blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

Today In NHL History - Ruutu Punks Phaneuf

On November 5th in 2005, Vancouver Canucks resident pest Jarkko Ruutu punked Calgary Flames rookie defenseman Dion Phaneuf, flirting with fisticuffs then falling the 2003 first round draft pick with his stick. Adding injury to insult, Phaneuf was assessed a two minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play. Calgary survived the ensuing 5-on-3 powerplay, four minutes into the final frame, and held on to beat Vancouver that night by a score of 1-0.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Béliveau's Hat Trick

On November 5th in 1955, Jean Béliveau scored three powerplay goals in 44 seconds against Boston Bruins netminder Terry Sawchuck collecting the fastest hat trick in Montreal Canadiens club history.

Trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Montreal unit of Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Jean Béliveau, Maurice Richard, and Bert Olmstead dominated Boston with a two-man advantage as sin-binners Cal Gardner and Hal Laycoe looked on. The hat trick remains the second fastest in NHL history behind Bill Mosienko's 21 second effort in 1952. Le Gros Bill added an even strength score en route to a 4-2 win.

The performance resulted in a rule change, passed on a 5-1 vote prior to the 1956-57 season, allowing players serving minor penalties to return after a single power play goal. Naturally, Montreal opposed the proposal.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Today In NHL History - Helm's Halloween Costume

On October 31st in 2010, Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm dressed up as his locker room stallmate and sometimes linemate Todd Bertuzzi, complete with matching fake tattoos courtesy of Jeff Shea at Wholeshot Tattoo and favorite pieces from the veteran's wardrobe.

Triple-taken by the sight of Helm when arriving at the team's Halloween party, Bertuzzi described the costume and ensuing impersonation as "awesome", noting "he's a good kid and he did a really good job".

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Today In NHL History - Gretzky's Jersey Typo

On October 30th in 1997, New York Rangers forward Wayne Gretzky skated in a game against cross-river rival New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum with his name mispelled "Gretkzy" on the back of his jersey.

Far from an isolated incident in the world of sport with typos and misspellings abound, rarely does it involve the sports greatest player of all time skating for one of the league's highest profile teams. Even rapper Kanye West agrees this is the greatest jersey foul of all-time.


The Islanders beat the Rangers that night by a score of 5-3.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Today In NHL History - Richards Shatters Glass

On October 28th in 2010, Dallas Stars forward Brad Richards fired a blistering center ice slapshot over Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and through the glass with three minutes remaining in the final frame.

The Kings topped the Stars that night 5-2 before the then-smallest crowd in Dallas Stars history, announced as 11,306 but closer to 5,000, owing in part to fans staying home to watch their Major League Baseball city sibling Texas Rangers play in Game 2 of the World Series.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Today In NHL History - Jones Boards Bergeron

On October 27th in 2007, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Randy Jones brutally boarded Patrice Bergeron face-first into the glass, leaving the Boston Bruins forward unconscious with three minutes remaining in the first period.
Bergeron exited the ice strapped to a stretcher, having suffered a broken nose and concussion on the play, and missed the remaining 72 games of the season. An apologetic Jones was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct to which the NHL added a two game suspension, forcing the Flyer to forfeit $5,614.98 in salary. Philadelphia beat Boston that night 2-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Today In NHL History - Richards Hits Booth

On October 24th in 2009, Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards blindsided winger David Booth with a vicious hit to the head rendering the Florida Panthers forward bloodied and unconscious.

Booth left on a stretcher and missed the next 45 games owing to a concussion incurred on the play. Richards received a five minute major and ten minute game misconduct but was not subsequently fined or suspended for the act. Philadelphia beat Florida that night 5-1.

Five months later the NHL outlawed such blindside hits in order to reduce head injuries. The language of the law is captured in Rule 48.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Today In NHL History - Milan Lucic Hits Van Ryn

On October 23rd in 2008, Boston Bruins power forward Milan Lucic delivered a crushing check against Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Van Ryn shattering the TD Garden glass early in the second period of play.

