“The 60’s: Goaltending’s Greatest Generation” In-Depth Book Review. Plus: All The Latest News From Rangerstown

This book is for any fan that grew up in the 1960’s or for anyone who appreciates goaltending & NHL history. Photo Credit: Tom Adrahtas

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. In case you’re finding this book review off some random link off of the internet, this is a blog that primarily covers the New York Rangers. However, I try to keep things interesting on this site with my “Delorean” reviews, NYR history pieces and in this case, book reviews. You can find all the different sections of this site at the top of your browser.

If you’re a regular reader of this site/blog, you know that I have read hundreds of books on hockey and have reviewed a ton of them. For those not familiar with my book reviews, you can check out my past book reviews here: http://doinow.com/book-reviews/

Furthermore, if you’re a Rangers fan, this book that I’m about to review covers the Rangers in the 1960’s. After all, four out of the five goalies predominately covered in this book all wore the Rangers sweater at one point in their careers.

One of the things that attracts me to the sport of hockey are the goaltenders. To be a goalie, well you just need a certain sort of moxie. You have to be strange a bit. After all, you’re signing up to be peppered by 100MPH shots, which at times, can feel like the equivalent of playing paintball without any protective gear. As we all know, players can have off games and when they do, it doesn’t necessarily hurt the team. If a goalie has an off night, not only does every viewer notice, but more times than not, your team loses the game.

When it comes to sports, there are no bigger positions than the quarterback in football and the goalie in hockey. While I would say the quarterback position is more cerebral, meaning that the QB has to know what 11 men on his team are doing, plus they have to try to figure out what the 11 men on defense are trying to do, to be a goalie, you have to be able to make stressful snap reaction decisions in seconds. While both positions rely on others to help them (The QB with an offensive line, the goalie with his defensemen) at the end of the day, both positions can lead to glory or goat status.

Author Tom Adrahtas (right) is not only an ex-goalie, a goalie coach and the official biographer of Glenn Hall, he’s also surprisingly written several Diana Ross themed books. I can’t say I have read his non-hockey stuff! Photo Credit: Tom Adrahtas

In past book reviews on this blog, I have said that I haven’t really read too many books that I didn’t like. Out of the hundreds of books I’ve read, I think only the Bobby Orr and Tie Domi autobiographies were truly “meh” to me. Neither got controversial, neither really said anything that stuck with you and when compared to other books, I just felt their style of storytelling to be lacking.

Some of my favorite books have been “When The Rangers Were Young” by Frank Boucher, “Thin Ice” by Ratso Sloman,  “Deceptions & Doublecross: How The NHL Conquered Hockey” by Morey Holzman, “They Call Me Gump” by Gump Worsley and “Terry Sawchuk: The Troubles & Triumphs of the World’s Greatest Goalie” by David Dupuis.

What those books all have in common is that they covered topics that I wasn’t alive for. (I was born in 1982.) As someone who has a deep appreciation for American history, I also have a thirst for hockey history. All of the books above covered different eras of the NHL. (On a side-note, through these books, I’m also getting Canadian History 101 too!) With “The ’60s: Goaltending’s Greatest Generation”,  (to be referred as GGG for the remainder of this blog) this was another book that took me back to a different time. For other readers, this may be nostalgic.

I know books aren’t for everyone and people have trouble reading anything that can’t be read in a minute, but books like “GGG” and the others I have read, have really been enjoyable to me personally, as a reader. I really get that “time-warp” feel and through these great authors, I feel like I’m living in the moment with the stories I’m reading. I enjoy great writing and books like “GGG” and the others I have reviewed, are just examples of great writing.

To this day, the story of Terry Sawchuk continues to fascinate me. You could really do a “Hollywood Heartbreaker” story of his life, whether it through a Netflix mini-series or a full length feature film. Photo Credit: NHL.com

I don’t like repeating myself in multiple blogs, so if you haven’t read some of my thoughts on the goalies of old, I would urge you to check out this blog I did, which turns into Richter vs Lundqvist, but talks about all the old time Ranger goalies: http://doinow.com/3530/

With much being made ado of Henrik Lundqvist climbing the all-time win list for goaltenders, you can only play in the era you play in. Like most sports, hockey is always changing and it’s really tough to compare goalies from one generation to another. While the goalies of the 50’s and 60’s racked up many Vezina’s and Cup wins, there were only six teams. When it comes to wins, they didn’t have an 82 game schedule, meaning while they were in their prime, they didn’t get to rack up the wins either. Essentially, goalies from previous generations had to log more seasons than goalies of today, to boost their total amount of wins.

