"It's going to be rough tonight," he said before the game in Philadelphia. "The Flyers started a fight with Rick in the first minute here a week ago. If they start one tonight, I'll be there." He was, and when the period was over he and Kelly had gone to the penalty box together three different times.
"It may be that Schoenfeld will have to play wing with Perreault and Martin," Joe Crozier said afterward. "But then, what do I do with my defense?"
Good question. But with Horton not only playing but serving as tutor-in-residence for Schoenfeld and another rookie defenseman, Larry Carriere, he may come up lucky. This is the second straight season Horton has been lured out of retirement by big money. Last year the Pittsburgh Penguins had a $105,000 persuader. "They tell me I'm helping them," Horton says, "but they're helping me, too. They take the puck up ice for me. All I have to do is stay behind and cover up. My old legs don't get up the ice like they used to."
He's just being modest. Undeniably, Horton has been Roger Crozier's chief rush-crusher in front of the net, too. Crozier retired a time or two himself when he played for the Red Wings, but now, at 30, he seems lively and well enough to last another five or six years. "I still don't sleep nights before a game or after a game, and I don't eat very well," he says, "but I feel one helluva lot better than I ever did in Detroit."
Crozier always had stomach trouble when he was with the Red Wings; customarily he went to Florida for a week in midseason to restore his nerves. "I had these problems," he says, "but there was so much pressure to win in Detroit that management never could communicate with me." Indeed, when Ned Harkness took over as coach, the first thing he did was trade Crozier to the fledgling Sabres. "I don't want a goalie who never knows until game time whether he'll be able to play," Harkness said at the time. Crozier's pains persisted in Buffalo, so last summer he finally had his operation. "They removed my gallbladder and appendix and they also enlarged the largest tube to the pancreas. I still can't drink liquor or eat any pizza, but at least life is bearable."
Bearable for Crozier, perhaps, but not comfortable for NHL shooters, who have beat him only an average of 2.13 times per game this season. Who needs a gallbladder anyway, Punch?