You always hear stories of fans throwing debris onto the ice, or at the players themselves, and the late Canadiens goalie Lorne “Gump” Worsley could attest to one of those situations.
At Madison Square Garden, facing the New York Rangers on March 12, 1962, the home team picked up the first goal of the game on a shot from Jean Ratelle. Shortly after, a partially hard-boiled egg flew from the stands and struck the Montreal netminder. “It hit me flush on the temple just after the goal was scored,” said Worsley. “I didn't know it was an egg until I felt the gook.”
A bit dazed Worsley left the game and was replaced by rookie Rogie Vachon. The Canadiens and Rangers would play to a 2-2 tie and Gump was diagnosed with a mild concussion.
The egg-tosser, a 25-year-old fan, had a bag of the oval-shaped projectiles in his possession when the Garden police got a hold of him. Worsley never pressed charges against the culprit. “What would it get me,” said Worsley. “Nothing. The kid might wind up in jail, which won’t do him any good. I think he learned his lesson about throwing things and maybe he won’t get back into the rink again.”
The next day Worsley took part in a voluntary practice, saying he still had just a bit of a headache. Many feel Worsley suffered a more serious concussion as he did not see action for another six weeks. At the same time Vachon emerged as a star goalie, going 8-0-1 the rest of the season and taking the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final.
Worlsey wouldn’t be back in the Habs goal that season until Game Five of the series, stopping 33 of 35 pucks in the Cup clincher for the Leafs.
Pocket gets hung up: In the same game, Habs center Henri Richard was in an incident along the boards with Rangers defender Wayne Hillman. As Richard jumped up to counter a check, his left skate managed to get caught in the gap between the protective glass panels. “The Pocket Rocket” was literally left hanging until a linesman and Canadiens trainer Larry Aubut freed him.
Elsewhere on this day….
1938: Aurel Joliat scored the final goal of his NHL career as Montreal tied 3-3 with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
1949: Bill Durnan recorded his 10th shutout of the season (and the 26th of his career), and Rip Riopelle scored twice as the Canadiens won 3-0 over the New York Rangers.
1967: During a 2-2 tie between Montreal and New York, Canadiens' goalie Gump Worsley was injured when hit on the head by an egg tossed from the crowd. He was replaced in goal by rookie Rogie Vachon.
1975: The Canadiens extended their NHL-record road undefeated streak to 23 straight games (14-0-9) with a 3-3 tie against the Maple Leafs. The streak ended with a loss in the next road game.
1977: Guy Lafleur picked up four assists as the Canadiens extended their team-record home winning streak to 10 games, and their NHL-record home undefeated streak to 29 straight games (24-0-5) with a 5-1 win over the Chicago Black Hawks.
Habs Born on This Day: Bronco Horvath (1930)
The Montreal Gazette, March 13, 1967, Pat Curran; “Egg Belts Gump, Habs Tie”
The Montreal Gazette, March 14, 1967, Pat Curran; “The Yolk Was On Gump”