HAPPY BIRTHDAY, E.J.!


Happy 85th birthday to a man who regularly scores under that number in golf, hockey legend Eddie Johnston!

E.J. isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he should be. He’s a lifer and a builder, a man who helped make the game and the NHL what it is.

E.J. was a two-time Stanley Cup champ as a goaltender with Boston. A member of Team Canada for the historic 1972 Summit Series vs. the Soviet Union. The last goalie to play every minute of every game in a season (1963-64). Coach and GM of the Penguins. A power-play innovator. He drafted Mario Lemieux. Bobby Orr loves him. E.J. has been involved in hockey non-stop his entire life.

E.J. played goal without a mask for much of his career. That led to leeches draining blood from his head and him being administered the last rites. Orr brained him with a puck in warmup. (Maybe Orr doesn't love him.) E.J. has certainly got some stories.

He knows more about hockey than anyone, and I’ve learned so much from him. If you want to understand the power play, grab a few salt shakers and ketchup bottles and ask E.J.

The locker-room photo below is legendary. More beers are just out of camera range.

Thumbnail via Getty Images.