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Lindsay lauded by hockey world for accomplishments on, off ice

Red Wings legend had Hall of Fame career, helped form Players' Association

by NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Ted Lindsay's legacy can be felt across the NHL.

The influence of forward, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and a four-time winner of the Stanley Cup, was felt keenly Monday as players, coaches and executives throughout the League reacted to his death. Lindsay was 93.

Goalie Glenn Hall was a teammate of Lindsay's from 1952-53 to 1956-57 with the Detroit Red Wings. They were traded together on July 23, 1957 to the Chicago Black Hawks for Johnny Wilson, Forbes Kennedy, Bill Preston and Hank Bassen. They were Black Hawks teammates for three seasons until the end of 1959-60, when Lindsay retired (before his one-season Red Wings return in 1964-65).

 

[RELATED: Lindsay, Red Wings icon, dies at 93 | Lindsay was legend on, off ice for Red Wings]

 

"Teddy is remembered best for his contribution to the creation of the Players' Association, but too many people forget what a great hockey player he was, what a great competitor," Hall said Monday from his farm in Stony Plain, Alberta. "It was Teddy's influence in Chicago that helped us win a Stanley Cup in 1961, the year after he retired. We played his style, not anybody else's. He taught us how to play hockey. He was all for a team. Team meant everything. Individual accomplishments meant nothing. The whole idea was team.

"Teddy was one of the very best friends I ever had. He was so good for hockey, the different things he contributed. It's a sad day for hockey but it's nice to think about the wonderful things he did in the game, how much he enjoyed it and how so many people enjoyed him."

Monday was a day across the NHL for remembering how much people enjoyed being around Lindsay.

"Mr. Lindsay was a real good friend of mine and an example to all of us," said Mike Babcock, the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. "He made you want to be a better man. He made our players in Detroit want to compete harder. He was around all the time. He was an absolute gentleman. For his family here today, we're praying and thinking of you. Honored to consider a man of that quality your friend."

Lindsay played for the Red Wings for 14 seasons, ending his career after the 1964-65 season. He was a fixture around the Red Wings for decades to follow. So much so, that Lindsay had his own stall in the locker room at Joe Louis Arena and would regularly show up there to skate. Babcock was the coach in Detroit from 2005 to 2015.

"I obviously didn't know him as a player. I just knew him after," Babcock said Monday while the Maple Leafs prepared for a game Monday against the Calgary Flames. "The kind of determination … just the way he was with people. The respect he had for people. The respect he had for the game, for his opponents, how hard and competitive he was. I just thought he was spectacular to be around."

Bill Peters, the coach of the Flames, was an assistant in Detroit from 2011 to 2014. He saw the impact Lindsay had on the Red Wings.

"Full of energy, full of life. Always giving. Always bright. Vibrant. Positive," Peters said. "Loved it when he came in the room. Loved it being around him. Loved playing in his golf tournament for autism; right to the end raising money, doing things for others. 

"Royalty. Royalty. One of the best players, one of the best left wingers who ever played. Hard, ferocious, but skilled. Nasty. Cut a swath. Good man."

Edmonton Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock fondly recalled earlier visits to Detroit and his introduction to Lindsay through Gordie Howe, a teammate of Lindsay's on the Red Wings.

"When Gordie and Ted would come to visit when we were in Detroit, we'd just sit there and I wouldn't even pay attention to the game. I'd just talk hockey with them all day. I felt like every time you talked to Ted or Gordie, you could learn so much about the history of the game and how much camaraderie and being part of a team meant so much to those guys. Neither one of them ever lost the fire; the fire to be a part of the team. 

"He was an impressive man because just the way he spoke, you could feel his passion for hockey and especially the Red Wings really come out."

Wayne Gretzky, who rewrote the NHL record book and idolized Howe, was moved by the man they called Terrible Ted and what he accomplished in his career.

"Terrible Ted was one of the nicest men in hockey. Every player should be thankful for his courage to create the Players' Association, which has grown into partnership between the players and owners of the NHL. He was a true champion on and off the ice and will be deeply missed," Gretzky said in a tweet.

Lindsay was at the forefront of the formation of the NHL Players' Association. He and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Doug Harvey first organized players toward forming a union to fight for better working conditions. Lindsay was subjected to backlash from Detroit ownership and traded to the Black Hawks. But he was rewarded in 2010 when the Lester B. Pearson Award, given to the most outstanding player in the regular season as voted by the players, was renamed the Ted Lindsay Award.

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin won the Lindsay Award three times, most recently in 2010, the year the name change occurred.

"Obviously it's hard news. He was a legend in the hockey world," Ovechkin said Monday. "Obviously, I was excited to meet him and I'm going to remember [it] for all my life."

Video: Redmond on the hockey contributions of Ted Lindsay

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid has won the Lindsay Award in each of the past two seasons.

"What he's done for the game, what he's done for the players in the game, it's amazing," McDavid said at the morning skate before the Oilers faced the Buffalo Sabres. "You can't really say enough good things about him. Obviously, it's terrible, and my thoughts are with the family and everyone, but it's amazing what he's done for the League and for the players."

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has won the Lindsay Award twice among his three players' MVP awards. He considers those trophies among the most cherished in a cabinet loaded with hockey hardware.

"I'd say it's right up there," Crosby said. "[It's] the guys you compete against every night that are voting for it. I think, as a player, that's a great compliment when you can be awarded that.

"[He was] a great man, was always awesome when I had a chance to see him, whether it was awards or just being around the rink. He always had a smile on his face. He was always fun to be around."

NHL.com staff writers Tom Gulitti and Dave Stubbs and NHL.com correspondents Aaron Vickers, Wes Crosby and Heather Engel contributed to this report.

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