One of the best recurring lines in Paul Newman's classic Slapshot concerned old-time hockey, as symbolized by Toe Blake and Eddie Shore. These two icons were supposed to represent what was once good and pure about the game...and what was so dreadfully wrong about Reggie Dunlop's mid-70s goon show. Of course, if you delve a little deeper into that comment, and the two legends mentioned, you'll find that it's actually got nothing to do with halcyon days of skill and scoring---though it is pretty illuminating about the dual nature of the game itself. Legendary Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake was the ultimate tactician. His strategic abilities and blending of skill and strength allowed the Habs to dominate the 1950s and win an incredible six Stanley Cups in a row. Eddie Shore, on the other hand, was equal parts talented defenseman and thug when he lined up for the Boston Bruins of the 1920s and '30s. Four Hart Trophies aside, he blindsided Ace Bailey in 1933 and cracked his skull open. Scratch one career. Shore ended his days as the American Hockey League's version of Bobby Knight, terrorizing players on the Springfield Indians team he owned and operated right up to 1978.
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