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hockeytown, moscow oblast

Homecupping: Viacheslav Kozlov of the Detroit Red Wings brings the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Voskresensk, southeast of Moscow, on August 19, 1997. Red Wings owner Mike Illitch is Kozlov's left, with Cupkeeper Phil Pritchard from the Hockey Hall of Fame two over from him. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

Homecupping: Vyacheslav Kozlov of the Detroit Red Wings brings the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Voskresensk, southeast of Moscow, on August 19, 1997. Red Wings owner Mike Illitch is Kozlov’s left, with Cupkeeper Phil Pritchard from the Hockey Hall of Fame two over from him. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

red army, red square, red wings

Wings Fan:  A Red Army recruit shows off a Detroit Red Wings glossy scored during a visit by Viacheslav Kozlov, Slava Fetisov, and Igor Larionov to Moscow's Red Square on August 18, 1997. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

Wings Fan: A Red Army recruit shows off a Detroit Red Wings glossy scored during a visit by Viacheslav Kozlov, Slava Fetisov, and Igor Larionov to Moscow’s Red Square on August 18, 1997. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

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the stanley cup + lenin

Red Square snapshot: Slava Fetisov focusses on friends (including his CSKA, CCCP and Detroit teammate Igor Larionov) in front of Lenin’s tomb in Moscow on August 18, 1997, just before going in for a visit with the erstwhile chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union.

Red Square snapshot: Slava Fetisov focusses on friends (including his CSKA, CCCP and Detroit teammate Igor Larionov) in front of Lenin’s tomb in Moscow on August 18, 1997, just before going in for a visit with the erstwhile chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

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vente — service — sales

richard

Aside

Just so we’re clear, Justice Clément Gascon was at no time drafted by any NHL team, ever, and has refrained (so far) from saying he was.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s newest nominee, to the Supreme Court of Canada starts his new job next Monday.

His draft year would have been 1979, if he’d gone the hockey route, and flourished. That was a good one for actual hockey talent as opposed to notional: Ray Bourque, Michel Goulet, Mike Gartner, and Kevin Lowe were all selected in the first round.

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(Credit: Newseum)

won

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(Credit: Newseum)

shake on it

Shaker Style: Montreal's Classic Auctions has on its block the golden watch that Montreal HC presented to Dickie Boon in 1902. He helped them win their third Stanley Cup that year and (just maybe) shook some hands when it was done. Bidding starts at C$5,000. The auction closes on June 17. (Photo: Classic Auctions)

Shaker Style: Montreal’s Classic Auctions has on its block the golden watch that Montreal HC presented to Dickie Boon in 1902. He helped them win their third Stanley Cup that year and (just maybe) shook some hands when it was done. Bidding starts at C$5,000. The auction closes on June 17.

I don’t mean to pick historical nits, except when I do, which today … yes, nits will be picked. After all, if there’s anything we in the business of hockey retrospecting have learned in the weeks since researchers Carl Gidén, Patrick Houda, and Jean-Patrice Martel published Hockey Origins, their blockbuster debunkery of Canadian claims on the game’s birth, it’s maybe this: assume that everything concerning the game’s early days is written on ice until it’s proved conclusively that it can’t be effaced.

Jeff Z. Klein has a nice feature in today’s New York Times wondering about the origin of the beloved handshake with which hockey playoff series traditionally end. That it baffles the logic to witness an embrace between a player (see Prust, Brandon) who might previously have broken another’s jaw (see Stepan, Derek) only seems to make it more, Klein’s word, “special.” Sometimes, sure, a guy will promise to fucking kill several other guys (see Lucic, Milan), but as Klein writes, that’s rare enough.

So far so good. It’s when he follows Liam Maguire’s hazy path back towards the beginnings of the hockey handshake that the discussion strays.

Maguire is an Ottawa radio-host and published author, an NHL historian and prospective city councillor. He sometimes refers to himself as “the worlds [sic] number one NHL historian.” In May, he posted a recollection online about running into an old-timer, name of Lamb, whose cousin Joe had played in the NHL in the 1920s and on through the ’30s.

This was in 1980, at a retirement residence near Manotick, Ontario. Maguire and Mr. Lamb got to talking hockey. There was beer and there were scrapbooks. There, in the latter, something very, very interesting caught the young researcher’s eye:

Among the dozens and dozens of newspaper clippings was a very yellow parched story detailing an all-star game in 1908.

This was the Hod Stuart benefit game; the cover-point for the Montreal Wanderers had died in a diving accident two months after helping his team win the 1907 Stanley Cup. The memorial game was a sell-out at the Montreal Arena, with a crowd of 300 or so raising $2,010 for his family. With Art Ross and Pud Glass in their line-up, Wanderers won, 10-7, defeating an all-star team featuring Percy LeSueur and Frank Patrick.

Maguire:

That day in Mr. Lamb’s room, in 1980 I was looking at a newspaper report of the game and some pictures. Among them was a picture of Art Ross of the Wanderer’s shaking hands with Frank Patrick’s from the all-stars. Looked totally normal, something we’d see a million times. But then Mr. Lamb said, ‘son, do you realize that this is the first handshake recorded in hockey?’

A significant juncture in hockey history, then — very important. Until that moment, Maguire told Klein this past Friday, hockey players never shook hands. Are you kidding? There’s no way. The game was too violent in those olden times. But a man had died, a friend, a fellow, a teammate. This was different, and they shook. “It’s as plausible an explanation as exists,” Maguire said, “and I’ve done quite a lot of research on it.”

According to Maguire’s senior source 34 years ago, the practice spread from there — by hand, if you like: Art Ross and the Patrick brothers kept it up during subsequent Stanley Cup challenges, along with the rest of the players from the 1908 game. Thus the tradition began.

It’s a good story and, yes, plausible, even if you’re willing to believe that the clippings in question featured photographs of the Hod Stuart game. I confess I’m skeptical on that count — you rarely see hockey photos in the papers from that era — though I’d be pleased to be shown I’m wrong.

Did the players shake hands at the end of that game? Why not — probably so. The same contemporary accounts I’ve seen that don’t feature photos fail to mention handshakes, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. I’d bet they did.

They weren’t, however, the first recorded in hockey. Continue reading

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(Credit: Newseum)

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(Credit: Newseum)

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twilight of the habs

hab sunset

(Illustration: Aislin, alias Terry Mosher, McCord Museum)