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Evan Weiner | NHL.com correspondent
Dec 2, 2006, 12:00 PM EST


There are those who can recite movie scripts at the drop of the hat. Ask a fan of The Producers for lines and they might come up with "he who hesitates is poor" or the one about "creative accounting." Ask hockey fans who say that Slap Shot is one of their all time favorites, they come up with the line "old time hockey, like Eddie Shore, Dit Clapper and Toe Blake. Those guys were the greats."

But how many people really know much about Eddie Shore?

Shore was a talented tough guy who was a defenseman with the Boston Bruins between 1927 and 1940. He finished up with the New York Americans in 1940. Shore was an eight-time all-star, won the Hart Trophy four times as the NHL's MVP and was part of two Bruins Stanley Cup Stanley Cup championship teams. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.

Shore purchased the American Hockey League's Springfield Indians during the 1939-40 season and became a player-owner, like Mario Lemieux, who was a player-owner with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final years of his career. Shore was a player-owner in 1940-41 and 1941-42 and except for two years when the United States Army took over the Springfield (Eastern States) Coliseum during World War II, Shore was part of the Springfield hockey scene until he sold the team in 1976. During the World War II era, Shore moved to Buffalo and as coach and general manager led the Bisons to two Calder Cups. He returned to Springfield in 1946.

Shore ran the Indians in the same manner as he played. He was tough and players were expected to be more than on-ice performers. It would not be usual to see a Springfield Indians players selling popcorn in the stands or working maintenance at the arena if for some reason he was not playing. Shore also came up with some rather unique and "innovative" teaching methods while coaching the Indians that did not endear him to some of his players.

Jacques Caron, who spent most of his career in the minor leagues, was Shore's goaltender throughout most of the 1960s and said that some of the stories about Eddie Shore were true and some were exaggerated, but Caron did see firsthand how Shore taught hockey. Caron finally was able to break away from Shore when the NHL expanded in 1967. Caron ended up with the Los Angeles Kings. But Caron apparently learned some life lessons from Shore because it was through Shore that Caron was able to get into coaching and goaltending instruction.

"A lot of stories, they were true and a lot of them were even exaggerated, but the one I know for sure is when I was there. They wanted goaltenders to play standing up and never go down on the ice," said Caron. "They used tie your knees together so you could not sprawl and tape your stick to your hand so you would keep your hands high, that way your stance would be a real high stance instead of a lower stance.

"He had a lot of good ideas, but there were a lot of things that were weird because we had never been exposed to it. But in general he knew a lot about hockey. I mean the man was way ahead and advanced, but the way he brought it across to players ... he made them do things that had nothing to do with hockey. He didn't like to pay anybody for nothing, so he wanted to make sure he got his money's worth."

Caron said he got his knees tied up many times and "it wasn't fun." But the drill was designed to make the goaltender a better skater. Caron, who has been Martin Brodeur's coach with the New Jersey Devils since 1993, never tied up anybody's knees, but understood Shore's madness.

"The idea was, the T-push, we had to push with one foot and glide on the other one. Plus he put a circle in front of the two goalposts. You had to go outside that circle to get across. So therefore, we had to develop a technique that we had to get across without falling down. That's the reason behind the tying up of the legs," Caron explained.

"Plus there was no five hole in those years. Then you had to play straight up and, of course, it made you control your first rebounds a lot better too. Standing up, if you give too many rebounds you can't go on the ice to freeze it, so you had to throw it away and it was kind of different hockey."

In another words, old time hockey.

And old time hockey didn't stop with just players on the ice. Shore wanted to get his money's worth from his players and that caused a lot of problems.

"Selling popcorn, I saw that a couple of times," Caron remembered. "But not very often. You'd have to do what Eddie said. We had to things for the public, especially going to the hospital (to visit patients), he was a real fanatic about that. That wasn't bad. Or teaching, teaching (coaching hockey) at high schools, a lot of players didn't like that. He felt like if we'd go and teach the high schools, what we taught someone else would stay with us longer."

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