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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Today In NHL History - Clarence Campbell

On July 9th in 1905, Clarence Sutherland Campbell was born in Fleming, Saskatchewan. The Rhodes Scholar lawyer turned NHL referee went on to hold the league's highest post for 31 years (1946-1977) after a sojourn as a lieutenant colonel in WWII and Queen's Counsel prosecuting Nazi crimes against humanity.

Moonlighting as an official in the CAHA while lawyering at an Edmonton firm, Campbell whistled his way to the NHL. He lasted three years, witnessing Howie Morenz's career-ending broken leg and even taking a punch from Bruins' bruiser Dit Clapper, before NHL President Frank Calder stole his stripes on the urging of Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe for an allegedly under-penalized incident that bloodied Red Horner.

Calder kept Campbell in the game, however, hiring him to work in the league office though he left shortly thereafter enlisting in the Canadian Armed Forces. With Calder's passing in 1943 a reluctant Red Dutton presided until Campbell's return upon which the presidency was passed.

Major events that occurred during his tenure as NHL President include:

Campbell's accomplishments earned him a position in the Hockey Hall of Fame along with a conference (Campbell Conference) and trophy (Clarence Campbell Bowl) bearing his namesake. He died in 1984.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Today In NHL History - Lindros Trade (QUE-PHI)

On June 30th in 1992, Quebec Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut and GM Pierre Page traded 1991 draft day holdout Eric Lindros to Philadelphia.



Amidst confusion among two competing bids, arbitrator Larry Bertuzzi selected Flyers GM Russ Farwell's proposal over New York Rangers GM Neil Smith's package of Doug Weight, Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, John Vanbiesbrouck, three first round draft picks, and $12 million.

The trade ultimately saw Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, two first-round picks (Jocelyn Thibault, Nolan Baumgartner), and $15 million going to Quebec in exchange for the inaugural Next One. The deal remains one of the most significant and lopsided trades in NHL history.

The club would later exchange Hextall for Adam Deadmarsh and package Thibault for Patrick Roy and Mike Keane, claiming two Stanley Cups as the Colorado Avalanche. The Flyers remain winless since 1975.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (NYI-FLA)

On June 24th in 2000, New York Islanders GM Mike Milbury traded Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen to the Florida Panthers for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. The 2000 NHL Entry Draft day play saw the Isles select goalie Rick DiPietro 1st overall ahead of future all-stars Dany Heatley (2nd), Marian Gaborik (3rd) and Henrik Lundqvist (205th), to name a few.

In response to the move Milbury surmised, "In the end, we thought the quality that DiPietro will bring is just a notch above Luongo. If we're wrong, we may have made an unbelievable mistake. It'll be bonehead city. It's my job. If we're not a better team immediately, off with my head. I've been here five years, and I'm tired of losing."

Safe to say the Isles would have been better off with future Vezina/Hart/Pearson finalist Luongo, Calder winner and two-time 50 goal scorer Heatley, and Finnish national teamer Jokinen than the trio of DiPietro, Parrish, and Kvasha. Alas, the Milbury legacy lives on and on.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Playoff Poop.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Stick Gets Stuck.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (FLA-VAN).
* See also Roberto Luongo Interview - 2011 NHL Awards.
* See also Roberto Luongo Interview - 2009 NHL Awards.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (FLA-VAN)

On June 23rd in 2006, Florida Panthers GM Mike Keenan traded Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek, and a 6th round pick (Sergei Shirokov) in the next day's 2006 NHL Entry Draft to the host city's Vancouver Canucks for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, and Alex Auld.

Both Bertuzzi (7 games) and Auld (27 games) enjoyed limited play during their one season down south while Allen (284 games) was a fixture for Florida before being traded to Carolina for forward Sergei Samsonov (20 games), skating in his final NHL season.

On September 2, 2009, Luongo signed a 12 year contract extension with Vancouver through 2022 where he's won Olympic Gold (2010), presided over two Presidents' Trophy wins (2011, 2012), been named to three NHL All-Star Games (2007, 2008, 2009), received four NHL Award nominations (Vezina 2007 & 2011, Pearson 2007, Hart 2007), captured a Jennings Trophy (2011) with Cory Schneider, set several Canucks franchise records, and authored a popular Twitter feed @strombone1.

