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Fred Shero’s Rangers connections, and some quotes

Then-Philadelphia Flyers coach Fred Shero listens to a

Then-Philadelphia Flyers coach Fred Shero listens to a question during a news conference at which he discussed his resignation. Credit: AP, 1978

Freddie “The Fog” Shero was selected posthumously for the Hall of Fame today as a “builder” after being snubbed for decades and was mostly known for guiding the Flyers to two straight Stanley Cups and almost a third in seven years in the 1970s.

But Shero did get his start in hockey as a Ranger, when, at 17, he agreed to a contract and played in the minors as a defenseman for the New York Rovers and the Brooklyn Crescents. He made his NHL debut in 1947, and played 19 games. His last game was in the 1950 Stanley Cup Finals, when the Rangers lost Game 7 to Detroit in double overtime. Until 1958, when he retired, Shero played in the AHL.

In his early days as a minor league coach, Shero won numerous championships including the Calder Cup in 1970 with the Buffalo Bisons, and became the Rangers head coach in 1978 amid some controversy.

With a year left on his Philadelphia contract, he tried to resign and signed a five-year contract with the Blueshirts. The Flyers claimed tampering, and the Rangers surrendered their first-round draft pick to the Flyers as compensation.

Shero, who brought along a quirky reputation, a little like a mad scientist, appearing confused at times---hence the nickname---and devising systems of play and delivering quotes that were both humorous and philosophical,  lasted just over two seasons on Broadway.

In the 1978-79 playoffs, the Rangers defeated the Kings, Flyers and Islanders to reach the Finals against Montreal, but lost the series 4-1. In 1979-80, the Flyers knocked them off in the second round of the playoffs, and after a 4-13-3 start in 1980-81, Shero stepped down.

About those colorful quotes. Here are a few of my favorites attributed to Shero and noted in books about the Broad Street Bullies:

----Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.

----When you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, the chicken makes a contribution, the pig makes a commitment

----Arrive at the net with the puck and in ill humor

----I don’t live in the fast lane, I live on the off ramp

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