Those are the
things that come naturally with experience and maturity. Another thing I have
learned, also from experience, is how to use my reach. I have a very long
reach, and I can keep the puck away from opponents just by extending my arm and
stick as far as they will go, and I just know that nobody is going to take that
puck away from me. Also, I have learned to use the curved stick, which I
practiced with for a year before I ever tried it in a game. It does funny
things to the puck—like making it drop suddenly just as the goalie thinks he's
going to trap it. And I've learned to pass to the right with it, off the outer
curve of the blade.
There's a new
rule about the sticks this year that is going to affect some players—Hull, for
instance. The rule says that the curve in the blade must not exceed one inch.
It won't bother me because I have always used a one-inch curve, and guys like
Jean Beliveau, who uses a straight blade, won't be affected, but Bobby is used
to a 1�-inch curve.
I can get pretty
unhappy about faulty scoring by the officials. In my first season, for
instance, we were playing Oakland, and we were winning by several goals when
Kenny Hodge scored. They gave me an assist on the play, but it just wasn't my
point because I hadn't touched the puck. So I protested that the point must
have been another player's, and they gave it to him. I didn't want a point that
should have gone to one of my teammates. Some people wondered why I got upset,
but all I ever wanted was what I was entitled to.
But when I'm
entitled to something I do want it. There was the time, in that first Boston
season, when we were playing for second place. New York was the opponent. I
forget who passed the puck over to me but, anyway, I got it and I shot it right
into the net. It hit the meshing and came straight out. Naturally, thinking it
was a goal, I brought my stick up, and our team sort of slowed down and New
York went right back down the ice and scored. The goal judge thought the puck
had not gone in on my shot. Well, I'll tell you, we were wild. But the referee
agreed with the goal judge, and that was the way it stood.
Next day the
Boston Herald Traveler published a picture of the shot and, sure enough, there
was the puck going into the stinking net. You could see the net bulging. I'm
sure that incident cost us second place. I was really upset.
this was last season—I drew a two-game suspension. Larry Hale of Philadelphia
and I had a little scrap alongside the boards during a game in Boston. We each
got two minutes in the penalty box for high-sticking. When I was skating over
to the box somebody said something, and I guess it was Hale, and I turned
around and said something back. It was an uncomplimentary remark, you might
say, and just as I was saying it Bob Sloan, the referee, turned around. I
happened to be looking straight at him at the moment, and I guess he thought I
was saying it to him. He gave me a misconduct penalty. Well, I was frustrated
that night because I had missed four or five goals and four or five assists,
and I blew my cool, as Derek Sanderson would say, and I tossed a punch at
Sloan. It was not a good punch, just a glancing blow that hit him on the
shoulder. He threw me out of the game, and I had to go before the league
president, Clarence Campbell. In the end I was suspended for two games and
given fines that came to $175. That episode may have cost us first place as
well as some points and goals for me. At the end of the season, though,
everything looked a lot rosier.
It still looks
rosy, even though Ken Hodge had to have his appendix removed just after we
started our preseason practice and, much worse, Teddy Green, a beautiful
defenseman, had his skull fractured and may be out for the whole season, or
most of it, anyway. I'll miss them both. Teddy saved a lot of goals that might
have been scored against us, and Ken and I worked beautifully together on the
line. He'll only be out a few weeks, of course, but even when he comes back to
the lineup it will take him a little time to round into shape. I know his moves
and he knows mine, and while he's gone it will be a loss to the team.
to the season, I think I may be under a little more pressure, just because of
last year's record. I think the opposition will be watching me a little closer.
In front of the net they have to. I expected this last year, too, but it didn't
happen, maybe because it's harder to watch a center than it is to keep track of
a winger. Wingers go up and down the sides, you know, but the center man can
roam—go to various parts of the rink—so it's going to be a little bit harder
for them to watch me. But I'm expecting a close watch, anyway. We'll see what
What I want most
of all is for the Bruins to win all the way—the season and the playoffs. For
myself, I'd like to get 30 goals. I'd like to get maybe 85 or 90 points if I
can. I'd be quite happy with that. I don't say I wouldn't want to top 100
points again, because it would be quite a feat if I could do it twice. That
would be something else.
Maybe I can, and
if I do it will be because all the Bruins will be right there with me.