"It irritates me," he said.
More irritating to Coach Billy Reay was the fact that his squad was far from up to par. Bobby's linemate, Chico Maki, had an injured right leg. Sharp-shooting Doug Mohns turned from nursing a sore right shoulder to limping on a twisted left knee, and big Defenseman Elmer Vasko sustained an eight-inch gash in his thigh. It took 20 stitches to close the gash and the injury took Vasko out of contention. Hull minimized his knee injury, but it was obvious that he was skating badly. When he left the ice to sit on the bench, one could see him favoring the knee to bring his left foot up onto the step.
All this, and Watson too, took the zing out of a Chicago attack that had seemed only a few weeks before all but certain to carry the Hawks to a championship.
Even more discouraging—from a Chicago point of view—was the forechecking of the Red Wings. Time after time Norm Ullman, the high-scoring Detroit center, pestered the Hawks deep behind their own blue line to disrupt their offense, as Montreal's Jean Beliveau did against Toronto. He would station himself near Chicago Goalie Glenn Hall and go after the puck carrier. With two other wingmen stationed at the blue line, the carrier had absolutely no avenue out of his zone.
Forechecking works best when your team is ahead, and that is when Detroit used it most effectively. In that 7-0 game Detroit scored three goals in the first period, and thereafter Chicago could do nothing.
So there were the two great reversals in form during the Stanley Cup playoffs—the Canadien substitution of hard and even vicious checking for subtle skills, and the Red Wing adoption of a style that they had used only infrequently. The Wings were helped, to be sure, by injuries to the Hawks, and the Habs by a flu epidemic that struck the Maple Leafs. But, in essence, it was what some call " Stanley Cup play" that gave uninterrupted victory to the Canadiens in the semifinals, gained unexpected wins for the Red Wings, hitherto so ineffective against Chicago, and provided the fans with the best hockey—some of it nationally televised—they had seen all season.
After watching even one of the games that were played last week in Chicago, in Detroit, in Toronto or in Montreal, it would be pretty hard to convince a real hockey fan that there is no point to the playoffs.