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02-07-2014, 06:32 PM
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Golden Era in Oakland

Originally Posted by Killion View Post
^^^ Ya, Punch Imlach once said that "Olmstead Coaches himself". Actually acquired or "selected" by Billy Reay, then Coach in Toronto in the intra league draft from the Habs of course (left exposed as the Doctors figured his knees were shot). After Imlach was appointed full GM he fired Reay, appointed himself Coach/GM, and also appointed Bert Olmstead as Assistant Playing Coach. The younger guys, Brewer in particular couldnt stand him apparently, considered "Imlachs Spy" much as very much mistakenly the late 70's Leafs of Sittler & Turnbulls era considered Brewer the same when he came out of retirement. Olmstead was to run the practices however that only lasted 3 months, resigning saying he needed to concentrate on his own game but in reality having a time of it with his team mates. Again Olmstead was left exposed several seasons later, rather shocked about it, grabbed by the Rangers but refused to report, then his rights traded to Montreal, demanded they trade him, wouldnt report, retiring instead at 35. Five time Cup winner, in Toronto playing initially with Mahovlich & Nevin but used more as a utility/spare really. Montreal with Maurice Richard & Lach after Blakes retirement, then with Geoffrion & Beliveau.

Bob Baun had earned the wrath of Imlach through the 60's for offering advice to Rookies & others pursuant to Contract's, Bauns injuries as well frustrating Punch, so he was left exposed in the Expansion of 67/68 and yes, it was Olmstead who coaxed Boomer into even reporting who at that time was contemplating retiring instead. Olmstead only lasted a year in northern California, Baun demanding he be traded back to an 06 team, wish granted & winding up in Detroit. Exposed again in the Expansion of 70, grabbed by Imlach who immediately traded him to St.Louis, Baun refusing to report, so traded back to Toronto for Brit Selby. At that time as well, Bert Olmstead rumored to be the next Coach of the Leafs, replacing John McClellan.... who had developed ulcers in the Madhouse that was Maple Leaf Gardens. He lasted 4 seasons. Offered the Sabres Head Coaching position in 77 by Imlach but declined, though he did return with Imlach to Toronto when Ballard, having totally lost it by then hires Punch. Poor Johnny dropping dead of a heart attack while raking leaves at his home in Agincourt at 51 not long after.... Kent Douglas finally made it to the NHL at 26 after spending some time in Springfield playing for Shore, winning a Stanley Cup in Toronto in 63 in his Rookie Season & also won the Calder. And that was the pinnacle of his career. Thereafter falling into a more Policeman type role, some interesting battles with most notably John Ferguson....

... who's selection of Team Canadas' Assistant Coach after initially also being asked if he'd like to come out of retirement & play as well was rather...... "interesting"? I have a hard time wrapping my head around seeing Fergie in a Team Canada jersey out there. For sure it wouldve been entertaining if nothing else. I mean, the guy retires & when asked why, basically says rather hysterically "because I was afraid of what I might do to someone out there". What would the Russians have made of that piece of work? Still though, John Ferguson did have a pretty keen eye & excellent depth of hockey knowledge, players. Replaced Emile Francis in NY as GM, appointed Esposito Captain displacing Gilbert, that team going to the finals in 79. The connections in terms of player personnel between Boston & Team Canada on the Rangers roster through the latter 70's rather pronounced.
Has there ever been a man more despised than the one who does the job he is paid to do, as he is told to do it, without excuses or complaints? If you're seen to be gung ho and/or favored by the boss, the enmity is all the worse. I was in that situation once, early on, when I had the misfortune to be working with some real hammerheads. Since I didn't give the supervisor reason to bawl me out, he didn't do it, which turned off the hammerheads who were bawled out with good reason. Bert Olmstead would be the hockey equivalent of that, turning off his teammates because he didn't need to be told to work hard in practice.

Bert is, in my opinion, the man most responsible for the brief period that might be called the "Golden Era in Oakland." Apparently, he put together the team which was deemed to be the best in the West, before the 1967-68 season. Unfortunately, he was no more popular as coach in Oakland than he had been as Imlach's assistant. He "lost the room," and his job(s). However, his selections in the Expansion Draft, when traded, allowed the Seals to bolster their roster enough to be in the playoffs in 1968-69 and 1969-70. Kent Douglas brought the Seals Ted Hampson, Bert Marshall and John Brennaman. Ron Harris and Bob Baun, as you noted, brought Gary Jarrett, Doug Roberts, Howie Young and Chris Worthy. I strongly suspect that Baun was one of the veterans who led what was, essentially, a mutiny against Olmstead in Oakland.

I hadn't remembered Kent Douglas as quite as tough as, apparently, he was. Your comment led to do a little research, and discovered that he took on some tough hombres, John Ferguson a few times, as you said, and Reggie Fleming, also a few times. My hat, belatedly, is off to him.

There's a hockey book waiting to be written about the many players who wanted no part of playing in New York city, and why.

John Ferguson's handiwork with the Rangers is not remembered fondly by one particular former fan of the team, with Emile Francis in charge.

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