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Friday, October 24, 2014

Today In NHL History - Richards Hits Booth

On October 24th in 2009, Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards blindsided winger David Booth with a vicious hit to the head rendering the Florida Panthers forward bloodied and unconscious.

Booth left on a stretcher and missed the next 45 games owing to a concussion incurred on the play. Richards received a five minute major and ten minute game misconduct but was not subsequently fined or suspended for the act. Philadelphia beat Florida that night 5-1.

Five months later the NHL outlawed such blindside hits in order to reduce head injuries. The language of the law is captured in Rule 48.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Today In NHL History - Milan Lucic Hits Van Ryn

On October 23rd in 2008, Boston Bruins power forward Milan Lucic delivered a crushing check against Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Van Ryn shattering the TD Garden glass early in the second period of play.

Neither player was injured during the incident though a few front row fans were cut by glass. Toronto beat Boston that night by a score of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

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.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

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.

That's today in NHL history.