When the Soviet all-stars, selected from various Moscow clubs, made their historic visit to Canada in November of 1957, their main requests were to see an NHL game and meet Maurice Richard.
They took in a game between Chicago and the Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens, and hoped that the Rocket would visit them in Ottawa on November 6 when the Soviets would play the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens, “if the Rocket is fit to travel” they added.
I don’t know why the Rocket wouldn’t be fit to travel on November 6th. He hadn’t been injured and I think he’d played all 14 games to that point. But he sure wasn’t fit just seven days later when he severed his Achilles tendon in a game against Toronto and was gone for three months.
He’d only see action in 28 games that season, mostly because of this serious injury, and that, along with the fact that he was now 36-years old, combined to make for a dismal season. Two years later he would hang ‘em up for good.
And as far as I know, the meeting with the Russians in Ottawa didn’t happen, which of course hurt the already delicate Cold War situation (just joking).
Here’s a photo from my scrapbook, showing the Rocket just seconds from having his Achilles tendon sliced.