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01-30-2013, 01:23 AM
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Toe Blake

Legends of Hockey:
Long before he became a coaching legend, left wing Hector "Toe" Blake was a talented scorer and NHL star. He totaled 235 career goals, including six 20-goal seasons and became known as "the Old Lamplighter" in honor of his skill for putting the puck in the net. During the 1940s he formed one of the league's most dangerous lines, the Punch Line, with Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach.

Blake's first two full NHL seasons were solid, but he took his game to a higher level with a league-leading 47 points in 1938-39. His effort was rewarded with the Hart Trophy and placement on the NHL First All-Star Team. He was teamed up with Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard in 1943 and the Punch Line led Montreal to the Stanley Cup later that season. It was the Old Lamplighter's goal at 9:12 of overtime in game four that gave Montreal a 5-4 win over Chicago and possession of hockey's ultimate prize. That year he led all post-season scorers with seven goals and 18 points. His record for that playoffs of two points per game went untouched until Wayne Gretzky took over the NHL record book in the 1980s.
Lach on the Punch Line:
"Blake was the backbone of that group," explained Lach. "He was always in position; he was always serious and he was the same when he coached the Canadiens. The three of us did like to win. We made sure that we didn't have any goals scored against us. We hated that more than wanting to score.
An excerpt from the Weekly Sports News of October 1948 by H.P. Zinck, presented this performance of Blake:
There was nothing at which he did not excel. He was a strong, fast skater; he could and did pick the corners with his shots; his passing left little to be desired; he was a past-master at both fore and back checking; his services were in demand when his team had the odd-man advantage and he was often pressed into service when his team was short-handed.
The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory:
"The hallmark of Blake's success is his doggedness," Marc T. MacNeil of the Gazette wrote. "He never ceases trying. He doesn't know what it means to quit." MacNeil was watching the Canadiens one night with Blake's injured teammate Bob Gracie. "There goes the best left winger in the National Hockey League," Gracie said as Blake dashed down the ice. "What a worker that guy is."
What most impressed the fans was his fiery temperament. "If ever there was a player in the league with more spirit, we haven't seen him," Dink Carroll wrote.
Montreal Gazette, Mar 3, 1936
Toe Blake is Getting Reputation as a Fighter
Toe Blake's outbreak at Detroit is nothing new for the fiery Frenchman from norther Ontario. They say that when he was in the Canam league earlier this year with Springfield he was willing to take on all comers and got into some glorious brawls.
Montreal Gazette, Jan 8, 1938
Toe Blake is a modest young man. After the Canadien left-winger went on that four-goal scoring rampage last week-end, he attributed it all to luck. He may be right to a certain extent, according to his own viewpoint, but there is one thing for which Blake didn't take any credit: he is a worker. Every second he is on the ice, he is digging. He skates ceaselessly, bores in all the time, and is trying every inch of the way. And if you try hard enough, you're bound to be rewarded sooner or later.
Mar 10, 1939 Calgary Herald (from Ted Reeves of the Toronto Telegram):
Toe Blake is an aggressive, boring-in goal scorer, who has inspired the Floating Frenchmen to a fine late season spurt. He will hurtle through the centre of a defence man or practically run along the rail of the boards to get that biscuit into a shooting spot and he should rank with the all-time greats in a few more years if his ribs hold out.
Montreal Gazette, Dec 7, 1949
Blake is a coach who lives to get out on the ice and show his players just what he means. He took the odd turn with the team, sometimes at defence...Now old Toe has to get out there and do his stuff, aching dogs and all, but still a canny player and a wizard at killing off penalties.

3x 1st team All-Star at LW
2x 2nd team All-Star at LW

1, 3, 3, 6, 7, 9 place finishes in points.

Last edited by overpass: 04-17-2013 at 08:00 PM.
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