Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bob Lobel: And You Can Quote Me On That

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

“Too many men on the ice” is one of those abbreviated descriptions of moments we will not easily forget. When anyone says it, people just know its code for a Stanley Cup Game 7 against Montreal. Don Cherry was the coach, but who was responsible for the gaffe that cost the Bruins dearly? Not many want to take credit, but the one that keeps coming up is Mike Milbury.

I can’t confirm or deny the veracity of that but I do know Milbury, in a totally separate context, was one of the best quote machines ever. Like his coach, Don Cherry, and his general manager. Harry Sinden, you can imagine how much fun you could have covering these guys. One cardinal rule when you were in their presence was to never turn you camera or microphone off. The memory of where this took place is a little sketchy but it was a Stanley Cup Playoff game and I’m pretty sure it was Pittsburgh. The game ends and the Bruins had lost.

We were standing outside the locker room waiting for players and the officials to come in off the ice and go in their room, right in front of us. Milbury comes blasting through the door right after the officials and is obviously not joyful. He yells at the referee and with cameras rolling says, “Just another day at the office, Dennis, Just another F------ day at the office.” There were other obscenities, but you get the idea. What no one other than our cameraman saw was the young Catholic priest standing there taking it all in.

If the words from Milbury were priceless, then you would describe the look on the priests face as incredulous. A moment in a long career for sure.

Hockey for some reason, passion perhaps, brings the best quotes. Remember one of the greats, “Hey Koharski, have another doughnut you fat pig.” Remember who and where the honors go for that?

And others like “hop on my back boys, I’m going to carry you tonight.”

And, “Moses Malone does eat s-- -!”

And “this is our F------ town!”

Or “Bingo, we got bingo, we win again.”

Mention the name Ben Drieth and generations will tell you the context. Or Ed Armbrister and the umpire that made him famous. How about the “snow game” or the “tuck rule”? Too easy I guess but the words totally apart from the moment still describe the moment perfectly. These are the great byproducts of sports. Words to laugh by, or to live by for that matter.

Not to leave anyone out but there was a Red Sox player who maintained man never walked on the moon or swore that dinosaurs never roamed the Earth. This is the same guy who broke up what would have been the one and only perfect game ever pitched at Fenway Park with two outs in the ninth inning with an “excuse me” single off Yankee starter Mike Mussina.

Mussina was that close to unique greatness and this guy who was unique to say the least, did the most unique thing. Know who? Calling Don Zimmer a gerbil has its place in history. Where would we play Willy Mcgee is another. So much to include so much to leave out. I’m sure any reader (both of them) could add to the list so feel free. Ok? You can say that again!

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