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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Today In NHL History - Morenz's Broken Leg

On January 28th in 1937, Montreal Canadiens superstar Howie Morenz fractured his leg in four places when he crashed awkwardly into the corner boards and Chicago Blackhawks blueliner Earl Seibert landed on top of him.

The three-time Stanley Cup (1924, 1930, 1931) and Hart trophy winner (1928, 1931, 1932), who led the NHL in points twice (1928, 1931), goals once (1928), and the Canadiens in both categories from 1926-1932, spent his remaining days in a hospital bed until a heart attack claimed his life 39 days later at the age of 34.

Stunned by the news of the NHL all-time points leader's passing, family, friends, and fans totaling 50,000 paid their respects as he laid in his casket at center ice of the Montreal Forum. Eight months later the team retired Morenz's number 7, the first such honor in franchise history.


Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945 among the first group of twelve, the "Mitchell Meteor" is remembered as the best hockey player from the first half of the 20th century, among the top ten Canadiens of all-time, and a player who died during his playing days.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Today In NHL History - Longest Road Trip

On January 27th in 2010, the Vancouver Canucks set out on the longest road trip in NHL history. The 46 day sojourn sent them to 13 cities (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, Tampa, Sunrise, St. Paul, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, Denver, Phoenix) for 14 games.

The hellish trip was required to accommodate the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, marking the first time since NHL players were allowed to compete in the Games that a NHL city hosted the hockey tournament.

Unable to access GM Place during their absence, Canucks equipment managers packed almost 300 sticks and 25 additional bags of gear, including spare gloves and pants to clothe call-ups and any players joining the club at the NHL trade deadline, to endure the unexpected.

The Canucks finished the historic trip with a respectable 8-5-1 record.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Today In NHL History - Sullivan's Fan Revenge

On January 26th in 2001, Steve Sullivan of the Chicago Blackhawks was belittled by an out-spoken Avalanche fan as the forward left the ice upon having his nose bloodied by an Alex Tanguay highstick, resulting in a dozen stitches.

Sullivan returned to score two shorthanded goals and see the same fan struck by an errant puck from a Patrick Roy clearing attempt. Revenge was sweet for Sullivan who punctuated the karmic occurrence by skating up to the Colorado Avalanche fan to revel in his reversal of fortune.


Colorado beat Chicago that night by a score of 5-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Burke's Twitter Imposter

On January 26th in 2009, Down Goes Brown blogger Sean McIndoe opened a Twitter account in the name of Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and proceeded to parody a witty fictional inner-monologue of the brash bossman.

What started as a one-off joke evolved into 95 tweets over 63 days. A selection of Sean's tweets are posted below with an entire archive here:

  • In the press box in Minnesota. Just noticed that every time Cliff Fletcher walks by, Doug Risebrough instinctively covers his bumhole.
  • Just wondering: if Mayers or May fight Derek Boogard, do they come off the salary cap right away or do we have to wait for the funeral?
  • Brian Murray called to talk trade, but he kept using this obviously fake lisp so I hung up on him.
  • @SedinTwinsAgent... OK, you've got a deal. But remember we have to keep this a secret until July 1.
  • Just to clarify: When I said Antropov needs a "change of scenery", I didn't mean trading him. I meant trading every one of his teammates.
  • Congratulated Stempniak on scoring in his first game as a Leaf. He said he's actually been here for three months. First I've heard of it.
  • Leaving Florida, but we'll be back in mid-March. And by "we", I mean me, the coaches, and about four players.
  • @BobGainey: Mathieu Schneider? Any relation to the guy who played for the Habs when they last won a Cup? Like his grandson or something?
  • @JasonBlake: You know, there are some really nice tanning salons in Toronto. Even an hour or two a week can work wonders. Just saying.
  • Tomas Kaberle and I are working together on his trade deadline options. He gave me a list of 10 teams. I gave him back a list of 20 more.
  • Just ran into Kyle Wellwood arriving at the ACC. He seemed kind of depressed. Told him to keep his chins up.
  • Dave Shoalts is outraged that someone would fraudulently pass themselves off as a Leafs GM. Where was he when JFJ did it for four years?
  • I promised Mark Bell I'd put him on waivers to give him a shot at playing for an NHL team. He was just claimed by the Rangers. Close enough.
  • Was excited to see Fletcher and Nonis on the phone all morning. Just realized they were talking to each other. Guys, you sit ten feet apart!
  • Told the team to embrace the role of "spoiler". They've responded by telling playoff contenders the endings of movies they haven't seen yet.
  • Updating my address book. @BobGainey, will you still have the same e-mail when you're fired five minutes after the regular season ends?
  • Pogge was so upset after last night's game that he threw himself in front of my car - but it went through his legs! So I backed over him.
With a publicity push from Puck Daddy, followers of the cunning commentary grew exponentially. Despite direct cues that the feed was indeed for fun, some took offense to the farce including Burke. A final interview with the author set the record straight on the gag.

Sean eventually terminated the handle, posting his final Burke tweet on March 29th, 2009. Brian Burke subsequently became active on Twitter with @LeafsBB20, which he later abandoned in favor of @Burkie2020 once dismissed from the Leafs and hired by the Calgary Flames.

McIndoe has since published a book titled The Best of Down Goes Brown and continues to post his hockey musings on his blog, at Grantland, and through his Twitter account @DownGoesBrown

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Erik Johnson's Own Goal

On January 26th in 2011, the top pick from the 2006 NHL Draft, St Louis Blues blueliner Erik Johnson, scored an own goal firing a rebound past backstop Ty Conklin on a failed clearing attempt five minutes into the opening frame. The miscue was credited to Calgary Flames forward David Moss.

Moss would add another goal leading his team to a 4-1 victory, marking the Flames fourth straight win and the Blues fourth straight loss.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Today In NHL History - Ted Leonsis Attacks Fan

On January 25th in 2004, Washington Capitals owner and AOL executive Ted Leonsis attacked season ticket holder Jason Hammer, grabbing his neck and throwing him to the ground, in response to the fan's game long heckling and insulting sign "Caps Hockey; AOL Stock -- See a Pattern?".

Embarrassed by the outburst Leonsis apologized to Hammer the next day and the pair agreed to move past the melee. Weeks later Hammer (second from left) was seen enjoying a home game with Leonsis.
NHL Commissioner Bettman was less forgiving electing to suspend Leonsis for one week and fine the Capitals $100,000, noting "Even in those cases when there were instances of alleged provocation, we have made it clear that NHL personnel need to do everything possible to avoid a confrontation with fans and the failure to do so is not acceptable."

Philadelphia beat Washington that night by a score of 4-1. It was the Capitals first home game since trading away superstar Jaromir Jagr.

That's today in NHL history.