A particularly contentious December 20, 1953 contest between the Rangers and visiting Canadians at Madison Square Garden was marred by Montreal’s Bernie Geoffrion clobbering the hosts’ LW Ron Murphy with a two-handed swing of his stick. Footage of the incident — which left Murphy with a broken jaw and concussion — was recently uncovered as part of MSG’s “MSG Vault” series, and will be shown tonight, reports the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir.
The Geoffrion-Murphy confrontation came late in the second period with the Rangers leading, 2-0, during a game notable for its high-sticking. According to The New York Times, Geoffrion and the Rangers’ Bob Chrystal were scuffling along the boards. About a dozen players gathered, all eager to fight, on the side boards. Murphy said Friday that he skated over “because nobody was helping Chrystal.”
Murphy and Geoffrion, a future Hall of Famer, began to fight. A linesman, Dom Baolto, tried to keep them apart and held onto Murphy stick’s for a little while. Geoffrion lost hold of his stick momentarily, then retrieved it and skated menacingly at Murphy. He missed one attempt to smack Murphy, who was 20.
Murphy swung his stick defensively but without making any impact. He did not seem to fear Geoffrion. Then Geoffrion chopped Murphy down with a two-handed swing of his stick, which he hurled to the ice.
“We thought he was dead,” Stan Fischler said on the program, recalling the game.