The Quebec-based North American League (known as the Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey or LNAH) has gained a well-deserved reputation over the years as a place where goons go to ply their trade. The league’s fighting leader is a guy by the name of David Lacroix, who has 33 fights in 27 games. That’s more fighting majors than any NHL team has this season. Members of the Laval Predateurs have fought 136 times so far this season, which is almost as many times as the top five teams in the NHL combined. A total of 262 players have played at least one game and almost half of them (126) have been in at least one fight.
Stephane Boileau is not one of those players. The captain of the (get ready for this) Bilizzard Cloutier Nord-Sud Trois-Rivieres is not only the sixth in scoring this season, but he hasn’t been in a single fight in four years of playing in the league. Boileau is completing his fourth year of medicine at the University of Sherbrooke and is preparing for two years of residency before becoming a family and emergency doctor. Read more
If the supreme boss of an NHL team tells his son – who had been the team’s leading scorer – he’s no longer good enough to make the club, how could the son possibly outwit his dad and get back on the squad?
This curious generational battle – won by the son – involved one of the NHL’s foremost powerbrokers, New York Rangers GM-president Lester ‘The Silver Fox’ Patrick, who demanded his oldest son, Lynn, a Hall of Fame left winger, not return to the Blueshirts lineup in October 1945 at the age of 33. Read more
COLUMBUS – Your trusty correspondent has a new favorite player and his name is John Tavares. Any player who can make a contribution to the kids’ education funds, or to the post All-Star Game beer fund, is worthy of my admiration.
My keen eye for talent conspired with Tavares’ brilliant scoring skill to win me a cool $360 (in inflated U.S. funds, no less!) in the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association All-Star Game pool. Ryan Johansen may have left with a new car, but yours truly probably has enough money to buy a couple of tires. Read more
You couldn’t make this up. An American-born National League baseball umpire coaches the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1937-38 season. His club finishes dreadfully under .500, yet manages to make the playoffs. His goalie is injured the day of Game 1. A replacement is reputedly found in a Toronto tavern. He beats the heavily favored Maple Leafs and then is suspended by the league. Eventually, the Hawks win the championship, but Lord Stanley’s Cup isn’t even around for the players to haul around the rink.
Go figure. Read more
It never happened before, nor has it happened since. And it very likely never will happen again.
Coached by Clarence ‘Hap’ Day, the 1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs remain the only team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup final. They accomplished that feat because Day went totally against the coaching grain, and then some. Read more
There are all kinds of doctors. You can start with medical doctors, shrinks and those who live in ivory towers, otherwise known as PhDs. In the NHL there have been two distinct species of docs: the ones who tend to wounds and the one who skated for the Chicago Black Hawks.
Elwyn ‘Doc’ Romnes, out of White Bear Lake, Minn., was a slick center who just hated his given name but loved being called ‘Doc’ – a moniker he got because he carried his skates in a physician’s case, of all places. Read more
No other goaltender in NHL history can lay claim to a record number of saves on the ice and then produce one of the most extraordinary saves of all-time at sea.
Sam LoPresti made his big-league saves for the Chicago Black Hawks and his even harder-to-believe save for the U.S. Navy. First, let’s start with the ice part of this saga that truly strains credulity. Read more
Everything about the New York Americans was bizarre, from the club’s oddly illegitimate birth to its remarkable involvement in the longest hockey game ever played in the Big Apple.
Let’s start with the fact that the Star-Spangled skaters arrived on Broadway in the fall of 1925 because of an illegal players strike in Canada the previous spring. Angry because they were denied a post-season bonus, the Hamilton Tigers refused to show up for the playoffs. NHL president Frank Calder suspended the strikers and then helped move the Tigers into just-completed Madison Square Garden. Just like that, the Tigers became the New York Americans. Meanwhile, the shadowy, behind-the-scenes enabler happened to be one of the most notorious gangsters of the Roarin’ 20s.