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December 12, 2012

Head Games With Ted Green

Like all sports, hockey is very much a sport full of head games. But this story takes the cake.

First some background information.

Terrible Teddy Green was one of the most hated villains in enemy hockey rinks back in his day. He was a hard hitting, rough and tumble defenseman who treated each game as though it was war. But he was good, too. He was a NHL All Star in 1969 and won every where he went - including a Memorial Cup, two Stanley Cups and three WHA Avco Cup championships.

In September 1969, Green suffered one of the scariest injuries in NHL history in a stick swinging incident with Wayne Maki of the St. Louis Blues. It was an exhibition game in Ottawa and the two began swinging their sticks at each other as though they were Jedi Knights. The altercation ended when Maki clubbed Green on the head baseball swing style. That resulted in life threatening injuries to Green with three major operations were required to save his life. The left side of his body was paralyzed and it seemed obvious he would never play again.

Yet somehow Green made a miraculous comeback. Through courage and determination, Green returned to Bruins lineup in 1970-71 and savoured the Bruins Stanley Cup victory in 1972.

Now on to the myth. Legend has it that the "impish" neurosurgeon who repaired Green's fractured skull inscribed "Yea, Canadiens" on the plastic plate inserted into his head.

I guess we'll never know how true this tall tale really is.

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