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Red Kelly's falling out with Detroit

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01-24-2014, 05:49 PM
  #1
TheDevilMadeMe
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Red Kelly's falling out with Detroit

Red Kelly is always the top answer to the "Who should have his jersey retired but doesn't?" question. Wikipedia gives the story:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wikipedia
Late in the 1959 season, Kelly broke his ankle. The Red Wings kept the injury a secret, and Kelly played through the pain as the Red Wings missed the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. However, midway through the next season, a reporter asked Kelly why he'd been off his game for much of 1959. Kelly replied, "Don't know. Might have been the ankle." When Red Wings general manager Jack Adams got wind of the story, he was furious, and immediately brokered a four-player deal in which Kelly was sent to the New York Rangers. However, Kelly scuttled the deal when he announced he would retire rather than go to New York. Maple Leafs head coach Punch Imlach stepped in and tried to talk Kelly into playing for him. Though he disliked Maple Leaf Gardens and as a young player was disappointed by the scathing assessment of that Toronto scout, Kelly agreed to be traded to the Leafs.
I always found it strange, however, that Detroit would make up with Ted Lindsay and retire his number after his efforts to create the Player's Union, but that Kelly spilling the beans about his injury was such a big sin in the eyes of the team.

However, apparently there was more to it than that. Kelly - appointed captain after the Detroit GM Jack Adams shipped Lindsay out for his efforts at creating the player's union - had apparently already fallen out of favor with Adams for repeatedly voicing the team's complaints to the tyrannical Adams. Seems that disobeying Adams and revealing the injury was just the last straw. This is from a story in Sports Illustrated that focused largely on Kelly's second career as a politician, while still playing hockey in Toronto:

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Red Just Left of Center, Sports Illustrated, Dec 3, 1962
The Detroit Red Wings signed Kelly in 1947 at the precocious age of 19. He responded by helping them to eight championships and four Stanley Cups in 12 years. Then, in a deal that shocked the NHL, he was traded to New York near the close of the 1960 season. He had fallen into disfavor with Detroit General Manager Jack Adams, first for his frankness in facing Adams with the team's complaints ("I felt that was my duty as captain," says Kelly) and second for admitting to a newspaper reporter that Adams had urged him to play part of the previous season six days after breaking an ankle. The story created a sensation. " Adams tried to get the doctor to say the ankle wasn't broken," says Kelly, "but it was." Rather than report to last-place New York, Kelly decided to quit. Five days later, after considerable backstage maneuvering, league officials okayed a deal by which he was to report instead to Toronto, and Kelly changed his mind.

Red made his first appearance with Toronto the very next night. When his line skated onto the ice, the ex-Detroiter received a four-minute ovation that has never been matched in Maple Leaf Gardens. "Just when the applause should have died down," recalls Red, "everyone stood up."

In Detroit, Kelly had become one of the best defensemen in the league, but Punch Imlach, who is never inhibited by tradition, decided to make a center of him. In doing so, he lighted the spark that propelled a formerly floundering club to the finals of the Stanley Cup. In the semifinals Toronto met Detroit. "I never once looked up in that box where I knew Adams would be looking down at us," says Kelly softly. "I knew they'd be told to come after me, and they did, but it didn't bother me. The more they came the harder I fought. I figure it made me play better. I liked it."

Toronto liked it too. The Leafs grew even stronger the next year as Kelly fed long, daring passes to a brilliant but brooding young prodigy named Frank Mahovlich who, up to then, had failed to live up to his early promise. Under Kelly's influence Mahovlich's goal production rose from a 1960 total of 18 to 48 in 1961. Mahovlich went on to become the only big-league athlete worth an official $1 million at the auction block, but it was Kelly who was voted the team's most valuable player. One year later, Toronto finally regained that long-awaited Stanley Cup as Kelly, one of those largely responsible, set a career high of 22 goals scored and a personal low of only six minutes spent in the penalty box. "If you lose your temper while the puck's in play, you only give your opponents an easy chance to score," he says, explaining a philosophy that has long since established him as one of the cleanest players in the game.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...71/1/index.htm

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01-24-2014, 06:04 PM
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Big Phil
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Yeah, that's what it pretty much came down to. If you upset Jack Adams you were gone. Even Red Kelly. Kelly was a smart guy outside of the rink as well, and wasn't one to have the wool pulled over his eyes. I suspect stuff like that would have angered Adams even more. Why couldn't more people be like Gordie Howe? Loyal to a point and never ask questions, I'm sure he thought.

