blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: February 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today In NHL History - Jason Spezza's Own Goal

On February 28th in 2009, Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators mishandled a clearing attempt and scored an own goal on his backstop Brian Elliot, giving their Northeast division rival Toronto Maple Leafs a 2-0 lead with four minutes remaining in the first period.

The miscue was credited to Maple Leafs rookie Tim Stapeton, the first goal of his NHL career. Ottawa answered with three straight to lead 3-2 before Toronto tied it up, as the second overall pick from the 2001 Draft sat in the sin bin for hooking. Toronto won the game in overtime 4-3.

That's today in NHL history.

Team Canada's 2010 Olympic Motto

Before setting out on any journey it's crucial the goal be defined. With this in mind, Team Canada coach Mike Babcock sat down with advertising guru Rick Larsen to pen the purpose of Canada's Olympic residence. The resulting text was posted in the team's dressing room for the tournament.

LEAVE NO DOUBT
That this is our game.
That this is our time.
That 14 days in February will be 2 weeks for the ages.
That every day counts.
That every meeting matters.
That every practice makes a difference.
That each one of us will rise to every occasion.
That this isn't about us, it's about our country.
That we know 33 million Canadians will attend every game.
That home ice is an advantage.
That nothing can distract us.
That nothing will stop us.
That our determination will define us.
That we are built to win.
That we are a team of character.
That we are a team of destiny.
So let the world be warned on February 28, 2010, we will …
LEAVE NO DOUBT

And on February 28th Canada beat the USA 3-2 to win gold . . .

. . . leaving no doubt. Well done boys, you've made your country proud.

* See also Today In NHL History - Canada Wins Gold (2010).

Today In NHL History - Canada Wins Gold (2010)

On February 28th in 2010, Team Canada beat Team USA with a golden goal in overtime of the gold medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver 3-2, marking the second time in eight years the two teams played for gold with Canada coming out on top.With Canada leading 2-0 midway through the match on goals from Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry, Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler put USA on the board late in the second period and Zach Parise tied the game with 25 seconds remaining in the third period. Sidney Crosby scored the overtime winner seven minutes into the extra frame and Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo collected the win.The entire game may be seen here with a comprehensive oral history here.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Team Canada's 2010 Olympic Motto.
* See also Today In NHL History - Canada Wins Gold (2002).

Monday, February 27, 2017

Today In NHL History - Forsberg's Shootout Gold

On February 27th in 1994, Peter Forsberg scored a Kent Nilsson-style goal against Canada's Corey Hirsch giving Sweden their first gold medal in a 3-2 shootout win in Lillehammer and landing himself on a Swedish stamp.

The deke, since dubbed The Paralyzer, has been repeated by Finnish forward Jussi Jokinen in several NHL shootout attempts.

The inaugural effort, authored by Elitserian Golden Puck winner Mr. Magic, was a game winning goal leading Sweden past USA by a score of 4-2 during the 1989 World Ice Hockey Championships. That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Today In NHL History - Sweden Wins Gold (2006)

On February 26th in 2006, Sweden defeated rival Finland 3-2 in Turin claiming their second ever Olympic gold medal, 12 years after their first.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Forsberg's Shootout Gold.

Today In NHL History - Fiddler's Bieksa Impression

On February 26th in 2012, Dallas Stars forward Vernon Fiddler skated past the Vancouver Canucks bench with three minutes remaining in a scoreless first period, delivering a deadpan impersonation of blueliner Kevin Bieksa complete with angry face and choppy stride.

The performance, staged mere hours before the 84th Academy Awards, gave Bieksa a belly laugh but sent head coach Alain Vigneault into a laughing fit lasting more than a minute - an earnest display of amusement rarely exhibited by a bench boss during a match.


A week later Bieksa discussed the incident on CBC's After Hours noting that Fiddler's not the first to attempt the death stare, "there's a couple of other muppets around the league that have been trying to do it".

Dallas beat Vancouver that afternoon in overtime by a score of 3-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Today In NHL History - Canada Wins Gold (2002)

On February 24th in 2002, Canada beat USA at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City by a score of 5-2, winning the country's first men's ice hockey Olympic gold medal in 50 years.
Despite Executive Director Wayne Gretzky's expertly assembled squad and a pair of goals from each of Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla, some attribute the win to Canadian born icemaker Trent Evans buring a loonie at center ice. Others claim the country was due. Either way, the final ignited a bitter rivalry between the sides that remains to this day.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Canada Wins Gold (2010).
* See also Team Canada's 2010 Olympic Motto.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today In NHL History - Weber Shoots Through Net

On February 23rd in 2010, Nashville Predators blueliner Shea Weber suited up for Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics and blasted a slapshot past San Jose Sharks German goaltender Thomas Greiss that tore through the net.

When questioned whether Weber had ever witnessed a puck go through the net, the deadpanned defenseman remarked, "Yeah, I do it every day". Canada beat Germany that night by a score of 8-2, eliminating them from the 2010 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey tournament.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Today In NHL History - Czech Republic Wins Gold

On February 21st in 1998, the Czech Republic beat Russia 1-0 to capture the gold medal in the Winter Olympics Games in Nagano, the first such tournament involving NHL athletes. The lone goal came from Petr Svoboda with Dominik Hasek collecting the shutout.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - McSorley Sticks Brashear

On February 21st in 2000, Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins swung his stick and struck Vancouver Canucks forward Donald Brashear in the head with three seconds remaining in the third period, rendering him a bloodied, unconscious and convulsing mass.

