1954-55 Red Wings: Marcel Bonin

Marcel Bonin

THE MARCEL BONIN FILE:

Born: September 12, 1932

Position: Left wing

NHL games played: 454 (107 with Red Wings)

1954-55 stats: 69 GP; 16 G; 20 A; 53 PM

CAREER: Goals: 97; Assists: 175; PM: 336

If there was a word to describe Marcel Bonin, it would be “consistent.”

Bonin played parts of 10 seasons in the NHL and in the six in which he was a regular, he scored between 13 and 17 goals in five of them.

Bonin had the good fortune of playing for the Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens between 1952-62 (with a one-season stop in Boston sandwiched in), when both Detroit and Montreal dominated the NHL. That fortune led to Bonin being a four-time Stanley Cup winner (one with Detroit, three with Montreal).

Bonin’s legend is more closely connected to the Canadiens, with whom he played 280 of his 454 NHL games.

But in 1954-55, Bonin was a 22-year-old getting his first significant playing time in the league, roaming left wing for the Red Wings. Two years prior, Bonin made his NHL debut (37 games), but spent most of 1953-54 with Detroit’s Western Hockey League affiliate in Edmonton. He only got into one game with the Red Wings that season.

Bonin appeared in all 11 playoff games with the Red Wings in 1955, winning his first of four Cups. He had two assists.

NEXT WEEK: Lorne Davis, a right winger who also had good career timing, Cup-wise.

Babcock to NHL.com: Wings’ speed can kill

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock talks to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen about how the team’s speed could be a factor this season, unlike in years past.

By Dan Rosen – NHL.com Senior Writer / Over the Boards blog

Speed. Lots and lots of speed.

“We’re just a way faster team than we were,” Babcock said in a phone interview after practice Tuesday. “For example, when we’re out penalty killing the guys who penalty killed last year were first-year players; this year they’re second-year players. They’re quicker, more sure of themselves.”

Seven of the 12 forwards Detroit has used through two games were not in the lineup for the season-opener last season. They’re all young and fast players — Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco,Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.

Of the seven who have been replaced, only Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary still are with the team. Datsyuk is injured; Weiss and Cleary have been healthy scratches. Cory Emmerton(KHL), Todd Bertuzzi (free agent), Mikael Samuelsson (Swedish Hockey League) and Daniel Alfredsson(free agent) are the other four.

The Red Wings are 1-1, but in games against the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks they dominated time of possession. Detroit is plus-25 in shot attempts (97-72) and plus-10 in shots on goal (53-43).

Detroit plays the Bruins in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET).

“The way we practiced [Monday], we haven’t been able to practice like that since ’09. No chance. No chance,” Babcock said. “Does that guarantee success? No, but I think it sets us up to be better than we have been tenacity-wise.”

Babcock said a key is he doesn’t believe there is much of a drop off between Detroit’s second and fourth lines.

“The other night when we started the game [Henrik] Zetterberg was our first line and Sheahan was in the two-hole and he was going to play against [Ryan] Kesler,” Babcock said. “When that didn’t work we played Helm against him. When that didn’t work we played Glendenning against him. There’s not much difference. Some people might hear that and say, ‘Well, that’s because they don’t have any second line.’ I’m not sure of that. I just think we don’t fall off very much.”

Babcock saw the change in speed in the second half of last season, when Jurco, Tatar, Sheahan and Glendenning became regulars in the lineup.

“We got quicker right to the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs,” he said. “Boston slowed us down to a halt in the playoffs. With a year under our belts I think we can be a quicker team.”

Quickness to Babcock isn’t limited to skating; it includes reading and reacting to plays. He wants the Red Wings to be automatic in what they do instead of thinking, which inevitably slows a player down.

That’s another area where experience will help.

“If you’re going to be fast you’ve got to think real fast and you’ve got to be detailed, but I don’t want us to think, I want us to play,” he said. “I want us to think during the week in practice so when it’s time to get the puck dropped we’re just automatic so it’s quicker.”

1954-55 Red Wings: Keith Allen

keith-allen-posed-red-wings

THE KEITH ALLEN FILE:

Born: August 21, 1923; Died: February 4, 2014

Position: Defense

NHL games played: 28 (all with Red Wings)

1954-55 stats: 18 GP; 0 G; 0 A; 6 PM

CAREER: Goals: 0; Assists: 4; PM: 8

Keith Allen played just 28 NHL games, yet he has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup—twice.