Hockey was different in the 1960’s, as you can imagine. The owners, until expansion and the birth of the WHA, had nearly all the power. Great goalies like Johnny Bower, Gump Worsley and Gilles Villemure, among countless others, would also be victims of a six team league. It’s just tough to compare a goalie from one generation to another, but what you can do is appreciate the greatness from different generations. In “GGG”, this book does exactly that, and in such a meticulous and well-detailed fashion.

Tom Adrahtas previously wrote the official biography of Glenn Hall. Photo Credit: Tom Adrahtas

When it comes to “GGG”, perhaps there was no better author on the market today, than Tom Adrahtas, to write such a book. Adrahtas is a former minor league goalie, teaches goaltending to high school & college kids and spent a lot of time picking Glenn Hall’s brain when he wrote Hall’s official biography. In other words, Adrahtas knows goaltending and has kept up with the game, era-by-era.

Being a fan of hockey history and goaltending myself, when I saw this book pop up in my “Suggested items” on Amazon, I immediately picked it up. As talked about in my Bob Chrystal book review, I always try to support independent authors. Most books, “GGG” included, are self-published out of a labor of love. While the literacy rate is higher than it’s ever been, due to the social media age, people are getting away from books, as they now favor 240 characters or three paragraph Buzzfeed articles. Different eras indeed!

The five main players in “GGG” are all Hall of Famers and legends of the game. Those five goalies are Johnny Bower, Glenn Hall, Gump Worsley, Jacques Plante and Terry Sawchuk. Each of these five Hall of Famers lived different lives and had different stories to tell. Each marched to the beat of their own drummer. What unites them is their love for their game and as the author suggests, were the face of hockey’s best goaltending generation.

You could argue that Terry Sawchuk & Johnny Bower (both ex-Rangers, ironically, with Sawchuk at the end of his career & Bower at the beginning of his) were the best 1-2 tandem in the history of NHL goaltending. Here they are with the Leafs. Photo Credit: Toronto Maple Leafs

In “GGG”, this book covers the lives of all five legendary goaltenders. The book then moves on by covering the entire 1960’s of the NHL, year-by-year, and tells you how those goalies did in those seasons. Away from the goalies, the book also talks about the Original 6 teams and what was going on in the hockey world during those seasons. The book, as it reaches the start of the 1970’s, then finishes up by looking at where these men wound up after their careers.

For new readers or for people not familiar with this subject, you will be in awe and learn a ton from this book. For people who lived through this, I think you’ll hear a lot of stuff that you may have not known. For someone who does read a lot and watches a lot of old videos, I took a lot out of this book. What I really enjoyed, and I don’t know if this was the author’s aim, was getting to know the personalities of these men better.

For example, I knew Jacques Plante was a millennial before his time. He needed to be coddled and loved. In “GGG”, the book gives you examples of Plante’s somewhat diva attitude. While I knew Worsley liked his Seagrams VO & hated the mask, this book also gives you several stories on Worsley and what made him tick. If there is one thing that is sad a bit, as a Rangers fan, it is how Worsley just hated playing for the Rangers, which had to do with their losing record and the fact that Phil Watson was an asshole.

Sidebar #78578475874097590 on this blog – this was yet another book, that had nothing positive to say about Phil Watson. Too bad there will never be a book from his point-of-view. Outside of Muzz Patrick, I can’t find anyone saying one nice word, EVER, about Watson. Even Stan Fischler buries him and Stan doesn’t bury anyone!

The rise and fall of Terry Sawchuk was discussed in this book, and Sawchuk’s personal life alone, is a terrible tale. While this book doesn’t get into the personal drama of Sawchuk as much as David Dupuis did in his book, in “GGG” it’s talked about.

Johnny Bower is talked about in a shining light. As someone who didn’t make the NHL until later in life (again, a victim of a six team league) he appreciated practices in an era where most goalies hated practicing.

