Saturday, January 5, 2019

Today In NHL History - Stalberg's Penalty Shot Miss

On January 5th in 2011, Viktor Stalberg of the Chicago Blackhawks collected a hat trick of iron ringing the puck off both posts and the crossbar on a failed penalty shot attempt against Kari Lehtonen in the second period of a 2-2 match, extending his scoreless streak to 19 games.

In response to the miss the Swede remarked "it's hard to imagine that happening" whilst the Finn backstop conceded "I got real lucky there." Dallas would score twice in the third period to beat Chicago 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Today in NHL History - World Junior Brawl

On January 4th in 1987, a bench-clearing brawl erupted during the final game of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Piestany, Czechoslovakia between arch rivals Canada and the USSR.

With Canada contending for a medal (bronze for a loss, silver for a win, gold for a win by five goals) and the USSR playing for pride, tempers flared at the match's midpoint with Canada leading 4-2.

The on-ice combatants were soon joined by both benches, save Canada's Jimmy Waite and Pierre Turgeon, when Soviet skater Evgeny Davydov jumped the boards to enter the fray. Unable to harness the havoc, referees left the ice and turned off the lights on the twenty minute melee to the chorus of disgusted fans in attendance shouting "we want hockey".

An emergency meeting of the IIHF resulted in the suspension of the game and expulsion of both teams. Officials then ordered team Canada to exit the arena, furnishing them with an armed escort out of the country.

Much controversy surrounded the affair with some accusing the USSR of instigating the fight to prevent Canada from winning a medal.

Of the forty roster members in the Punch Up In Piestany, twenty-six (Canada 19, USSR 7) went on to play in the NHL.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Stefan Misses Empty Net

On January 4th in 2007, Dallas Stars forward Patrick Stefan famously flubbed an empty net goal with ten seconds left in a 5-4 game against the Edmonton Oilers. Falling after his failing, Edmonton fed Ales Hemsky who scored on Marty Turco to tie the game with two seconds to play.
Afterwards, Stefan explained his unfortunate mishap: "It's not like I missed the net, I saw it was bad ice and I had so much time so I just tried to carry it all the way to the net. As soon as I put it on my back hand it jumped over my stick. Not much I can do about that."

Dallas secured a 6-5 win in the shootout completing their comeback, down 4-1 midway through the match, despite Stefan's debacle .

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Today In NHL History - Semin Fights Marc Staal

On January 3rd in 2009, Washington Capitals sniper Alexander Semin found himself in his first ever NHL fight with New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. Mostly manhandled during the melee, Semin unleashed a late flurry of face-slaps as Staal lay on the ice, violating the Code but bringing great pleasure to both benches.
Each combatant received five minutes for fighting with Semin earning an ejection for failing to tie-down his jersey in violation of Rule 47.13. The Capitals beat the Rangers that night by a score of 2-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Today In NHL History - Chicago Stick Up

On January 1st in 2009, the Detroit Red Wings played the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL's outdoor Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. In a city famous for crime and corruption, I suppose it's not surprising that Chicago afternoon ended cloaked in controversy.

Fresh off a 6-4 victory in The Friendly Confines, Henrik Zetterberg handed his game stick to 14 year-old Wings fan Kalan Plew. Moments later, a man posing as a security guard confiscated the souvenir from Kalan explaining he could retrieve the prize from customer relations with his parents. As the imposter led Kalan from the stands, he bolted with the kid's stick.

Meanwhile in Wrigley's upper deck men’s washroom, 45 year-old dentist Robert Pappert was relieving himself when a man uniformed as a security guard walked in with a hockey stick. Upon learning that the stick belonged to his wife’s favorite player Henrik Zetterberg, Pappert offered the man $100 and took it home with him to North Carolina.

When Marc Plew met his son Kalan outside the stadium he knew something was wrong. Instead of celebrating the Red Wings' victory, he was crying. Upon learning of the atrocity, Plew reached out to the Chicago Tribune. The paper's Problem Solvers contacted the Red Wings who vowed to “make it right” by sending Kalan another Zetterberg stick and the story was published in their "What’s Your Problem?" column.

Back in Charlotte, Pappert learned that the Tribune published an article relating to his souvenir. Realizing the stick belonged to Kalan, he contacted the newspaper and returned the twig to its rightful owner. “If I had any idea that that was a bad dude, I would have beaten him with that stick before I left the bathroom ... I had a wonderful time with it for four or five days, but it has to go back to who really owns it.”

Kalan and Pappert were united for an interview on NPR's "All Things Considered". Touched by Pappert's honesty and generosity, the Blackhawks rewarded him with a Patrick Kane jersey and stick and Zetterberg flew Pappert and his wife to Detroit for a game.

No word as to the wherabouts of the crook who crushed a boy's New Year's Day dreams. But all's well that ends well in the Windy City. That's today in NHL history.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Today In NHL History - Mario Lemieux's Cycle

On December 31st in 1988, Mario Lemieux collected five goals in a New Year's Eve game against the New Jersey Devils, one in each of the five possible regulation time scoring situations (even strength, shorthanded, powerplay, penalty shot, empty net) in the NHL's pre-shootout era.
Bob Sauvé allowed Mario's first three markers (a hat trick in the opening period) with rookie Chris Terreri surrendering the penalty shot.

The feat, dubbed the Mario Lemieux Cycle, is considered by many to be the greatest individual scoring performance in NHL history.  It has never been duplicated. Adding three assists to his five goals, Mario figured in each of the Penguins eight tallies in their 8-6 win over the Devils.

That's today in NHL history.