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March 20, 1981

March 20, 1981

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.


Amatuer Scoreboard


Will Blackburn’s Firing End Whalers’ Cancer?

HARTFORD—The word is ugly and terrifying, and yet. when it comes to a firing, the Hartford Whalers use it as an explain-all. The word is cancer. “A decay was setting in and we felt strongly that we should nip it in the bud,” said Howard Baldwin, the Whalers’ managing general partner. “A cancer was developing. We had to do something.” The logic is simple. The Whalers felt that a cancer had developed under Don Blackburn, their coach, therefore. Blackburn had to go. Larry Pleau, with 20 regular-season games remaining, replaced Blackburn as interim coach. It matters not. evidently, that a cancer also had existed under Bill Dineen, Harry Neale. Blackburn the first time around. Ron Ryan and Jack Kelley. How ironic it is that while coaches come and go in Hartford like pre-game figure…






The Cat’s Sticks IT HAS BEEN WRITTEN in the National Hockey League scriptures that Emile (The Cat) Francis saved the St. Louis Blues from bankruptcy, despair and ultimate disbandonment. The scriptures lie. Emile Francis saved the NHL. But that’s another story and we’ll get to that later. The man who saved the St. Louis Blues was Buzzy Deschamps. Buzzy who? Deschamps. You can look him up in your record book; a pretty good minor leaguer with Baltimore and St. Paul and Long Island who later waltzed into the hockey equipment business. When Francis took over the Blues in 1976 and tented at The Checkerdome he found the club to be in bigger hock than The Serbian National Bank. “We couldn’t even afford to buy sticks,” Emile recalls. “One day 1 looked out on the ice and…