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Is there a doctor in the house?
MONTREAL | December 9th, 2009
Is there a doctor in the house?
Sure, they may never end up at center ice with the Stanley Cup raised high above their heads, but team doctors earn every right to call themselves champions right alongside the players they treat. That was especially the case in the spring of 1973.

Stricken with painful indigestion which often saw him throw up before a game, Ken Dryden was in need of help. Enter Canadiens team physicians David Mulder and Douglas Kinnear, who were determined to remedy the young star goalie’s unwelcome game night ritual.

The solution: a medical concoction formulated by Dr. Kinnear to be taken by Dryden prior to each game. The green, potion-like liquid was always put in the trusty hands of team trainer extraordinaire Eddy Palchak, who was in charge of getting the elixir to Dryden on game nights.

“It was essentially a type of antacid,” recalled Mulder. “Dr. Kinnear had it prepared by our pharmacist, Frank Zahalan. Ken would take two tablespoons of it before every game and the vomiting stopped.”

Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly. Flash forward to an unfortunate incident in Chicago that saw Palchak accidentally drop and break the precious bottle holding Dryden’s potion. Faced with the prospect of taking on the Blackhawks without his goalie in top shape, general manager Sam Pollock pulled out all the stops.

“Dr. Kinnear was away and Sam called me and said I had to do something,” recalled Mulder of his special mission ordered by the legendary Habs GM. “The trouble was, I was still in Montreal and didn’t know the recipe. Sam said to do whatever I had to in order to get that mixture into Eddy’s hands in Chicago. He didn’t care how I did it, but it just had to get there.”

Mulder tracked down Zahalan, had him stir up a new batch of the remedy, and then sent the mixture to Chicago the quickest way he could.

“Sam got in touch with someone important at Air Canada and we managed to get the fresh bottle of Dryden’s medication to a pilot who was about to fly to Chicago,” explained Mulder. “Thankfully, it got there in time for the game and Ken was fine.”

The Canadiens won that night and kept on winning all the way to Stanley Cup No. 18. Former Habs players always make it a point to mention how teamwork throughout the organization was the key to their success over the years. Clearly, they weren’t kidding.

See also
A White Welcome
Boss' Orders
Birds of a Feather
Howe could you?