Status: Former NHL goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins from 1971-76. Currently serves as Tampa Bay Lightning TV commentator.
Ht: 6-feet-1 Wt: 180 pounds
DOB: Jan. 24, 1945 In: Calgary
First Hockey Memory: “Out in my backyard, four years old, with my brother (Fred), who was a lot older than me and Hank Bassen, the old Detroit Red Wing, Chicago Black Hawk and the first draft pick of the old Pittsburgh Penguins, they had me out there; shooting frozen tennis balls at me. I remember them bouncing off my head and they really stung. And when you’re four you start to whimper a bit. And my brother said, ‘If you cry I’ll kick your butt harder than these tennis balls are.’ So that’s my first memory (smiles).”
Hockey Inspirations: “Hank Bassen and Glenn Hall.”
Nickname: “‘Chief.’ ‘Doc’ when I was growing up in Calgary. We had a rag-tag team in tiny mite and bantam and we won provincials. And any time we’d come up against a really tough team, one of the kids’ father said, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it, Doctor can handle it.’ Nobody could understand who he was talking about. ‘Who do you mean The Doctor?’ He says, ‘Oh, Bobby Taylor. He’s our goalie; he’s our doctor. ‘The Doctor’ can handle everything.’ And it stuck. I was ‘Doc’ right up until I turned pro.”
Last Book Read: “Cross by James Patterson.”
Favorite Movies: “Sound of Music, Shawshank Redemption.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “The first Stanley Cup (1974).”
Most Painful Moment: “I tore my hamstring in Pittsburgh (’75). Right out of the origin. This is way before the big advent of sports medicine. It kind of ended my career. I was traded for Bernie Parent that spring. From then on I was mainly a bench sitter. (How did the injury happen?) Greg Polis took a wrist shot and I didn’t see it ‘til the last second. And I kicked out my right leg. It felt like someone took a blowtorch to my leg it burned so bad. I was out for the rest of the year.”
Favorite Uniforms: “Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit. I like the simple, classic uniforms.”
Favorite Arena: “Was old Boston Garden. Because I got to play there all the time against Orr and all those guys. The fans were right on top of you. But I think the best arena that I’ve ever come across then and now was the old Chicago Stadium. If you couldn’t get up for a game in Chicago, you were dead.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “I remember we were playing a game and Bob ‘The Hound’ Kelly was just going around hitting everything that moved. He just happened to cream Billy Clement in the corner. He missed – I forget who we were playing – he hit Billy in the corner. Billy’s laying in the corner and the other team’s breaking away 3-on-1. Hound’s bending over saying, ‘Are you all right, Billy?’ And we’re yelling at him, ‘Hound! Hound! Get back!’ That was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on the ice.”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “There was one time I got traded to Pittsburgh (with Ed Van Impe for Gary Inness), it was right at the deadline (March 1976). I had about 14-15 games I was supposed to play about 10 of them. And I only ended up playing about six. One time I was going out ready to take the warmup and the coach came over and told me, ‘You’re not playing tonight.’ Right in front of the guys. That was pretty bad. I was pretty embarrassed and upset about that. Just as I was stepping to go out on the ice. Another one might be when I was in Pittsburgh against Toronto in the playoffs. We had that really good team; Pierre Larouche his rookie year, we had ‘Battleship’ Kelly, Jean Pronovost. Larouche had scored 50 goals. Ronnie Stackhouse was on defense. We had Toronto down and the team found out we were going to have to play Philly if we beat Toronto. And about five guys went out with injuries. I went to Kenny Carson, who became the head trainer for the Toronto Blue Jays, who was our trainer then. I said to Kenny, ‘I am so upset with this. I’m going right to Philadelphia. Just send my stuff.’ I was never so upset or embarrassed in my life when that happened. Because we should have beat Toronto and we would have played Philly. (They were that intimidated by the Flyers?) Oh, we heard about the Philly Flu all the time with the Broad Street Bullies. We kind of just laughed about it. But when you go to another team, you really find out about that.”
Closest Hockey Friends: “Bobby Clarke, Steve Coates – to this day. Bobby Clarke is the godfather to my son.”
Funniest Player Encountered: “Steve Coates. He is the funniest guy walking. Very, very quick; we had a lot of fun with him. He was one of these guys, if you ever had a bad day, you’d call him up and three minutes later you got a smile on your face.”
Toughest Competitor: “For me the guy who gave me the most trouble was Rod Gilbert. That sucker – I don’t know what it was. He and Yvan Cournoyer. Those guys were unbelievable. Back in the ‘70s we had some great games against Montreal. Larry Robinson, to me, was as good a player, as tough a guy, as intense a guy as I ever played against.”
Strangest Game: “It was in the minor leagues (in 1968). I was out in Seattle and I was getting recalled to Philadelphia because Doug Favell had cut his Achilles tendon. And I thought I was coming right back to the Flyers. Instead, they were sending me to the New Jersey Devils in the old Eastern League. And I flew all night to get there. So I landed at 8 a.m. from Seattle to Philadelphia. They said I was going to play with the Devils in New Haven, the old Slapshot league. They beat us 16-2! And everybody in the league was giving me, ‘He played pro?’ That was the weirdest game I ever played.”
Personality Qualities Most Admired: “I like people who give no quarter, ask no quarter. And also ones that are accountable. ‘Hey, I screwed up. It’s not that guy or that guy – I screwed up.’ Or guys who have all kinds of excuses for there’s something wrong. For me, it’s accountability. It’s a huge quality that I look for in people, not too many people have that and I think it goes a long way.”
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