Friday, November 20, 2009
On this date in 1974, Dave Keon of the Toronto Maple Leafs played in his 1,000th career game, and celebrated the occasion in style by scoring a hat trick, the fifth of his career.
Keon joined the Maple Leafs for the 1960-61 season and won the Calder Trophy following a 20 goal, 45 point campaign. He would go to have five more consecutive 20-goals seasons.
During Keon's second season in the NHL, in which the Maple Leafs would capture the Stanley Cup, Keon would add the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy to his already growing trophy case after a season in which he drew but a single minor penalty in 64 games played.
He was one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and one of the best defensive forwards as well, often being matched up against the opposition's top centers.
More Stanley Cups would follow in 1963, as well as a second Lady Byng Trophy, and again in 1964, a season in which Keon would lead the Maple Leafs in scoring for the first time.
After leading the Maple Leafs in scoring again in 1966-67, the Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup as Keon was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, the only Maple Leaf to ever win the trophy named for the former owner of the club.
Keon was named captain of the Maple Leafs in 1969-70 and led the team in scoring yet again before setting a then NHL record in 1970-71 with eight shorthanded goals.
After coming to an agreement to join the Ottawa Nationals of the fledgling WHA in 1972, the deal fell apart and Keon signed a three year contract to remain in Toronto and led the team in goal scoring in 1972-73, which included his 297th goal as a Maple Leaf, passing George Armstrong and Frank Mahavolich as the franchise's all-time leading goal scorer.
Having fallen out of favor with Maple Leaf's owner Harold Ballard by the end of his contract, Keon jumped to the rival WHA and signed with the Minnesota Fighting Saints. When the Fighting Saints folded, Keon was unable to return to the NHL because the Maple Leafs still held his NHL rights and owner Ballard wanted too steep a level of compensation from any NHL club signing him, effectively locking Keon out of the NHL.
With only the WHA as an option, Keon signed with the Indianapolis Racers for the remainder of the season. He was traded to the new incarnation of the Minnesota Fighting Saints for the following season, only to see that version of the franchise again fold during before the completion of the season. He once more found some stability when he joined the WHA's New England Whalers, where he would play for the remainder of his career, three seasons in the WHA and three more finally back in the NHL following the merger in 1979.
It was during the 1979-80 season that Keon, then 40 years old, was occasionally on a line with both Gordie Howe (age 50) and Bobby Hull (age 41). When both Howe and Hull retired, Keon was the oldest player in the NHL for his final two seasons before retiring after the 1981-82 season at age 42.
Keon's final totals were 396 goals and 590 assists for 986 NHL points and another 102 goals and 189 assists for 291 points in the WHA, the Calder Trophy, two Lady Byng Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy, eight NHL All-Star Game appearances and four Stanley Cups as well as being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.
Today's featured jersey is a 1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs Dave Keon jersey as worn during the fourth Stanley Cup season of Keon's career. The jersey features the tie-neck collar and assistant captain's A Keon would wear before being named the 12th Captain in Maple Leafs history. No names were worn on the back of Maple Leafs jerseys during that era.
There is a great story about Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard that recalls when the league made it mandatory in 1978 to put players names on the backs of their home and away jerseys, the notoriously cantankerous Ballard refused to do so, claiming sales of programs would be reduced and probably in part because he never liked being told by the league, and then NHL President John Ziegler in particular, what to do. When finally forced to comply by the league after being fined, Ballard fought back on February 26, 1978 by putting the names on the back of their blue road jerseys for a game in Chicago in the same blue color as the jersey, making them impossible to read!
Today's first video is Dave Keon's "Legends of Hockey" biography.
This video is from the 1970-71 season, the Maple Leafs first with their new jerseys and new, modern logo, which is still in use today. Keon scores early in the video on a really nice deke against the Detroit Red Wings. After Keon's goal, the Maple Leafs start picking off fans in the stands with flying pucks, as they nail two in a row!
Here are the final minutes of the Maple Leafs last Stanley Cup championship, won while wearing today's featured jersey.
This piece of sheer brilliance was too good to pass up, the Maple Leafs Top Ten Highest Scorers Named Dave!
Finally, a tour of the Dave Keon Arena in Rouyn Noranda, Quebec.