Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Today In NHL History - CBC Fires Dave Hodge

On March 14th in 1987, Hockey Night In Canada host Dave Hodge was fired for an irreverent pencil flip in response to the CBC's decision to exit an overtime period between the Canadiens and Flyers in favor of the news.

Disgusted with the move, impacting all Canadian viewers outside of Quebec, Hodge added "That's the way things go these days in sports and at this network. We'll leave you in suspense. Good night from Hockey Night in Canada."

Hodge was replaced the following week by Red Deer radio veteran and Hockey Night In Canada freshman Western correspondent Ron MacLean, and dismissed shortly thereafter. MacLean has remained a fixture ever since.

Montreal and Philadelphia played to a 3-3 overtime tie that night.

That's today in NHL history

Today In NHL History - Downie Slewfoots Crosby

On March 14th in 2010, Tampa Bay Lightning cheapshot Steve Downie slewfooted Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby in what appeared to be an attempt to blow out the captain's knee in the first minute of the game.

On-ice officials assessed Downie a two minute roughing penalty to which NHL chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell added a meager $1,000 fine, refraining from suspending the repeat offender on the "dangerous play". The fine amounted to less than 10% of Downie's game day pay.

Crosby returned to set up the game winner in a 2-1 Penguins victory.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Downie Punches Blake.
* See also Today In NHL History - Downie Hits McAmmond.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Today In NHL History - Pronger Stomps Kesler

On March 12th in 2008, blueliner Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks stomped his skate blade on the calf of Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler in an awesome display of unsportsmanlike behavior, further cementing his reputation as one of the elite cheapshots in the NHL.

Upon initial review of the unpenalized play, NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell failed to see what Canucks color commentator Tom Larsheid described, and chose not to suspend the Hart and Norris winner.

A better angle surfaced the next day and Pronger was suspended for the 8th time, this time for 8 games. Interestingly, the sentence was far less than the 30 games Chris Simon received for a similar act against Jarkko Ruutu a year earlier, a discrepancy bemoaned by Simon.

The Ducks beat the Canucks that night by a score of 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Today In NHL History - Jason Spezza's Illegal Stick

On March 9th in 2009, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson called for a measurement of Jason Spezza's stick, down one goal with two minutes to play. Suspecting something was afoot, the Senator snapped his stick and headed for the bench. Referee Stephane Auger followed the forward and confiscated the contraband.

Making no secret of shaving his blades, as described in this interview one year earlier, Spezza was assessed a two minute penalty for the infraction.

Aware of the illegal blade all season, Wilson described the stick as dangerous and explained that he wanted to reward his players for their efforts in a hard fought edition of the Battle of Ontario. Ottawa held off Toronto on the ensuing powerplay to win by a score of 2-1.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - McSorley's Illegal Stick.
* See also Today In NHL History - Willie Mitchell's Long Stick.

Today In NHL History - Backstrom's Own Goal

On March 9th in 2008, Washington Capitals rookie center Nicklas Backstrom had the misfortune of scoring an extremely untimely own goal against goaltender Cristobal Huet, breaking a deadlocked game to give their archrival Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 lead with 28 seconds to play.

Adding insult to injury, the blunder was credited to Ovechkin's nemesis-in-chief, notorious Washington Capitals killer Sidney Crosby.

Pittsburgh added an empty net goal 15 seconds later to clinch the victory by a score of 4-2, continuing their dominance of the Southeast studs.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Today In NHL History - Simon Sticks Hollweg

On March 8th in 2007, Chris Simon of the New York Islanders viciously struck New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg in the face with his stick midway through the third period in retaliation to a concussion-inducing check.

Hollweg escaped with only two stitches from the blow. An apologetic Simon was assessed a NHL record 25 game suspension for the egregious act, a marker he would surpass nine months later when he stomped his skate on Jarkko Ruutu's leg earning a 30 game suspension.

The Rangers scored on the ensuing powerplay to beat the Islanders 2-1.

That's today in NHL history.