If anyone gets any preferential treatment in this book, it’s Glenn Hall, as the author has a close relationship with Hall. However, the only knock on Hall you could really have is his lack of Stanley Cup wins compared to everyone else covered in “GGG”. To be fair, unlike the other goalies profiled in this book, he never had the chance to play for the Canadian powerhouse teams, in the Leafs or the Canadiens.

This book covered more than just the five main principal players. Here’s Roger Crozier. Photo Credit: GoaliesArchive.com

While this book is predominately about the five HHOF goaltenders, this book also branches out and talks about the other goalies that were playing around the time. Guys like Cheever, Hodge, Crozier, Giacomin and others are all discussed. The book also looks at contract negotiations for these goalies, how the teams were doing, the goalies before the 60’s and the new goalies that took over the league, such as Esposito, Parent, etc. The book, as it moves along, also throws in little factoids, such as the birthdays of future legendary goalies, such as Hasek, Roy, Brodeur, etc.

The mask was introduced to the league on 11/1/1959 by Jacques Plante. Previously, some goalies used the mask only in practice. What is often lost with Plante and the mask is that if he wasn’t successful with it, the mask would’ve been shunned. Photo Credit: NHL.com

One big topic in this book, of the many topics discussed in “GGG”, is the mask. While many goalies look like something out of “Transformers” today, back then, these goalies all played without masks. I won’t even get into the other antiquated equipment here, read the book for more on that. Worsley would be the last holdout when it came to the mask, as he wouldn’t start wearing a mask until the end of his career, when he was platooning in Minnesota.

The mask was a very controversial subject at the time. Really, until the arrival of Bobby Hull and his slap shot, many goalies (outside of Plante) wore their scars and broken teeth like badges of honor.

For the owners and fans, they didn’t like the mask. This was not a sport for television yet, so the thinking was that fans paid to see the grimacing faces of the goalies. Keep in mind, players didn’t wear helmets either. Seeing the face of the athlete was important to both the owner and fan alike. Despite playing in a sport that was 100000 times rougher than basketball, fans wanted an unobstructed view of the faces of these athletes.

It’s not to say that these goalies weren’t tough, because they were. However, until the extreme curvatures of sticks and Hull, most shots were shot predominately below the chest of the goaltender. Today, just thinking of playing without a mask would make any goaltender cringe. Obviously, the players grew, got bigger, got faster, got stronger, and the mask would evolve into a full cage. Again, different eras, but one thing remains true, no matter what the era- getting hit in the face with a puck hurts. Hurt may not even be the word. Getting hit in the face with a puck led to concussions, scarring, loss of teeth and everything else imaginable.

Playing without a mask was a source of some bravado and had the archaic thinking of separating the men from the boys. Photo Credit: AZ Quotes

At this time, I would like to share with you several pages from “The ’60s: Goaltending’s Greatest Generation”. In these passages, you can see how the book is formatted and some of the top stuff discussed. All of these pictures are the property of Tom Adrahtas:


I was sad when I reached the final page of “GGG”. I immediately searched for YouTube clips of these goalies together, just shooting the shit. Here’s Plante, Hall and Bower on some Canadian TV show from the 1970’s.

If there is anything that sticks with you after reading this book, it is that the author had a deep respect and love for the topic he was covering. I can’t imagine how long it took to put this book together, especially when you’re giving numbers and game recaps from many games during the entire decade.

You may ask yourself, when it comes to the greatest generation of goalies, who was the best? Like any list or opinion, it really comes down to the eye of the beholder. Many consider Terry Sawchuk, to this very day, to be the greatest goalie of all time. It’s tough to top what he did in his first five years of his career.

The author pushes the case for Glenn Hall, whose only real knock is that he played for Chicago and St. Louis, rather than Montreal and Toronto. The author also pushes the idea that a lot of Plante’s numbers were inflated, because of the time he spent with those dominant Montreal teams. I mean, look how many accolades and Cups Worsley would win when Worsley left New York and Plante came to the Rangers!

