[Edit 1: Added Video of Clarence Campbell]
For Wikipedia (all spelling/grammar errors sic)
On March 13, 1955, Richard was given a match penalty for intentionally injuring Hal Laycoe, after he had been deliberatally struck in the head with a hockey stick by the player, in a game against the Boston Bruins. Laycoe had highsticked Richard in the head during a Montreal power play. The referee signalled for a penalty to be called, but play was allowed to continue because the Canadiens had possession of the puck. Richard indicated to the referee that he'd been injured, and then skated up to Laycoe -- who had dropped his stick and gloves preparatory to a fight -- and struck Laycoe in the face and shoulders with his stick. The linesmen attempted to restrain Richard, who repeatedly broke away from them to attack Laycoe, even breaking his stick over his back. Moments passed and linesman Cliff Thompson restrained Richard by holding both his arms in a lock. Richard broke loose and punched Thompson twice in the face, knocking him unconscious. Richard later said at a league hearing that he thought Thompson was one of Boston's players.Clarence Campbell, the then-league President, suspended Richard for the remainder of the season and the playoffs, arguably costing the Habs the Stanley Cup (they lost in 7 games to those evil Wings). But it's not the best player in the league busting his stick over his opponents back and knocking out the linesman that brings us here today. It's the aftermath that really counts.
Abate is a type of pear, abattre in French means "to slaughter"
The Habs fans were mad as hell that Toronto had the balls to suspend their best player for the remainder of the season. Then Campbell, in eerily familiar demagogue-like fashion, announced he would be traveling to Montréal for the next game (what better way to rub those silly paysans' faces in it). Some Canadians fans, thinking "just-in-case", bought eggs, tomatoes, various farm animals to the game...Others brought tear gas grenades...Campbell takes his seat with his fiancée, and proceeds to get pelted with [for the time being] various organic matter. Then someone throws his tear gas grenade and Campbell declares forfeit for the Wings.
Now all hell breaks loose in Montreal as the fans run amok. Breaking shit, rioting and whatnot. As far as we can tell, Campbell was not strung up and Montreal wasn't burnt to the ground (though an estimated $500K in damage was done). But some historians note this moment as the real beginning of the Quebec nationalism movement - French-Canadians citizens supporting a French-Canadian player against English-Canadian persecution.
But the question is: In 1955, these Habs fans had the balls to attack the Dictator-in-charge over what was probably the correct decision, but in 2007 we are living under marketing guy who doesn't know dick about the sport, has sold everything holy to RBK for a couple of magic beans, refuses to play nice with any main-stream press, and has decided that if there isn't a franchise in every major city (Africa included) by 2010, the NHL will not have attained it optimum market-reach. Why has no one attacked Gary Bettman with a hand gre...umm, a tear gas grenade? Why hasn't anyone thrown eggs at him? What the fuck people? It's time to get serious here...At least the US government changes ever few years and we aren't stuck with any one president for more than 8 years. Bettman's either gotta be kicked out, or he'll ride the league straight to hell.
Yeah, you're right...it's all just a long-winded way to say "Bettman Sucks."
It turns out that Clarence Campbell has a lot more in common Gary "Our Favorite Asshole" Bettman than first thought. Calling the Montreal Mayor out on TV...That's good.