Friday

Wayne Cashman

When Wayne Cashman dies, it would be only too fitting that he be buried in the corner of the cemetary.

"Cash" was a fierce cornerman for 18 NHL seasons, all with the Boston Bruins. Often playing on a line with Ken Hodge and Phil Esposito, his job was to go into the corners and battle for the loose pucks. Using his size and feared reputation, more often than not he would come out of the corner with the puck and set up either Hodge or Espo with a good scoring opportunity. Though he put up decent offensive numbers himself, Cash's performance over the years could never be measured by statistics.

Opponents thought twice about getting into the corners with Wayne.

Wayne's teammate Derek Sanderson remembered the battles in the corners.

"You could see a guy go into a corner after the puck, and just before he got to it, he stopped and flinched a bit when he saw Cash. That's when you knew you got him on the ropes," Sanderson said.

The Cashman-Hodge-Esposito line scored an incredible 140 goals and 336 points in 1969-70. That was an NHL record at that time. Combined they weighed well over 600 pounds together, which made them tough to play against.

A veteran Boston hockey writer observed:

"Early in the game, the other side is bouncy and fresh. But by the second and third periods they're so tired of trying to wrestle these fellows around that they just don't have the strength to hold them off. Which is one big reason the line came up with 336 points in 1969-70."

A good playmaker, Wayne also served as the Bruins policeman. In the age of "Big Bad Bruins," Wayne was the biggest and baddest. If the opposition even looked at Esposito or Bobby Orr the wrong way, "Cash" would be the first to intervene.

After Espo and Orr left Boston it was Wayne who took over the role of a leader.

"Back in the days of Orr and Esposito," said Bruins GM Harry Sinden late in Cashman's career, "Cash was a follower. Now he's a helluva leader on the ice and back in the room."

Goalie Ron Grahame agreed with Sinden.

"Cash is a real team player. On the ice he's leading by example and off the ice he's more vocal than anyone else, yapping at us to keep it going."

While he is best known for his physical dominance in the corners and in fights, Wayne was also a very good player. He scored 20 or more goals on eight occasions. His tenacious forechecking was an integral part of the Boston offense and it's safe to say that the scoring exploits of Espo or Orr wouldn't have been as impressive if they didn't have a guy named "Cash" doing their dirty work for them.

Wayne played all 1,027 games with Boston between 1964 and 1983. He never changed his game - playing every one of his 1,027 games with tremendous desire. Wayne had injuries which would have sidelined most players for weeks and even months. For most of his NHL career Wayne was bothered by a bad back. He once played almost an entire season with a ruptured disc in his back.

Some players even tried to take advantage of that and go for Wayne's back.

"A few guys went overboard. I don't mind them taking good, legitimate shots at me, but I didn't appreciate the ones who went for my back. There's no point in naming them. They know who they are anyway, and some day their time will come," Cash said in 1973 when the cheap shots at him were at an all time high.

And Wayne usually got even with those players.

He was actually the last player from the "original six" era to retire. He was a member of two Stanley Cup champions in 1970 and 1972, and was in the finals five times.

Wayne also played in the classic Summit Series 1972, even if it only was for two games. Before one of the games, he made a little impromptu speech in the locker room.

"Tonight you guys just concentrate on playing your own games," he said, "and I'll play the Big, Bad Bruin."

"When someone clobbered Clarke, I clobbered him right back," Cash said. "When someone speared Henderson, I speared him right back - even though I didn't like the idea of spearing. I didn't know if these people understood English or not, but I'm sure they got the message. I just let them know if they were going to play that way, I was going to dish it back."

Classic Wayne Cashman.

Following his playing career, Wayne turned to coaching. He served as an assistant coach for a long time before finally getting a chance to be a head coach in 1997 (Philadelphia). However only 61 games into his rookie season he was replaced by Roger Neilson. Always the team man, Wayne agreed to stay on as an assistant coach in order to help Neilson prepare for the playoff run.

Wayne's humility after being fired by the Flyers sums up Cashman the man - a great person who would do anything it takes to help out his team. Wayne did that for 18 NHL seasons and he continued to do that long after his playing days.

- Special thanks to Pat Houda

8 comments:

dbourk 2:06 PM  

I remember one time when the Bruins were playing the Broad street bullies, Cashman was a wild man going after their goons in a brawl I always like his playing style and his heart.

Hawk,  5:25 PM  

Cashman was always a favorite among my young friends. When we played hockey, all wanted to be Cashman.

Wayne is reputed to have been pulled over on the North Shore, and held in jail. He was granted his one phone call, and made it.

Some time later, as he waited in his cell a delivery man from a local Chinese restruant came in with "Order for Mr. Cashman."

Armon 8:21 AM  

Wayne "Cash" Cashman should be in the HHOF!
He played some of the best games in the history of hockey! 70, 72 stanley cups, summit series, as well as so many great regular season games.
HHOF let Cashman in!!!

Samuel 5:22 PM  

I loved this guy. I was only 12 years old when I watched him play but what great memories. This Dominican living in Lawrence MA and now in Georgia will never forget this hard hitting class act.

Anonymous,  12:59 PM  

a very tuff and great player for boston for many years did alot of the dirty work a true h.o.fer.

Vinny T aka Claudduval,  6:54 PM  

I am and have always been a NY Rangers fan and back then, I hated Wayne Cashman. Today I played golf with the Bruin great at Laurel Oak CC in Sarasota, Fl. and want to state that I have never met a gentleman like him. I can now say that I respect him and want to tell him that he was great to be with and would do so any time. It was an honor to play with him today and is one of the highlights of my life.

Bambi,  11:41 AM  

Cash was a great player, and is a great man. I grew up on the New England AQHA circuit, and got to know him as "uncle" Cash, my friend Becky's dad. My memories of those days are wonderful. The fun, the mischief,the big little kid at the bottom of the pile during a game of" keep away"....Wayne was great to all of us kids.My dad considered him a good friend. Over the years, we lost touch.

I surprised my dad with tickets to a bruins/ flyers game the first year he was there. I called Wayne's office, left a message that we'd be there. Cash made a point to come out before the game to see him. It was like the old days, and no time had passed.
One of the best humans I have ever met.
So much class, even with a no BS attitude.

Doc,  11:52 AM  

I covered the Bruins from 1974 to 1980 for a suburban daily and just wanted to reiterate that the stories above show how truly classy 'Cash' was. He and Terry O'Reilly and - of course - Ray Bourque were the quintessential Bruins' Bruins, as were Dallas Smith and - in his briefer time as a Bruin - Boston's favorite pahk, Brad Park. Scott Thornton and perhaps Brad Marchand would be the best current examples.

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