"We played hockey for money, but we would play the Toronto Maple Leafs for nothing." - Sid Abel
Go ahead. Name the third member of the "Production Line." Sure you can name Gordie Howe. Most of you could name Ted Lindsay too. Give up? The answer is Sid Abel.
While Howe and Lindsay brought a mixture of styles and aggression that would intimidate their opponents, Abel's creativity and savvy was the backbone of the line and of the Red Wings. But don't think he was soft. He could hit as hard or be as abrasive as his line mates.
The intimidating "Production Line" was without doubt one of the greatest combinations in hockey history. To illustrate just how good they were together, in 1949-50 they finished 1-2-3 in the scoring race. Lindsay had 78 points, Abel had 69 and Howe was third with 68.
It can be argued that Abel, not Howe, Sawchuk, Lindsay or Kelly, was the backbone of the great Red Wings team of the 1950's. Hockey historian Ed Fitkin was once quoted as saying "Sid will go down in the Red Wings' history as the greatest competitor and inspirational force the Red Wings ever had."
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