Posted: Thursday August 3, 2006 3:28PM; Updated: Saturday August 5, 2006 8:07PM
Hall of Famer Gump Worsley won 335 games and two Vezina Trophies but might be better known for his colorful nickname.
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The Great One, Mr. Hockey, The Rocket and The Golden Jet are among the best nicknames in the history of professional sport. Images of Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard and Bobby Hull are conjured up by simply referring to their famous monikers.
While those four nicknames will forever have their place, there have been several colorful nicknames throughout the great history of the National Hockey League. Some of the names not only accompany Hall of Famers, but icons of the sport. Other nicknames are less familiar, if at all, as some players did not enjoy much in the way or success or longevity. Still, their nicknames, no matter how acquired, are no less entertaining.
Below is a list of 10 colorful and interesting nicknames from the pre-expansion era. The list is presented in alphabetical order by the player's last name. Next week, Top Shelf will serve up 10 such nicknames from the post-expansion era.
Sid Abel Boot Nose The nickname that often comes to mind in association with Abel is the line that he centered in Detroit: The Production Line. Playing with Howe and Ted Lindsay, Abel was a Hart Trophy winner and a three-time Stanley Cup champ during a Hall of Fame career. As for the moniker, it took shape during a match between the Red Wings and Canadiens when Abel taunted Rocket Richard. Not taking kindly to the verbal assault, Richard promptly pummeled Abel, altering his opponent's facial appendage.
Steve Buzinski Puck Goes Inski The 140-pound netminder was playing as an amateur in western Canada when he signed with the Rangers at the start of the 1942-43 season to replace "Sugar" Jim Henry, who joined the Canadian armed forces at the onset of World War II. So while the lover of brown sugar kept sharp with the likes of the Ottawa Staff Clerks, Buzinski earned his nickname by registering a 5.89 GAA in nine games. Buzinski, who allowed Rocket Richard's first NHL goal, never again played in the league.
Edouard Lalonde Newsy The Hall of Famer is so well known by his nickname that his given name may be unknown to some. Lalonde, whose career bridged the National Hockey Association and the National Hockey League that was formed for the 1917-18 season, worked in a newsprint plant as a youth. Hockey fans would long be reading about a career that produced 453 goals in 336 games with various major league teams, including more than a decade with the Montreal Canadiens.