Allen was a 30 year-old NHL rookie defenseman when he made his league debut for the Red Wings during the 1953-54 season. In February of 1954, the Red Wings purchased Allen from Syracuse of the American Hockey League after he balked at being assigned to Springfield of the Quebec League by Syracuse owner and NHL Hall of Famer Eddie Shore.

Allen played just 10 games for the Red Wings (no goals, four assists) but was included on the playoff roster, and thus earned his engraving when the Wings won the Stanley Cup that spring. Allen played five games in the 1954 playoffs but his name never appeared on a scoresheet, as he went without a point and accumulated zero penalty minutes. Still, it was good enough to get his name on the Cup.

In 1954-55, Allen played just 18 games, going scoreless. Even though he was left off the 1955 playoff roster, Allen played enough games to warrant another Cup engraving.

But it was as a coach and an executive where Keith Allen made his hay, so to speak.

Allen coached for nine years in the Western Hockey League, in Seattle, and only once did his teams post a losing record. That success led to his being hired as the first coach in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers, in 1967.

After two seasons behind the Flyers bench, Allen moved into the general manager position and that’s when he really made his mark in the NHL.

Allen basically constructed the “Broad Street Bullies” that won two straight Cups (1974 and 1975) and appeared in three straight Finals (they were swept in 1976 by Montreal). He was nicknamed “Keith the Thief” for all the one-sided trades he was able to orchestrate for the Flyers.

Allen also helped build the expansion Maine Mariners of the AHL, which ended up being one of the most successful franchises in that league’s history. Allen would eventually move into the role of Executive VP of the Flyers.

Keith Allen was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Builder in 1992. He passed away this past February at age 90.

Next week: LW Marcel Bonin, who scored 16 goals in 1954-55.

Every Monday! The 1954-55 Red Wings

NHL 54-55 Red Wings S Tm Photo

Prior to Steve Yzerman’s Red Wings lifting the Stanley Cup in 1997, the last Hockeytown team to call itself Cup champions was the 1954-55 squad, led by Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio and Terry Sawchuk.

Since this is the 60th anniversary of that Cup victory, every Monday, TWW will feature a player from that team. To keep it simple, the players will be presented in alphabetical order.

Team Facts

Coach: Jimmy Skinner

Record: 42-17-11

Goals for: 204

Goals against: 134

Semi-Final: Defeated Toronto, 4-0

Cup Final: Defeated Montreal, 4-3

For more about the team, click HERE.

The Production Line

Production_Line[1]

One of the coolest gifts I ever received was this. When I left my job at Maclean Hunter Cablevision in 1994 to work for Barden Cablevision in Detroit, my MH peeps chipped in and got me this signed Production Line photo, framed. Well, Sid Abel has passed away since then so the value went up. Not that I would EVER consider pawning it off.

Currently, the photo hangs on the wall in my office at work.

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

I’m baaaack! (and so are the Red Wings)

Welcome to another season of Red Wings hockey, and another season of The Winged Wheeler.

Your fearless host has taken on additional (paid!) writing assignments since starting this blog last fall, so in the interest of time management, I am streamlining things this season at The Winged Wheeler.

Here’s what you can expect to see here this season:

1. Columns. There will be the occasional 1000-worder to keep you on the edge of your seat. At least with the Internet, you can’t use columns that you don’t like to line the bottom of the bird cage!

2. Nostalgia. You can’t be 51 years old and resist the urge to post about the old days. So be on the lookout for some random nods to the past, when appropriate and relevant. Could be old photos, could be some stream of consciousness memories. You’ll just have to wait and see!

3. A look back at the 1954-55 team. Prior to the Stanley Cup win in 1997, the Red Wings hadn’t captured hockey’s biggest prize since 1955. Remember the 42-year drought that Steve Yzerman and company ended? This season marks the 60th anniversary of Gordie Howe’s Cup-winning squad. So every week throughout the season, TWW will spotlight a player from that 1954-55 team. Pretty cool, eh? Expect those spotlights every Monday morning.

4. Links to relevant stories and articles. Why should I do all the work? So I will feed you links to articles and stories of interest—not only to Red Wings fans, but to hockey fans in general.

Here’s to a great season!