Friday, May 23, 2008


I just got done reading "Oldtimers," a book I picked up at a Canadian used book sale a little while ago for $1. It was written about six years ago, and it's the story of how a reporter tagged along with a tour of former NHL players through parts of Canada. It has some funny stories as well as recaps of the careers of the players -- easy reading, in other words.

One of the players on the team and in the book was Mark Napier, a pro player more than a decade. Napier was a Buffalo Sabre when I worked for the team, and he was one of the good guys. You might remember him for wearing number 65, because he wanted to publicize the 65 Roses Foundation.

Napier reviews the first part of his career in his book. He signed early with Birmingham with the World Hockey Association, and then jumped to Montreal of the National Hockey League in 1978-79.

Now here comes the interesting part. Napier won a Stanley Cup with that team. According to the quotes in the book, Napier points out how exciting it was to win a Cup even though Scotty Bowman, Ken Dryden and Yvan Cournoyer had left the team.

The problem is that while Cournoyer retired after playing a few games that season, Bowman and Dryden were still around for the 1978-79 season. It's easy to get dates mixed up, of course. But Napier has got to be the first person in history that he forgot that he played for Scotty Bowman.

Scotty was a lot of things in his coaching career. Smart. Shrewd. Demanding. Machiavellian. Distant. I'm sure a few dozen other words might come up, some of them even printable. Forgettable is not one of them.

Mark, I hope you are doing O.K. in your post-playing days. And I hope that concussion's after-effects have subsided.

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