TORONTO -- Some stories are old, some new, but one thing never changes -- they are always entertaining. Especially when it comes to remembering Fred “The Fog” Shero, who entered the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night (see story).
Orest Kindrachuk has a story to tell.
“He was a friend and a tough coach, but this is an off-ice [story],” Big O recalled. “We were in L.A., and we go to the hotel. Back then, the rules were you couldn’t go to the bar if management was there.
“There was only one bar in L.A. at the time, and that was the Melody. We got off the bus as quick as we could, got our bags to the room and got cabs to the Melody as fast as we could. We get there and Freddy’s there.”
The entire Broad Street Bullies were about to walk out when Shero signaled them to stay.
“‘Stop, give all these guys a drink,' and we all had beers and Freddy said he was leaving,” Kindrachuk said.
One thing. How did Shero beat the players to the bar?
“He said, ‘I never got off the bus. I had the bus driver drop me off me here.’”
Bernie Parent has too many stories. The Flyers were playing in Montreal at the legendary Forum.
“Before the game -- Montreal was awesome -- he says, ‘We’re going to tire them out tonight,’” Parent recalled. “[We're] dressing five defensemen and the rest are forwards.
“After the first period, Montreal had 27 shots against me and we only had two against [Ken] Dryden. And the Zamboni never had to go across their blue line. Yeah, we’re going to tire them out.”
Once, Parent took Shero out fishing on his boat when the coach stayed with him at his summer home in Wildwood, N.J.
“He had his boys with him, including Ray [Shero],” Parent said. “We’re 60 miles offshore, and Freddy got sea sick. I asked the boys if we should go back and they said, 'No, let him lay there and we’ll fish.'
“I went down below to check on him. How you doing? He said, 'Not very good.' I said, ‘Well, Freddy, remember all those starts and stops you made me do? Now we’re even, buddy.’"
Legendary Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman’s memories are more, well, coach-like.
“He was ahead of his time,” Bowman said. “He had a very successful system. They didn’t have a lot of great offensive defensemen, but they were well-schooled with big wingers. Terrific centers. With [Bobby] Clarke, [Rick] MacLeish and Kindrachuk, their strength to me was their centers.
“They moved it up the sideboards, get it in center, throw it in and then forecheck. He always had a heavy forecheck with the defense pinching and the forwards backing up. Pretty simple system, but they were tough to play because of their big wingers, [Don] Saleski, [Bill] Barber and [Gary] Dorhnoefer. [Ross] Lonsberry was big. They were big guys for that era.”
Elmer Ferguson Award
Former Flyers beat writer Jay Greenberg of the Daily News, was elected to the Hall for winning the Elmer Ferguson Award on hockey writing.
“It was a relief when it was over -- everyone said I did OK,” Greenberg said of his nine-minute speech. “Everyone treats you so nice. And then after tonight, it all ends.”
To read about Shero's path to the Hockey Hall of Fame, click here.