blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: 2018

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.

Today In NHL History - Bertuzzi Punches Moore

On March 8th in 2004, the lives of Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore became inextricably linked in a now famous gruesome act of retribution gone wrong.

The seeds of the incident were sewn three weeks earlier, when Moore swept the puck away from Markus Naslund and proceeded to deliver an open ice headshot to the then league leading scorer. The Canucks captain would miss the next three games and never regain his Art Ross form.
With the score 8-2 midway through the final frame of Colorado's next visit to Vancouver, sophomore coach Tony Granato made the rookie mistake of parading Moore in front of the blood thirsty Canucks. Bertuzzi shadowed Moore for the entire shift attempting to engage him, but Moore refused. Bertuzzi then dropped his stick, sucker punched Moore from behind, slipped on his own stick, and drove Moore's head into the ice.

Moore's NHL career ended that moment and Bertuzzi's would never be the same. Bertuzzi was suspended from hockey for 17 months though only missed 20 NHL games owing to the NHL lockout. Despite Bertuzzi's repeated apologies, Moore has never forgiven him.

The incident remained news 10 years after the incident owing to a $60 million lawsuit Moore filed against Bertuzzi and Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment in an Ontario Court. The suit was settled on September 4, 2014, four days before the trial was scheduled to begin.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Today In NHL History - Mario Lemieux Hat Trick

On March 2nd in 1993, Mario Lemieux coined a hat trick when he started his day in Pittsburgh receiving radiation treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and finished it with a goal and assist in Phildelphia, earning a rare ovation for an opponent in the rival rink during his first game back after a two month absence owing to the deadly disease.

Despite losing 5-4 that night to the Flyers, Mario led his Penguins to a NHL record 17 straight wins en route to their first Presidents’ Trophy with a franchise record 119 points, amassing 51 points (27G, 24A) in 16 games and finishing with 160 points (69G, 91A) in 60 games, taking home the Hart, Art Ross, Pearson, Plus/Minus, and Masterton.

Unlike the Gordie Howe hat trick (fight, goal, assist), of which Howe has two and Brendan Shanahan has 17, nobody has ever duplicated the Mario Lemieux hat trick. And nobody likely ever will.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Selanne's Goal Celebration

On March 2nd of 1993, Winnipeg Jets forward Teemu Selanne shattered Mike Bossy's rookie record of 53 goals collecting the 54th score of his freshman campaign against goaltender Stephane Fiset of the Quebec Nordiques in just the 64th game of the season, giving the Jets a 4-3 lead.

Selanne's glove toss machine gun goal celebration remains a fan favorite and highlight fixture, despite Teemu feelinga little embarrassed that I did that, but I was so pumped, and it was so special for me."

Interestingly, the play was almost whistled before the milestone was met as Tie Domi was challenged to a fight by Tony Twist after he chipped the puck ahead to Teemu. Tie did not oblige and history was made.

The Finnish Flash completed his rookie campaign with 76 goals and 132 points, winning the Calder Trophy and setting NHL rookie records that remain to this day. Quebec came back to beat Winnipeg that night 7-4.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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.

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 …

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).

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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.

Monday, February 26, 2018

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.

The full match may be viewed here.

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.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

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 29 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 (7), and the Czech Republic (2), of which the majority are forwards (22) 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
Pavel Datsyuk Russia February 25, 2018

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 29 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.

Pavel Datsyuk is the most recent inductee into the Triple Gold Club, joining upon Olympic Athletes From Russia's 4-3 OT victory over Germany in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.  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.

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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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.

Friday, February 23, 2018

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.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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.

Monday, February 19, 2018

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.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

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.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Today In NHL History - Richard Zednik's Throat Slit

On February 10, 2008, Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik had his throat inadvertently slit by the skate blade of falling teammate Olli Jokinen midway through the third period of a match against the Buffalo Sabres.

Despite spilling five pints of blood, doctors performed emergency surgery and managed to save Zednik's life. He was released from the hospital six days later and met the press four days after that to share his story.

Zednik missed the remainder of the season, returning the following year to earn a Masterton nomination. The incident marked the second such skate blade throat slashing Buffalonians had witnessed, the first being Sabres netminder Clint Malarchuk's accident 19 years earlier.

