California Rivals, the Oakland Seals, in seven games to advance.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers were the first of the six 1967 expansion teams to capture the Stanley Cup, but that wouldn’t come until 1973-74. In 1967-68, Philadelphia qualified for the post-season, finishing first in the West with just 73 points in 74 games. The team was led by Lou Angotti with just 49 points in 70 games.

Philadelphia met the Blues in the quarter-finals with the series going the full seven games before St. Louis came out victorious. The Flyers were led offensively by Forbes Kennedy and Andre Lacroix with five points each. Philly would not win their first playoff series until 1972-73 when they beat the North Stars 4-2 in the quarter-finals.

St. Louis Blues

The Blues were the top expansion franchise right out of the gate, reaching the Stanley Cup finals in their first three years of existence. As mentioned earlier, the Blues beat the Flyers in their first playoff series, a quarter-final meeting that went the full seven games. St. Louis then took out Minnesota in seven games to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup finals. The Montreal Canadiens swept the Blues in four.

During the 1967-68 regular season, the Blues finished third in the West with 70 points, just three points out of first place. In regular season play, it was Red Berenson leading the way with 51 points in 55 games. In the playoffs, a Hockey Hall of Famer had his last kick at the can. Dickie Moore led the team with 14 points over 18 games.

Oakland Seals

The Oakland Seals played in the Stanley Cup playoffs just twice in an NHL existence that lasted from 1967-68 to just 1975-76. After that, the franchise moved to Ohio, where they became the Cleveland Barons for two years. Somewhere in the Dallas Stars bloodlines lie this ill-fated California team.

Their first series came in 1968-69 when they met the St. Louis Blues in the quarter-finals. The Seals extended the series to seven but couldn’t conquer the Blues. During the regular season, the Seals had their best year in their short history, finishing second in the West with 69 points. The team was led in the regular season by Ted Hampson with 75 points in 76 games. In the post season, it was Earl Ingarfield leading the way with ten points in seven games.

Oakland, later known as the California Golden Seals, would reach the post season on just one other occasion. In 1969-70, the Seals met the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarter-finals. The Penguins made haste with a four game sweep.

Minnesota North Stars

The direct descendant of the modern day Dallas Stars, Minnesota clung to the fourth and final playoff spot in their first year with 69 points in 74 games. The North Stars were led during the regular season by Wayne Connelly with 56 points in 74 games.

Minnesota faced off against the Los Angeles Kings in the quarter-finals and took the full seven games to eliminate their foes. The North Stars then went another full seven games in the semi-finals before falling to the St. Louis Blues. In the post season, it was Bill Goldsworthy leading the way with 15 points in 14 games.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hockey Trivia: NHL Franchise Relocations Of The 1970's, 1980's and 1990's

california seals o-pee-chee checklist hockey card
The 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s brought expansion to the National Hockey League. With the rapid growth, poor economy and lack of proper planning, there was quite a bit of movement among franchises in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Test and broaden your hockey knowledge with the following four trivia questions.

Q. The franchise that is now known as the New Jersey Devils came into the NHL in 1974-75 as what team?

A. The Kansas City Scouts are the origin of the New Jersey Devils. The Scouts lasted just two seasons in Kansas City before a short stint in Denver as the Colorado Rockies before moving east to become the Devils.

Over the two years, 1974-75 and 1975-76, the Scouts won a total of 27 of 160 regular season games. In the first year, they were second last in the NHL, ahead of only their expansion partners, the Washington Capitals. In 1975-76, Kansas City once again finished ahead of only the Capitals.

Simon Nolet served as team captain until midway through the second season when he was replaced by Guy Charron. The Scouts drafted Wilf Paiement second overall at the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. NHL legend Sid Abel had a brief three game stint as the team’s head coach.

Q. In 1976-77, what franchise moved to Cleveland and became the Barons?

A. The California Seals were a product of the first expansion boom in 1967-68. They left California to become the Barons and then merged with the Minnesota North Stars after just two seasons. In both those years, the Barons placed fourth in the Adams Division and did not qualify for the post season.

