Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:32 AM
Not having been around to watch him play, although my father certainly was, I can't say from personal experience if he's right but I believe he is. The same could be said for just about any other major sport, as well. My dad was telling me about going to see the Hawks at the old Chicago Stadium back when he was a kid, and the players would hang out in the parking lot and chat with the fans after the game, and sometimes their wives would be with them as well. They were beating each other up on the ice during the game, but after the game, they're smoking a cigarette or having a beer and chatting it up with people, like that never happened. I don't know if you'd see something like that today, unless it was in a controlled environment where everyone had been pre-screened for weapons first or something.
Also, as other people mentioned, they didn't have the kind of equipment/protection players do now, so players today can get away with things that Richard and his contemporaries couldn't have because they would have likely killed someone. So while there was physicality, it wasn't as brutal as it can be now. That might give the impression that it was more gentlemanly, but hockey is still hockey.
"Forwards, not backwards! Upwards, not forwards! And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"