Ron Murphy was a useful utility forward for nearly 900 NHL games. He was a Stanley Cup champion (1961) and a Memorial Cup champion (1952). But fans remember him mostly for an infamous and vicious stick-swinging incident with Montreal's Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion.
Murphy was just a youngster at the time, 20 years old and with the New York Rangers. The Rangers beat the visiting Habs 3-1 on the night of December 20, 1953, but the most memorable part of that game came in the second period. Boom Boom Geoffrion took a two-handed swing with his stick, striking Murphy on the left side of his face, breaking his jaw and leaving him with a concussion. Murphy was also guilty of swinging his stick, though he never made contact thanks in part to the linesman holding on to this stick with one hand.
Geoffrion, who actually missed Murphy on his first swing but attacked again, was suspended for five games, as well as for any further matches between the two teams that season including the playoffs. Murphy, who shockingly got up and skated off the ice on his own that night, missed the remainder of the season.
Murphy obviously survived the incident and did return to the NHL. He went on to a lengthy career playing in 889 regular season games with the Rangers, Chicago, Detroit and Boston. He scored 205 goals, 274 assists and 479 points.
“Ron can skate and he plays good positional hockey,” said Ranges' teammate Harry Howell. “He was one of those players who seemed to get around 10 to 15 goals a year and never better."
As Howell later noted, Murphy's best years came in Chicago.
“But he really changed when he went to Chicago three years ago,” Howell continued. “He told me he was never happier."
Murphy played a nice role on Chicago's Stanley Cup winning team in 1961. He scored a career high 21 goals that year.