Philadelphia Flyers head coach Craig Berube accumulated nearly 3,200 penalty minutes during an NHL career that last 1,052 games. He earned all that time in the penalty box protecting each and everyone of his teammates. So, in 1990, when Berube saw his goaltender, Ron Hextall, get run by some young punk on the Chicago Blackhawks named Jerey Roenick, he knew what he needed to do.
Berube, however, didn't get his chance during the ensuing melee. He wouldn't get back at Roenick until the 2003-04 season.
Back when I played for the Hawks, I ran Ron Hextall in the crease and Holmgren wasn't very happy with me. Sent Berube out to teach me a lesson.
So he chased me around for a period and he finally caught me in the third period and he challenged me to a fight, kind of grabbed me.
When a super star gets grabbed back then, everybody jumps in so it became a five-on-five melee. The referee grabs Craig's arms and kind of has him in an arm lock but my right arm is totally free. So I had this choice to make. Do I hit him -- you know, defenseless guy -- or do I not?
Well, being a young guy and this guys much bigger than me, I chose to slug him, and I spin him so hard.
For two or three years, every time we played the Flyers, every time I would jump on the ice, Craig would stand up on the bench and start yelling at one of his players to get off the ice because he wanted to get on the ice to chase me around. He would jump on the ice and chase me around and I would skate to the bench, and he would skate right to the bench and say "JR, I'm gonna f'n catch you, I'm gonna beat the tar out of you, I'm gonna get you one of these days." He did it for like two or three years.
So fast forward to when I'm in Philly and they hire Chief to a minor league contract where he's gonna be player/coach. And the Phantoms locker room and the Flyers locker room, they're connected together. Chief obviously feels very comfortable because he's been part of the organization for a long time.
So he comes into the Flyers locker room where I'm getting ready and was just hangin out in the locker room and I go "Hey, Chief, what's goin' on?" and he goes "Hey JR, what's goin on-- BOOM." Just slugs me. Just cracks me. And I kinda went down on one knee and I get up and he goes "I told ya I'd get ya."
And believe it or not, we played golf later that day. With me, Boosh, Tocc and Chief.
This is the video of the confrontation from Feb. 25, 1990 that set things in motion:
This is a fine lesson for today's NHL player: that cheapshot you lay today could come back to haunt you down the line.
Matt Cooke should just really go into hiding when he eventually retires.
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