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Ah, what a warm and wonderful scene: a 90-year-old, three-story Victorian house, tastefully appointed with antiques. A fire blazing, chicken roasting in the oven, steam rising from the pot of green beans. What's that? Oh, it's Heidi, the jet-black shepherd, barking as she dashes madly to the front door to greet her master. He's a little late today because his Mercedes is in the shop and he had to catch a ride home to suburban Swampscott.
"Hi, hon," he says. "I'm home."
"Hello, dear, you've got some phone messages."
"Thanks, when's dinner?"
Did someone take down the wrong address? Can this possibly be the home of Boston Bruins center Ken Linseman? The man they call the Rat, that notorious cheap-shot artist and all-around bad guy? When does Robert Young show up and tell us to get the hell off the set? Why, Linseman's been home 10 minutes now, and he hasn't so much as bitten the dog or gone out to high-stick the neighbors.
"Here, let me show you around the house," Linseman says to a visitor as his girlfriend, Pam Bateman, the one who greeted him at the door, prepares dinner. Up on the third floor is a massive pool table crafted in 1912. Here in the living room, a mantelpiece with ornate carving. And now we come to the office with its circular desk and reference books. It's immaculate, it's exquisite, it's House Beautiful, it's...hard to believe a guy like Linseman lives here.
But then, Linseman isn't quite the guy you expect him to be. Sure, he still resorts to dirty deeds now and then and his contemporaries would surely vote him the chippiest player in the NHL—whaddya want, a Lady Bynger? And true, he did take up surfing—the bigger the waves the better—as his latest off-season hobby. Just because he's 27 doesn't mean that Linseman has mellowed enough to back down from any challenge, be it Mother Nature's or a bruising rival's. But there's a lot more to this free spirit.
"Kenny is the best, most astute businessman of any client I've ever had," says Art Kaminsky, his lawyer and agent. "Very often he gives me stock tips, and they're usually very good ones."
Oh, and he can play hockey, too. A consistent point-a-game player in his four seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, two seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and last season with the Bruins, Linseman this year has five goals and 21 assists in 18 games. He is one good reason the Bruins are 10-5-3 and hoping to stay on top of the Adams Division despite the loss of Linseman's linemate Charlie Simmer, who had scored 14 goals before he tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee on Nov. 10. Simmer will miss six to eight weeks.
With Linseman, the business of hockey comes first, but the business of business in particular is a not-too-distant second. While he isn't quite cut from Brooks Brothers cloth—for his daily office garb, he favors slacks and sweaters—Linseman exhibits a keen sense of how to make a buck as the head of Hazel & Co., Inc., named after his mother, who died of cancer in 1975.