Fictitious NHL Lines and Line-Ups
Gordie HoweHowe appeared on the Dick Cavett show in the 1970s and Cavett wondered why hockey players always wore a protective cup but rarely a helmet. Howe answered, "You can always get someone to do your thinking for you."
Darryl SittlerThe night of February 7, 1976, was the most successful single night an NHL player has ever experienced in one game. Darryl Sittler of the Maple Leafs scored ten points (six goals and four assists) against the Bruins and their back-up goalie, Dave Reece. Reece never played another game in the NHL, and later Sittler quipped about how the goalie might have reacted to the career-ending night: "He was so upset, he tried to kill himself. He jumped onto the train tracks, but the train went through his legs."
Harry NealeAlthough famous in the 1990s as a broadcaster, Neale was for years a not particularly successful coach and then GM, mostly with the Canucks. During one astonishing losing streak, Neale remarked dryly, "We're losing at home and we're losing on the road. My failure as a coach is that I can't think of anywhere else to play."
Harold BallardThe dictatorial owner of the Leafs signed the first Swedish-trained played for the NHL, future Hall of Famer Borje Salming and not-so-successful winger Inge Hammarstrom. While Inge had skill and speed and grace, his play along the boards and in the corners was timorous at best, and led Ballard to comment: "He could go into the corner with six eggs in his pocket and not break one."
Ron WilsonDuring a playoff game between Anaheim and Detroit in 1990 at the Joe Louis Arena, Ducks coach Ron Wilson became increasingly irate at the calls referee Kerry Fraser was making against his team. During a break in the action, he called Fraser to the bench and asked him who wrote The Odyssey and The Iliad. The confused ref asked his linesmen what that meant, and Ron Asseltine laughed and said, "Homer."
Mike PalmateerA quirky left-handed goalie for Toronto and Washington, Palmateer was as quick with a joke as he was with his glove. In the spring of 1979, the Leafs were facing the Montreal Canadiens in the quarterfinals. In the third game in the series, with Toronto trailing 2-0 in the series, Cam Connor of the Habs scored a lucky goal on his first shift of the game, 5:25 into the second overtime period. After the game, Palmateer declared: "That's one thing I can't do - stop someone who doesn't know what he's doing."
The following are quotes taken from Andrew Podnieks' and Jefferson Davis' Hello Hockey Fans From Coast to Coast: Amazing Lists for Trivia Lovers (ECW Press, 1999). Mr. Podnieks' other current release is The Great One: The Life and Times of Wayne Gretzky (Doubleday Canada, 1999).