Every fall when NHL training camps open, we expect players to arrive with a stomach full of fire, a few pounds overweight and a desire to make the team.
Most of the time this can lead to a healthy level of competition between players and others times, camp can break down to resemble that of an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 (the original, not the dismal remake from a couple of years ago. Say what you will, Dylan was the man.)
Such was the case on September 17, 1968 when 30 year old Lou Angotti abruptly left the Penguins training camp.
Angotti was the leading scorer for the Philadelphia Flyers the season before, leading the team with 49 Points (12 goals, 37 assists) in 70 games.
Speculation around Angotti’s sudden disappearance from camp centered around his annoyance that coach Red Kelly assigned him to the right wing position instead of centre for the day’s workouts.
Kelly stated “I don’t know where he is and I couldn’t care less” adding later “ If he thinks I am going to chase after him, he has a long wait.”
It could be said both of those men had colorful personalities.
The drama did not last long and peace was restored to the galaxy, when Angotti returned to camp the very next day and apologized to Kelly and Jack Reilly for his behaviour.
Riley was rather tight lipped about any disciplinary action taken against Angotti, electing to shift focus to the signings of Andy Bathgate,Wally Boyer,Val fonteyne, Keith McCreary and Bob Dillabough.
That season would see Angotti put up 37 Points (17 goals, 20 assists) in 71 games for Pittsburgh before being traded back to the St Louis Blues on June 12, 1969 along with the Penguins 1st round pick in the 1971 draft in exchange for Craig Cameron and Ron Schock.
I bet you are wondering what the reason was behind Red Kelly making the position change that fateful September day.
Ken Schinkel left camp to be with his family after the death of his brother.
Which begs the question to be answered. Did Angotti like the taste of crow?