Despite having an arena that would seat 18,500 in Richfield Coliseum, the Barons averaged around 6,000 fans per game over the two years. At the time, Richfield Coliseum had the largest seating capacity of any National Hockey League venue.

Q. The Calgary Flames were born into the NHL as what team?

A. The Atlanta Flames joined the league in 1972-73 along with the New York Islanders. The deep south wasn’t ready for hockey and the Flames made the move to Calgary for the 1980-81 season. The Flames were a decent team, on the upper end of mediocrity.

Over their eight years in Atlanta, the team reached the post season in six, including their last five. However, they were never able to win a series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

While in Atlanta, the Flames drafted some good talent in Tom Lysiak, Brad Marsh and Paul Reinhart. The four captains in Atlanta Flames history include Keith McCreary, Pat Quinn, Tom Lysiak and Jean Pronovost.

Q. The franchise currently known as the Dallas Stars originally was located in what northern U.S. city?

A. The Stars franchise was born in the 1967-68 NHL expansion as the Minnesota North Stars. The team uprooted and headed to the Lone Star State for the 1993-94 season. The move was not made due to a poor on-ice product. The North Stars reached the Stanley Cup finals twice in their time in Minnesota. In 1980-81, the team fell to the mighty New York Islanders 4-1 in the finals. In 1990-91, they reached the finals again but fell in six games to Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

NHL Hockey Trivia: Oakland Seals and California Golden Seals

california seals 1976-77 o-pee-chee hockey card
The California Golden Seals existed in the National Hockey League for nine years from 1967-68 to 1975-76. The team was one of six expansion teams in 1967-68 that doubled the league in size from the ‘Original Six’.

Test and expand your knowledge of the California Golden Seals with the following four hockey trivia questions.

Q. The Golden Seals franchise originally entered the NHL under what name?

A. For the first three years that the franchise existed, they were dubbed the Oakland Seals. Originally, the plan was to be called the San Francisco Seals. They became the California Golden Seals and then the California Seals.

The ‘Seals’ nickname originated in 1961-62 with the San Francisco Seals of the WHL. That franchise played in the minor pro league from 1961-62 until 1966-67.

Q. What defenseman from the inaugural Seals team starred with the Toronto Maple Leafs the year before?

A. Bob Baun played one season with the Oakland Seals in 1967-68. The long time Toronto Maple Leafs blue liner played a major role as Toronto won the 1966-67 Stanley Cup with a victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Baun would eventually return to the Maple Leafs to finish his career but the Stanley Cup has yet to return to Toronto.

Other Original 6 castaways that played for Oakland in that first season include: Bill Hicke, Charlie Burns and Bert Marshall. The team’s goaltending duo was quite decent with Charlie Hodge doing the bulk of the work with Gary Smith as his backup. Another member of that 1967-68 Oakland team was Alain Caron. It was the only full NHL season for Caron but a few years later, he would score an amazing 78 goals in the North American Hockey League.

Q. After the 1975-76 season, to what city did the California Seals move to?

A. For the 1976-77 season, the California Seals moved to Cleveland, Ohio and became the Cleveland Barons. The Barons lasted just two seasons in the National Hockey League before merging with the Minnesota North Stars.

The North Stars were a struggling franchise at the time and were also one of the six 1967 expansion teams. In their second year after the Cleveland Barons ceased to exist, Minnesota reached the Stanley Cup semi-finals before losing to the Philadelphia Flyers. The following year, the North Stars marched right to the Stanley Cup finals before losing to the New York Islanders.

Minnesota would reach the Stanley Cup finals one more time in 1990-91, losing to Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins. After 1992-93, the franchise moved to Dallas to become the Dallas Stars. With Dallas, the franchise finally won a championship in 1998-99 over the Buffalo Sabres.

Q. Who did the Oakland Seals meet in their first Stanley Cup playoffs series?

A. In their second season, the Seals faced off against the Los Angeles Kings in the quarter-finals, losing in seven games to their California rivals. 1968-69 was the team’s best season in their short history with 29 wins and 69 points to finish second in the weak West Division. The team would make the playoffs just one more time, losing in the first round the following season to the Pittsburgh Penguins in four straight games.