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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Today In NHL History - Phaneuf Shatters Glass

On January 22nd in 2008, the blistering slapshot of Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf shattered two separate panes of glass behind Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding six minutes apart during the first period of play.

Phaneuf's first blast was fired from the Minnesota Wild blueline with the second emanating 120 feet away inside the Flames own end at the buzzer. Calgary beat Minnesota that night by a score of 2-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Today In NHL History - Martin Hanzal's No Goal

On January 20th in 2011, Phoenix Coyotes 6'5" forward Martin Hanzal used his stick to strike a puck floating at face level of 6'3" defenseman Matt Greene into the Los Angeles Kings net, violating Rule 78.5(vi).
Incorrectly ruled a goal by on-ice official Justin St. Pierre, NHL SVP of hockey operations Mike Murphy upheld the absurd call after a lengthy video review claiming there was no conclusive evidence to support the notion that Hanzal's contact was made above the 4 foot crossbar.

Adding to Hanzal's surprise ("I thought it was going to be a high stick") and coach Terry Murray's confusion ("It makes no sense, I don't know why we have video replay in the NHL") with the officiating, Kings GM Dean Lombardi attacked Murphy for the irresponsible call, claiming:

"When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the G.M.'s job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls."
Despite an apology to Murphy the next morning, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman fined Lombardi $50,000 for the outburst, noting:
"There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League's Hockey Operations Department in general or Mike Murphy, in particular. People can disagree with a call by an official on the ice or an official in the Situation Room in Toronto, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Lombardi did. Mike Murphy is a devoted caretaker of the game. His commitment to the National Hockey League, all 30 of its Clubs -- and to the game -- is beyond challenge, question or debate."
The Coyotes added another goal to beat the Kings by a score of 2-0.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Today In NHL History - First Black Player In NHL

On January 18th in 1958, Willie O'Ree dressed for the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens becoming the first black person to play in the NHL. The Fredericton native skated in 45 NHL games, collecting four goals and ten assists, before leaving the league in 1961.


O'Ree went on to play for 13 years in the WHL, primarily with the Los Angeles Blades and San Diego Gulls, winning two league scoring titles (1964, 1968) in the process. Today, O'Ree serves as the NHL's Director of Youth Development and Ambassador for Diversity.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Flames Line Brawl Canucks

On January 18th in 2014, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley iced his fourth line brawlers to commence CBC's Hockey Day In Canada finale. Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella reluctantly responded in-kind igniting a line brawl yielding 152 penalty minutes and eight player ejections two seconds into the match. Sensing the imminent ambush, veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa swapped spots with rookie Kellan Lain to win his first ever NHL faceoff before being jumped by winger-turned-center Kevin Westgarth. Traveling 4,400 kilometers from Oakville, Ontario to witness their son's first NHL game, Kellan's parents instead saw him ejected after 2 seconds of ice-time resulting in a fight and 15 penalty minutes.

Fuming from the incident, Tortorella berated Hartley on the bench and then met him outside the Flames' dressing room between periods to finish personally delivering his thoughts on the affair; a shortsighted gesture likely to result in a suspension and fine. 
Questioned about his decision to match Hartley's fourth line bruisers to begin the game, Torts explained he had no choice.

"I see the starting lineup and I know the other guys across the bench and it's easy for people to say well put the Sedins out there and it's deflated.  I can't put our players at risk that way.  With the lineup he [Hartley] had I'm not going to put those types of players at risk.  And that's what ensues.  I'm not proud of it.  I've apologized to every one of the players involved in it.  I don't feel great about it at all.  Especially [Kellan] Lain.  That's my biggest mistake is putting Lane in that lineup.  And I'll kick myself forever not having someone else there but I'd do the same thing again if it came that way because I cannot put anyone else out there not knowing what's going to happen and knowing the other guy [Hartley] across from me."

While Torts was mum about the purpose and potential ramifications of his excursion to the visitor's dressing room between periods, Flames coach Hartley described the scene and refuted any suggestion his opening lineup presumed foul play remarking, "those guys are playing well for us, they got us a goal last game, we had absolutely zero intention there". Instigator Kevin Westgarth, on the other hand, was a bit more candid in his assessment of the opening draw, noting the team's struggles of late and his role to "get the boys going anyway I can".  Short four skaters aside, the teams played 65 minutes with 204 penalty minutes, collecting 33 shots each and combining for 33 hits with top defensive pairs logging over 33 minutes (including a 38:05 minute effort from Dennis Wideman, the most minutes logged in a NHL regular season game in 11 years), and #33 leaving after 40 minutes owing to injury.

The Canucks took the shootout's 5th round to beat the Flames by a final score of 3-2, ending a wild night between the Pacific Division rivals.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Owen Nolan's Called Shot

On January 18th in 1997, San Jose Sharks forward Owen Nolan called his shot and scored on a breakaway against Buffalo Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek with 2 minutes left in the 47th NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, completing the hat trick and sending hometown fans into a frenzy.

Hasek's Eastern Team defeated Nolan's Western Squad 11-7 with MVP honors going to Mark Recchi who hat tricked for the winning side.

That's today in NHL history

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Today In NHL History - Bure Trade (VAN-FLA)

On January 17th in 1999, Vancouver Canucks superstar Pavel Bure was traded to the Florida Panthers along with Bret Hedican, Brad Ference, and a third round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft (Robert Fried) in exchange for Ed Jovanovski, Dave Gagner, Mike Brown, Kevin Weekes, and a first round pick in 2000 (Nathan Smith).

The seeds of the trade were sewn on July 5, 1998 when Bure demanded a trade for personal reasons, later revealed to include alienation by management coupled with several bitter contract negotiations, claiming he would never again play for the club. He didn't and Canucks GM Brian Burke eventually orchestrated a trade with Panthers GM Bryan Murray.

That's today in NHL history.