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When Bill Bingham introduced former Bruin hockey star Cooney Weiland to his team as the new varsity coach, he called him a man "who came through when the chips were down." This week the blue chips may not be falling, but the first hand is being played, and Weiland is optimistic. He has eleven returning lettermen, and five promising sophomores to throw against M.I.T, in the opener on Tuesday.
Weiland in counting on veterans like Captain Lew Preston, Joe Kittredge, and Doug Anderson, but also is looking to the sophomore forward combination of Walt Greeley and Amory Hubbard, and sophomore goalies Nate Corning and Brad Richardson for a youthful influence. He has wasted no time in cutting the squad down to a workable size, with three tentative lines and two defense pairs.
So far, the enphasis has been on teaching the skaters to cover their own positions, and on molding a team what will show up equally well on offense and defense. "There is no stress on any particular style of hockey," Weiland says. He has been concentrating on finding successful combinations of men.
Kittredge contere for Preston on left wing and right winger Hal Marshall in an all-veteran line. Kittredge and Preston were last year's top soorers, and both play heady hockey, with hard shots. Preston is big and not exceptionally fast, but he has a knack of being in the right place. Marshall has come along, and has been working well with the other two.
Johnny White, newcomer to Harvard hockey, centers another line which has Bob DiBlasio and Nat Harris on the wings. Weiland is impressed with baseball captain White's play, and both he and Harris show aggressive hockey.
The other line has Greeley and Hubbard at center and left wing respectively, with Anderson skating on the right, side. Greeley and Hubbard are pleasing Weiland by continuing the excellent teamwork that made them last year's freshman high-scorers. They both are smart hockey players and good stick handlers, and have developed their passing with Anderson, who is probably the fastest man on the squad.
Letterman Bill Timpson and Jim O'Brien are the spare linemen. Timpson is fast and scrappy, and O'Brien is a converted defenseman who shows well in his new post. Although neither are placed in a line now, Weiland quickly points out that it is too early in the year to call the present lines definite.
Bill Bliss and Dusty Burke are probably the first defense. Bliss is a steady player, and Burke, although he has only had four days of practice, shows the same scrappiness that he has displayed in football as well as on the ice last year.
Corning, last year's '53 goalie, and Richardson, ineligible for freshman play last season, are the two competing for the first string berth in the nets. Phil Clark is out indefinitely because of a skin condition.
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