SUN Hockey Pool

Duff knows both sides of Leafs-Habs rivalry

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:59 PM ET

Dick Duff is proud to say he fought on each side of hockey's greatest rivalry and emerged with friends of both stripes.

Duff, who won a total of six Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, had a chance to reflect on that unique part of his 17-year NHL career during the build-up to the Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend.

"To say I walked the line with Davey Keon and big Frank (Mahovlich) of the Leafs and that I played with Jean Beliveau and knew The Rocket and Elmer Lach in Montreal is to know guys who still impact hockey today," Duff said yesterday. "Davey was like my brother. He called me on April 22nd and said: 'You know what day this is?' Right away I knew it was the anniversary of our first Cup with the Leafs in 1962. There is a great picture (teammate) Billy Harris took of Dave and Bert Olmstead in the visitors' room in Chicago that night; Dave as the baby of team at age 22 and Bert in his last game ever.

COMMON BOND

"The rivalry is actually the common bond in hockey. And for me to be in the Hall ... that's the icing on the cake."

Duff will be one of the special guests at tonight's 676th regular-season meeting between Toronto and Montreal. The 70-year-old says he has used the 10 years since retiring as a Leafs scout to "set some things right."

"You don't live forever and I've tried to visit all the people I never had a chance to see," Duff said.

"I just saw Charlie Hatley, the head usher at the Gardens, and he's 91 now. I wanted him to come to Monday's ceremony."

Tonight's game includes three players who skated for both teams, Darcy Tucker and Chad Kilger of the Leafs and Mike Johnson of the Habs.

"Growing up in Eastern Ontario, I had a real feel for the rivalty," Kilger said. "I think the fans are loud in both places, but they're more vocal in Montreal if you're unfortunate enough to lose a couple in a row. As (Cup history) has shown, Toronto fans are much more patient." \


Videos

Photos