Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Open Net

In 1977 George Plimpton put on the pads for the Bruins in a pre-season game against the Flyers. He was 50 years old and could barely skate.

The team welcomed him by cutting the bottom out of his underpants and applying a smelly substance to the rest of his clothes.

As coach, Don Cherry serves up lots of colourful quotes, especially when talking about hockey legend Eddie Shore, who once called a meeting with players and their wives and ordered them to cut out the sex.

He would tie his goaltenders to the crossbar to keep them from going down, and make them practice alone in an empty arena, without a puck. He told a player who was in a slump to part his hair on the other side of his head.

Other observations recorded by Plimpton:

Phil Esposito on Gilles Gratton: "The craziest player we ever had. Spaced out. One night he wouldn't play because the moon was in the wrong part of the sky."

Don Cherry on Boom-Boom Geoffrion: "He referred to himself by his nickname. In a restaurant, he'd announce, 'Boom-Boom is pleased. Boom-Boom likes this chicken.'"

John Wensink on Keith Magnuson: "The poor man. He ran into one punch after another."

What Bobby Orr's knee looked like: "A bag of handkerchiefs."

And my favourite, from a fan: "It's hard to throw an octopus with pinpoint accuracy."

A fast, entertaining read.