Neither player was injured during the incident though a few front row fans were cut by glass. Toronto beat Boston that night by a score of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Today In NHL History - Gretzky's Wife Knocked Out

On October 22nd in 1997, Wayne Gretzky's wife Janet Jones was bloodied and knocked unconscious when a heavy hit by New York Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson on Chicago Blackhawks forward Sergei Krivokrasov dislodged a large pane of plexi-glass striking the 36 year old actress.
Jones was treated by team doctors before being carried out of Madison Square Garden on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital where she spent the night, diagnosed with a mild concussion and receiving several stitches in her lower lip.

Gretzky finished the final six minutes of the game before joining his wife. The Blackhawks shutout the Rangers that night by a score of 1-0.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Today In NHL History - Red Wings Honor Rucker

On October 21st in 2010, the Detroit Red Wings honored the recent passing of 38 year season ticket holder and super-fan Kenneth Rucker, a retired Chrysler forklift driver who suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 63.

Recognized by the Joe Louis Arena faithful simply as the "Orange Hat Guy", Rucker was often featured on the scoreboard screen during Red Wings home games accompanied by R.E.M. song "Orange Crush".

In honor of Rucker's decades of unwavering support for the club, ownership elected to reupholster his season's seat (section 112, row 7, seat 5) from Red Wing red to Rucker orange for the remainder of the 2011 season.

In addition to setting a new high water mark for fan appreciation, Detroit outclassed the Calgary Flames that night by a score of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Today In NHL History - Shorthouse Wins 50/50

On October 20th in 2005, Vancouver Canucks voices John Shorthouse and Tom Larscheid won $20,000 in the 50/50 draw benefiting local charities for children during a home game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Having played the popular lottery at every Canucks home game since they began working together in 1998, the giddy pair celebrated their first ever 50/50 win with four minutes remaining in the third period. An audio clip of their unbridled excitement can be heard here.

Despite rumors spread by morning radio mouthpiece Neil MacRae suggesting the pair engaged in fisticuffs over the winnings, Shorthouse dispelled the nonsense explaining "there was enough hugging between two grown men to make even the cast of Will & Grace uncomfortable".

The Canucks beat the Coyotes 3-2 that night in what Shorty described as "the greatest night of hockey ever at GM Place".

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Today In NHL History - Mike Smith's Goal

On October 19th in 2013, Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith gloved a Mikael Samuelsson wrist shot with three seconds to play and promptly fired it 190 feet into the Detroit Red Wings empty net with 1/10th of a second remaining to become the 11th netminder in NHL history to be credited with a goal. 
Coyotes assistant GM Sean Burke was not surprised by the goal having seen Smith's swagger and puck-handling prowess firsthand, "I’ve told people before, he’s going to score a goal at some point – and he’s probably not done. He’ll score again. The way he fired that puck last night, if you gave him 25 pucks, he can do that 25 times. It’s not just a guy who got lucky and it went in. He can do that consistently.".

Afterwards, Smith relived his minor league marker on October 22, 2002 against the ECHL's now defunct Dayton Bombers and reflected on his first NHL goal, "I do shoot the puck quite often in practice but a lot of things have to go right in order for that to happen ... the clock has to slow down at the right time of the game to let it trickle in over the line."

Mike Smith's historic goal capped the Coyotes comeback win over the Red Wings who led 2-0 through 39 minutes before Phoenix scored five unanswered goals to ultimately defeat Detroit by a score of 5-2.

Four years later at the NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Smith once again showcased his shooting skills making an impossible shot from 200 feet away, proving the first wasn't a fluke.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Alex Edler Beats Fleury

On October 19th in 2013, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler fired an 83 foot center ice slapshot past Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to open the scoring during a Saturday matinee at the Consol Energy Center.
Fresh off a three game suspension for hitting San Jose Sharks rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, the Swedish blueliner's first period longbomb befuddled a fragile Fleury still reeling from an embarrassing playoff pull.

The Flower ended the afternoon stopping 36 of 39 shots as well as Edler's second round shootout attempt, a wrist shot from 10 feet out. The Penguins went on to beat the Canucks by a score of 4-3, extending Fleury's early season undefeated streak to seven games.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Odjick's Penalty Shot

On October 19th in 1991, Gino Odjick collected the first goal of his sophomore campaign and likely the most famous of his 64 regular season scores on a penalty shot against Conn Smythe winner Mike Vernon.

The opportunity arose when Hall of Fame defenceman Al MacInnis was flagged for fouling the Algonquin Enforcer as he sped by him. The goal was the Canucks' fourth en route to a 5-2 victory over the Flames.

