Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

What Hockey Really Is

My sports editor for Patch.com, Bob Birge, is a huge New York Rangers/hockey fan.

Four years ago, he wrote a wonderful description of our great game of hockey and I think that it deserves to be read by the fine readers of Kukla’s Korner:

Backyard rinks in Thunder Bay and Saskatoon

Mothers hauling their eight-year-old prodigies off to those crack-of-dawn practices

Hot chocalate at the rink

“O Canada”, the world’s most beautiful national anthem

“The Maple Leaf Forever”

“Hockey Night in Canada”, the longest continuous running sports program in North America

Saturday night

Triple overtime

Playoff beards


The Battle of Alberta

The Battle of Ontario

The “Miracle on Manchester”

Leafs-Canadiens on a Saturday night, or any time.

The old buildings; sadly they are all gone

The “Original Six”

“Go Leafs Go”, or “Go Habs Go”

“The Flying Frenchmen, “Le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge”, “Nos Glorieux”, “Les Habitants”, “Les Club de Hockey Canadien”

“Matteau, Matteau, Matteau”

“Oilers goal scored by No. 99”

Wayne Gretzky’s “50 in 39”

The reassuring voice of Leafs’ PA announcer Paul Morris, who retired in 1999. He always played it straight, the Bob Shepherd of hockey

The Gag Line

The LILCO Line

The foghorn (not Foghorn Leghorn) at Chicago Stadium, which was loud enough to send shivers down your spine

The old scoreboard at Chicago Stadium.

The first octopus sighting in Detroit, a sure sign the playoffs are approaching

“Hockey Town”

“Holy Mackinaw” (look it up)

“May day! May day! May day! May day!” Buffalo fans know what I’m talking about.

Kate Smith belting out “God Bless America” at the Spectrum in the 1970s

Roger Doucet singing “O Canada” with such flair, such patriotic pride, at the Forum that it could bring tears to your eyes

The tradition of cheering during the national anthem at the start of a playoff game

The great fans in Chicago. Too bad Hawks owner Bill Wirtz has trashed a proud franchise

Red Berenson scoring six goals in one game for the St. Louis Blues in 1968

Breakaways and penalty shots

The “ping” of the puck hitting the back of the net

“Top shelf” and “through the five-hole”

The “clang” of the puck hitting the post, a goaltender’s best friend

“Dented the twine”, “lit the lamp”, “put the biscuit in the basket”

Pittsburgh Penguins announcer Mike Lange (“Great Balls of Fire”)

Long-time Bruins announcer Fred Cusick. He was calling games in his 70s.

Sabres announcer Rick Jeannerette, maybe the best in the game

Joe Bowen

Bob Cole

Rene Lecavalier

Danny Gallivan

Dick Irvin

Conn Smythe, the man who built Maple Leaf Gardens on Carlton Street in downtown Toronto

Coaching legends Toe Blake and Scotty Bowman

Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet

Toothless hockey players

Fights (Yes, they ARE a part of the game)

The Hanson Brothers and “Slap Shot”, the best movie about hockey ever made

Wayne Gretzky in his “office” behind the net

Bobby Nystrom’s overtime goal that gave the Islanders the first of four straight Stanley Cups in 1980 (God help us)

The “Gallery Gods” at the old Boston Garden

The old blue seats at Madison Square Garden

“He shoots, he scores”

Foster Hewitt, the father of hockey broadcasting, in the gondola at Maple Leaf Gardens

“Hello, Canada, and hockey fans in the United States”—Hewitt’s signature greeting

Don Cherry, he of the outrageous wardrobe and equally outrageous tongue

“Too many men on the ice”—ask any Bruins fan over the age of 40 about that one

“God may save souls but Espo scores on the rebound”, banner at Boston Garden in the early 1970s, or this version at MSG during the 1979 playoffs—“God may save souls but J.D. grabs the rebound.”

Bill “The Big Whistle” Chadwick interviewing King Clancy every time the Rangers played in Toronto

The handshake following every playoff series, maybe the classiest tradition in sports

“Well, New York, after 54 years your long wait is over”—NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at Madison Square Garden on June 14, 1994

“The waiting is over, the New York Rangers are the Stanley Cup champions, and this one will last a lifetime”—Sam Rosen, same night

The picture of Queen Elizabeth at the old Winnipeg Arena

Sitting in a bar across the street from Maple Leaf Gardens one hour before faceoff with a light snow falling or walking along Calgary’s 17th Avenue (Boy, if that doesn’t put you in the mood…)

Bobby Orr. Rocket Richard. Gordie Howe.

The strip joints on Rue St. Catherines. The Bare Naked Ladies and Stompin’ Tom (“Hello, out there, we’re on the air, and it’s hockey night tonight”)

The ghosts that used to hang out in the rafters at the Forum. Funny, they didn’t accompany Canadiens to their new arena

The Richard riot

“La Soiree du Hockey” (The night of hockey)

The mysterious “CH” logo on the crest of the Montreal Canadiens’ sweaters. It stands for “Club de Hockey”

“To you from failing hands, the torch is passed. Be yours to hold it high.”—the slogan in the Canadiens’ locker room, taken from “Flanders Park”

“Bobby Orr scores, and the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup” Dan Kelly after the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 1970

The “Big Bad Bruins” and the “Broad Street Bullies”

The famous tie between Canadiens and the Soviet Red Army team at the Forum on New Years Eve 1975, which some say was the best hockey game ever played

“Henderson has scored for Canada”—Hewitt after Paul Henderson scored the winning goal for Canada in Moscow in the 1972 “Summit Series.” It is the most famous goal in the history of Canadian hockey

The Minnesota state high school tournament

The “Beanpot”

“It’s a great day for hockey”—Badger Bob Johnson

Herb Brooks and the “Miracle on Ice”

“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”—Al Michaels after a group of U.S. college kids stunned the Russians in Lake Placid in the 1980 Olympics

Wayne Gretzky’s lucky loon at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City

The “Brass Bonanza”, fight song of the long lamented Hartford Whalers, who are now the Carolina Hurricanes and reigning Stanley Cup champions

Mark Messier’s glare, not his hair

Between period interviews

The 48th Highlanders, who have played at every Leafs’ opener since 1931

Carlton Street

Causeway Street

St. Catherines Street (Rue de St. Catherines)

Mario Lemieux, “Le Maqnifique”

The Zamboni cleaning the ice between periods

Messier’s guarantee (“We’ll win tonight”) and subsequent hat trick in Game Six of the conference finals against the Devils in 1994

“Now I can die in peace”—banner at MSG after Rangers win the Stanley Cup

The victory parade down the Canyon of Heroes

Drinking champagne out of the Cup

“No more 1940!!!”

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: bob+birge, hockey, patch.com


Red Winger's avatar

Early Saturday mornings in northern Michigan, at outdoor rinks.

Hockey is more than Canada.

Way more.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/31/10 at 03:21 PM ET

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.