Dishing the Dirt
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03-28-2011, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In "The System"
Originally Posted by
Don't know if this was known before, but apparently Lester Patrick was a very strict coach:
"Like Smythe, Patrick was a martinet who demanded strict obedience from his charges. He, too, was particularly rigid regarding curfews."
From Flakes of Winter.
Strict, but fair.
"By the way, you are all probably aware that Mr. Boucher is a native of this fair capitol of Canada and, no doubt, has many willing friends here. If, as I suspect, Mr. Boucher has arranged a beer party for you, please use common sense and be moderate in your bibbling, and return here at reasonable time."
Now quite by coincidence, friends of mine had lined up a party for us in Hull, an all-night town where staid Ottawa does its drinking. And after the game - which we won by a score of 9-1 - we had a wonderful time. These friends had hired a fiddler, an accordion player, and a piano player, and of course there was loads of that superb Canadian ale in kegs, as well as cold cuts, numerous kinds of breads, pickles, and sausage rolls.
At about 2:45 in the morning I realized we had better get back to our sleeping car. I was concerned that some of the boys, feeling no pain whatever, might awaken Lester clambering aboard. So I cautioned them and they were quiet as mice as we made our way to our berths.
I slept like a babe until 10:30. When I awakened our car was rolling across the snow-covered countryside and I felt unusually hungry. I headed for the diner, looking forward to a huge breakfast because I dearly loved the dining cars on trains.
Well, there was only one other person in the diner, Lester Patrick himself; so, naturally, I had to join him. He turned out to be in great good spirits, however, commenting on what a beautiful day it was, how well the team had played the night before, and what a fine game I had played.
But, suddenly, without warning, he fixed me with a long glance.
"By the way, Mr. Boucher," Lester said, "did you know that Mr. Keeling walks in his sleep?" He was talking about Butch Keeling, the big-boned leftwinger we'd acquired from Toronto. Lester's mood had seemed bouyant enough but the misters were always ominous.
"My goodness, Lester, I hope you're kidding," I said in wide-eyed innocence. "I certainly didn't know that about Butch."
"No, Mr. Boucher, I am not kidding. Some time after we left Ottawa early this morning, the door to my compartment opened and there stood Mr. Keeling. Are you aware, Mr. Boucher, that Mr. Keeling doe not wear pyjamas? He wears only one of of those silly undershirts that barely reaches his navel. As I came awake and stared incredulously at him, he began to urinate on my floor. I called out to him, 'Butch, Butch, what the devil are you doing?'
"Now, Mr. Boucher, you can believe this or not, but Mr. Keeling put his finger to his lips and said 'sh-h-h-h, don't wake Lester!' "
And Suddenly Lester burst out laughing there in the sunswept diner. "Oh, Frank," he gasped, tears coming to his eyes. "It was delightful!"
In later years, when Lester became vice-president of the Garden corporation and I was moved up from coach to general manager, he and I had some grave differences that led to a terrible breach. But during his seasons as our coach he was a marvellous man to play for and, as I indicated earlier, there was no more memorable moment in all Ranger history than the night he took over in goal that spring of 1928. Indeed, it was the climax to a quite remarkable season, our second year in New York.
Frank Boucher in When The Rangers Were Young
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