Despite these successes, Luongo has been widely criticized for spectacular playoff losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, blamed for the Canucks failure to capture the Stanley Cup in 2011, and remains to this day a favorite whipping boy for hockey pundits everywhere.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Playoff Poop.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Stick Gets Stuck.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (NYI-FLA).
* See also Roberto Luongo Interview - 2011 NHL Awards.
* See also Roberto Luongo Interview - 2009 NHL Awards.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Kozlov

On June 20th in 1995, New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens dealt a devastating blow to Detroit Red Wings forward Vyacheslav Kozlov in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, turning the tide of the game and series.

The 2nd period collision sparked the Devils, turning a 1-1 tie into a 4-2 win and eventually sweeping the series 4-0 to clinch their first Cup.

That's today in NHL history.

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Today In NHL History - Brett Hull's No Goal

On June 19th in 1999, Brett Hull scored 5 minutes and 9 seconds into the third overtime period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals giving the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres and their first (and only) Stanley Cup.

The goal remains the most controversial in NHL history due to a now defunct rule banning a player's skate from entering the crease before the puck as it appears Hull's did. NHL Director of Officiating Bryan Lewis, however, claimed no crease violation on the play noting "Hull had possession of the puck when his skate entered the crease."

ESPN counts the non-call as the 5th worst officiating moment in sports history. The NHL removed the rule the following month.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Fewest & Most Games Needed to Win Stanley Cup

With the St. Louis Blues completing a 26 game playoff culminating in being crowned 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, it's time to do some math and see how many games it typically takes winners to collect the requisite 16 wins en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup.  

The chart below shows the number of playoff games needed to win the Stanley Cup since 1987, by year, team and number of games.

Year: Team (Games)              Year: Team (Games) 
1987: Edmonton Oilers (21) 2002: Detroit Red Wings (23)
1988: Edmonton Oilers (18) 2003: New Jersey Devils (23)
1989: Calgary Flames (22) 2004: Tampa Bay Lightning (23)
1990: Edmonton Oilers (22) 2006: Carolina Hurricanes (25)
1991: Pittsburgh Penguins (24) 2007: Anaheim Ducks (21)
1992: Pittsburgh Penguins (21) 2008: Detroit Red Wings (22)
1993: Montreal Canadiens (20) 2009: Pittsburgh Penguins (24)
1994: New York Rangers (23) 2010: Chicago Blackhawks (22)
1995: New Jersey Devils (20) 2011: Boston Bruins (25)
1996: Colorado Avalanche (22) 2012: Los Angeles Kings (20)
1997: Detroit Red Wings (20) 2013: Chicago Blackhawks (23)
1998: Detroit Red Wings (22) 2014: Los Angeles Kings (26)
1999: Dallas Stars (23) 2015: Chicago Blackhawks (23)
2000: New Jersey Devils (23) 2016: Pittsburgh Penguins (24)
2001: Colorado Avalanche (23)         2017: Pittsburgh Penguins (25)
         2018: Washington Capitals (24)
         2019: St. Louis Blues (26)


Since the expansion of each playoff round to seven games in 1987, none have swept all four rounds to hoist the Cup in 16 games, nor have any skated in four Game 7s using all 28 possible games. The average number of games needed to win the Stanley Cup is 22, with the Edmonton Oilers (1988) playing the fewest games (18), and the Los Angeles Kings (2014) and St. Louis Blues (2019) skating in the most (26).

Three other times a team skated 26 playoff games in a single postseason (Philadelphia Flyers 1987, Calgary Flames 2004, Tampa Bay Lightning 2015).  In each instance, these teams lost to their favored foe in the Stanley Cup Final (Edmonton Oilers 1987, Tampa Bay Lighting 2004, Chicago Blackhawks 2015).
Fans prefer fewer games. Owners don't mind the additional revenue that accompanies a longer series. But whatever is needed will suffice.

* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Length By Days And Games.
* See also NHL League Size And Regular Season Length.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Qualification Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Series Win Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Final Appearance Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Championship Droughts.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Today In NHL History - Konstantinov Limo Crash

On June 13th in 1997, heartbreak hit Hockeytown when a limousine carrying two members of the Russian Five and the Detroit Red Wings masseuse struck a tree six days after their first Cup win in 42 years.

