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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Today In NHL History - Richard Zednik's Throat Slit

On February 10, 2008, Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik had his throat inadvertently slit by the skate blade of falling teammate Olli Jokinen midway through the third period of a match against the Buffalo Sabres.

Despite spilling five pints of blood, doctors performed emergency surgery and managed to save Zednik's life. He was released from the hospital six days later and met the press four days after that to share his story.

Zednik missed the remainder of the season, returning the following year to earn a Masterton nomination. The incident marked the second such skate blade throat slashing Buffalonians had witnessed, the first being Sabres netminder Clint Malarchuk's accident 19 years earlier.

After a 15 minute delay to remove the blood and upon learning that Zednik was in stable condition, NHL VP Colin Campbell elected to complete the game. Buffalo beat Florida that night by a score of 5-3.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Malarchuk's Throat Slit.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Today In NHL History - Sittler's Ten Point Game

On February 7th in 1976, Darryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs collected 10 points (6G, 4A) on 10 shots in a single NHL game against goalie David Reece, including hat tricks in the both second and third periods, en route to an 11-4 win over Adams division rival Boston Bruins.

The performance broke the previous single game point record of eight originally set by Maurice Richard in 1944. Sittler's record survived the Gretzky and Lemieux era and stands to this day. "Wrong Place at the Wrong Time" Reece never played another game in the NHL.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Buble Colors Canucks

On February 7th in 2009, Burnaby-born crooner and Vancouver Canucks fan Michael Buble took part in his most famous duet to date taking a turn in Tom Larscheid's shoes to color John Shorthouse's call.

Buble delivered a healthy dose of hometown bias to the play-by-play broadcast including a cover of Paul Leka's anthem midway through the match en route to the Canucks 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Humbled by the experience, the part owner of the Vancouver Giants praised Larschied acknowledging the difficulty of the job, and invited Shorthouse onstage to sing "Feeling Good" when he next plays in town.

Eighteen months later the pair reunited in song for a tweaked rendition of "Thanks for the Memory" to honor the recently retired Tom Larscheid in front of a sold-out hometown audience at Rogers Arena.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Today In NHL History - Linden Trade (VAN-NYI)

On February 6th in 1998, Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Keenan and New York Islanders GM Mike Milbury traded talent sending Trevor Linden to Long Island in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, and a third round pick in the 1998 NHL Draft (Jarkko Ruutu).

The unpopular move was one of ten during a two month span, gutting the core of the Canucks. Brian Burke replaced Keenan as GM four months later and relieved Iron Mike of his coaching duties the following year, ending his troubled fourteen month tenure with the team.

The Canucks reacquired Linden in 2001 and Captain Canuck played his remaining days with the club that selected him second overall in the 1988 Draft, retiring on the 20th anniversary of that memorable day.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Today In NHL History - Bieksa Saves And Scores

On February 4th in 2012, Vancouver Canucks blueliner Kevin Bieksa made a spectacular diving save to prevent an empty net goal by T.J. Galiardi with 48 seconds to play, then fired a stanchion-deflected puck past goalie Jean-Sebastien Gigeure 14 seconds later to tie the game.
After a scoreless overtime, Mason Raymond collected the shootout's only goal to complete the Canucks unlikely 3-2 comeback against Colorado.

A complete analysis of the stanchion-assisted effort, courtesy of The Province's The Legion of Blog, may be found here.

Bieksa's history with stanchion-deflected goals is well-documented, the most famous of which came in double overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final eliminating the San Jose Sharks and advancing the Canucks to their first Stanley Cup Final in 17 years.
That's today in NHL History.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Today In NHL History - Burrows Snaps Streak

On February 3rd in 2009, Vancouver Canucks undrafted forward Alex Burrows snapped the club's 8 game losing streak (and 9 game home losing streak) in dramatic fashion converting a shorthanded breakaway with his signature forehand-backhand move against the Carolina Hurricanes unlocking a 3-3 tie with 82 seconds to play.

Burrows celebrated the crucial marker mimicking the snapping of his stick over his knee, acknowledging the end of the streak. The Canucks killed the remaining 25 seconds of Carolina's powerplay and held on for the final 57 seconds of the game to win by a score of 4-3.

During their 2009 win-less span, the Canucks' win-loss record slipped from 22-15-5 to 22-20-8. Burrow's shorthanded goal, however, sparked the club to win 23 of their remaining 32 games, finishing the season with a 45-27-10 overall record and clinching the Northwest Division title.

Likely saving Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault's job with the win, Burrows was tested on the team's top line with twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin two games later. Sensing the chemistry between the trio, GM Mike Gillis wisely quadrupled Burrows' $525,000 salary three weeks thereafter with a four year contract paying $2 million per year.

The top-line experiment proved fruitful for all involved, with Henrik and Daniel Sedin leading the NHL in points in successive years (2010, 2011) and Burrows posting four consecutive 25+ goal seasons (2009-2012).

This streak-snapping celebration was repeated three years later when Burrows scored a game-winning shootout goal on Jimmy Howard with the same forehand-backhand move to beat the Red Wings 4-3 at the Joe, ending Detroit's NHL record setting 23 game home winning streak.

That's today in NHL history.