blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Today In NHL History - Plante's Goalie Mask

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Today In NHL History - Plante's Goalie Mask

On November 1st in 1959, Jacques Plante took a wrist shot in the face from Hart winner Andy Bathgate. Seven stitches and 21 minutes later, Plante returned wearing a mask to the chagrin of Canadiens coach Toe Blake, forever changing the face of NHL goaltending.

Plante had been using the homemade mask during practices but no goalie ever wore one in a game.  Despite Blake's protest, Plante refused to return to the ice without additional protection and Blake had no backup.  The Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers by a score of 3–1.

Plante maintained the mask long after his injury healed launching an 18 game unbeaten streak in the process.  Ironically, the streak snapped when Blake requested the seven-time Vezina winner and six-time Stanley Cup champion to remove the mask, resulting in a 3-0 loss to Detroit.

Interestingly, prior to his "Let's Make A Deal" television fame, Monty Hall was a radio analyst for the New York Rangers during the 1959-1960 season and covered the game at issue.  In a recent interview with Marc Maron for the WTF podcast, Monty recalls the injury, ensuing delay and the moment a masked-Plante returned to the resounding disapproval of MSG fans who showered the backstop with boos.

A comprehensive history of this landmark NHL moment has been scribed by Stu Hackel of The New York Times and may be found here.

That's today in NHL history.

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