- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"That—Bobby," says Boston Coach Phil Watson, "he's fat, sloppy and no good. Most of your goaltenders are very temperamental. They get babied so much. Bobby, he's a happy-go-lucky guy. He's a nut. He's a funny duck. He never gets nervous or jittery. He gives me a lot of confidence. He gives the team a Jot of confidence."
"He make the big save," says Boston Wing Andy Pronovost. "The team is down and then—whoop!—the team it go up. This guy will make a mistake and then make joke. Listen, his wife phone him and say something is wrong with the transmission of his car. You know what he do? Laugh."
"He's a funny guy, Bobby," says McKenney. "Nothing bothers him. Goalies are usually quiet, reserved. They're alone a lot. If anyone beats them, it's a goal. They take a lot of the burden on their shoulders. The poor guys are all alone."
"All the time I've been happy," says Perreault, without wonder.
Bobby Perreault's long, devious trail to the NHL is paved with evidence of his wacky good humor. There is, for example, the short, slap-happy career of Kid Flamingo. "We just decided to go boxing," says Perreault, casually disclosing its genesis. "We was just laughing all the time. This boxing was just like a sideline for the boys. There were three or four of us in the business. I get $15 a fight. We put the money together to buy a car. A Pissaro. That was a car something like a Rolls-Royce, eh? That wasn't a new one, but that was a long one, six bar booths long. Four mile to a gallon. It was black, with a little green to it. Two big lights on the wing. We drove it all around. Not too fast. Too hard on the gas.
"One night I fight this guy that weighs 175 pound. I was about 140, 138. No, this guy wasn't the big colored guy. That colored guy, I see him in the dressing room. I wonder who he is going to fight. He was big one, eh? Later on I see him in the ring. 'Hey,' I say, 'who you fight, anyway?' 'You,' he say. It was too late then. This other fight was in Grand Mère. The fight start, and boom! I was down. I went boom maybe four, five time. I was flat on my back and yell at my manager Romeo—he's an M.C. in a Montreal night club. 'Throw in the towel,' I say. 'I can't,' say my manager. 'Why not?' I say. 'I left it in the dressing room,' he say.
"Same fight, third round, that manager he took my mouthpiece and throw it in the crowd. Why? He was nervous, eh? That was in Grand Mère, and the guy I was fight was a home-town boy, so the crowd won't give it back. We was laughing all the time, anyway. Another time they give me hell because I wore long underwear under my yellow trunks—but it was so cold!
The long-retired Kid Flamingo made a brief comeback on NHL ice when the Bruins played Toronto in their second game of this season. Perreault's teammate Ted Green caught him a swipe with a hockey stick and almost knocked him out. "Greenie swing at [Eddie] Shack—two hands!—miss and hit me. I thought I had a broken jaw," said Bobby. Boston took a 10-minute timeout; Perreault had only cut his tongue. "Bobby, we going to win this game with you in the nets tonight?" Watson asked him. "Sure," said Perreault, bloody but unbowed. Watson told the rest of the Bruins: "He wants to play." "The Kid Flamingo took it on the button," Perreault announced, "but the Kid Flamingo didn't go down."
Another of Perreault's escapades involved a monkey called Chief, a straw hat and a pipe. As Bobby tells it: "We got the monkey in Florida. We were four guy, went for a little ride and decide to get a monkey. That was in 1953. We bring it into boarding house and hide it under blanket so no one know we got it in there. That monkey, he stoned all the time. He drink a whole bottle of beer, then look in the bottle like this." Perreault squinted disconsolately into an imaginary beer bottle. "But no one want to keep him—smell.
"One day when I was playing for Shawinigan Falls against Three Rivers I bring Chief out on the ice with me. I wear straw hat, too, smoke pipe. I tie him to the top of the net and get ready to play. I thought that would be good for the people. Not bad, eh? Oh, yeah, the people really enjoyed it. But the referee say to me, 'Take that monkey out of there, we want no monkey business.' I don't know. I say there no rule against it. They spanked me for a while, but there was nothing in the rule book about that. There was a new rule next year: a goalie can wear nothing but his equipment. In juniors I was worse. I smoke pipe all the game, keep the straw hat on all the game. That monkey he in the Grand. Mère zoo now.