But the occasional good times disappeared for good in 1976. The Scouts entered a free-fall that would end with their demise a few months later. Their captain was traded, their coach resigned amid controversy, and the losses piled up at a dizzying rate.
• Appropriately, the month started off with a couple of Scouts getting clubbed by the Philadelphia Flyers. Guy Charron received a seven-stitch gash above his eye and Craig Patrick a broken nose, both courtesy of high sticks from the Broad Street Bullies. “What we need is a couple of guys in here to do the same thing,” said coach Bep Guidolin. “It should be tit for tat. We ought to bring in a couple of butchers who can’t even skate.” (1/2/76 Times) There was a small bit of good news as Denis Dupere returned to the lineup in limited duty after separating his shoulder in practice the day after the first game of the season.
Fans were treated(?) to a Freddy Fender concert after the game.
• After dropping their fifth straight game on the 7th, Bep said, “We can’t sit back and wait too long to make a move. And we better do it quick while we still got a shot at the playoffs. I can still hear people in the stands who are sticking with us.” (1/8/76 Times) Bep didn’t have to wait; Simon Nolet, the prize of the ’74 expansion draft, captain of the team from day one, and the previous season’s team MVP, was shipped to
Bep said Durbano would “fire up the whole team and a whole building full of people.” (1/9/76 Star) Management no doubt hoped that adding a goon to the roster would stimulate ticket sales.
Arnason and Durbano debuted with the Scouts on the 10 th against the Rangers. Both got their names on the score sheet by assisting on a Denis Dupere goal in an 8-4 loss.
• Guy Charron was named captain on the 12th.
• GM Sid Abel wasn’t done trying to shake the Scouts out of their miserable play. On the 14th, while in
• After the game against the Red Wings, a group of eight players or more missed Guidolin’s curfew. Guidolin apparently singled out (D) Larry Johnston, and slapped only him with a fine and one-game suspension, served in the next night’s game at home against the Maple Leafs. Seven players came forward in
“Guidolin’s ultimatum to Abel (on the 21st) was either defenseman Larry Johnston be sent to
Joe McGuff did a great job summarizing events leading to Guidolin’s resignation:
• While the coaching mess was unfolding back in
• Abel was forced to step behind the bench the very day that Guidolin resigned, as the Scouts hosted the Blues and ran their losing streak to ten. Abel didn’t feel too comfortable behind the bench, despite having coached 961 NHL games between 1954 and 1972. “‘I never did feel adjusted,’ he said. ‘I lost my voice. I was really afraid I’d have too many men on the ice or something. One time we didn’t have enough.’” (1/22/76 Times)
Abel was behind the bench for just two more games, both losses. The second game he coached was on the 23rd in
• After Abel’s final game as a coach, he said, “I kind of enjoyed myself tonight.” (1/26/76 Star) Nevertheless, new coach Eddie Bush stepped in on the 28th in
Of Bush’s first game in
The Scouts dropped their 14th straight in
• The Scouts returned for Bush’s KC debut on the 31st, another game against the Penguins. The Scouts managed a tie, their only point on the month. Despite the losing streak, Tanya inspired a season-high turnout of 12,471 fans.
• The brutal month ended with a 0-13-1 (.036) record, and drew an average of 9,250 in the eight home games. The press had gotten no wind of it if owner Ed Thompson had begun searching for a way to get the rid of the team.