What can’t be debated is that all five of these goalies were the best the NHL has ever produced. It’s fun to envision them in today’s league and think of goalies from today playing in their time. Would someone like a Hasek or Roy or Brodeur bump one of these five men out of the league? Who knows? It’s just all good bar room debate over beers.

With the passing of Johnny Bower (pictured above) last year, Glenn Hall is the only remaining goalie from this generation to be among us today. Photo Credit: TheIFP.ca

To me, this was a must-read book for any fan. For fans not familiar with hockey history, this is a great book to start off with. For fans who lived it or love history, this book is in your wheelhouse too.

As mentioned in one of my tweet screen grabs from above, if there is any criticism I have of this book, it is that due to the length, this book was printed in a smaller font than most books. If you’re someone who lived through this era and want to check out this book, I would recommend putting your peepers on! It’s worth it.

You can pick up this book on Amazon.com for less than $20 bucks. To purchase the book directly, visit: https://www.amazon.com/60s-Goaltendings-Greatest-Generation/dp/1987761960

Speaking of goalies…. (Photo Credit: Hartford Wolfpack)

During my normal Ranger game review blogs, I usually give you all the latest news in between games. With two days off in between games between the win over the Canucks and Thursday night’s game with the Isles, there were a few news items that took place. However, before jumping into the news, here are my last few Ranger blogs, in case you missed them:

NYR/VAN 11/12 Review: Rangers Keep Rolling & Find Themselves in the Playoff Mix, Why This Was Quinn’s Finest Game Yet, Buchnevich Injury, MDZ/Lisa Ann, Veteran’s Day, FOOD WEEK, See Ya Tank, McLeod Fight/Vally, The YOUTS & More from M$G

NYR/CBJ 11/10 Review: Rangers Pick Up Another Shoot-Out Win In a Thriller, The BSU Radio Party, Ron Duguay, King George, The Playoff Bound NYR & Jack Who?

NYR/DET 11/9 Review: “Vintage” Stick-Smash 2017-2018 Lundqvist Chokes Another Two Goal Lead; Rangers Lose in OT, A Fourth Line To Be Hyped About, The Offside Call, M$G Networks Responds, Pionk Continues To Shine, Fan Reaction, HHOF & More From Mo-Town

NYR/MTL 11/6 Review: The Rangers Ride a Blueshirt Four Game Wave & Beat the Habs By Making An Epic Comeback, The Debut of Andersson, Pionk Goes Into Leetch-Mode, NYR Takes Down The Highest Paid Goalie, See Ya Tank, Coach Q. Firing, Senators Controversy & More From Another Thriller at M$G

NYR/BUF 11/4 Review: The Rangers Make It Three Straight & Put The “Tank” Talk on Hold, Lundqvist & Quinn Roll, Good Ol’ Joe Micheletti, AV & More From This Epic “Winter Classic” Rematch at M$G

NYR/ANA 11/1 Review: The Rangers Win Another Thriller in California, The King of Kings Alexandar Georgiev & Brett “Calder” Howden Have Their Best Games Yet, Lundqvist Says “There’s No Place Like Home”, The “Scratch List of Quinn” & Much More From A Now Successful Road-Trip

Say hello and goodbye to Marek Mazanec. Photo Credit: Hartford Wolfpack

On Tuesday, a day after the Rangers victory over the Canucks, the Rangers sent Alexandar Georgiev down to Hartford. In his place, Marek Mazanec was called up. On Wednesday night, the Rangers recalled Georgiev back up to the big team and sent Mazanec back to Hartford.

For those who don’t know or can’t figure it out, Georgiev was sent to Hartford to get some work, as he played in Hartford’s Wednesday afternoon’s game, where Hartford beat the Islanders AHL team, in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, by a score of 4-3. For a complete recap of that game, check out: http://www.hartfordwolfpack.com/news/detail/wolf-pack-get-first-ot-win

Many of us, myself included, thought the Rangers would be dead in the water at this point in the season. I mean, it was just two weeks ago, where newly minted HOFer Larry Brooks, was saying that the Rangers needed to trade all their veterans sooner than later.

Instead, come Thursday night, the Rangers have a shot of being in first place if they can knock off the Islanders, something Lundqvist hasn’t been able to do since the Islanders started calling the Barclay’s home. With Quinn and Gorton looking fairly good right now, I won’t criticize the ping-pong balling of Georgiev.

