I've read some of the new hockey books that are out just in time for the holiday shopping season. The most interesting comment about hockey, though, came in a book on, of all things, politics.
Former Canadians goalie Ken Dryden has written a book on the situation in Canada. He's a Member of Parliament and once ran for the head of the Liberal Party.
At one point in "Becoming Canada," Dryden refers to his time with the Canadiens, and how the entire organization was dedicated to the concept of winning before anything else. The front office assembled the best possible players, and the coaching staff put the players in position to win. If the players didn't win, it was essentially their fault -- no excuses.
How many sports teams can say the same?
Here's a short review on some other titles. You can click on the title to get a full review on a Web site I keep on such matters:
The Final Call -- by Kerry Fraser -- This is rather routine staff, as are most books by officials. Fraser comes off as a solid professional, though.
The Making of Slap Shot -- by Jonathon Jackson -- If you think "Slap Shot" is one of the funniest movies ever made -- and most hockey fans do -- then you'll love this thoroughly researched book on how the movie was put together.
I Am Not Making This Up -- by Al Strachan -- The veteran Canadian hockey journalist tells some stories about his career. There is a little bit of "things were better in the good old days," but has some insight and laughs.
The Greatest Game -- by Todd Denault -- This is all about the Canadiens-Red Army game of 1975 in Montreal, considered the best game every played by some. This makes a pretty good case for that claim.
--- Budd Bailey