The crash left Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov in a coma with severe head injuries. Both eventually awoke, Konstantinov suffering extensive brain and bodily damage and Mnatsakanov paralyzed from the waist down. The Vladinator would never play hockey again. Slava Fetisov walked away unscathed.

Bearing badges embroidered "Believe" the Wings repeated as Stanley Cup champions, engraving Konstantinov's name despite his on-ice absence. Though not officially retired, no player has worn his number 16 since the injury. His locker remains intact.
Driver Richard Gnida was sentenced to nine months for operating the vehicle with a suspended license and testing positive for marijuana.

That's today in NHL history.

Canucks Who Left Vancouver & Won Stanley Cup

The Vancouver Canucks have skated in three Stanley Cup Finals (1982, 1994, 2011) since their NHL debut in 1970. Despite twice taking their Cup Final opponent to Game 7 (1994, 2011), no Canuck has hoisted or had their name etched on the Stanley Cup during their tenure with the club.

A fortunate few, however, have clinched the Stanley Cup with another squad subsequent to their stay with the Canucks. The chart below lists each former Canuck that won the Stanley Cup by year and team.

Year         Former Canuck         Championship Team
2019         Michael Del Zotto*   St. Louis Blues 
2017         Nick Bonino   Pittsburgh Penguin 
2016         Nick Bonino*   Pittsburgh Penguin 
2014 Willie Mitchell   Los Angeles Kings
2012 Willie Mitchell Los Angeles Kings
2010 Brent Sopel Chicago Blackhawks
2009 Matt Cooke Pittsburgh Penguins
2007 Brad May Anaheim Ducks
2006 Bret Hedican Carolina Hurricanes
2004 Jassen Cullimore Tampa Bay Lightning
2002 Jiri Slegr Detroit Red Wings
2000 Alexander Mogilny*      New Jersey Devils
1999 Doug Lidster Dallas Stars
1998 Igor Larionov Detroit Red Wings
1997 Igor Larionov Detroit Red Wings
1994 Doug Lidster* New York Rangers
1993 J.J. Daigneault Montreal Canadiens
1987 Moe Lemay* Edmonton Oilers

*  Won Stanley Cup during 1st season with new team after Canucks.

At least fourteen former Canucks (Lemay, Daigneault, Lidster, Larionov, Mogilny, Slegr, Cullimore, Hedican, May, Cooke, Sopel, Mitchell, Bonino, Del Zotto) have hoisted the holy hardware skating with other clubs after their west coast stint, though only five (Lemay, Lidster, Mogilny, Bonino, Del Zotto) won the Stanley Cup in the same season they left Vancouver.

Moe Lemay arrived in Edmonton on March 10, 1987 (in exchange for Raimo Summanen) and was part of the Oilers third Stanley Cup win. Doug Lidster was dealt to the New York Rangers on June 25, 1993 (in exchange for John Vanbiesbrouck) and won the Stanley Cup the following season against his former team. Alexander Mogilny was sent to the New Jersey Devils on March 14, 2000 (in exchange for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson), where #89 captured the Stanley Cup 89 days later. Nick Bonino was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 28, 2015 (along with Adam Clendening and in exchange for Brandon Sutter), where he led the Pens in postseason assists en route to a Stanley Cup win.

Del Zotto was dealt to the Ducks on January 23, 2019 and subsequently sent to the Blues 33 days later. Though he skated in only 7 regular season games in St. Louis with no playoff appearances, he trained with the Black Aces and was part of the club when they won. Time will tell if his name is etched into the Stanley Cup.

NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins

Since the Stanley Cup was dedicated to NHL's top team in 1926, only seven franchises (Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins) have successfully defended their title and won the Stanley Cup in consecutive years.

The record for consecutive Stanley Cup wins by the same club is five (Montreal 1956-1957-1958-1969-1960) with two teams managing four straight wins (Montreal 1976-1977-1978-1979, New York Islanders 1980-1981-1982-1983), one team duplicating three year streaks (Toronto 1947-1948-1949 & 1962-1963-1964), and four squads posting one or more pairs (Detroit 1936-1937 & 1954-1955 & 1997-1998, Philadelphia 1974-1975, Edmonton 1984-1985 & 1987-1988, Pittsburgh 1991-1992 & 2016-2017).

