Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/10/12 at 10:16 PM ET
from Bill Dow at Detroit Athletic,
Although Chicago was loaded with talent, including future Hall of Famers Stan Mikita and Phil Esposito, to succeed, the Wings knew they had to find a way to stop Hull, plain and not so simple. Other teams had attempted it during the season by assigning players to shadow the superstar and try to slow him down, but Hull was still able to score a record 54 goals.
Employing a “check and chase” strategy, Wings coach Sid Abel assigned forward Paul Henderson to “shadow” Hull in the first game of the semifinals. But after the Golden Jet netted the game wining goal in the Hawks 2-1 victory, Abel then turned to Bryan Watson, a spirited and gutsy young player not afraid to sacrifice his body.
Thanks to Gordie, Bryan Watson became “Bugsy” and before long he would make a career out of his unique ability to violently provoke opponents into joining him in the penalty box.
“When I played in Montreal, I saw how well Claude Provost had shadowed Bobby, and I had done it myself with the Canadiens”, Watson said.
Although 25 pounds lighter than Hull, the part time penalty killer volunteered to “shadow” the Golden Jet.
Teammate Bill Gadsby fondly remembered Abel’s words to Watson.
“Sid told Bugsy, ‘if Bobby Hull goes to the concession stand, you go with him and put the sugar in his coffee.’”
read on if you enjoy “old school” hockey stories…
Also, check out this from Gary Ronberg of Sports Illustrated from November, 1966…
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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