THEY HAD SLIT HIS THROAT SO many times now already, he was starting to get used to it. But cutting out his eye, that was something else again.
It was back in May in the next-to-last game against Boston, the Thursday before the Flyers won the Stanley Cup. Wayne Cashman, who skates for Boston, a team that used to stake its reputation on being rough and tough, was not being very nice at all.
Early in the game, he almost chopped off Bernie Parent’s head. A few minutes later, he swung his stick at Jimmy Watson. And then he punched Ed Van Impe in the mouth.
Finally, the Flyers put Dave Schultz on the ice. Dave Schultz is supposed to take care of these things. He is a policeman, an enforcer and a lot of other polite words. Mostly his purpose in life is to beat the shit out of people.
Wayne Cashman made some motions toward Dave Schultz. “He was going like this,” Schultz says, drawing a line under his eye with his finger. “I didn’t think he had to resort to that. I hoped he really wouldn’t try to cut out my eye.”
In previous meetings, Cashman had taken his shots at Schultz, usually with his stick and usually in the area of his head. He’d caught him in the throat at least once, but he’d never gone after his eyes.
Schultz had little choice but to do what he does. He grabbed onto Cashman’s jersey with his left hand. His left hand isn’t worth much on the ice. He is a one-handed fighter. Cashman got in the first few punches to the face.
“I’ll give the other guy those first couple shots,” Schultz says, “while I get a grip on him. Once I get my hand on his shirt, though, I take over.”
Schultz took over with a round of very hard right hands that snapped Cashman’s head back and filled his face with blood. Cashman tried to duck and wrestle himself inside, but Schultz went underneath and started scoring big with uppercuts. One of them knocked Cashman halfway into the air and he lost his balance and Schultz pushed him right over on his side and jumped on top of him and kept hitting him very hard about the head and body. By now, the ice was very full of blood, none of it Schultz’s.
The officials finally managed to pull them apart. It took two men to get Schultz away. Cashman finally got up. His jersey had been pulled all the way off and his face was very battered, but he was still standing.
“He must be pretty tough,” Dave Schultz said with a grin that still had some teeth in it. “Those punches would have killed an ordinary man.”
Then, before they finally got him off the ice to the penalty box, Schultz skated by the Boston bench to see if there were any more takers. It was an old custom of his that started three years ago when he was in the minor leagues, racking up a world’s record 392 penalty minutes in one season with the Richmond Robins.
The Robins were playing in Providence one night and Schultz got into a fight with their toughest man and knocked him out cold. He then made his motions to the Providence bench, looking for more action.
“You were going to take on the whole team?” he was asked.
“No,” he said. “I meant the whole town.” Read the rest of this entry »