In 1970 New York hockey writer Stan Fischler wrote a book called The ‘Flying Frenchmen’ in which he did a general story about the Habs over the years, and then in the second half of the book, Rocket Richard took over and wrote under the heading of ‘My Life With The Canadiens.’
Several things jump out from the pages and I’d like to mention a couple.
Rocket said, “Something should be done to put more of the class back into the game – the stickhandling and the wrist shot and the pattern plays that are so beautiful. Maybe it would be a good idea to eliminate the red line and allow passing all the way up to the opponent’s blue line.”
The Rocket, in talking about the 1969-70 Habs season said, “Too many times they were unable to hold on to leads in the late minutes of games. In my day we would sustain the offense at all times. But the latter-day Canadiens tended to go into a defensive shell, which is the worst technique to use to protect a lead.”
“Up front the Canadiens have too many little men.”
This next piece of business is odd and I feel what was said was somehow lost in translation when the Rocket wrote it and the ghostwriter, maybe Fischler, put it into English. Rocket was talking about a certain time when he played and it goes like this:
“There was no animosity on the team and there was plenty of spirit, especially with men like Ken Reardon and Butch Bouchard on the team. Butch was a big bull. When he was on the ice you knew that the smaller players on our team would be protected. If any of our men got pushed around Bouchard was right there to help. Butch and I were the first to step in if any of our teammates were involved in a fight. But I was never friendly with Butch. As a matter of fact, I never got along with him.”
And finally, this….from the Rocket.
“I’ve always felt that the Toronto fan is the best in the entire circuit. Whenever he sees good hockey being played, he’ll give the team and players a good hand even if they are bitter rivals of his home team.”