After a 15 minute delay to remove the blood and upon learning that Zednik was in stable condition, NHL VP Colin Campbell elected to complete the game. Buffalo beat Florida that night by a score of 5-3.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Malarchuk's Throat Slit.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Today In NHL History - Sittler's Ten Point Game

On February 7th in 1976, Darryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs collected 10 points (6G, 4A) on 10 shots in a single NHL game against goalie David Reece, including hat tricks in the both second and third periods, en route to an 11-4 win over Adams division rival Boston Bruins.

The performance broke the previous single game point record of eight originally set by Maurice Richard in 1944. Sittler's record survived the Gretzky and Lemieux era and stands to this day. "Wrong Place at the Wrong Time" Reece never played another game in the NHL.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Buble Colors Canucks

On February 7th in 2009, Burnaby-born crooner and Vancouver Canucks fan Michael Buble took part in his most famous duet to date taking a turn in Tom Larscheid's shoes to color John Shorthouse's call.

Buble delivered a healthy dose of hometown bias to the play-by-play broadcast including a cover of Paul Leka's anthem midway through the match en route to the Canucks 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Humbled by the experience, the part owner of the Vancouver Giants praised Larschied acknowledging the difficulty of the job, and invited Shorthouse onstage to sing "Feeling Good" when he next plays in town.

Eighteen months later the pair reunited in song for a tweaked rendition of "Thanks for the Memory" to honor the recently retired Tom Larscheid in front of a sold-out hometown audience at Rogers Arena.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Today In NHL History - Linden Trade (VAN-NYI)

On February 6th in 1998, Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Keenan and New York Islanders GM Mike Milbury traded talent sending Trevor Linden to Long Island in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, and a third round pick in the 1998 NHL Draft (Jarkko Ruutu).

The unpopular move was one of ten during a two month span, gutting the core of the Canucks. Brian Burke replaced Keenan as GM four months later and relieved Iron Mike of his coaching duties the following year, ending his troubled fourteen month tenure with the team.

The Canucks reacquired Linden in 2001 and Captain Canuck played his remaining days with the club that selected him second overall in the 1988 Draft, retiring on the 20th anniversary of that memorable day.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Today In NHL History - Bieksa Saves And Scores

On February 4th in 2012, Vancouver Canucks blueliner Kevin Bieksa made a spectacular diving save to prevent an empty net goal by T.J. Galiardi with 48 seconds to play, then fired a stanchion-deflected puck past goalie Jean-Sebastien Gigeure 14 seconds later to tie the game.
A complete analysis of the stanchion-assisted effort, courtesy of The Province's The Legion of Blog, may be found here.

Bieksa's history with stanchion-deflected goals is well-documented, the most famous of which came in double overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final eliminating the San Jose Sharks and advancing the Canucks to their first Stanley Cup Final in 17 years.

After a scoreless overtime, Mason Raymond collected the shootout's only goal to complete the Canucks unlikely 3-2 comeback against Colorado.

That's today in NHL History.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Today In NHL History - Burrows Snaps Streak

On February 3rd in 2009, Vancouver Canucks undrafted forward Alex Burrows snapped the club's 8 game losing streak (and 9 game home losing streak) in dramatic fashion converting a shorthanded breakaway with his signature forehand-backhand move against the Carolina Hurricanes unlocking a 3-3 tie with 82 seconds to play.

Burrows celebrated the crucial marker mimicking the snapping of his stick over his knee, acknowledging the end of the streak. The Canucks killed the remaining 25 seconds of Carolina's powerplay and held on for the final 57 seconds of the game to win by a score of 4-3.

During their 2009 win-less span, the Canucks' win-loss record slipped from 22-15-5 to 22-20-8. Burrow's shorthanded goal, however, sparked the club to win 23 of their remaining 32 games, finishing the season with a 45-27-10 overall record and clinching the Northwest Division title.

Likely saving Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault's job with the win, Burrows was tested on the team's top line with twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin two games later. Sensing the chemistry between the trio, GM Mike Gillis wisely quadrupled Burrows' $525,000 salary three weeks thereafter with a four year contract paying $2 million per year.

The top-line experiment proved fruitful for all involved, with Henrik and Daniel Sedin leading the NHL in points in successive years (2010, 2011) and Burrows posting four consecutive 25+ goal seasons (2009-2012).

This streak-snapping celebration was repeated three years later when Burrows scored a game-winning shootout goal on Jimmy Howard with the same forehand-backhand move to beat the Red Wings 4-3 at the Joe, ending Detroit's NHL record setting 23 game home winning streak.

That's today in NHL history.