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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Today In NHL History - Ference Fingers Montreal

On April 21st in 2011, Boston Bruins blueliner Andrew Ference celebrated his first playoff goal in a decade, tying the game 2-2 in the opening period, with a one finger salute for the Montreal Canadiens fans at the Bell Center.
Afterwards, a straight-faced Ference assured anyone who would listen that the unpenalized gesture was inadvertent, noting that his glove "got caught up" as he was pumping his fist in the air.
The NHL didn't buy it either, electing to fine Ference $2,500, the maximum allowable amount under Rule 75.5(ii) for unsportsmanlike conduct, representing 1/900th of his $2.25m annual salary.

Fourteen months later Ference came clean admitting he intentionally flipped-off Habs fans and cowardly lied to cover his tracks:

"Accountability is lacking in our world. Just look at nuisance lawsuits, or the finger-pointing of politicians around the globe. I am guilty myself of trying to blame a middle-fingered celebration after a goal in Montreal on a glove malfunction. In round one of the playoffs between two of the fiercest rivals in our sport, I scored a tying goal in the enemys building, only to have my fist pump turn into a sign language that crosses all borders. Facing the media and a possible suspension after the fact proved to be too much for my self-accountability. Self-preservation is a powerful thing it is easier to place blame elsewhere and overlook your own responsibilities."

Boston went on to beat Montreal that night in overtime by a score of 5-4, knotting their first round best-of-seven series at 2-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Lidstrom Beats Cloutier

On April 21st in 2002, Norris winner Nicklas Lidstrom scored on Vancouver Canucks netminder Dan Cloutier from center ice in the final minute of the second period breaking a 1-1 tie in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarter-finals.

The goal marked a playoff turning point as the Detroit Red Wings won the game 3-1 and overcame a 2-0 series deficit to steal the series 4-2. 52 days later Detroit hoisted the Stanley Cup with Lidstrom taking the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP of the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Today In NHL History - Good Friday Brawl

On April 20th in 1984, divisional rivals Montreal Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques engaged in a now famous fight known simply by its calendar namesake emanating from the perfect storm of NHL playoffs, politics and provincial pride.

The Good Friday Brawl fisticuffs ensued at the end of the second period of Game 6 of the Adams Division Finals and lasted for ten minutes before teams retreated to their respective dressing rooms. Upon surveying the damage to teammate Jean Hamel from a Louis Sleigher sucker punch, the Canadiens returned to settle the score in the final frame.

Montreal beat Quebec that night to seal the series by a margin of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Today In NHL History - Sedin's Disallowed Goal

On April 19th in 2010, Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin deflected a puck off his skate and past Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick in Game 3 of the opening round of the 2010 playoffs, pulling his team within a goal three minutes into the third period.

Ruled a good goal by on-ice referee Steve Kozari, NHL SVP Mike Murphy and the off-ice video review crew overturned the ruling after a lengthy six minute review, causing CBC's Hockey Night In Canada broadcaster Jim Hughson to remark "Wow, that is a most interesting call".

NHL Rule 78.5(ii) states a goal shall be disallowed "when the puck has been kicked using a distinct kicking motion." A "distinct kicking motion" is defined by Rule 38.4(iv) as "one which, with a pendulum motion, the player propels the puck with his skate into the net." Rule 49.2 clarifies, however, that "a puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal".

Absent evidence of a "distinct kicking motion", Murphy was invited to speak with Ron Maclean on HNIC and share the reasoning behind his decision to overturn the on-ice ruling and disallow Sedin's goal.

The interview appeared to further confuse an already perplexed panel.

Maclean: Tell us exactly how you came to your conclusion.

Murphy: ... It [the puck] had to be propelled some way. We felt it was the skate and not a distinct kicking motion but with a kicking motion that made it move back the other way. It wasn't a deflection. It wasn't a redirect. It was a kick. So that's the decision we came up with.

Maclean: If he's just making a stop ... and it [the puck] hits his skate and changes direction, is that a kicking motion?

Murphy: No ... We'll let that stand as a goal. We felt that wasn't the case here. He knew what he was doing.
When questioned the next day as to how Murphy could have known that Sedin "knew what he was doing", Commissioner Bettman deflected the question and controversy, electing instead to defend his staff:
"Mike Murphy was trying to explain at one o'clock in the morning as best he could exactly what was going on. And if he wasn't as articulate as perhaps those looking to parse his words would like, so be it. But as I said, I have complete confidence in Mike Murphy, Colie Campbell, and the entire hockey operations department. I think this whole tact of innuendo and insinuation is both insulting and pure fantasy. And I suggest everyone move on and focus on the fact we are having a dynamic playoffs."
Interestingly, a near identical goal was scored by the same player three months earlier. After video review, that goal was allowed to stand.

Clouding the waters of incompetence with conspiracy, allegations of partiality surfaced as an interview from earlier that season between LAKings.com and the club's former player (10yrs), captain (7yrs), and coach (4yrs) turned NHL SVP revealed Murphy's bias towards the team.
LAKings.com: You were with the Kings from early on in the team’s existence – how have you seen the team change in the time since then?

Murphy: Well I have seen some obvious changes with the colors of the uniforms and the logo and the different arena where they play. What has not changed is the great group of solid hockey fans in Southern California that support and love the Kings, even with the changes. I think it would be so neat to see the Kings succeed and win a Stanley Cup because it would do just a tremendous amount for the Southern California market and the Kings franchise. They have been hard working and very close in a number of years, so that would be nice to see.
The disallowed goal preserved the Kings 4-2 lead en route to a 5-3 win, taking a 2-1 series lead over the Canucks. The win, however, would be the last for Los Angeles as Vancouver ultimately cinched the series 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Today In NHL History - Maple Leafs 3-0 Comeback

On April 18th in 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 3-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final becoming the first NHL team to ever recover from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series and win the round, or in this case the Stanley Cup.
In fact, only 3 of the 172 times a NHL team has trailed 3-0 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series have they comeback to win. The other two times happened in the Quarterfinal round, first in 1975 when the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins and then again in 2010 when the Philadelphia Flyers caught up to the Boston Bruins.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also NHL Playoff Comebacks Trailing 3-0.
* See also NHL Playoff Comebacks Trailing 3-1.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Game 7 History.

Today In NHL History - Dan Boyle's Own Goal

On April 18th in 2010, defenseman Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks backhanded a shortside winner into his own goal with 51 seconds played in sudden death overtime of Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarter-finals to the surprise and chagrin of netminder Evgeni Nabokov.

The gaff, Boyle's first goal of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, gave the 8th seeded Colorado Avalanche a 1-0 win and 2-1 series lead against the top seeded Sharks. Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson finished the game with a 51 save shutout, adding another chapter to his storybook season.

The Sharks won the next three games to take the series 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.