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 - Gino Odjick Fights Blues.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Today In NHL History - Bernier's Own Goal

On October 17th in 2013, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier flubbed a 174 foot clearing attempt that bounced off the end boards before deflecting off his skate and into the net, giving the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 lead with seven minutes to play.
The miscue was awarded to Hurricanes' defenseman Ron Hainsey with an assist to netminder Cam Ward, but credit goes to hard-charging forward Radek Dvorak who won the skating race to eliminate icing on the play.

Despite the boos that rained down on the recently acquired backstop brawler for his blunder, HNIC's Don Cherry insisted the costly goal was a product of the NHL's confusing new hybrid icing rule.

In the post-game interview Bernier conceded "It was just a bad mistake on my part, the puck was probably spinning a lot, and I just misjudged it". When asked if hybrid icing played a role in the mishap, Bernier noted "That's the new game, so we've all got to adjust".

Bernier's own goal stood as the winner as Carolina beat Toronto 3-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Calgary Streaker

On October 17th in 2002, 21 year old Lethbridge College student Timmy Hurlburt flubbed an attempt to streak the Saddledome surface with five minutes remaining in a Boston Bruins/Calgary Flames matchup.


Acting on a $200 dare, Hurlburt successfully scaled the nine foot glass clad solely in red socks and a wrist-watch only to botch the descent. Landing off-balance, Hurlburt's head struck the ice rendering his untanned naked mass unconscious and in plain view for all to see during the ensuing six minute delay.

Hurlburt signaled his return to consciousness with a pair of hand-gestured horns whilst exiting the rink secured to a stretcher to the rousing approval of onlookers and his born-again Christian mother's chagrin. The game ended in a 3-3 overtime draw. Timmy was released from the hospital the next day.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Today In NHL History - Nugent-Hopkins Hat Trick

On October 15, 2011, Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was credited with his first NHL hat trick despite video evidence to the contrary, showing the third goal belonging to linemate Taylor Hall.


Too good a story to pass up for the top pick of the 2011 Draft in just his third NHL game, the hometown scoring decision stood. In the end, the oldest player on the ice spoiled it for the youngest with veteran Sami Salo netting the winner and completing his own Nugent-Hopkins hat trick (two goals and an assist), giving Vancouver a 4-3 win over Edmonton.

With the 7th overall pick of the 1995 Draft forward Shane Doan still seeking his first NHL hat trick despite skating in 1,162 games to date and scoring two goals 38 times, it appears the Coyotes captain will have to actually score three times in a single game to earn the honor unlike the 18 year old Nugent-Hopkins who had it gifted to him in his first week.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Today In NHL History - Dan Hamhuis' Own Goal

On October 12th in 2013, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis misplayed a breakout from behind his net, deflecting the puck off both of Roberto Luongo's skates and into the net for an own goal, giving the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 lead with four minutes to play in the middle frame.
The bizarre miscue, coined by NHL goalie turned Hockey Night In Canada commentator Kelly Hrudey as "one of the strangest goals you'll ever see in hockey", was credited as a shorthanded goal for Canadiens' forward Lars Eller, the Dane's fifth marker in as many games.

Asked about the gaffe in the post-game interview, Luongo noted "I didn't see it, I don't know what happened".  When asked if he had ever given up a more bizarre winning goal, Luongo made clear "I didn't give that up".
The Canadiens scored two more goals to beat the Canucks 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Today In NHL History - First Hockey Telecast

On October 11th in 1952, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation presented the first ever publicly televised hockey game. The match, shown on the Saturday evening Hockey Night In Canada series, featured the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings from the Montreal Forum.
This inaugural HNIC telecast was carried on the CBC's French channel (SRC) with play-by-play offerings from announcer Rene Lecavalier. Montreal doubled Detroit that night 2-1. The first telecast from Toronto followed three weeks later.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Gordie Howe Hat Trick

On October 11th in 1953, Gordie Howe recorded his first ever Gordie Howe Hat Trick accumulating a goal, assist, and a fight in the same game. Despite defining the deed, the four-time Cup champ ('50, '52, '54, '55) and six-time Hart ('52, '53, '57, '58, '60, '63) and Art Ross ('51-'54, '57, '63) recipient turned only two such tricks and wasn't the first to do it.

Mr. Hockey's inaugural occurred when he scored, assisted on a Red Kelly goal, and fought Fernie Flaman in a 4-0 Detroit Red Wings win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. His other came in the same season when the teams met again on March 21, 1954, scoring, assisting on a pair of Ted Lindsay tallies, and fisticuffing with Ted Kennedy in a 6-1 victory.

The first ever Gordie Howe Hat Trick is credited to Harry Cameron of the Toronto Arenas who collected the components some 36 years earlier on December 26, 1917 in a 7-5 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Brendan Shanahan is widely believed to lead the category with 17 though uncertainty exists owing to incomplete statistics on the accomplishment.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Today In NHL History - Boulerice Sticks Kesler

On October 10th in 2007, Jesse Boulerice added another chapter to his checkered past and the violent history of the Philadelphia Flyers when he blindsided Ryan Kesler with a vicious cross-check, breaking his stick across the forward's face.

Boulerice was assessed a 10 minute match penalty on the play to which the NHL tacked on a 25 game suspension, then tied for the longest suspension in league history, costing him $63,502.75 in pay. Acknowledging that he crossed the line, Boulerice apologized to Kesler after the Flyers 8-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Today In NHL History - Quick's Own Goal

On October 7th in 2013, Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick misplayed a 163 foot shorthanded clearing attempt, dropping his stick and inadvertently directing the puck into the net with his blocker for an own goal, giving the New York Rangers a 3-1 lead four minutes into the final frame.

The miscue was credited to Rangers' defenseman Ryan McDonagh, his first point of the season and 13th career NHL goal.

With five minutes remaining, the Los Angeles Kings' fair-weather faithful jeered Quick as he successfully stopped an iced puck.  Unamused by the gesture, the Conn Smythe winner and Stanley Cup champion flipped-off the ungrateful onlookers waiving his glove in response.

In the post-game interview Quick conceded "everybody gives up bad goals, it's part of the game".  When pressed for more detail on the miscue Quick quipped, "you guys are writing a story on that one goal?" which the reporter denied while hockey bloggers everywhere nodded.

When asked for comment about any post-gaffe discussions with his goalie, Coach Darryl Sutter responded "He dropped his stick - what do you want to talk about - tell him not to drop his stick?".  Sutter buttoned his remarks, joking "It's his job to stop the puck, so obviously he didn't think he needed a stick".  The Rangers beat the Kings 3-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Today In NHL History - Heatley's Car Crash

On September 29th in 2003, Dany Heatley wrecked his Ferrari 360 Modena into a wall ejecting himself and passenger teammate Dan Snyder in the process.

Heatley escaped with a broken jaw, bruised lung and kidney, minor concussion, and torn ligaments in his right knee, returning to post 25 points in 31 games that season. Snyder suffered a severe skull fracture, never regained consciousness, and died six days later.

With the support of the Atlanta Thrashers community and forgiveness of Snyder's parents, a remorseful Heatley received only three years of probation on a charge of second-degree vehicular homicide.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Today In NHL History - Downie Hits McAmmond

On September 25th in 2007, the Philadelphia Flyers reckless rookie Steve Downie delivered a vicious headshot to Dean McAmmond rendering the Ottawa Senators unfortunate forward unconscious.

Downie received a match penalty and 20 game suspension for the second period preseason cheapshot, the fourth longest in NHL history, surrendering $63,101.60 in salary. McAmmond missed 10 games owing to injuries. Downie apologized to Dean after Ottawa's 4-2 victory.

That's today in NHL history.

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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Today In NHL History - First Female Player

On September 23rd in 1992, Manon Rhéaume became the first woman to play in a NHL game. The appearance came in a preseason affair for the Tampa Bay Lighting against the St. Louis Blues. Wearing number 33 in honor of her idol Patrick Roy, Rhéaume stopped 7 of 9 shots in her one period of play before being pulled.

