PuckChatter Radio: 75-minute interview with former Chicago Blackhawk Steve Ludzik

By Chris Block

We were so pleased tonight to be joined once again on PuckChatter~Radio by former Chicago Blackhawk and National Hockey League coach Steve Ludzik.

In this candid 75-minute interview, Ludzik discusses his recent announcement that he’s been battling Parkinson’s disease for the past twelve years.  Ludzy talks about the concussions and punishment he incurred during his playing career and why he believes it contributed to his illness.  He also shares his thoughts on today’s game and his advice for players such as Sidney Crosby.

Over the course of our discussion Ludzik shared his insight, thoughts and little known behind the scenes stories on many of the various players and personalities from the 1980’s Blackhawks including Bob Pulford, Orval Tessier, Steve Larmer, Al Secord, Denis Savard, Tom Lysiak, Rich Preston, Darryl Sutter, Curt Fraser, Terry Ruskowski and many more.

Ludzik also recounts the story behind a trip he and Steve Larmer made a year ago to visit their first pro coach, Orval Tessier.  [See the video at the bottom of this post]

Ludzy tells us why Steve Larmer should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and how, had it not been for Tessier, Larmer may never have been a Blackhawk.

This is truly a great interview that’s worth checking out.

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*You can buy Ludzik’s book “Been There, Done That” at Ludzy.com

*Check out the new social networking site we discussed on the show of which Ludzik is a part of at – OldTeammates.com


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Steve Larmer and Steve Ludzik visit Orval Tessier at his home in Cornwall, Ontario [Video after the jump]

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11 Responses to PuckChatter Radio: 75-minute interview with former Chicago Blackhawk Steve Ludzik

  1. Pingback: PuckChatter Radio: 75-minute interview with former Chicago ... | Chicago Ticket Hub

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  3. Finally had the chance to listen to this….great stuff Chris. You just helped Steve sell another book. Also, you covered not jumping into the pool with your phone, but you didn’t mention whether you challenged anyone to a race?

    • Thanks Lane. Been There Done That really is a fantastic read for any hockey fan. Tons of quotes from players and coaches from his era as well. We have to get Ludzy back on in the next few months so we can focus on old Blackhawks stories and the fun reminiscing.

      Regarding Vegas, yes. We had the whole pool watching, picking sides and contributing. The lifeguards hated us. And of course I just had to challenge a 6-4 competitive swimmer guy, in fairly superior athletic condition, to a race. I talked a lot of crap, and I got destroyed. But it led to more drinks and a big party later that night.

  4. Pingback: Blow to 1980’s Blackhawk legend’s battle with cancer | Puck Chatter / The Third Man In

  5. Great interview, thank you, always interesting and insightful with Steve Ludzik. Regarding the penalty-killing with skill players question around the 53-minute mark, nobody remembers this now but with the Blackhawks it began in the 1987-88 season under coach Bob Murdoch. He began using Savard and Larmer to kill penalties regularly, and the club set a record for shorthanded goals (since broken) that season.

    • Thanks, Donnie. And for the info. I would’ve turned 10 that season, so my memory is a little foggy on the details without going back through and reading up. Outside of the Hawks, I’ve always thought the usage of skilled players on the penalty kill started with the Oilers then trickled around from there. Then really kicked into gear as the thing to do when Fedorov arrived in 1990.

      I know people older than I back then who thought Bob Murdoch got a raw deal with the Hawks. Though, his temper clashes with Bob Pulford were probably what did him in. Murdoch had no goaltending that season (sorry Panger). Mike Keenan then came in and that next season the Hawks were even worse. All they got to show for that terrible season was a high draft pick that resulted in Adam Bennett. But that wasn’t a great draft. They missed Bill Guerin by one pick, but the Hawks likely wouldn’t mismanaged his development anyhow. I seem to recall a story that the guy the Hawks almost took with the Bennett pick was Rob Pearson but Pulford, or someone, changed their mind on draft day. I’d have to look that one up. There’s no one around the team now that would know the answer to that. Maybe you recall better than I.

