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Old 08-20-2006, 03:14 AM   #386
24champ
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The Kings Select.....Defenseman Marcel Pronovost.


n 1950 the Red Wings were in a tough semi-final series with the Toronto Maple Leafs when Gordie Howe was seriously injured. Red Kelly, a defender, was thrust into duty as a forward and Pronovost was called up from Omaha to take Kelly's place on the blue line. His name was engraved on the Stanley Cup when the Red Wings recovered from Howe's loss to defeat the Leafs and then the Rangers to win the championship. Pronovost was in the minors for part of the next season but won a permanent job with Detroit in 1951-52. He would win the Cup three more times with the Wings, garner seven regular-season titles and be on four consecutive league All-Star Teams including the First Team in 1960 and 1961.

A player like Pronovost, who delivered hits and took even more on his rushes, could expect to receive a daunting array of injuries. In one three-game stretch with the Red Wings, his face was struck by seemingly every conceivable hard surface in a rink - the puck, when his own goalie attempted to clear it; an opponent's stick, though not on purpose; and, on a memorable dive through two defenders, the ice, the net and then the boards. He had four long cuts requiring stitches and a broken nose from the week's work. He estimated at the end of his career that he had broken his nose 14 times, and the list of his many aches and pains reads like a medical exam for trauma care.

In 1965-66, Pronovost was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs in an eight-player deal that involved Andy Bathgate's going to Detroit. Pronovost joined a solid core of defenders in Toronto and was an integral part of the Over-the-Hill-Gang that won Toronto's last Stanley Cup in 1967 under coach Punch Imlach. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
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