Phil Watson, a former player with the New York Rangers and ex-coach of the Rangers and Boston Bruins, died Friday in Vancouver of a heart attack. He was 78.

Watson began his playing career with the Rangers in 1935. When he retired as a player in 1948, he had scored 127 goals and collected 233 assists in 546 games. With the exception of the 1943-44 season, when he was with Montreal, his entire playing career was spent with the Rangers.

Watson played on the last Rangers team to win the Stanley Cup, in 1940.

He coached New York for four seasons beginning in 1955-56, and compiled a 118-124-52 record. The team made the playoffs in each of his first three seasons.

Watson coached the Bruins for the 1961-62 season and part of the 1962-63 season. During the early 1970s, he was general manager of Philadelphia and later of the Vancouver Blazers of the World Hockey Association.

He is survived by his wife, Rosemarie; a daughter, Jane Winston of Los Angeles; a son, Peter, and two grandchildren.


Detroit's 4-1 victory Friday over Toronto ended the Red Wings' seven-game losing streak and eight-game winless streak. . . . Edmonton's 4-3 victory over Chicago ended a seven-game losing streak to the Blackhawks. The Oilers have won three straight games overall.


All-star defenseman Steve Smith will be lost to the Edmonton Oilers indefinitely. Smith has a broken bone in his left foot.