"Crusher to rusher to usher” is a hockey adage of uncertain authorship. When a crusher (a goon or fighter) becomes a rusher (finesse player), he soon becomes an usher (out of professional hockey).
“Hockey coaches have an old slogan for players who try to make this transition: ‘From crusher to rusher to usher’” was cited in print in 1992. The saying was possibly coined by noted hockey enforcer Tiger Williams, who played in the National Hockey League from 1974 to 1988. Ice hockey commentator Don Cherry has also used the saying.
New York (NY) Times
HOCKEY; He Skated on the Ice, Then Fell Through It
By JOE LAPOINTE,
Published: August 17, 1992
The Canadiens tired of his unpredictable behavior and became disenchanted when Kordic expressed a desire to change his game from fighting to scoring. Hockey coaches have an old slogan for players who try to make this transition: “From crusher to rusher to usher.”
1,001 of the Game’s Funniest One-liners
By Glenn Liebman
Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books
“They go from crushers, to rushers, to ushers.”
Google Groups: alt.sports.hockey.nhl.ott-senators
Sandy McCarthy can do only one thing well and that’s fight. And he does that well enough to be one of the two or three best in the league, so he could play another ten years if he was willing to fight more often. If he clings to this notion he’s an actual hockey player though, he’ll be out of the league in three years tops. What was it Tiger Williams once said, ‘when a crusher becomes a rusher, he’ll soon be an usher’.
Pro Hockey’s Most Fearless (and Feared) Players
By Murray Townsend
New York, NY: Universe Pub.: Distributed to the U.S. trade by St. Martin’s Press
Ironically, one of Simon’s sayings used to be, “If you’re a crusher and you turn into a rusher, you’ll soon be an usher.”
Los Angeles (CA) Times
NHL’s most famous goon still has that fighting spirit
April 16, 2007|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer
Nineteen years after skating his last professional shift, the NHL’s all-time leader in penalty minutes is still a little rough around the edges.
Dave “Tiger” Williams, party to some of the NHL’s wildest and most brutal brawls during a 14-year career in which he racked up the equivalent of more than 70 games in penalty minutes, is still ornery and opinionated.
“The fact is, when you’re on a team, it’s your duty as a teammate to do whatever you can do best to contribute to the overall success of the organization,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what that is. I think some guys lose sight of that. There’s an old cliche: A lot of guys come into the league as crushers, they get up one morning and they want to be rushers and the next week they’re ushers.”
Don Cherry, the poet: “When a rusher tries to be a crusher he becomes an usher.”
8:02 PM - 10 Jun 2011
“When a crusher becomes a rusher, he soon becomes an usher.” podcast w/ producer @NDhockeyBOSs http://jerrybarca.com/interviews/the-jerry-barca-podcast-espn-films-our-tough-guy-producer …
6:54 AM - 18 Nov 2014
Trotz pulls out old quote, saying he doesn’t want Tom Wilson to go from “a crusher to a rusher to an usher.’ Let him fight. #CapitasTalk
11:42 AM - 1 Dec 2014
Trotz on Wilson: ‘If he wants to go, let him go’
By Chuck Gormley
December 1, 2014, 5:45 pm
Trotz then dusted off an old hockey axiom, saying he didn’t want Wilson to go from “a crusher to a rusher to an usher,” the point being that if you take the physical aspect out of Wilson’s game, you might as well take Wilson out of the game as well.