Winning Olympic silver (1998) and World Championship gold (1992, 1994) with the Canadian women's team, the older sister of NHLer Pascal Rhéaume and mother of one continues to stop pucks for the Flint Generals' practice squad. No other woman has ever played in the NHL.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Today In NHL History - 2004 NHL Lockout Begins

On September 16th in 2004, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the 2004-2005 season would not proceed as scheduled owing to a deadlock in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. What would have been the NHL's 88th offering was officially canceled on February 16, 2005. The dispute was ultimately resolved on July 22, 2005.
At the heart of the 310 day 2004 NHL Lockout was an owner proposed mechanism to link league revenues to player salaries in an attempt to lower the alleged 76% of gross revenues attributed to player costs and $273 million in collective owner losses during the 2002-2003 season. NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow disputed these financial findings and refused to allow a cap to be applied against player salaries.

In the end, a cap was born and a season lost marking the first time since 1919 without a Stanley Cup champion. Though the 1992 NHLPA strike and 1994 NHL Lockout disrupted play, never before had a North American major sports league lost an entire season to such strife. Among the side effects of the stalled season was a temporary global redistribution of NHL talent and a unique lottery system for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft to direct Sidney Crosby and others to deserving teams.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Today In NHL History - Richard Brodeur

On September 15th in 1952, Richard Brodeur was born in Longueuil, Quebec. Stopping pucks for 16 seasons in the WHA (Nordiques: 7) and NHL (Islanders: 1, Canucks: 7.5, Whalers: .5), the pint-sized netminder won the Avco World Trophy with Quebec (1977) and led Vancouver to the Stanley Cup Finals (1982).

Skating seven seasons in the WHA before returning to the team that took him 97th overall in the 1972 Entry Draft, Brodeur found himself on the Islanders bench behind Billy Smith and Chico Resch. The next year he was traded to the Canucks and his NHL legend was born.

Trimming his regular season 3.35 GAA to a stingy 2.70 in the 1982 playoffs, King Richard forged an unlikely path through the Flames, Kings, and Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Canucks Cinderella story ended, however, when he met his former team in the third of their four year dynasty.

Winning club MVP honors for three years ('81, '82, '85) before being traded to Hartford for Steve Weeks in 1988 and subsequently retiring from the game, Brodeur remains a West Coast hockey hero .

Today Richard resides in Vancouver playing with the Canucks Alumni team, teaching toddlers and teens his trade at King Richard Brodeur's Hockey School, supporting local charities through the Richard Brodeur Celebrity Golf Classic, and painting local landscapes and childhood hockey scenes that may be found on display at Diskin Galleries.

Richard Brodeur. Once a Canuck. Always a King.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Today In NHL History - Jared McCann Hugs Ref

On September 13th in 2015, Vancouver Canucks prospect Jared McCann scored his first goal for the pro club during an all-rookie match-up against the Winnipeg Jets during the 2015 Young Stars Classic in Penticton, BC.

What made the marker memorable was McCann's election to celebrate with the referee, engaging him in a long embrace and a pat on the head before his teammates arrived to rejoice the milestone.
When asked afterwards why he hugged the referee after whistling a wrist shot past netminder goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, McCann remarked "he looked lonely over there, he looked like he needed a hug". The Canucks added three more goals to beat the Jets rookie quad 4-1.
That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Anson Carter Snubs Canucks

On September 13th in 2006, Anson Carter rejected a one year $1.7 million offer from the Vancouver Canucks to skate with future Art Ross winning twins Henrik (2010) and Daniel Sedin (2011) on the 'Brothers Line', electing instead to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets for one year at $2.5 million.

Having led the team in goals (33) and earned the club's Most Exciting Player award (2006), Carter was confident he had a home in Vancouver and allegedly demanded a three year contract worth $9 million. The signings of the Sedins, Roberto Luongo and Willie Mitchell, however, depleted the club's resources for Carter.

The top line vacancy was eventually awarded to Alex Burrows who thrived with the Sedins and succeeded Anson as the Canucks Most Exciting Player for three consecutive seasons (2008, 2009, 2010).

Carter's tenure with Columbus lasted 54 games (27 pts) before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2008 5th round pick (Tomas Kubalik). Carter collected just one point in his 10 games with Carolina, skating only 64 games in what would be his final NHL season. Despite earning an invite to the Edmonton Oilers training camp the following season, the right winger failed to crack the roster.

And like that, he's gone.

