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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  - Managing Editor |
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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 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49


D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89