September 29, 1973. Brantford (Ontario) Civic Centre. The Pittsburgh Penguins squared off against their arch-nemesis—the truculent St. Louis Blues—in an NHL exhibition game.
Early in the second period all hell broke loose. The Pens’ pint-sized policeman Bryan Watson—an early version of Bobby Farnham—was hunched forward into the wheelhouse of [...]
Noted philosopher and poet George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
There’s another famous quote, one uttered by hockey legend Conn Smythe. “If you can’t beat ‘em in the alley, you can’t beat ‘em on the ice.”
Don’t count the black and gold among the teams that subscribe to Smythe’s time-hon [...]
For my fourth and final installment on the toughest Penguins ever, I’ve listed the guys I’d most want to have with me if I were entering a dark alley.
1. Bob “Battleship” Kelly (1974-77) As a 27-year-old rookie with St. Louis, Kelly beat reigning heavyweight king Dave Schultz twice in a preseason game. Able to intimidate foes simply by skatin [...]
The Dirty (Half) Dozen features the Penguins players who were most likely to stray over the boundaries of fair and gentlemanly play. Needless to say, none was ever a candidate for the Lady Byng Trophy.
1. Steve Durbano (1974-76) A wild man on skates, “Demolition Durby” was renowned for his razor-edge temper and unpredictability. Aptly describ [...]
In the annals of Penguins history, perhaps no player cultivated a more fearsome reputation—or earned a more colorful nickname—than left wing Bob “Battleship” Kelly.
“Kelly was the guy who took care of everybody,” former Pens teammate Rick Kehoe recalled. “He was our enforcer.”
Fighting was his stock in trade, and few players of his era did it [...]
The Pens-Flyers rivalry heated up during the early ‘70s, due in no small part to the emergence of “the Broad Street Bullies.” Armed with bruisers like Dave “the Hammer” Schultz, Bob “Hound” Kelly, Andre “Moose” Dupont, and Don “Big Bird” Saleski, the Flyers beat up everyone in sight.
Pittsburgh was no exception. During a fight-filled contest [...]