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Alumni Reunion: Metro Prystai

All Star center played for Red Wings from 1950-54 and '55-58

Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 10:45 AM ET / Features
By Bill Roose  -
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Alumni Reunion: Metro Prystai
Metro Prystai
Metro Prystai played more than 670 games during an 11-season NHL career, including two stints with the Red Wings, which led to a pair of Stanley Cup titles in 1952 and ’54. A 5-foot-8 centerman from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Prystai scored 151 goals with 179 assists for the Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks from 1947-58.

Do you keep in touch with any of your former Red Wings teammates? If so, who?
Oh yeah, I still talk to Ted (Lindsay) ever once in a while, and still talk to Marty Pavelich. … I get Christmas cards from some of the guys, and send them to the guys.

Which of the current Red Wings is your favorite? And why?
(Nicklas) Lidstrom is one of them. There’s quite a bit of similarities between Nick and Doug Harvey, who I played against. He would get you one way or another, force you wide and put you into the boards.

What was your favorite memory as a Red Wing?
I would say ending up in first-place for all of those years. But that ’52 team was wonderful. We had a terrific team. That (Terry) Sawchuk just closed the door; not a single goal scored on us in Detroit in the playoffs. Nothing!

Which of the guys you played with was the toughest?
Gordie was pretty tough. Not many guys could touch him, you know.

Who was the funniest?
I’m not really sure. Gordie was a lot of fun.

Who had the biggest heart?
I would say Lindsay. He was a like a bear in a China shop. It didn’t matter. If you were out there with Teddy, you know that he was out there and always backing you. If you were getting the worst of it, he would get right in there and try to get you out of there. He was a great teammate.

What was your favorite restaurant in metro Detroit?
We ate at a little restaurant right as you got out of Ma Shaw’s at the corner that was owned by Greeks. We ate a lot of our meals there. It was right on Grand River, across from a gas station. I forget the name of it, but they treated us real good.

How has the NHL changed since you played?
I think it’s a lot dirtier than it was. I think these guys make too much money and want to kill one another. We didn’t have the injuries that they have today. I think we dressed the same 15 guys every game. They can’t do that today.

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Toughest team (other than the Red Wings) when you played?
Boston were tough at times. They had that big line of Milt Schmidt, (Woody) Dumart and (Bobby) Bauer. Montreal were always tough, but we enjoyed playing against Montreal. We wanted to beat them all of the time.

Who did you sit next to in the dressing room?

I sat next to Sawchuk. He was a little moody, but he and I got along. We roomed together. He was a quiet guy, who would bugger off at times, get lost almost. But he and I got along real well.

What do you love most about the game?
I like that it’s pretty tough. You have to be in excellent shape to play the game. It’s terrific to watch because of the fast pace.

Who had the greatest influence on your career?
I would say, probably my mother. I can remember I went to a Catholic school in Yorkton, and the guys came down to pick me up and wanted me to go to Moose Jaw to play junior hockey there. I didn’t know junior hockey from any hockey. I just played locally. They came to the school – where it was Christian Brothers – to interview me because they had heard of me. The brother said, ‘Don’t bother with him, his mother won’t let him go.’ We lived in an old log house and they came over and talked to my mother. She said, ‘OK, you can take him, but you can’t pay him too much money, and he has to go to church and to school.’ And away I went.

What advice would you give to kids playing today?
I’ve said that this is a terrific thing to do, but you have to look after yourself, and listen to people. When I was a kid and the coach told me something, I listened.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80