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Reay has been searching but not finding, which makes the 222 goals the Hawks gave up last year (exceeded in the East only by Detroit's 257) seem all the more ominous, and the Chicago defensemen have been so atrocious that Reay prohibited them from dressing with the rest of the team during camp.
With Pierre Pilote drafted by Toronto, the Hawks probably will pair Doug Jarrett with Matt Ravlich and Pat Stapleton with Gilles Marotte, last year's biggest disappointment. DeJordy, no Glenn Hall, will be in goal and Dave Dryden will back him up.
It is difficult to imagine a team with Mikita and Hull missing the playoffs, but unless the Hawks improve on defense and at center they may manage to.
Punch Imlach, the Grand Guru of the Maple Leafs, is growling again on Carlton Street in Toronto. Last year Punch seemed to mellow, and the Leafs, who had won four Stanley Cups in six years, missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons. "I thought the old guys deserved one more chance after winning all those cups," Imlach said, "so I took it easy with them." That approach failed miserably, and now after a summer's brooding, Punch is back in familiar living color—beet red. "I'm not running any hippie joint," he told the Leafs in camp. "You, Gamble, and you, Walton, and you, Carleton—trim those sideburns or you won't get any skates."
Next Punch borrowed the Russian national hockey team's rigorous PT exercise program, which certainly will make the Leafs physically tougher. Imlach also has made some smart trades. Last February, realizing the playoffs were a mirage, he acquired the line of Norm Ullman, Paul Henderson and Floyd Smith from Detroit, and during the off season he drafted Defenseman Pierre Pilote from Chicago. Along with Goalies Johnny Bower and Bruce Gamble, Defensemen Tim Horton and Marcel Pronovost, Centers Dave Keon and Mike Walton and Wings George Armstrong, Ron Ellis and Bobby Pulford, they provide Toronto with a solid but not youthful team. Bower, for instance, is 43, while Horton, Pronovost, Pilote and Armstrong all are closer to 40 than 35. The Leafs play a tight, close-checking defensive-type game, however, and this style does not tire old bodies too much. Now Imlach hopes to find a few kids with muscle.
The Leafs played timidly last year. If they turn belligerent again and if Imlach can keep the whip cracking all season, there probably will be hockey on Carlton Street next April.
It is no coincidence that the new coach of the Red Wings, Bill Gadsby, used to be an All-Star defenseman. Last year the Wings scored more goals (245) than ever before, yet finished a distant last in the East. The trouble was in a defense that gave up a goal for each one Detroit scored. Now that Sid Abel has become general manager full time and Gadsby has taken over behind the bench, Detroit fans are hoping for better times.
During the off season the Wings traded for some help, getting Bobby Baun, a clever 32-year-old ex-Maple Leaf, from Oakland. Baun will team with either Gary Bergman or Kent Douglas. Bergman is one of the league's better defensemen, and Douglas, simply because he has shed 15 pounds, might have a big year. But Detroit still must fill the No. 4 and 5 spots, and none of the six players trying out for them has been particularly impressive. Roger Crozier, who quit and then unquit last year, returns in goal. Apparently Crozier has reached the conclusion he can't beat hockey for the hours or the money even though it means stopping a 100-mph slap shot now and then. He will be spelled by Roy Edwards.