Tag Archives: Boston Garden

Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion Gets Angry – 1967

How To Get A Three Game Suspension

Bernie Geoffrion cross-checking linesman Walter Atanas February 8 , 1967

Bernie Geoffrion cross-checking linesman Walter Atanas February 8 , 1967

Bernie Geoffrion was one of the all-time hockey greats. In 1960-61 he became the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season, following his teammate Maurice “Rocket” Richard who had accomplished the feat in 1944-45. Geoffrion, who was one tough player, broke his nose six times and received over 400 stitches playing hockey. The “Boom Boom” nickname however came from his hard slap shot not from pounding other players. After playing his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens from 1950-1964, Geoffrion retired. But two years later Geoffrion came out of retirement to play with the New York Rangers during the 1966-67 season.

On February 8, 1967 Geoffrion lost his cool during a game at the Boston Garden. In the closing seconds of a game that the Bruins would end up winning 2-1, angry Ranger fans littered the ice with debris over a perceived missed penalty call.

After a ten minute delay to clear the ice play resumed with two seconds remaining on the clock. There were three false starts that linesman Walter Atanas claimed were caused by Geoffrion going offside. Atanas and Geoffrion started yelling at one another and Geoffrion then allegedly slapped an empty beer can in Atanas’ direction.

Atanas skated over to referee John Ashley to have Geoffrion assessed a ten minute misconduct penalty. Geoffrion followed Atanas across the ice, cross-checking him twice. Geoffrion later claimed he never cross-checked Atanas, but had merely tripped on an empty beer can. The photographic evidence proved otherwise.

One week later, NHL President Clarence Campbell suspended Geoffrion for three games. Campbell said, “I consider his actions in cross-checking official Walter Atanas to be completely inexcusable and a product of his own temperament, which has gotten him into similar trouble on at least two other occasions.”  Geoffrion was also fined $25 and $50 for the misconduct and game misconduct penalties.

The previous two times that Geoffrion was suspended was when he was with the Montreal Canadiens. Both incidents also involved altercations with officials.

Geoffrion finished the season with 17 goals and 25 assists in 58 games. After the 1967-68 season Geoffrion retired for good. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

Bobby Orr’s First Time At The Boston Garden 1966

Bobby Orr’s Debut At The Boston Garden October 10, 1966

This photograph shows Bobby Orr wearing number 27, (left) at his first practice at the Boston Garden on Monday, October 10, 1966. Next to Orr is the youngest coach in the NHL, 34-year-old Harry Sinden and defenseman Gilles Marotte.

The Bruins had practiced for a month at their training facility in London, Ontario and came to Boston on October 9, 1966 to prepare for the coming season with some exhibition games. Since the 1959-60 season the Bruins had posted seven consecutive losing seasons. The Bruins anticipated savior, 18-year-old rookie phenom Bobby Orr, would eventually set the team on a course that would lead them to two Stanley Cup championships. But not in  Orr’s first season with the Bruins- they would continue their losing record at 17-43-10 and not qualify for the playoffs for the eighth year in a row.

Orr’s teammate, Gilles Marotte was involved in one of the biggest swaps in NHL history when he was traded on May 15, 1967 with Pit Martin and Jack Norris from the Bruins to the Chicago Blackhawks for Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield. Esposito being the key player in the trade, would help establish with Orr, the nucleus of the Bruins winning teams of the late 1960’s and early 70’s and lead the Bruins to success.

Orr immediately altered the way the game was played in his rookie season by using his tremendous skills as a defenseman to lead offensive drives, something that was simply unheard of up until Orr’s arrival in the NHL.

Orr was nursing a sore shoulder at the time this photo was taken and did not play in the Bruins exhibition game against the New York Rangers on October 11 at the Boston Garden which the Rangers won 3-1.

Orr would make his NHL debut on October 19, 1966 against the Detroit Red Wings and get an assist in a 6-2 Bruins victory.