I get it, the Rangers want Georgiev to get work. With Georgiev playing Wednesday with Hartford, I’m assuming Lundqvist gets the start against the Islanders, and as he should. However, if it was up to me, I would let Georgiev play the Panthers on Saturday, as that is an “easy game on paper” (you know how I feel about games on paper) and because Georgiev picked up a win against them already.

I have no clue what the Rangers have planned for Lundqvist this season. At this rate, he’s playing 70 games this season. Far be it for me to worry about Lundqvist, but I do wonder if Lundqvist will get burnt out by playing so many games. However, he’s been good this season and after the win over the Canucks, I guess you gotta ride the hot hand. Plus, when it comes to the Islanders, you want to give it your best effort and starting Lundqvist over Georgiev in this game, with the Isles, is the right move.

Ranger and Lundqvist killer, Jaroslav Halak, is now in Boston these days. Maybe that’s all the Rangers need to get their first win at the dump known as Barclays. Photo Credit: NHL.com

On Wednesday at practice, David Quinn rolled out these lines, according to Newsday reporter, Laura Albanese:


As it looks right now, it looks like Ryan Spooner, who didn’t have much of a game on Monday, will be the newest addition to the “SCRATCH LIST” of Quinn.

Of note, Filip Chytil, after one of his better games of the season on Monday night, is now skating with the first line. When asked about Chytil’s bump (He did play with the first line on Monday, after Spooner was down-shifted in the middle of the game) Quinn said:

“The way he’s played, I think he’s earned this opportunity. I’m anxious to see him build on what’s happened the last few games…The confidence kind of comes and goes and I think he’s been building toward this over the last few games.”

Like Quinn, I think most Ranger fans are anxious to see how Chytil will do too.

Also of note, and again, these are the practice lines, so nothing is official yet, Lettieri and Andersson are teamed up together again. McLeod looks to be rewarded with playing time, after his fight from Monday. It’s also nice to see that Zuccarello is ready to return.

And in the last Rangers news item of the day, I want to share this tweet that I sent out earlier on Wednesday:


If the Rangers want to make fans overpay for regular season tickets, they should offer this hat and not something you can buy for $5 off the streets!

I gotta wonder – with all these free items and promotions the Rangers are doing to entice people to buy five game packs, are the Rangers giving these items to their season ticket holders too? With the Rangers giving away free tickets if you buy five games, are the Rangers making up the difference to their season ticket holders? I think we know the answers to both of those questions, and that answer is a resounding NO!

Two time Cup winner, Carl Hagelin, returns out west, this time going to the LA Kings. Photo Credit: NHL.com

In case you missed it, Carl Hagelin, who won two Cups with the Penguins, was traded today. For the full story, check out: https://sports.yahoo.com/trade-penguins-send-carl-hagelin-174433456.html

My good buddy, a man named SHOES, is a diehard Pens fan. He told me he saw this coming and wouldn’t be shocked if Brassard was gone next.

In the case of Hagelin, he was one of those Rangers that most fans loved to watch play because of his speed. It’s crazy to think that he’s already 30 years old and has played nearly most of his career with other teams.

I still will never forgive Senile Sather for trading Hagelin for EMERSON “FUCKIN'” ETEM.

While Hagelin may have peaked as a player, you can never take away the two Cups he won.

As far as this trade, it looks a salary cap dump move for LA. It’s amazing how Pittsburgh, in this salary cap league, can always make trades that bolsters their core. Give GM Rutherford all the credit in the world. No wonder why he was re-upped for three more years on Tuesday.

There are many great Ranger/Islander memories over the years, but to me, watching Dan Cloutier pound Tommy Salo live, is the best. With both of these teams playing good hockey right now, I feel this rivalry can get a boost from the games of recent years. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Rangers play the Islanders in Brooklyn on Thursday night. Depending on work and the weather, I may go to this game. In either event, I’ll have a recap of the game up on the site late Thursday night/early Friday morning.

Can you believe we’re a week away from Thanksgiving already?

See you tomorrow night.

As always, thanks for reading and…. “LET’S GO RANGERS!”

Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the tweet tweet

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