As I do my darnedest to kill time until Steelers season is in sight, it’s easy to consider rehashing utterly clichéd talk-show topics, among them best hockey movie (or best baseball movie, best football movie, etc.).
An alternative: Worst hockey movies (or baseball, etc.).
The problem: Everybody knows the best hockey movies, so there’s no debate. “Slap Shot,” “Mystery, Alaska,” “Miracle,” “Goon” and any of “The Mighty Ducks” franchise (if you’re 10 years old or the emotional equivalent).
Meantime, no one has seen the worst hockey movies, and that’s lucky for you.
There’s a movie called “National Lampoon’s Pucked” (2006) that starred Jon Bon Jovi as the owner of a women’s hockey league. Bud Bundy was his sidekick. Booger from “Revenge of the Nerds” was also in a featured role.
But one excellent hockey flick that has likely escaped your notice is “The Rocket” (2005). It’s a French-Canadian biopic about all-time great Maurice “Rocket” Richard of the Montreal Canadiens. It’s overdubbed in English, but that doesn’t detract. It’s brilliant. (Ex-Penguin Pascal Dupuis has a part. Don't blink, or you'll miss him.)
Richard was the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season, and 500 goals on his career. He should be remembered as a top-five player of all time, but isn’t quite. That’s for the same reason Wayne Gretzky had 31 less points (and goals) than Mario Lemieux in 1988-89 but got NHL MVP anyway.
Here’s the official trailer from “The Rocket,” as well as some clips of the real Rocket himself. He was one of a kind.