The charts below describe these streaks by team, years, and vice versa.

Team                  Years
Montreal 1930-1931 (2), 1956-1957-1958-1959-1960 (5),

1965-1966 (2), 1968-1969 (2), 1976-1977-1978-1979 (4)
Detroit 1936-1937 (2), 1954-1955 (2), 1997-1998 (2)
Toronto 1947-1948-1949 (3), 1962-1963-1964 (3)
Philadelphia 1974-1975 (2)
New York** 1980-1981-1982-1983 (4)
Edmonton 1984-1985 (2), 1987-1988 (2)
Pittsburgh 1991-1992 (2), 2016-2017 (2)

Years                  Team
1930-1931 Montreal
1936-1937 Detroit
1947-1949 Toronto
1954-1955 Detroit
1956-1960 Montreal
1962-1964 Toronto
1965-1966 Montreal
1968-1969 Montreal
1974-1975 Philadelphia
1976-1979 Montreal 
1980-1983 New York**   
1984-1985 Edmonton     
1987-1988 Edmonton
1991-1992 Pittsburgh
1997-1998 Detroit
2016-2017 Pittsburgh

** New York Islanders

Prior to Pittsburgh turning the trick in 2017, Detroit was the last team to appear in consecutive Stanley Cup Finals (2008, 2009) when they rematched against Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for Detroit, they failed to defend their title. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they spared themselves the shame of losing in consecutive Cup Finals.

The last team to win the Stanley Cup three times in a row was the New York Islanders, when they claimed it four times in the 1980s (1980-1983)
.

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

Today In NHL History - Maggie The Monkey Retires

On June 13th in 2009, the Bowmanville Zoo's primate prophet Maggie the Monkey, technically a Crab-eating Macaque, made her last Stanley Cup Playoff pick at the ripe age of 18, leaving the stage to the paid pundits she's owned in the past.

Selecting the underdog Anaheim Ducks to swim away with it all in 2003 (they ultimately lost to New Jersey in the Stanley Cup Final), Maggie tamed TSN's braintrust and was invited back for five more seasons.

Year: Record
2003: 8-7 (beating James Duthie; tying Gord Miller and Gina Reda)
2004: 7-8 (beating Bob McKenzie; tying Gord Miller and Dave Hodge)
2006: 9-6 (beating Bob McKenzie, Pierre McGuire and Bill Berg)
2007: 8-7
2008: 8-7
2009: 5-10 Peaking in 2006 when she out-picked the entire TSN panel, Maggie slowed with age ending with an even 45-45 record after six seasons. Never nailing the Stanley Cup winner in her previous five playoff predictions, Maggie correctly picked the Pittsburgh Penguins in her Final finale putting McKenzie, Duthie and Darren Pang to shame one last time.
That's today in NHL history.

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 29 players and one coach have won all three titles. These accomplished 30 are recognized with membership in hockey's most exclusive association, the IIHF's Triple Gold Club.

The club includes individuals from Canada (12), Sweden (9), Russia (7), and the Czech Republic (2), of which the majority are forwards (22) with remainder rounded out by defensemen (7) 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
Jay Bouwmeester Canada June 12, 2019

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 30 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.

Jay Bouwmeester is the most recent inductee into the Triple Gold Club, punching his ticket with a Stanley Cup win with the St. Louis Blues (2019) to accompany his World Championship Gold (2003, 2004) and Olympic Gold (2014) with Team Canada.  

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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines

The time-honored tradition of NHL playoff combatants shaking hands upon the conclusion of a series is among the greatest displays of sportsmanship in professional team sports today. Seconds after the horn sounds at the end of a series, players and coaches from both teams convene at center ice to celebrate each other's efforts.

The videos below capture the final moments of play in each series-ending game to date in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs along with the ensuing traditional team handshake line, sorted by round and series end date.

FIRST ROUND

The Blue Jackets eliminated the Lightning in Game 4 on April 16, 2019.

The Islanders eliminated the Penguins in Game 4 on April 16, 2019.

The Avalanche eliminated the Flames in Game 5 on April 19, 2019.

The Blues eliminated the Jets in Game 6 on April 20, 2019. 

The Stars eliminated the Predators in Game 6 on April 22, 2019.

