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We may never see a playoff series like it again.Before Gary Bettman, and the lockouts. Before all the NHL's old barns were torn down to make way for bigger, glitzier rinks. Before expansion and parity across the league, just about anything could happen on the ice. And it often did. It was an era when huge personalities dominated the sport; and willpower was often enough to win games. And in the spring of 1993, some of the biggest talents and biggest personalities were on a collision course. The Cinderella Maple Leafs had somehow beaten the mighty Red Wings and then, just as improbably, the St. Louis Blues. Wayne Gretzky's Kings had just torn through the Flames and the Canucks. When they faced each other in the conference final, the result would be a series that fans still talk about passionately 25 years later. Taking us back to that feverish spring, The Last Good Year gives an intimate account not just of an era-defining seven games, but of what the series meant to the men who were changed by it: Marty McSorley, the tough guy who took his whole team on his shoulders; Doug Gilmour, the emerging superstar; celebrity owner Bruce McNall; Bill Berg, who went from unknown to famous when the Leafs claimed him on waivers; Kelly Hrudey, the Kings' goalie who would go on to become a Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster; Kerry Fraser, who would become the game's most infamous referee; and two very different captains, Toronto's bull in a china shop, Wendel Clark, and the immortal Wayne Gretzky. Fast-paced, authoritative, and galvanized by the same love of the game that made the series so unforgettable, The Last Good Year is a glorious testament to a moment hockey fans will never forget.
Sean McIndoe of Down Goes Brown, one of hockey's favourite and funniest writers, takes aim at the game's most memorable moments--especially if they're memorable for the wrong reasons--in this warts-and-all history of the NHL.The NHL is, indisputably, weird. One moment, you're in awe of the speed, skill and intensity that define the sport, shaking your head as a player makes an impossible play, or shatters a longstanding record, or sobs into his first Stanley Cup. The next, everyone's wearing earmuffs, Mr. Rogers has shown up, and guys in yellow raincoats are officiating playoff games while everyone tries to figure out where the league president went. That's just life in the NHL, a league that often can't seem to get out of its own way. No matter how long you've been a hockey fan, you know that sinking feeling that maybe, just maybe, some of the people in charge here don't actually know what they're doing. And at some point, you've probably wondered: Has it always been this way? The short answer is yes. As for the longer answer, well, that's this book. In this fun, irreverent and fact-filled history, Sean McIndoe relates the flip side to the National Hockey League's storied past. His obsessively detailed memory combines with his keen sense for the absurdities that make you shake your head at the league and yet fanatically love the game, allowing you to laugh even when your team is the butt of the joke (and as a life-long Leafs fan, McIndoe takes the brunt of some of his own best zingers). The "e;Down Goes Brown"e; History of the NHL is the weird and wonderful league's story told as only Sean McIndoe can.
In the 1930s, as the world hurtled towards terrible global conflict, speed was all the rage. It was described by Aldous Huxley as 'the one genuinely modern pleasure', and one of the fastest and most thrilling ways to attain it was through the new sport of bobsledding. Exotic, exciting and above all dangerous, it was by far the most popular event at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. It required an abundance of skill and bravery. And the four men who triumphed at those Games lived the most extraordinary lives.Billy Fiske was an infamous daredevil, blessed with a natural talent for driving. He would later become the first American airman to die in the war - flying for the RAF. Clifford Gray was a notorious playboy and a player on both Broadway and Hollywood. Or was he? His identity was a mystery for decades. Jay O'Brien was a gambler and a rogue who, according to one ex-wife, forced women to marry him at gunpoint. And Eddie Eagan, a heavyweight boxer and brilliant lawyer, remains the only man to win gold at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.This is their story, of loose living, risk-taking and hell-raising in an age of decadence, and of their race against the odds to become the fastest men on ice. We will never see their like again. Especially after the world did descend into that second, terrible global conflict.Audiobook recorded from the US version of text.