No Game for Gentlemen: Trash Talk From the NHL's Original Six Era

Dirty Old Men - Comic Book Plus Forum

Things get mean when you only play the same five teams over and over again.

The theme of this year's NHL playoffs is "respect" or, more importantly, the lack of it between players. Accusations, trash talk and death threats have become standard occurrences before, during and after games, and not only by Milan Lucic, either.

Hockey historians will quickly point out that these shocking tactics aren't anything new. While we think of colorful, offensive insults as something only modern players do, playing mind games with opponents is as old as the game itself.

Between 1942 and 1967, the NHL was only six teams - Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Bruins and Rangers - and battling the same players over and over for 50, 60 or 70 games a year can create some intense rivalries and bitter hatred.

Below is a list of notable, recorded trash talk incidents from actual games between some of the league's Original Six era stars. It's hardly complete, but it is a stark reminder that while the vehicles for verbal abuse may change, but the need for an edge remains the same.

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October 16, 1948 - Boston's Pete Babando to Toronto's Max Bentley:

"I heard they sent a monkey into space. Glad to see you made it back in one piece, Bentley."

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March 6, 1963 - Chicago's Bobby Hull to New York's Gump Worsley:

"Hiya Gump, you read that 'Feminine Mystique' yet?" Geez, who am I kidding? You can't read."

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October 17, 1959 - Toronto's Tim Horton to Boston's Jerry Toppazzini:

"Maybe you'd be more comfortable at a Tupperware Party."

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February 16, 1952 - Montreal's Bud MacPherson to New York's Hy Buller:

"I caught that circus movie 'The Greatest Show on Earth.' You were great as the elephant."

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January 11, 1964 - Toronto's Eddie Shack to Boston's Forbes Kennedy:

"Hey, Forbsy! I hadn't noticed you all game. When I heard someone shot Kennedy, I thought they were talking about you."

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October 17, 1959 - New York's Lou Fontinato to Montreal's Ab McDonald:

"Saw your Edsel parked outside. Gonna be hard to drive it with two broken legs."

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January 24, 1965 - Chicago's Stan Mikita to New York's Phil Goyette:

"Jell-O isn't the only thing your wife has room for."

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November 17, 1945 - New York's Alf Pike to Montreal's Maurice Richard:

"Rocket, what Truman did to the Japs, I'm gonna do to you."

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March 15, 1951 - Detroit's Gordie Howe to Boston's Fern Flaman:

"I'm going to Flaman kill you next season."

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Obviously, these aren't real. This came out of a Twitter discussion between me, Keith (@KeithLHHockey) and Winging it in Motown (@wingingitmotown). Who says Twitter isn't good for anything?

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