Hockey lore is filled with stories that became quick legends and, eventually, moved into the glorified realm of mythology. Some are true; some not so.
Bobby Baun did indeed play on a broken leg. The Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman broke his leg in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final against the Detroit Red Wings in 1964. He returned to the game in overtime and, incredibly, scored the game-winning goal as the Leafs went on to win a third consecutive Cup.
Mark Messier did “guarantee” a win when only a win would do. The New York Rangers were down three games to two in the 1994 Eastern Conference final against the New Jersey Devils. Messier said he’d do it and did it, scoring a natural hat trick in the third period as the Rangers came from being down two goals to win 4-2. New York went on to take the series and then defeated the Vancouver Canucks for their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.
Perhaps hockey’s greatest legend (or mythological moment) was Frederick (Cyclone) Taylor scoring a goal by skating backwards through an entire team more than a century ago.
The “backwards goal” has long been accepted as factual, even though Taylor himself later dismissed it as imaginary. “I never did score a goal while skating backwards,” he said. “I know there are a lot of elderly people in Ontario today who would swear they saw it happen. But it’s just one of those things that was blown up.”
Sort of like the Russian version of the 1972 Summit Series in the new film, Legend No. 17