Puck drop brawl at MSG rocks the NHL

“You try this, you go to the field, you already know. Two minutes, by your self, you already know and you’re feeling disgrace, you already know. And then you definitely get free.”

— Goalie Denis Lemieux in Slapshot

It was Easter Sunday, in 1967. Olympia Stadium.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Detroit Crimson Wings.

My Dad was in a position to snag some final second tickets, which put us solely about 5 rows up from the Chicago bench — greatest Unique Six tickets, ever!

And all for simply $5 every!

How fortunate we had been to see such greats as Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio and others on the ice.

However the second I’ll all the time bear in mind (Wings gained 4-2), was a brawl. Brian “Bugsy” Watson was shadowing and tormenting Hull all night time.

And eventually he had sufficient. However as quickly as Hull went after Watson, none apart from the hitman, Wings’s enforcer Howie Younger got here in. One of many hardest guys within the league.

To the bloodthirsty screams of the gang, they rolled on the ice, pummelling one another with punches. Violence within the excessive.

And all within the identify of NHL hockey. However it was thought-about regular then. I simply thought this was what grownups do and I accepted it.

After the sport, I noticed Howie in a swimsuit, speaking with followers. He had a giant bruise on his face and a patch over his eye.

Bobby had landed just a few, clearly.

After which, we waited for Bobby on the Hawks’ exit. To his credit score, he got here out and signed each autograph though we booed him each time he touched the puck that night time.

Speak about class. And get this — not a single scratch on his face. Nothing.

Stan Mikita, in the meantime, hated Detroit and the followers, and walked proper by us youngsters, completely ignoring us. This was the NHL, circa 1967.

Now fast-forward to March 3, 2024, Madison Sq. Backyard.

New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers. An evening that may very well be referred to as, ‘There Will Be Blood.’

As quickly because the puck was dropped, simply seconds into the sport, all gamers on the ice instantly dropped the gloves and went at it. Mano-a-mano.

It wasn’t a recreation anymore, it had was a violent slugfest. Payback, if you’ll, in opposition to a participant named Matt Rempe, whose earlier actions angered the Devils to no finish.

Fortunately, the 2 goalies didn’t get entangled — however everybody else on the ice did. And so did the MSG followers.

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