Blair, however, convinced Worsley that he surely had at least another year in him. Worsley left the decision to his wife Doreen. "If she likes Minnesota, I'll come," he said. When Doreen arrived she was swamped with invitations to luncheons and dinners and tea parties. "She loved that."
So Worsley signed a one-year contract for more money than he had ever earned before. His base pay was $37,500, and there would be a bonus of 51,000 for every victory, $500 for every tie and $100 for every shutout. However, Worsley pulled a groin muscle early in that 1970-71 season and won only four games in 24 starts.
"Now I figured I was really finished," he says. "I knew Minnesota could not protect me in the draft, and I could not see myself playing for a real bad team ever again. I did my time with the old New York Rangers back in the '50s." But Worsley survived the draft, and signed the same contract, including the bonus arrangements. When he went to training camp this fall in Winnipeg he was feeling sharp. "I rarely have a drink now, and I never have breakfast," he says. "They used to call me a beer belly, remember? I never drank beer. My belly was pure rye and ginger ale. But not anymore."
Maniago, meanwhile, does not begrudge Worsley his handsome salary—including $6,000 in bonuses already this season. "Gump put in his time, and he never made big money until he came here," Cesare says. "I hope he makes all he can." When Maniago went to the North Stars in the original expansion draft in 1967, he, like Worsley, brought along a distinctive reputation. "I was, remember, the man who gave up Bernie Geoffrion's 50th goal and Bobby Hull's record 51st goal," Maniago says. "Every time I played in those years, it seemed I was giving up a record to someone. Why, one night in Detroit Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio both set records on the same goal."
The most severe rap against Maniago concerned his courage. ("Imagine questioning a goalie's courage," Worsley says.) Maniago played for the Rangers in 1966-67, and one night he was hit in the mouth by a puck and had to leave a game that New York was leading 3-1 over Boston. He had had some teeth knocked out in a game at Toronto a few days before, and the new stitches from the Boston game made things worse. " Emile Francis asked me how I felt when I came back to the bench from the doctor's room," Maniago recalls. "I told him I felt lousy. I did. That was no lie."
Francis kept Maniago on the bench, and they both watched as his replacement, Ed Giacomin, permitted two easy goals that allowed Boston to tie the game. "The next day Francis blew his top and said I was the reason the Rangers hadn't won," Maniago says. "I didn't play very much in New York after that."
Since joining the North Stars, Maniago has been consistently outstanding, even while playing with his jaw wired at one stage. Until Blair acquired Worsley, though, Maniago had to take all the important games and most of the crips, too. "It's impossible to play every game," he says. "I got tired."
With the Gump around, he doesn't have to play 'em all anymore. And if they need him, of course, Blair and Coach Jack Gordon can always dress the phantom.