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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Today In NHL History - Sedin Catches Salo's Stick

On December 17th in 2011, Vancouver Canucks coordinated captain Henrik Sedin casually collected defenseman Sami Salo's twirling airborne twig "like a boss" after it was chopped from his hands by Toronto Maple Leafs left winger Clarke MacArthur. The catch came with 3:30 remaining in the first period and ultimately earned the deft Swede the game's 4th Star per local tabloid The Province

The Canucks beat the Maple Leafs that night by a score of 5-3 with Henrik setting up linemate Alex Burrows for the game winning goal. 


That's today in NHL history.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Today In NHL History - Simon Stomps Ruutu

On December 15th in 2007, Chris Simon of the New York Islanders viciously stomped his skate onto the right leg of Pittsburgh Penguins pest Jarkko Ruutu with five minutes remaining in the game, earning the troubled forward a match penalty and his eighth NHL suspension.

In light of his prior history and the severity of this indiscretion, Simon received a league-longest 30 game suspension forgoing over $290,000 in pay. Traded to the Minnesota Wild upon his return, Simon skated for only twelve more games to complete his 15 season NHL career.

The Penguins beat the Islanders that night by a score of 3-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Today In NHL History - Jannik Hansen Beats Rask

On December 14th in 2013, Danish winger Jannik Hansen fired an 88 foot center ice slapshot that deflected off Slovak defenseman Zdena Chara's stick and knuckled past Finnish backstop Tuukka Rask, giving the Vancouver Canucks a 1-0 lead against the Boston Bruins. The Canucks put three more pucks past Rask before being pulled, then added two goals to complete the 6-2 rout of their rival.

The game marked the Bruins first visit to Vancouver since the 2011 Stanley Cup. Despite almost three years passing since the series, the perennially classless pest 
Brad Marchand taunted his opponents in defeat with ring-kissing and Cup-hoisting gestures during the game. Afterwards, Bruins coach Claude Julien noted, "It's definitely not something we will accept in our organization ... it's certainly something we are going to deal with".  Ironically, one of Marchand's ring-kissing gestures was directed towards Brad Richardson, the only current member of the Canucks with a Stanley Cup ring (Los Angeles Kings 2012).

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Today In NHL History - Shore Hits Bailey

On December 12th in 1933, Boston Bruins blueliner Eddie Shore drilled Toronto Maple Leafs scoring sensation Ace Bailey in response to physical play by penalty killers King Clancy and Red Horner.

Horner recalls, "He [Shore] hit Bailey and flipped him in the air, just like a rag doll. Bailey landed on his head just a few feet from where I was standing. Bailey hit the ice and he went into some kind of convulsion. I thought to myself, 'That's the end of Ace!'"

The blow fractured Bailey's skull in two places ending his playing career and very nearly his life. Horner promptly punched out Shore, rendering him unconscious with a three inch gash in his head resulting in seven stitches. Both players were carried off the ice by teammates.

In the aftermath, Leafs GM Conn Smythe was jailed for striking a fan accusing Ace of faking his injury and Bailey's father traveled to Boston to exact revenge. Smythe was released the next day after agreeing to cover the fan's dental fees and Bailey Sr. was sent home without incident.

Offered a slim chance to live after two risky operations, a priest was summoned to read last rights. Bailey, however, fought through the night and by Christmas was expected to survive. Shore was suspended indefinitely, reinstated on January 28, 1934 after 16 games when it was clear Bailey would live. Horner sat until January 1, 1934.

Adding to the Bruins $8,000 contribution ($342,000 present day), the NHL hosted its first All-Star game raising $20,909 for Bailey ($900,000 present day). Bailey embraced Shore prior to the game resulting in the loudest ovation ever heard at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Shore apologized to Ace maintaining that the hit was purely accidental. Bailey never held a grudge, claiming "It's all part of the game."

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Ryan Scores Koivu's Stick

On December 12th in 2010, Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild stripped Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan of his stick without whistle, having lost his own earlier in the play. Unable to recover the lumber, Silver fetched the Finn's abandoned off-handed hardware and scored.
In celebration of the Ducks fifth goal, Ryan proudly paraded the borrowed blade to the visiting captain Koivu in recognition of the karmic occurrence. Anaheim beat Minnesota that night by a score of 6-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Today In NHL History - Hextall's First Goal

On December 8th in 1987, Philadelphia Flyers netminder Ron Hextall fired a puck the length of the ice into an empty Boston Bruins net becoming the first goalie to score a goal in a NHL game.
Though New York Islanders backstop Billy Smith had been credited with a goal eight years earlier, it was Colorado Rockies defenceman Rob Ramage who in fact last touched the puck. Thus, Hextall was the positional pioneer to actually shoot the puck into an opponent's net.

Hextall repeated the feat two years later in a playoff game against the Washington Capitals. He remains the only goalie to actually score twice.

That's today in NHL history.