Legendary hockey reporter and analyst Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for NHL.com. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," shares his knowledge, humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.
This week he offers a sampling of his favorite one-liners from some of the NHL's most famous names.
Authors in search of a good quote to enhance a story often turn to a reference book called "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations."
Hockey has its own version, a neat little tome called "Hockey Shorts." Author Glenn Liebman of Albany, New York, has collected some of the best quotes from a variety of hockey's most famous characters.
Here are my eight favorites, in alphabetical order by speaker; with a short prelude to explain why I enjoy them so much:
The man they call "Grapes" authored a 1982 autobiography of the same name. When it hit the bookstores, Cherry was asked about his work. His comment was priceless.
"Three years ago, I couldn't spell author. Now I are one."
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"The Great One" had different ways of explaining the greatness that made him the NHL's all-time leading scorer. This one might be the simplest.
"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been."
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"Mr. Goalie" once played 502 consecutive regular-season games, all without a mask and often after getting sick to his stomach before the game. Why not find an easier line of work?
"It's the only way I can support my family. If I could do it some other way, I wouldn't be playing goal."
"Mr. Hockey" could play the game any way he wanted. But as this one-liner demonstrates, the accent was usually on physical dominance.
"If you can push someone around, then you push him around."
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This excellent goalie-turned-superb hockey analyst lost Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Playoff series to the Philadelphia Flyers, spurring the following bit of philosophy.
"They say you can't be a winner until adversity is staring you in the face. Well, right now it's touching my nose."
Plager, a rugged defenseman with the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues in the 1960s and 1970s, was also a notorious prankster. He once kiddingly told an interviewer that his offseason job was as a "beer-taster" for the Ontario Liquor Control Board. The reporter actually took him seriously and wrote a story about it, generating Plager's priceless reaction.
"If you take the game seriously, you go crazy anyway, so it helps if you're a bit nuts to start with because you don't waste time getting that way. In other words, you don't have to be crazy to play hockey, but it helps."
Known as "Chico" during his career for his resemblance to the title character in a 1970s TV sitcom, the goalie-turned-broadcaster was never at a loss for words. Here's one priceless example.
"Teams that win drive to the rink at 60 or 65 miles an hour because they're excited to get there. Teams that lose take their time. There's no rush. They go about 30 miles per hour."
"Freddie the Fog" coached the Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975 and loved to philosophize about the game. However, there were times when his players had no idea what he was talking about.
"We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games."