Old friend remembers one of the best

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Saddened by the news of Bernie Geoffrion's death, Al MacNeil preferred to think more of the man they called Boom Boom in life.

"He was a great player," MacNeil said yesterday after hearing of Geoffrion's passing.

"He was a really flamboyant player but he really could deliver."

MacNeil and Geoffrion played a couple of seasons together in the NHL but that's not the only bond they share.

They also had the distinction of coaching the Flames franchise over three seasons.

Geoffrion, after his incredible playing days concluded, was the first man to take the helm of the expansion Atlanta Flames.

In the 1972-73 season, the former Montreal Canadiens great guided the Flames to a 25-38-15 record.

The next season, he helped the team improve to 30-34-14 and make the playoffs.

Year three, with his team sitting at 22-20-10, Geoffrion resigned due to health reasons.

Among the many feats Geoffrion was known for -- he not only was the first to use the slapshot but also won five Stanley Cups, was the second NHLer to score 50 goals in a season and won one Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer -- MacNeil said another is also worth noting.

MacNeil was there with the New York Rangers in the 1966-67 season when Geoffrion returned to the league after two years retired.

"With the expansion, Emile Francis coaxed him to play in New York and Boom Boom scored (nearly) 20 goals (17 in 58 games)," MacNeil said.

"That's what he was capable of."

You are invited to sign Bernard "Boom Boom" Geoffrion's Book of Condolence at ObituariesToday.com.


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