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Monday, October 22, 2018

Today In NHL History - Gretzky's Wife Knocked Out

On October 22nd in 1997, Wayne Gretzky's wife Janet Jones was bloodied and knocked unconscious when a heavy hit by New York Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson on Chicago Blackhawks forward Sergei Krivokrasov dislodged a large pane of plexi-glass striking the 36 year old actress.
Jones was treated by team doctors before being carried out of Madison Square Garden on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital where she spent the night, diagnosed with a mild concussion and receiving several stitches in her lower lip.

Gretzky finished the final six minutes of the game before joining his wife. The Blackhawks shutout the Rangers that night by a score of 1-0.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Today In NHL History - Red Wings Honor Rucker

On October 21st in 2010, the Detroit Red Wings honored the recent passing of 38 year season ticket holder and super-fan Kenneth Rucker, a retired Chrysler forklift driver who suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 63.

Recognized by the Joe Louis Arena faithful simply as the "Orange Hat Guy", Rucker was often featured on the scoreboard screen during Red Wings home games accompanied by R.E.M. song "Orange Crush".

In honor of Rucker's decades of unwavering support for the club, ownership elected to reupholster his season's seat (section 112, row 7, seat 5) from Red Wing red to Rucker orange for the remainder of the 2011 season.

In addition to setting a new high water mark for fan appreciation, Detroit outclassed the Calgary Flames that night by a score of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Today In NHL History - Shorthouse Wins 50/50

On October 20th in 2005, Vancouver Canucks voices John Shorthouse and Tom Larscheid won $20,000 in the 50/50 draw benefiting local charities for children during a home game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Having played the popular lottery at every Canucks home game since they began working together in 1998, the giddy pair celebrated their first ever 50/50 win with four minutes remaining in the third period. An audio clip of their unbridled excitement can be heard here.

Despite rumors spread by morning radio mouthpiece Neil MacRae suggesting the pair engaged in fisticuffs over the winnings, Shorthouse dispelled the nonsense explaining "there was enough hugging between two grown men to make even the cast of Will & Grace uncomfortable".

The Canucks beat the Coyotes 3-2 that night in what Shorty described as "the greatest night of hockey ever at GM Place".

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Today In NHL History - Mike Smith's Goal

On October 19th in 2013, Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith gloved a Mikael Samuelsson wrist shot with three seconds to play and promptly fired it 190 feet into the Detroit Red Wings empty net with 1/10th of a second remaining to become the 11th netminder in NHL history to be credited with a goal. 
Coyotes assistant GM Sean Burke was not surprised by the goal having seen Smith's swagger and puck-handling prowess firsthand, "I’ve told people before, he’s going to score a goal at some point – and he’s probably not done. He’ll score again. The way he fired that puck last night, if you gave him 25 pucks, he can do that 25 times. It’s not just a guy who got lucky and it went in. He can do that consistently.".

Afterwards, Smith relived his minor league marker on October 22, 2002 against the ECHL's now defunct Dayton Bombers and reflected on his first NHL goal, "I do shoot the puck quite often in practice but a lot of things have to go right in order for that to happen ... the clock has to slow down at the right time of the game to let it trickle in over the line."

Mike Smith's historic goal capped the Coyotes comeback win over the Red Wings who led 2-0 through 39 minutes before Phoenix scored five unanswered goals to ultimately defeat Detroit by a score of 5-2.

Four years later at the NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Smith once again showcased his shooting skills making an impossible shot from 200 feet away, proving the first wasn't a fluke.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Alex Edler Beats Fleury

On October 19th in 2013, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler fired an 83 foot center ice slapshot past Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to open the scoring during a Saturday matinee at the Consol Energy Center.
Fresh off a three game suspension for hitting San Jose Sharks rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, the Swedish blueliner's first period longbomb befuddled a fragile Fleury still reeling from an embarrassing playoff pull.

The Flower ended the afternoon stopping 36 of 39 shots as well as Edler's second round shootout attempt, a wrist shot from 10 feet out. The Penguins went on to beat the Canucks by a score of 4-3, extending Fleury's early season undefeated streak to seven games.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Odjick's Penalty Shot

On October 19th in 1991, Gino Odjick collected the first goal of his sophomore campaign and likely the most famous of his 64 regular season scores on a penalty shot against Conn Smythe winner Mike Vernon.

The opportunity arose when Hall of Fame defenceman Al MacInnis was flagged for fouling the Algonquin Enforcer as he sped by him. The goal was the Canucks' fourth en route to a 5-2 victory over the Flames.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick.
* See also Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick Runs Hasek.
* See also Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick Fights Blues.