toe blake

Did You Know? Toe Blake was not to be trifled with


Hector “Toe” Blake is one of the most revered characters in hockey history. He won the Stanley Cup 11 times (three as a player, eight as a coach), is a Hall of Famer and, in 1982, was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Also, he was kinda psycho.

Blake coached Montreal for 13 years and is still the winningest coach in franchise history. Yet it’s the way he coached that left an indelible mark on the league and most notably, its referees.

From the Nov. 22, 1965 issue of Sports Illustrated:

Blake does not opt for dialogue when he disagrees with an official. He prefers getting right to the point, which may be located anywhere on the anatomy of the referee in question.

In 1961, in the semifinals of the cup playoffs, Blake became incensed over a tripping call. He raged across the ice and threw a long, looping right hand at Referee Dalton MacArthur. Even though he missed, he was fined $2,000.

During the finals against Chicago last April, Blake was exasperated by some of Vern Buffey’s calls. After the game he skidded toward Buffey, intent upon elevating that referee’s jaw. His players restrained him, but on his way into the dressing room Blake managed to uncork his right at a fan—and missed again.

Moments later he popped his head out of the dressing room and bawled to reporters: “You all saw the game. You all saw what happened. Now let’s see how much guts you’ve got.”

Interesting footnote to this story: In 1945-46, Blake won the Lady Byng trophy — awarded annually to the player that exhibits the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
Leave a comment

For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
1 Comment

Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: