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Terrible Ted to get the Lester Patrick

Hearty props to Number 7 in the rafters, Ted Lindsay, for being named a Lester Patrick award winner for 2008. He becomes the fifth Wings player to win the award (Gordie Howe in 1967, Terry Sawchuk in 1971, Alex Delveccio in 1974, and Steve Yzerman in 2006).

The Lester Patrick is more of a lifetime achievement award, and heaven knows Ted earned it, not just for his 15 seasons on the ice (which is mentioned in the USAH presser), but for his role in establishing the players union and being run out of Detroit in 1957 (which, conveniently enough, is not).

It's far, far too easy to take potshots at sports unions now, but remember: players in professional sports were treated like crap prior to the 1970s. It was Lindsay who helped try to organize the players into an "association" in the 1950s (the very phrase "union" was conisdered to be too dramatic of a step), going after the Leafs and the Wings in particular to get such outrageous things as a pension plan and a minimum salary. Jack Adams (who was under the thumb of Bruce Norris) would have none of it, and not only sent Lindsay to the Blackhawks, but also created a phony contract that made it look as though Lindsay had a significantly inflated salary, which created resentment against Lindsay.

Lindsay's response was to file an anti-trust suit against the NHL. He had the league dead to rights, and about a year later, the NHL settled, "Settled" in this case meaning "gave in to almost every demand."

Bully to you, Mr. Lindsay. Enjoy the award.