The Bruins eliminated the Leafs in Game 7 on April 23, 2019.

The Sharks eliminated the Golden Knights in Game 7 on April 23, 2019.

The Hurricanes eliminated the Capitals in Game 7 on April 24, 2019.

SECOND ROUND

The Hurricanes eliminated the Islanders in Game 4 on May 3, 2019.

The Bruins eliminated the Blue Jackets in Game 6 on May 6, 2019.

The Blues eliminated the Stars in Game 7 on May 7, 2019.

The Sharks eliminated the Avalanche in Game 7 on May 8, 2019.

THIRD ROUND

The Bruins eliminated the Hurricanes in Game 4 on May 16, 2019.

The Blues eliminated the Sharks in Game 6 on May 21, 2019.

STANLEY CUP FINAL

The Blues eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 on June 12, 2019.

In an age of results reigning over respect, it's encouraging to see such sportsmanship in professional sport, albeit with notable exceptions (Milan Lucic 2014), abstention (Martin Brodeur 2008Derek Boogaard 2007, Chris Chelios 2007Darren McCarty 1997, Ed Belfour 1995Billy Smith, Gerry Cheevers) and disdain (Dino Ciccarelli 1996) in recent years.

* See also 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Kariya

On June 7th in 2003, defenseman Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils crushed Paul Kariya of the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals with an unpenalized late hit rendering the speedy winger motionless on the ice. Amazingly, Kariya returned to the game scoring a goal and finishing with three points and the first star in a 5-2 victory to force Game 7. Two nights later New Jersey won their third Stanley Cup marking the first Final since 1965 where the home team won every game.

The hit ranks #2 on SportsCentre's top 10 Stevens hits of all-time, bested only by his hit on Eric Lindros in Game 7 of the 2000 Conference Final. That's today in NHL history.

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

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Today In NHL History - Cam Neely

On June 6th in 1965, Cameron Michael Neely was born in Comox, BC. Blessed with the rare trifecta of size, talent and toughness, Bam-Bam Cam became the NHL's prototypical power forward.
Selected 9th overall in the 1983 Draft, Neely spent three seasons with the Canucks before Harry Neale sent him to Boston on his 21st birthday with the club's 1987 first round draft pick (Glen Wesley) in exchange for Barry Pederson, the worst trade in franchise history.

Neely would collect 395 goals (395G/299A/694Pts) in his 726 game 13 year career, including three 50+ goal seasons ('90, '91, '94), placing him 15th overall in goals per game. Despite his Masterton winning perseverance (1994), Neely never recovered from a pair of Ulf Samuelsson-induced injuries in the 1991 Wales Conference Finals, finally buckling at the age of 31. In 2005, Neely was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, a year after having his number 8 jersey raised to the Boston rafters. Today he serves as Vice President of the Bruins, a position held since 2007. Away from the rink Neely focuses on his Foundation, helping cancer patients battle the disease that took his parents, and appears in TV (Cheers, Rescue Me) and film (Dumb & Dumber, Me, Myself and Irene), most famously as the Farrelly brothers' recurring tough guy Sea Bass. That's today in NHL history.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Today In NHL History - McSorley's Illegal Stick

On June 3rd in 1993, the Los Angeles Kings were two minutes away from taking a 2-0 series lead against the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals when coach Jacques Demers called for a measurement of Marty McSorley's stick. Kerry Fraser described it as one of his easiest calls: "For any player to go into the third period in a Stanley Cup final with an illegal stick was, to my mind, absolutely asinine. The stick was so illegal, I mean, I just looked at it and said holy smokes, we won't need the gauge for this one."

With McSorley in the box and Patrick Roy on the bench, Eric Desjardins scored the tying goal on a two man advantage with 1:13 remaining in regulation. Desjardins completed the hat trick in overtime sending the series to the Great Western Forum tied 1-1. Melrose's Kings lost the next two games in overtime, surrendering the series 4-1 six days later at the Montreal Forum and denying the Great One his California crowning.

McSorley revisited the mishap 19 years later (beginning at the 2:45 mark below) prior to the Kings' first return to the Stanley Cup Final, acknowledging the illegality of his stick and accusing the Canadiens of foul play in measuring visiting players' sticks prior to the game. