blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: May 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Today In NHL History - Malkin Fights Zetterberg

On May 31st in 2009, with his team trailing 3-1 in the closing seconds of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins attacked Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg.Refs assessed 17 and 5 sin bin minutes, respectively, of which each served only 19 seconds. Despite Malkin's instigator penalty, Colin Campbell refused to enforce Rule 47.22 mandating an automatic one game suspension for such an act in the final five minutes, electing instead to exercise his broad right to rescind.

Thus, rather than sitting for suckering the 2008 Conn Smythe winner, the 2009 Conn Smythe winner-to-be returned in Game 3 to set up three goals en route to a 4-2 win. Absent Malkin's helpers, Detroit may have won Game 3, taking a 3-0 series lead and clinching consecutive Cup wins. Instead, Pittsburgh cut Detroit's series lead in half and won in 7.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Carrying Over Penalties In NHL Playoffs.
* See also Today In NHL History - Malkin Boards Mitchell.

Monday, May 30, 2016

NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Losses

Since the Stanley Cup was dedicated to NHL's top team in 1926, only five franchises (Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red WingsMontreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues) have qualified for consecutive Cup Finals and lost each time.  

Nine times the losing streak was limited to two years though twice a three year streak struck (Toronto 1938-1940, St. Louis 1968-1970).  The charts below describe these streaks by team and years, and vice versa.

Team                  Years
Toronto 1935-1936 (2), 1938-1939-1940 (3), 1959-1960 (2),
Detroit 1941-1942 (2), 1948-1949 (2), 1963-1964 (2)
Montreal 1951-1952 (2), 1954-1955 (2)
Boston 1957-1958 (2), 1977-1978 (2)
St. Louis 1968-1969-1970 (3)

Years                  Team
1935-1936 Toronto
1938-1940 Toronto
1941-1942 Detroit
1948-1949 Detroit
1951-1952 Montreal
1954-1955 Montreal
1957-1958 Boston
1959-1960 Toronto
1963-1964 Detroit
1968-1970 St. Louis 
1977-1978 Boston

Last week, the Tampa Bay Lightning fell one game short of returning to the Stanley Cup Final for their second consecutive year.  Had they qualified and lost to their western conference counterpart, they would have become the sixth franchise on this inglorious list.

* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins.
* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Rematches.

NHL Stanley Cup Final Appearance Droughts

This week the Sharks and Penguins qualified for the 2016 Stanley Cup Final erasing a Stanley Cup Final appearance drought of 25 years and 7 years, respectively, while the NHL's other 28 teams extended their absence by another season. The chart below describes, in descending order, the number of seasons each club has gone without a Cup Final appearance, showing the last year they qualified (if ever).

Team       Seasons           Last Cup Final
Toronto Maple Leafs 
48         
St. Louis Blues
45         
Phoenix Coyotes*
36         
Never
New York Islanders
31         
Montreal Canadiens
22         
Florida Panthers
19         
Nashville Predators
17         
Never
Washington Capitals
17         
Buffalo Sabres
16         
Winnipeg Jets**
16         
Never
Columbus Blue Jackets
15         
Never
Dallas Stars
15         
Minnesota Wild
15         
Never
Colorado Avalanche
14         
Calgary Flames
11         
Carolina Hurricanes
10         
Edmonton Oilers     
10         
Anaheim Ducks
9         
Ottawa Senators      
9         
Detroit Red Wings
7         
Philadelphia Flyers
6         
Vancouver Canucks
5         
New Jersey Devils
4         
Boston Bruins
3         
Los Angeles Kings
2         
New York Rangers
2         
Chicago Blackhawks
1         
Tampa Bay Lightning
1         
Pittsburgh Penguins
0         
San Jose Sharks
0         

*   Includes record of Winnipeg Jets prior to relocation to Phoenix
** Includes record of Atlanta Thrashers prior to relocation to Winnipeg

The average drought rests at roughly 13.5 seasons with Toronto laying claim to the longest at 48 seasons, a streak that began prior to NHL expansion beyond its original six teams. Arguably worse is the fact that 5 of the 30 teams (17%) have never skated in a Final in their franchise history (Phoenix, Nashville, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Columbus), a list that was reduced by one with the Sharks earning their first ever Stanley Cup Final appearance this year.

In ten months the quest for the Cup continues for 16 of the 30 clubs that qualify for the postseason. The goal is to hoist the hardware, but simply qualifying for the Stanley Cup Final would be a step in the right direction.
Indeed, one thing leads to another.

* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Qualification Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Series Win Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Championship Droughts.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Today In NHL History - Lemieux Boards Draper

On May 29th in 1996, Colorado Avalanche cheapshot Claude Lemieux checked Detroit Red Wings grinder Kris Draper face first into the boards in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals igniting a fierce rivalry between the teams that remains to this day.

The hit hospitalized Draper with a concussion, broken nose, fractured jaw, and shattered cheek and orbital bone requiring extensive facial reconstructive surgery, several stitches, and wiring shut his jaw.

Lemieux received a five minute major and match penalty to which the NHL added a two game suspension and $1000 fine. Colorado won the game 4-1 closing out the series that night 4-2 en route to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance sweeping the Florida Panthers. Draper didn't return to hockey until midway through the following season.
That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Bourdon's Motorcycle Crash

On May 29th in 2008, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luc Bourdon, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, died in a motorcycle crash when he collided with a semitrailer near his hometown in New Brunswick.

The accident shocked the hockey community, especially Kris Letang who missed Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals to attend Luc's funeral.


The Canucks honored Luc at their home opener against Calgary, presenting Luc's family with his last game worn jersey and screening a video tribute accompanied by a live performance of "Big League" by Tom Cochrane.

Vancouver shutout Calgary 6-0 with Bourdon's best friend Alex Burrows scoring twice and earning the game's first star. Burrows carried the momentum of that match into a 28 goal breakout season, acknowledging his fallen friend with a bow and arrow tribute from time to time.


Luc Bourdon, forever a Canuck.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Rematches

Since the Stanley Cup was first awarded to the NHL's best in 1926, only 10 times have the same two teams met in the Cup Final in consecutive years. Of those 10 meetings, the same team won both series 7 times and teams split 3 times. Put another way, the Cup champion has successfully defended its title in 7 of the 10 rematches (70%).

The chart below describes every consecutive Cup rematch by year.

Year       Matchup
1932   Toronto over New York*  
1933 New York* over Toronto  
1948 Toronto over Detroit
1949 Toronto over Detroit
1954 Detroit over Montreal
1955 Detroit over Montreal
1957 Montreal over Boston
1958 Montreal over Boston
1959 Montreal over Toronto
1960 Montreal over Toronto
1963 Toronto over Detroit
1964 Toronto over Detroit
1968 Montreal over St. Louis
1969 Montreal over St. Louis
1977 Montreal over Boston 
1978 Montreal over Boston   
1983 New York** over Edmonton     
1984 Edmonton over New York**
2008 Detroit over Pittsburgh
2009 Pittsburgh over Detroit

*   New York Rangers
** New York Islanders

Of the 9 teams (Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins) to compete in Stanley Cup Final rematches, all but two (Boston, St. Louis) have won at least one championship during a rematch series. Never have the same two teams met in more than two consecutive Stanley Cup Finals.

Though teams have enjoyed consecutive Stanley Cup wins (24 times) and suffered consecutive Stanley Cup losses (13 times) over the years, the rematch is a far rarer occurrence (10 times). 

With Chicago losing in the preliminary round and Tampa Bay ousted in the conference final of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, there will be no rematch of last year's finalists in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins.
* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Losses.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Today In NHL History - Gretzky Highsticks Gilmour

On May 27th in 1993, Wayne Gretzky cut Doug Gilmour for eight stitches with a high stick during overtime in Game 6 of the Campbell Conference Final. The unpenalized play left the Great One on the ice to score the winner moments later.


Referee Kerry Fraser's historic non-call, which haunts him and leagues of Leafs fans to this day, invited conspiracy chatter to Don Cherry's Coaches Corner with Torontonians claiming the NHL influenced officiating to ensure Los Angeles would advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

NHL Director of Officiating Brian Lewis later spoke with HNIC host Ron MacLean to discuss the events surrounding the Game 6 non-call.

Gretzky collected a hat trick in Game 7 at Maple Leaf Gardens leading the Kings to a 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs and their franchise first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, which they lost 4-1 to the Montreal Canadiens.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Lindros

On May 26th in 2000, New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens decimated the oft-injured Philadelphia Flyers forward Eric Lindros with an open ice hit midway through the first period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.


The hit represents Lindros' final on-ice moment as a member of the Flyers as he was kept from skating for six months, missed the entire 2001 season, and was ultimately traded to the New York Rangers.

New Jersey beat Philadelphia 2-1 and went on to defeat the defending Cup champion Dallas Stars 4-2 in the Finals, hoisting their first Stanley Cup in 5 years. Stevens took the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

That's today in NHL history

* See also Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Kozlov.
* See also Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Kariya.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Today In NHL History - Boston Blackout

On May 24th in 1988, a transformer blowout blackened a fog-filled Boston Garden with 3:27 remaining in the middle frame of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers.
Deemed an Act of God, NHL president John Ziegler canceled the 3-3 match rescheduling it two nights later at Northlands Coliseum.

The Oilers won Game 4-A by a score of 6-3 sweeping the Bruins en route to their 5th Stanely Cup in 7 years and set a modern record for the fewest games needed to hoist the hardware (18).
That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The IIHF Triple Gold Club

Of the over 15,000 World Championship participants seeking gold since 1930, 9,000 that have skated for the Stanley Cup since 1893, and 4,000 that have competed for Olympic Gold since 1920, only 27 players and one coach have won all three titles. These accomplished 28 are recognized with membership in hockey's most exclusive association, the IIHF's Triple Gold Club.

The club includes individuals from Canada (11), Sweden (9), Russia (6), and the Czech Republic (2), of which the majority are forwards (21) with remainder rounded out by defensemen (6) and one coach. No goalies have earned the honor. All members are listed below by date of admission.

Player                             Country            Date of Admission
Tomas Jonsson Sweden February 27, 1994
Mats Naslund Sweden February 27, 1994
Hakan Loob Sweden February 27, 1994
Valeri Kamensky Russia June 10, 1996
Alexei Gusarov Russia June 10, 1996
Peter Forsberg Sweden June 10, 1996
Viacheslav Fetisov Russia June 7, 1997
Igor Larianov Russia June 7, 1997
Alexander Mogilny Russia June 10, 2000
Vladimir Malakhov Russia June 10, 2000
Rob Blake Canada February 24, 2002
Joe Sakic Canada February 24, 2002
Brendan Shanahan Canada February 24, 2002
Scott Niedermayer Canada May 9, 2004
Jaromir Jagr Czech May 15, 2005
Jiri Slegr Czech May 15, 2005
Nicklas Lidstrom Sweden February 26, 2006
Fredrick Modin Sweden February 26, 2006
Chris Pronger Canada June 6, 2007
Niklas Kronwall Sweden June 4, 2008
Henrik Zetterberg Sweden June 4, 2008
Mikael Samuelsson Sweden June 4, 2008
Eric Staal Canada February 28, 2010
Jonathan Toews Canada June 9, 2010
Patrice Bergeron Canada June 15, 2011
Sidney Crosby Canada May 17, 2015
Corey Perry Canada May 22, 2016

Coach                             Country            Date of Admission
Mike Babcock Canada February 28, 2010

During a Triple Gold Club induction ceremony held at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Zetterberg described the challenges of the different championships and the camaraderie of his co-members.

Of the 28 Triple Gold Club cardholders, only three (Viacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Peter Forsberg) have completed a Triple Gold Club Double winning each of the requisite three championships twice.  

The next logical step in IIHF recognition is the creation of a Quadruple Gold Club adding World Junior Championship gold to the mix. To date, only 12 players (7 Canadian, 5 Russian) have achieved such status (Kamensky, Gusarov, Fetisov, Larianov, Mogilny, Sakic, Neidermayer, Pronger, Toews, Bergeron, Crosby, Perry) with Fetisov and Larionov being the sole pair to turn a Quadruple Gold Club Double, taking each title twice.

Corey Perry is the most recent inductee into the Triple Gold Club, joining upon Canada's 2-0 gold medal win in the 2016 World Hockey Championship against Finland.  Sidney Crosby remains the only member to have captained all three qualifying teams.  Jonathan Toews is the youngest to complete the feat entering at 22 years and 41 days old.


Only Jay Bouwmeester (St. Louis Blues) and Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks) remain eligible for entry into this elite club this season, with a Stanley Cup win needed by Blues and Sharks, respectively.

* See also Olympic Gold And Stanley Cup In Same Year.

Today In NHL History - Bergeron Saves Goal

On May 22nd in 2010, Montreal Canadiens blueliner Marc-Andre Bergeron saved an empty net goal with 2 minutes remaining in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Flyers sophomore forward Claude Giroux found the Habs empty net 36 seconds later to secure a 3-0 win. Philadelphia won the series 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick Fights Blues

On May 17th in 1995, Gino Odjick of the Vancouver Canucks attacked all five St. Louis Blues skaters in the third period of Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in response to Glenn Anderson spearing Pavel Bure in the eye earlier in the previous game.


The Canucks lost the game that night 8-2 but won the series 4-3.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick.
* See also Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick Runs Hasek.
* See also Today In NHL History - Odjick's Penalty Shot.