Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: maurice richard
from Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet,
This article originally appeared in Sportsnet Magazine: The Captains.
It was March 17, 1955. Five nights earlier, Richard had been highsticked by Boston defenceman Hal Laycoe. The slice sent a furious Richard off for five stitches to his face, but not before he settled the score. Richard—bright red blood still spilling from his head—found Laycoe in the fray and smacked him in the teeth with his stick before breaking it over his back. That’s when a linesman, Cliff Thompson, intervened. Richard knocked Thompson out with a stiff hook to the jaw.
NHL president Clarence Campbell suspended Richard for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. He’d punched an official, after all. The penalty was considered light outside Quebec, but within the province’s borders people were infuriated. Montreal fans saw the move as an undeserved crime against French Canada and one of its greatest heroes.
The NHL and the English-speaking sleazebags who run it were trying to make an example out of the workingclass Quebecois hero dominating their league. Richard’s chance at winning the scoring title was gone, and the Habs’ chance at a Stanley Cup surely went with it. They would never have done this to Lindsay. Never to Howe.
Even worse, Campbell had the audacity to show up at the Forum for the first Habs game after the suspension. As if to rub it in. That night, the crowd pelted the president of the league with vegetables and eggs. One man got close enough to sock Campbell before he was restrained.
Below, watch a flashback on this topic...
Montreal great Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard was suspended for the remaining regular season games and the playoffs after an incident in Boston.
Their next game, March 17th, 1955, against the Detroit Red Wings was never finished…
Watch this CBC report from March 17th, 2005.
Gordie versus the Rocket, with a twist.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
There never has been another Rocket Richard, a fiery blend of speed and strength, a stocky body with overwhelming strength, plus a wild look in his eyes as he bore down on goalies. A product of Montreal who played for the Canadiens, Richard also embodied Gallic pride and wore his ethnicity as a chip on his shoulder. It’s doubtful the city and all of Quebec ever will embrace an athlete as it did “The Rocket,” who died May 27, 2000, at age 79.
By the same token, there hasn’t been a player since Richard that so closely resembles him in size, strength, skating, shooting and scoring as Ovechkin, whose passion for winning closely rivals Richard.
“I think that’s a great comparison and as good a comparison as I’ve heard in a long time,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The only thing Alex doesn’t have is the temper that Rocket had, where he would blow up and go nuts. Alex is the same fiery type of guy with the same physical attributes that Rocket had in his day that Alex has in this day.”
from Red Fisher at NHL.com,
He was the most intense athlete the game has seen.
He was everything that personified greatness. Richard’s eye-snapping career numbers don’t begin to describe what he meant to hockey in general and the Canadiens in particular. Winning at any cost was what he was all about. He was prepared to pay the price for every goal he scored, and no price was too high.
Richard scored important goals, lifting spectators out of their seats everywhere in the six-team NHL, because he was as much The Rocket on the road as he was in Montreal. At any moment, anywhere, he could erupt with another big goal.
“I first saw him in 1942,” Ken Reardon, a former teammate who went on to become a Canadiens vice-president, told an interviewer. “I was playing for an army team. I see this guy skating at me with wild, bloody hair the way he had it then, eyes just outside the nut house. ‘I’ll take this guy,’ I said to myself. He went around me like a hoop around a barrel.”
Yes, he was, so says legendary hockey writer Red Fisher in this highlight reel remembering Richard’s 500th goal.
It is Friday night, you want a little hockey, take 2 minutes to watch this glorious video…
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
The question has been asked before and today, on the 50th anniversary of the Rocket’s 500th goal, it bears asking again: could Maurice Richard have been successful in today’s NHL?
Was he a good enough skater? Would he have been big enough to ward off defencemen? Would his legendary temper have bubbled over and gotten the better of him in an 82-game schedule?