the three fs of tt

A home away from hockey: this 1955 oil painting by Jacques Plante himself hung in his home in Sierre, Switzerland, where he moved after his second retirement in 1975 and lived until his death in 1986. (Photo: Classic Auctions)

He was 36 that June when he decided he needed a break from defending a hockey net. He’d seen enough pucks go by him, felt too many of the ones that didn’t. His face was scarred, his body bruised. He was tired of the travel. He told his team’s general manager that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

No, not Boston goaltender Tim Thomas, though he did decide much the same thing in the last few days. This was Jacques Plante, in 1965, a New York Ranger by that point. Here’s The New York Times, the day after Plante gave Rangers’ GM Emile Francis the news:

Throughout his career, Plante has suffered real and imagined injuries. He had asthma attacks, many of them in Toronto (he insisted he was allergic to the city) that he freely admitted were psychosomatic. Last season, he was hobbled with leg injuries. He recently underwent surgery on his right knee in New York.

Said a Rangers spokesman: “Jacques is a funny guy. He could turn around and change his mind. Emile hopes he does.” Continue reading

skate of the union

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Hockey players don’t live at the White House, but they sometimes pay a visit, as the Boston Bruins did yesterday. No, wait, that’s not true: a couple of players did live at the U.S. president’s house in and around 1906, and played quite a lot of hockey there. Back to them later, though. First we should say that hockey prowess is, for the most part, a losing proposition in American presidential politics. Franklin Delano Roosevelt played a bit when he was at school, as did John F. Kennedy (not to mention his brothers Ted and Bobby). Mainly, though, history shows that the best hockey players never quite make it to the White House. Continue reading