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Thursday, December 12, 2019

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.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

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.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Today In NHL History - Roy Trade (MTL-COL)

On December 6th in 1995, the Montreal Canadiens traded Patrick Roy and team captain Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko in what remains one of the most lopsided exchanges in league history.

The seeds of the move were sewn on December 2, 1995 during a franchise worst 11-1 home loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Allowing five goals in the first period and two more in the first five minutes of the second, Habs freshman bench boss Mario Tremblay elected to strand Roy.

Eventually relieved with eight minutes remaining in the middle frame, after surrendering nine goals on 26 shots, a humiliated Roy returned to the bench and informed team president Ronald Corey that he'd played his last game in Montreal. Four days later, rookie GMs Rejean Houle and Pierre LaCroix pulled the trigger on what is simply known as Le Trade.


From Le Trade through Roy's retirement in 2003, Montreal won only two playoff series ('98, '02) failing to qualify four times ('99, '00, '01, '03). Colorado never missed a postseason with St. Patrick between the pipes, twice taking the Presidents' Trophy ('97, '01) and Stanley Cup ('96, '01).

Roy finished with five Jennings ('87, '88, '89', '92, '02), four Stanley Cup ('86, '93, '96, '01), and three Conn Smythe ('86, '93, '01) and Vezina ('89, '90, '92) wins. He is arguably the best goalie to ever play the game.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Today In NHL History - Carcillo Punches Bradley

On December 5th in 2009, Philadelphia Flyers goon Daniel Carcillo sucker punched Matt Bradley of the Washington Capitals with five minutes remaining in the first period and the teams tied 1-1.

Carcillo received 29 minutes in penalties on the play (Bradley drew nothing) with the NHL adding a four game suspension, forcing the Flyer to forgo $43,597 in pay. Washington scored three times on the ensuing 9 minute powerplay and ultimately beat Philadelphia by a score of 8-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Today In NHL History - Thornton Trade (BOS-SJS)

On November 30th in 2005, Boston Bruins GM Mike O'Connell traded the jewel of the 1997 Draft to Doug Wilson's San Jose Sharks for first rounders Wayne Primeau (17th in 1994), Marco Sturm (21st in 1996), and Brad Stuart (3rd in 1998), stunning pundits from coast to coast.

Blindsided by the deal, Joe Thornton went on to win the Art Ross and Hart trophies in his west coast debut, cinching the Rocket Richard for linemate Jonathan Cheechoo en route.

The Bruins fired O'Connell four months later launching a successful rebuilding campaign that yielded the 2011 Stanley Cup, though none of the players from this trade were on that winning roster.  The Sharks skated in their first Stanley Cup Final in 2016, and have twice qualified for the Western Conference Final (2010, 2011) since the trade.

That's today in NHL history.