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Username Post: Terrible Ted Lindsay vs Wild Bill Ezinicki        (Topic#510251)
the hammer
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04-20-08 02:43 PM - Post#907162    



Ted Lindsay and Bill Ezinicki had one of the wildest fights in hockey back in the 1950-51 season. Here's a story I found about it in one of my magazines:

Early in November 1950 the Bruins acquired forwards Bill Ezinicki and Vic Lynn from Toronto for Fern Flaman, Phil Maloney and Ken Smith as well as the rights to a junior player Leo Boivin. In a deal with new York, Boston gave up forwards Zelio Toppazzini and Ed Harrison for Dunc Fisher.

By far the outstanding name in the collection was Ezinicki, the famed "Wild Bill" who reigned as king of the body-checkers, one of the most feared musclemen in the league. Ezzie had lost a lot of the vigor that had characterized his play in Toronto, but he did have some sock left in his body and soon the Bruins climbed out of the cellar to make a serious bid for a playoff berth.

By mid-January 1951, once again the Bruins looked like a respectable hockey club. And thanks to Ezinicki they were hitting people, then one night in Detroit, Ezinicki hit Ted Lindsay, and an ignorominous chapter was added to the Bruins history.

Lindsay and Ezinicki had been warring as far back as their junior hockey days in the OHA league. The Detroit left wing was a far more skilled scorer that the Bruin right wing but Lindsay has long ago earned notoriety as a man with liberal policies about the use of his hockey stick. No angel himself, Ezinicki was renowned for his thundering but mostly clean bodychecks.

In the third period of the Red Wing-Bruins game in Detroit's Olympia Stadium on Jan. 25, Ezinicki and Lindsay collided seconds after an offside whistle had blown. "He was shoving me around" Lindsay related "and I shoved him around." At this point in the story a split developes over who hit whom with his stick first. Detroiters contend Ezinicki was the instigator, other viewers say it was Lindsay.

"After a couple of clouts with their sticks" wrote Lewis H. Walter in the Detroit Times, "both threw down their gloves and started to slug. Lindsay quickly reached across with the left hand and took hold of Ezzy's jersey. Then Lindsay poured a volley of rights to Ezzy's face and finally dropped him to the ice."

Linesmen Bill Knott and Harold March eventually pulled them apart but Ezinicki waded in again clouting at Lindsay. "If I let him hit me once more Lindsay said in the dressing room after the brawl "he'd have thought he could hit me again later."

Ezinicki, who rarely lost a battle in his NHL career was severely hampered by linesman Knott, who appreared to have him manacled, whereas Lindsay was released by March - a vital factor in the eventual outcome. At one point in the fracas Ezinicki, in his attempt to get back at Lindsay, dragged Knott along the ice. With the lineman draped around him the Bruin was a sitting duck for the unencumbered Detroiter.

Wheather it was the clouts landed with his stick or those with his fists, Lindsay clearly routed the Bruin. The Detroit ace dropped Ezinicki three different times and the last time the Boston forward went down unconscious. He lay prone on the ice for 2 or 3 minutes and was still groggy when he reached the dressing room. "Why did they keep me away?" Ezinicki asked 10 minutes later in his daze, "I was all right."

Although the brawl lasted less than 4 minutes it has been regarded as one of the most violent in hockey history partly because of the reputation of the warriors, partly because of it's one-sided nature and lastly because of the damage inflicted by Lindsay. Ezinicki suffered a broken nose and cuts in 3 other places that required 19 stiches to close. Lindsay took 5 stiches on the forehead and the knuckles on his right punching hand were badly bruised.

The two most heavily penalized forwards in the league received the most severe penalty in the rule book for their gruesome fight - a match penalty for deliberately injuring an opponent. The penalty is rarely called and according to Detroit writer Paul Chandler had never been called before the 1950-51 season.

Referee George Gravel explained that he had invoked the maximum penalty because of stick-slashing not the punching. "They were trying to do something really dangerous with those sticks" Gravel said "The fight later was a plain hockey fight."

Shocked by the punishment, loss of blood and pain of having 19 stiches embroided in his head Ezinicki said he 'didn't want to talk about it." when questioned in the Boston dressing room. Lindsay dressed himself and went to the first-aid room where Ezinicki was receiving his stiches. "Are you all right." the Red Wing asked. "I'm all right" Ezinicki shot back. At that point Lindsay walked out.

Ezinicki's worst cut was a long one down the forehead received when the sticks were swinging. He had 4 stiches inside his mouth and 4 more on the side of his head, apparantly from a bump on the ice.

The disgraceful aspect of the fight from the Boston standpoint was not that Ezinicki lost the battle but rather that his Bruin teammates watched the blood bath only a few feet away. Milt Schmidt , Bill Quackenbush and other Bruins looked on, as if wearing blinders, while their teammate was drawn and quartered. Critical observers took due note of what appeared to be the Bruins tacit approval of the destruction of Ezinciki.

"The Wings blame the Bruins" wrote reporter Walter "because they did not come to the aid of Ezinicki when he was beaten to the ice by Lindsay."
 
Tuffguy
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04-20-08 03:12 PM - Post#907170    


    In response to the hammer

Thanks TH,
Nice story...They really wielded those sticks around back then.
Wonder what would have been the result if the linesman didn't hamper Wild Bill during the fight.
Lindsay was one tough dude though.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=8K727Wmjeck
"What the hell! ... all right, who's the dead man that hit me with the salt shaker!" - Boston Bruins President


 
the hammer
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04-20-08 03:30 PM - Post#907179    


    In response to Tuffguy

Great video Tuffguy! Lindsay did drop Eznicki when they first squared off, before the linesman got involved. Lindsay was the Garry Howatt of his time.
 
Chris_the_Canuck
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04-20-08 03:47 PM - Post#907184    


    In response to the hammer

I got goosebumps from that video, THAT was hockey. Any idea what that video was from?

Teddy Lindsay and Milt Schmidt were my two favourites from the "Legends of Hockey" DVD series.
 
Chris_the_Canuck
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04-20-08 05:03 PM - Post#907195    


    In response to the hammer

I got goosebumps from that video, THAT was hockey. Any idea what that video was from?

Teddy Lindsay and Milt Schmidt were my two favourites from the "Legends of Hockey" DVD series.
 
Tuffguy
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04-20-08 05:40 PM - Post#907198    


    In response to Chris_the_Canuck

Can't help you there Chris.

Maybe someone else will chime in that may know.
"What the hell! ... all right, who's the dead man that hit me with the salt shaker!" - Boston Bruins President


 
Kramer
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04-20-08 06:00 PM - Post#907204    


    In response to Tuffguy

Thanks Hammer!

Legends of Hockey, Ted Lindsay

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAi0qBHlAGM

If you search Legends of Hockey, you get a bunch more. Great stuff in these mini-docs.
"Now, now, lay off Detroit. Them people is living in 'Mad Max' times." -Moe Syzlak

RIP To The King - Bob Probert 1965-2010


 
Tuffguy
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04-20-08 06:17 PM - Post#907209    


    In response to Kramer

Great Kramer !
Thanks.
"What the hell! ... all right, who's the dead man that hit me with the salt shaker!" - Boston Bruins President


 
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