Lindsay was a highly skilled player who competed with a ferocity rarely seen in any sport, hence the nickname "Terrible Ted." In a high percentage of vintage Lindsay photos, he's bleeding. If there's an opponent in the photo, most likely, he's bleeding too. He was good because there was an inner fire that demanded it.
To prove that point, Lindsay pointed a thumb over his back at a wall-sized photograph of him and an opponent. They're both bleeding.
Lindsay is in Toronto this weekend to watch one of his favorite players, a Red Wings player of course, be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"They just elevated the caliber of the Hockey Hall of Fame by people like Steve (Yzerman) going in," Lindsay said. "Class athlete."
The Red Wings went 42 years, from Lindsay's 1955 Stanley Cup team, until 1997 without winning the Stanley Cup. Yzerman was the captain of the Red Wings teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998 and 2002. But he said the revival began when Detroit drafted Yzerman.
"Actually, it started two years later because he didn't have anyone to play with in his first two years there," Lindsay said. "He was everything a great athlete should be."
The Hockey Hall of Fame was honoring Lindsay because he was the first player to pick up the Stanley Cup after the presentation ceremony. Lindsay said he had no intention of starting a tradition, but he did.
"There was no glass and the fans used to sit with their arms on the boards," Lindsay explained. "When the puck came up their side, they'd lean back and went it went down ice or play was on the other side, they'd sit forward again, arms on the boards.
"They presented this trophy we were lucky to win and happy to win. I was standing there, after they presented the trophy to (Red Wings owner) Mr. (James) Norris and (general manager) Mr. (Jack) Adams and I saw the people along the boards. Nobody was paying any attention to it so I went over, picked it up and took it over to the boards.
"I wasn't trying to start a new tradition, I wanted the fans to see the names on the Stanley Cup so I went to the boards, before they took it away from me. I was paying respect to the people who paid my salary, I'm no fool. The next year, someone picked it up again and the next year and the next year.
"Then everybody started saying Ted Lindsay was the first one to pick it up, he's the one who started the tradition."