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One of a kind
 
MONTREAL | March 11th, 2010
One of a kind
“Rocket”, “Roadrunner”, “Boomer”, “Flower”. In a sport where immortals are known by a single name, the late Lorne Worsley will forever be “Gump”.

With the heart of a champion in the body of a bus driver, the roly-poly goalie with razor-sharp reflexes and a wit to match spent more than a decade with the hapless New York Rangers before joining his hometown Habs in 1963.

Madison Square Garden fans loved Worsley’s flopping style and competitive fire, and the media routinely filled their notebooks with his quips.

“My face is my mask,” he once said when asked if he was planning on donning facial protection.

In New York, Worsley jokingly claimed that the team that gave him the most trouble was his own Rangers lineup, but he never had a complaint about his mighty Canadiens squads.

Relentless in game situations, “Gump” didn’t approach practice with quite the same enthusiasm, leaving the net when teammates wound up for slap shots and often making only token efforts in scrimmages.

The nonchalance that dismayed coaches in New York was taken in stride by Montreal coach Toe Blake, who knew that Worsley played for keeps once the referee dropped the puck.

His energetic flopping and fearless abandon made Worsley as popular at the Forum as he had been at MSG. He backstopped Montreal to four Stanley Cups, won two Vezina trophies, and earned a pair of All-Star mentions. A clutch performer once the postseason started, Worsley posted a career 1.92 playoff goals-against average, a mark topped by only two other Habs goaltenders.

A popular teammate who unwound with gin – the card game, not the beverage – Worsley regularly whiled away the miles with Ralph Backstrom and John Ferguson. He once played a 24-hour marathon game while the train was delayed by a snowstorm.

Enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980, Lorne “Gump” Worsley was a true original, both on the ice and off.

See also
Joy and pain
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?