Well, good news: Open Net will be back in print in September, along with the late author's four other participatory sports tomes, with identical cover designs (The Bogey Man, Paper Lion, Out Of My League and Shadow Box). Come on, you owe to yourself to read a book that has this description of playing goal:
"With the puck at the other end, it was not unlike (it occurred to me) standing at the edge of a mill pond, looking out across a quiet expanse at some vague activity at the opposite end almost too far to be discernible - could they be bass fishing out there? - but then suddenly the distant, aimless, waterbug scurrying becomes an oncoming surge of movement as everything - players, sticks, the puck - starts coming on a direct line, almost as if a tsunami, that awesome tidal wave of the South Pacific, had suddenly materialized at the far end of the mill pond and was beginning to sweep down toward one."Presumably, the reason Open Net hasn't endured in memory the same way Plimpton's other books has to do with the fact it was essentially a late-'70s Sports Illustrated magazine article which he fleshed out to book length in 1985. It probably wouldn't have anything to do with hockey fans having very little appetite for an outsider's irreverent take on their sport.
However, the Bruins players accepted Plimpton as one of their own, for the most part. Some of them are still familiar names, since Don Cherry has name-dropping with Stan Jonathan and Wayne Cashman for the past 30 years.
Plimpton's portrayal of Cherry was also a far cry from Grapes' TV persona. Cherry came off as much less of a blowhard, with far less singularity to his personality than his critics and his defenders alike see in him three decades later. It's worth a read, for sure.
Here's what The New York Times had to say when Plimpton's book was published.)