Presumably intended to target the shoulder and spark a rematch to a first period scrap, the vicious miscue came dangerously close to killing Brashear. With doctors attending to the unconscious Canuck, goaltender Garth Snow skated the length of the ice to fight McSorley as fans littered the ice with debris and officials attempted to remove him from the rink.

Initially suspended by the NHL for the final 23 games of the season (forfeiting $72,000 in pay), the league extended the banishment to one full year after McSorley was charged, convicted and sentenced by a Canadian court to 18 months probation for assault with a weapon.

McSorley never skated again in the NHL. The assault remains the last act of the 4th all-time penalty minute leader's 17 season storied career.
The Canucks beat the Bruins that night by a score of 5-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Today In NHL History - Brad Stuart Beats Crawford

On February 20th in 2015, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Brad Stuart flipped a 92 foot center ice wrist shot past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford with just over five minutes remaining in the final frame at the United Center.

Crawford's miscue came as the third goal allowed in just three minutes, breaking a 1-1 tie through 51 minutes. To be fair, the preceding pair were powerplay markers, including a 5 on 3 score. The goal was Stuart's second of the season, keeping him on pace to match his prior year production of three goals.


The Avalanche held on to beat the Blackhawks by a score of 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Bure's Five Goal Game

On February 20th in 1998, Pavel Bure scored five goals in a single Olympic game leading Russia to a 7-4 semifinal win over Finland.
Two days later, however, the captain and his comrades were blanked by Domink Hasek losing 1-0 to the Czechs in the gold medal game.
Bure finished the tournament with nine goals in six games and was named the top forward at the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Hasek Stops Canada

On February 20th in 1998, Dominik Hasek shutout Canada in a semifinal shootout to carry the Czechs to the gold medal game in Nagano.

Tied 1-1 at the end of regulation with goals from Jiri Slegr and Trevor Linden, the teams engaged in an Olympic ten minute overtime and ultimately a shootout to settle the score. Of the Canadian shooters (Theo Fleury, Ray Bourque, Joe Nieuwendyk, Eric Lindros, Brendan Shanahan) none beat Hasek. Of the Czechs selected (Robert Reichel, Martin Rucinsky, Pavel Patera, Jaromir Jagr) only Reichel beat Roy.

In light of the loss, Coach Marc Crawford was widely criticized for selecting Bourque to shoot instead of proven scorers Wayne Gretzky or Steve Yzerman. He defended his choice claiming Bourque's accuracy outweighed Gretzky's apparent mediocre breakaway success.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Today In NHL History - USA Vandalizes Nagano

On February 19th in 1998, the US men's hockey team disgraced their country, the NHL, and themselves by vandalising the Olympic village in Nagano after losing 4-1 to the Czechs and being eliminated from the Games.

Their childish frat boy antics resulted in extensive damage to the residences including broken chairs and emptied fire extinguishers that were then tossed from their 5th floor perch. Making matters worse, the cowardly culprits left Japan without an apology reinforcing the 'Ugly American' stereotype abroad in the first Olympics with NHL players.

Chris Chelios, captain of the 6th placed team, later issued an apology and sent a $3000 check to cover the damages. No names were uncovered in Bettman's investigation though with a roster featuring Roenick, Tkachuk, and Hull it's not hard to imagine who might be responsible.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Today In NHL History - Samuelsson's Olympic Exit

On February 17th in 1998, Ulf Samuelsson was dismissed from Sweden's hockey team and sent home from the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano when officials deemed he was no longer legally a citizen of Sweden on account of his receipt of a U.S. passport.

What started as an off-hand post-practice comment from Sports Illustrated hockey writer Michael Farber to Swedish journalist Janne Bengtsson ("Why would we give a dirty player like that U.S. citizenship?") sparked an investigation into the legalities of dual citizenship, or lack thereof, revealing that under Swedish law the acquisition of a foreign passport annulled local citizenship.

The next day Bengtsson confronted Sweden Ice Hockey Association President and IIHF council member Rickard Fagerlund with his findings during the first intermission of Sweden's match with Belarus. During the second period team manager Bo Tovland confirmed Samuelsson's possession of a U.S. passport and thus his ineligibility to play for Sweden.

Despite being allowed to keep the points collected with an ineligible player, Sweden lost 2-1 to Finland in the quarterfinals finishing fifth in the tournament. Bengtsson returned home to death threats and a devastated Samuelsson never suited up for his homeland again.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Willie Mitchell's Long Stick

On February 17th in 2009, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell skated through a pre-game warmup against the Calgary Flames with an 80 inch stick in response to coach Mike Keenan's accusation of illegal lumber.
Mitchell, who plays with a league maximum 63 inch stick, invited Iron Mike to borrow his tape measure and take a shot at Rule 10.5. Keenan declined the offer, refusing to test the twig. Vancouver beat Calgary that night 4-3 with big Willie picking up an assist on the evening.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Jason Spezza's Illegal Stick.
* See also Today In NHL History - McSorley's Illegal Stick.