      I also remember the Hawks were on a series of trade talks over the mid 90s in potentially acquiring Mike Sillinger, but never did. Sillinger, I know when Steve Larmer walked out and demanded a trade, would have been a primary piece coming back if Larmer was dealt to Detroit. And at the time the word was the Hawks always liked Sillinger going back to that 89 draft but rated Bennett higher on their board. Sillinger at the time was still young and thought to be a center with promise who was stuck in limited minutes on behind Yzerman/Fedorov. Even though Patrick Poulin turned out to be nothing, Poulin and Weinrich were better than any return Detroit would’ve given and Larmer ultimately wound up where he wanted to be in the end.

  6. Hello Chris, thank you for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it. I’m only a few years older than you, and the 1980s through mid-199os Blackhawks years are burned into my mind. Ha. Yes, I’ve also heard/read that Murdoch got the short end of the stick, but didn’t realize that it had anything to do with clasheS with Pulford, for whom he had played in Los Angeles. The one exception that I’m aware of was near the end of the regular season or in the playoffs, when Murdoch made a comment to the press indicating that the roster would be considerably changed for the following (1988-89) season. It was said that that comment – coming from the coach – apparently that upset Bill Wirtz (and likely Pulford, too), but as far as I can tell the Hawks were still prepared to go into the next season with him until Mike Keenan became available later that spring.

    The Hawks’ big free agent signing of 1987, Bob Mason, disappointed that season in his only year with the club after being handed the role of number one goalie, but Pang actually played well for the most part that particular year; I believe he was among the leaders in save percentage playing behind a defense that led the league in shots against. The Savard-Larmer-Vaive was amazing to watch, particularly early in the season at home, but that was the worst year I can remember that the Blackhawks experienced as far as losing players to injury. Would have been interesting to see what the team could have done with Doug Wilson in the lineup for more than 27 games, Steve Thomas for more than 30, Keith Brown helping anchor the defense for more than 24, Duane Sutter and Wayne Presley each missed about half the season, etc., etc. But the defense was aging and young guys like Dave Manson and Marc Bergevin were “not quite there” yet as NHL regulars. The team made only one acquisition during the season through all of that, but it was an important one, sending Curt Fraser to Minnesota in exchange for Dirk Graham. The injuries and lack of depth were what did in the team that year, as Murdoch himself said shortly after he was fired.

    Not easy to find much retrospective insider information about what went on during Murdoch’s year with the team. (The short story about tough guy Glen Cochrane in Steve Ludzik’s book, about Cochrane’s only goal of the season with the team, against Boston in early February, was a funny one.) In the Sutter brothers’ book, which came out around 1990, Duane indicated that he thought Murdoch was a fair man and solid from a technical point of view, he was (obviously) not the hardliner that Keenan was and was taken advantage of by some players during the course of the season (by whom and how, one is left to guess). Darryl I believe noted that Murdoch had tried to initiate some of the changes which were eventually made under Keenan (the acquisition of Adam Creighton, for example); that Murdoch realized he wasn’t going to win big with the 1987-88 personnel and again, obviously, didn’t get the chance to see his rebuilding program through.

    Anyway, nice reminiscing with you and thanks again for taking the time to respond.

    • The sorta famous story in regards to Bob Murdoch’s temper that season came after one particular loss. He was throwing a fit in the locker room downstairs at Chicago Stadium and slammed the door to his office so hard that the door dislodged and jammed to the point that he, nor could anyone else work the door free. So they had to bring a forklift in to remove the door and let him out of his room.

  7. I hadn’t heard that one, but you might be thinking of the incident between periods of game 5 of the playoff series at St. Louis Arena; Murdoch and his two assistants, Darryl Sutter and Wayne Thomas somehow became locked into a room adjacent to the Hawks’ dressing room and the smiling arena attendant with a cigarette and a Blues jacket drove up on his forklift and popped the door open, releasing the three hostages. That is one clip I recall well.

    • You’re probably right about that. I recall the deal in St. Louis now. Unsure if there were two separate incidents, probably not. Al Strachan tells a story and always says it was the Stadium, so that’s where my memory led me.

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