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Joy and pain
MONTREAL | March 3rd, 2014
Joy and pain
Victory comes at a cost, something that rugged Hall of Fame center Elmer Lach knows all too well. He paid the price for his physical style, playing through countless minor injuries and coming back from others that threatened to end his career, including fractures to his elbow, jaw, cheekbone and skull.

None of those injuries was more worth the sacrifice than the one Lach suffered during the 1953 Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins. With the Canadiens leading the series 3-1, the fifth game, scoreless after 60 minutes, went into overtime. Only 82 seconds into the extra frame, a Bruins miscue handed Lach and the Habs the Cup on a silver platter.

“The puck appeared on my stick and I just shot it”, Lach recalled. “I couldn’t shoot it very hard. In fact, Toe Blake always said ‘Your shot wouldn’t break a paper bag’, but I shot it and it went in the net and that was it.”

Well, not quite. After scoring the biggest goal of his career, Lach jetted toward the middle of the ice where long-time linemate Maurice “Rocket” Richard was barrelling toward him with his arms outstretched.

The resulting high-impact, airborne embrace was as bone crushing a hit as any handed out in the heat of play. Lach skated away from the voluntary collision with his third Stanley Cup victory and the seventh broken nose of his career.

“I guess I was too aggressive and my nose was in the way,” Lach chuckled. “I hit my nose on his head. It didn’t feel too bad because we’d just won the Stanley Cup, and that was more important.”

The photo that captured the collision remains one of the most famous shots in team history. But for Lach, he need only look in the mirror to see a reminder of that memorable night at the Forum.

See also
Stuck on you
Attention to detail
Welcome to the Rock
Hull's not-so secret admirer
The Man With One Red Shoe
Is there a doctor in the house?
A White Welcome
Boss' Orders
Birds of a Feather
Howe could you?