"Some guys change for the better. Take Stan Mikita. People say that he Stopped being mean as he got older because he wanted to protect his career. I don't buy that. I think maybe Stan saw something in himself he didn't like. It scared him, so he changed for the better. But not all guys react like that. Some guys, when they see they're a bastard, get meaner. They want to hurt somebody because they've shown themselves up for what they are."
Dorey reaches over and lowers the sound of the television, which has begun to interfere with his words, and then continues. "When I say a guy becomes mean, I don't mean tough. They're two different things entirely. A tough guy will slam you into the boards every time he can, and if he lights, it's just a natural reaction from the heat of the game. But a mean player, he'll try to hurt you. He'll use his stick. He'll plot to get you when nobody's looking. A lot of old-timers in this league are mean, not tough. They're like those guys in the Eastern League."
Dorey stands up suddenly, unable to stand the weight of his blazer another moment. He pulls it off and throws it over the bed. Then he sits down. "Jeez, those guys are crazy! If I ever got sent down there I think I'd quit. In the Eastern League you've got a lot of old guys who are sore because they're not in the NHL. They'll take it out on anyone they can. The young guys are wingers, too. They're hungry to move up, so they'll do anything to build a reputation, even if it means hitting someone with a stick. God, I don't ever want to go there. Most of the guys in the NHL are tough rather than mean. If they fight, it's because they explode emotionally. There's none of that calculated revenge stuff anymore."
While he is speaking, Dorey keeps glancing at the television set. At first he appears to be half-interested in the movie, but then it becomes apparent that the movie is distracting him. He gets up and clicks off the set. Then he tugs off his tie and throws it over his blazer. He returns to his seat with a deep breath and unbuttons the first few buttons of his shirt before going on.
"When I fight, it's a spontaneous reaction," he says. "I'm a spontaneous guy. My reactions are honest emotional outbursts, they're not prearranged. I don't go after guys. But because hockey is so fast, you have to discipline yourself beforehand to react the right way. You can't ever forget about hockey. It follows you around. I can be reading a newspaper before a game, and I won't remember a word I'm reading, but my mind is telling me how I've got to check Tkaczuk hard. The game's always there in the back of your head no matter what you're doing. You're always telling yourself you've got to react quick, to be what you are, but quick."
The doorbell rings, and Dorey looks up, annoyed. Then he remembers he had ordered a Coke from room service. He goes to the door and opens it. A tiny ferret-faced bellhop at least 70 years old enters the room pushing a tray. He wheels it over to the bureau and turns around to face Dorey, who towers over him. The bellhop's cap, which floats about his ears, must be five sizes too large. He sticks out his hand, and Dorey gives him some money. The man looks at the money and says, "What kind of money is this?"
"It's Canadian." says Dorey.
"Don't you got some American money?" the bellhop says.
"Jeez, no," says Dorey. "What's wrong with that?"
The man looks at it again, suspiciously, and then at Dorey. "I can't take this money. It ain't the right kind."