Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Dubious Anniversary

Unfortunately, it can't be said that it was the inspiration for the movie 'Slapshot', as the incident took place two-years after the movie was made.

Perhaps, it was the movie that inspired the real players.

Dave Seminara, in today's NYT marks the 30th anniversary of when "the players went into the stands", a game between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, at Madison Square Garden.

Over the Glass and Into Hockey Lore

Thirty years ago, on Dec. 23, 1979, Bruins defenseman Mike Milbury whacked John Kaptain, a Rangers fan from New Jersey, with a shoe during a bizarre altercation in which all but one Bruins player went over the glass and into the stands at Madison Square Garden. The incident, after a 4-3 Bruins victory, resulted in three players being suspended, lawsuits and the installation of higher glass in the arena. It remains one of the most memorable fan-athlete confrontations in sports.


As a scrum of players exchanged words, Kaptain, who was 30 and owned an executive recruitment firm, reportedly reached over the low glass panel and hit Stan Jonathan, the Bruins’ enforcer, with a rolled-up program, drawing blood beneath Jonathan’s eyes. He then made off with Jonathan’s stick.


O’Reilly insisted that he had entered the stands merely to “detain” Kaptain.

“There was no way he was going to strike one of my teammates and steal his stick, wield it like a weapon and then disappear into the crowd and go to a local bar with a souvenir and a great story,” O’Reilly said. “As soon as I got him into a bearhug, I felt like I was being pummeled by multiple people. All I could do was cover up.”


Eighteen Bruins went into the stands. Milbury said, “If you watch the tape — and I can freely throw my teammates under the bus now after 30 years — people were throwing some serious shots down below us that were obscured by the fact that everybody was focusing on the idiot highest up in the stands hitting somebody with a shoe."
As they say on the Sports show, "Let's go to the tape!" (It is the original local, Boston-hometown broadcast, and, it is obvious, the film, or videotape, didn't remain in good health)

1979 bruins invade MSG stands

Well, if you miss that kind of "Old School Hockey', and have, exhaustively, poured over all the YouTube entries of the fisticuffs, and still want more, you can always rent 'Rollerball'.

Or watch 'Slapshot', over-and-over.

Paging the Hanson Brothers...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dave Seminara,Captured a historic event in
hockey history! Reminded me of the wild times
watching the rangers lose in the garden!