But that was a nature of Adams. Along with Peter Pocklington, these are the only two men responsible for ending a dynasty. Pocklington's was more foolish with Gretzky being traded. To this day that is indefensible. But Adams did the same thing after 1955. Granted the Habs were coming and were on their way to their own dynasty, but after 1955 he shipped Sawchuk out, then Lindsay in 1957, then Kelly. Any chance of the Red Wings stealing a Cup from the Habs in those days went out the window.

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01-24-2014, 06:27 PM
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Quite an interesting guy & career. The Leafs Scout who bet his hat that Red Kelly wouldnt play 20 games in the NHL was Squib Walker, and the Leafs had first dibs on Kelly for years and did absolutely nothing about the guy. Literally right under their noses at St.Michaels College which Red attended, sent their by his family, not on a scholarship under Leafs stewardship as virtually all of his contemporaries & team mates had been. He tried out for the Majors; Cut. He tried out for the Buzzers, St.Mikes Jr.B team; Cut. He tried out for their Midget team; Cut....

After that he was out playing pickup with some of the Priests & players who had made the Cut & so impressed that they had second thoughts & gave him a 3rd line spot with the Midget team. From there, he worked his way up & yet even still, the Leafs never signed him. A Detroit Scout eventually came a calling & Kelly ecstatic that finally an NHL club actually wanted him happily signed then & there... when he landed a role with the Wings he was paired with the legendary Bill Quackenbush, an exceptionally clean & talented player often forgotten, over-looked, under-rated, and who I think taught Kelly an awful lot in his first couple of years in Detroit before Bill was traded to Boston. A rushing defenceman who was equally adept in his own end using angles to steer forwards on the rush into the boards. Highly disciplined.

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01-24-2014, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Yeah, that's what it pretty much came down to. If you upset Jack Adams you were gone.
This is a story about Adams and Lindsay that I got from Bill Roberts, the referee that was involved in it.

Roberts was a young and up and coming referee. He called a tripping penalty on Detroit and Lindsay was protesting it. Roberts said to him, "If that wasn't a trip, I'll be a SOB." Lindsay told Adams that Roberts called him a SOB. Adams went to Campbell and had Roberts fired.

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01-25-2014, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Red Kelly is always the top answer to the "Who should have his jersey retired but doesn't?" question. Wikipedia gives the story:



I always found it strange, however, that Detroit would make up with Ted Lindsay and retire his number after his efforts to create the Player's Union, but that Kelly spilling the beans about his injury was such a big sin in the eyes of the team.

However, apparently there was more to it than that. Kelly - appointed captain after the Detroit GM Jack Adams shipped Lindsay out for his efforts at creating the player's union - had apparently already fallen out of favor with Adams for repeatedly voicing the team's complaints to the tyrannical Adams. Seems that disobeying Adams and revealing the injury was just the last straw. This is from a story in Sports Illustrated that focused largely on Kelly's second career as a politician, while still playing hockey in Toronto:



http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...71/1/index.htm
Jack Adams was a mob boss with a take no prisoners mentality. A forgiving attitude would be a sign of weakness according to him.

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01-25-2014, 12:14 PM
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Sentinel
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I still can't believe Detroit hasn't retired his number.

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01-25-2014, 03:35 PM
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Killion
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I still can't believe Detroit hasn't retired his number.
Ya, you'd think huh? Odd as Ilitch is known for giving a frig about the Wings rich history.

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01-25-2014, 05:25 PM
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Ya, you'd think huh? Odd as Ilitch is known for giving a frig about the Wings rich history.
In general. But there's also the Larry Aurie saga. I daresay I'm not the only one who has never understood it.

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01-25-2014, 05:32 PM
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Killion
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In general. But there's also the Larry Aurie saga. I daresay I'm not the only one who has never understood it.
Ya, theres another weird one. Big Jim Norris's favorite player, his number 6 retired, yet the Wings refuse to hoist it up into the rafters claiming they wont do so because the guys not a Hockey Hall of Fame member.... well so what? He's a "Detroit Red Wings' Hall of Famer".

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