I've been ripping through Ross Bernstein's book called "The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL" which is packed with some truly great stories by past and current enforcers from around the league.
Inside is this hilarious Nick Fotiu story and I just had to post it. Fotiu was a very popular New York Ranger in the 70's and 80's and made a few stops along the way, including a stint in the WHA with the Hartford Whalers. Here's Nick in his own words:
"I used to love intimidating the opposition; it was a lot of fun. I remember when the Flyers would come to Madison Square Garden in New York to play us. I knew exactly what time they were going to arrive and what door they were coming in. So I would do like 200 push-ups right before they got there and would tape my wrists and get my arms all pumped up. Then I would put on a tank top and position myself right by the door where they came in. I would stand there looking just sweaty and pissed while I was sawing my sticks for that night's game. Well, when they walked in and started heading to their locker room, I know that they would look over at me and see me all pumped up with my muscles all bulging out.
That had a psychological effect on their tough guys for sure. They would come in tired from a long trip and then start thinking, "Oh man, look at this freaking guy!" Then, when they were getting dressed, I would go run a lap around the concourse and dump water all over me to make it look like I was sweating like crazy. I would then go down by their locker room while they were getting dressed and talk to the trainers. They would say real loud, "Oh, you're not playing tonight, Nick?" and I would say "No, I just felt like running three miles before the game to really get warmed up."
I know their guys could hear it, and I wanted to plant that seed. Then, and here is the kicker, I would buzz around like crazy during warm-ups, real fast. Finally, when
the game started and I got my first shift, I would come out like a bat out of hell, just banging guys and scaring the crap out of them. You just knew that they were over on their bench thinking, "Man, this freaking guy is nuts. He just ran three miles. Look at him!"
- "The Code" by Ross Bernstein
Here's Fotiu viciously beating Paul Holmgren (I think) into the ice at the old Spectrum in Philly. Fotiu was a mean bastard.
You can check out Fotiu's career "fight card" here.