Anson Carter's ten season NHL career spanning eight different teams (Capitals, Bruins, Oilers, Rangers, Kings, Canucks, Blue Jackets, Hurricanes) was over at the age of 32. One can only wonder what might have been if Carter had renewed with the Canucks and skated with the Sedins as they entered their prime playing days. I wonder if player agent Pat Brisson overplayed his hand advising Anson to chase market value when a hometown discount would have been far richer.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Today In NHL History - Heatley Trade (OTT-SJS)

On September 12th in 2009, the Ottawa Senators shipped a disgruntled Dany Heatley and a 5th round pick in the 2010 Draft (Isaac MacLeod) to the San Jose Sharks for Jonathon Cheechoo, Milan Michalek and a 2nd round pick (Kent Simpson).

The two-time 50 goal scorer (2006, 2007) and Calder winning (2002) winger publicly demanded a trade three months earlier, a mere two years into his six year $45m deal with the club, handcuffing GM Bryan Murray into settling for less than market value for his prized possession.

The washed-up Rocket Richard winner (2006) Cheechoo mustered a measly 14 points in 61 games for the Sens and was bought out of the final year of his contract which would have paid $3.5m in 2010-2011. Heatley, meanwhile, enjoyed a 10 point improvement over his prior season skating with 1997 first rounders Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

The tide of the trade finally turned in 2012 when Michalek outpointed (60pts v 53pts) and outscored (35G v 24G) Heatley at almost half the cap hit ($4.3m v $7.5m) to lead the Senators in scoring. Heatley posted his 2012 numbers for the Minnesota Wild, his third team in four years, after the Sharks swapped the winger for Martin Havlat on July 3, 2011.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

History of NHL Contraction

Since the league's inception in 1917, NHL expansion has welcomed 36 clubs to its hockey family. Of those teams, thirteen have relocated to a new city, eleven have changed their team name while remaining in the same city, and six have folded owing to financial failure. 

The chart below shows NHL contraction by year and team name.

Year       Folded Team Name
1918 Montreal Wanderers
1935 St. Louis Eagles^
1936 Philadelphia Quakers^
1946 Brooklyn Americans^^*
1947 Montreal Maroons
1978 Cleveland Barons**^

* Team was victim of NHL Renaming
^ Team was victim of NHL Relocation

The footnotes above show, chronologically, the renaming and/or relocation of contracted teams prior to their demise.  The number of NHL teams and regular season games played by year may be found here.


The first team to fold was the Montreal Wanderers.  Formed in 1903 prior to joining the NHL in 1917, the Wanderers skated in only four NHL games (winning only one) before their home rink Montreal Arena burned down on January 2, 1918 ending their existence.

17 years passed before another club contracted. Born as the Ottawa Senators in 1883 and joining the NHL in 1917, the cash-strapped Senators relocated to St. Louis in 1934 as the St. Louis Eagles, folding after one season owing to poor divisional alignment and travel costs.


The next year the Philadelphia Quakers collapsed. Relocating after five seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Quakers set a record for the NHL's worst win percentage suspending operations after one season before contracting five years later in 1936.


Skating one season in 1919 as the Quebec Bulldogs, the club relocated as the Hamilton Tigers playing five years before becoming the New York Americans in 1925, which was renamed the Brooklyn Americans in their final season in 1942 before folding in 1946.

Erected in 1924 to satisfy Montreal's anglophone hockey fans after losing the Wanderers in 1918, the Montreal Maroons fell victim to the Great Depression, playing their final game in 1938 and ultimately contracted in 1947 after several unsuccessful attempts to move.

Starting out as the California Seals in 1967, the club was renamed the Oakland Seals then the California Golden Seals before relocating as the Cleveland Barons, the franchise skated for two seasons in Cleveland before merging into the Minnesota North Stars in 1978.

Today's NHL frowns upon contracting and relocating teams. Despite financial difficulties plaguing several franchises over the years, the league elects to keep clubs in their current location whenever possible.

The NHL's recent actions in Phoenix supports this narrative, resuscitating the Coyotes for four years amidst enormous losses before finding new ownership which was subsequently approved by the Glendale counsel, averting almost certain relocation to Seattle or Quebec.

Since the NHL expanded beyond its Original Six 1967, only nine teams have relocated and just one has contracted (Cleveland Barons). Time will tell if contraction strikes again or if the NHL's 30 team structure is sustainable and instead NHL expansion is on the horizon.

* See also History of NHL Expansion.