Open Net Review
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Imagine the practical difficulties of writing about what it's like to be a professional hockey league goalie when you are a reporter who only skates on his ankles. That's what Plimpton did here -- talk his way onto the Boston Garden ice with the Boston Bruins, even though he couldn't skate. The goal was to get him on the ice during a real game. Could the Bruins help Cinderfella skate in time?

Plimpton's fears and attempts at preparation are the best measure of how totally hopeless he is for this experiment. On the other hand, being a member of the team gave him access to the players and coaches who told him some of the best sports stories around.

You know how film buffs always applaud Spencer Tracy for his effortless style? Plimpton wrote as Tracy once acted. You don’t notice style here, you just read about this guy who poked fun at himself while illustrating the rigors and challenges behind yet another professional sport. (He'd already reported about his football and baseball internships.) I liked his descriptions of people. He captured both the solidarity of the players and their own complicated rules of engagement. The most difficult thing about writing this book must have been finding a way to include all the great stories about characters and eras gone by. Well, OK, maybe ducking those hockey pucks in front of the net might have been worse.

  
 
Even though I don't get hockey, I loved this book. Picture the team's effort to infiltrate a large Boston hospital in order to see injured teammate Phil Esposito. Led by Bobby Orr dressed in surgical garb, a few of them storm into Esposito’s hospital room, and wheel him and his bed out of the hospital down the street to a local bar for the end-of-the-year party. The explanation? “They’d had a few.” Eventually, the patient was returned, but while he recovered, the bed didn’t. Esposito ended up paying the tab for both a damaged hospital door and the bed.

What's not to love here? This is a great collection of stories for hockey fans. I could have read a lot more.

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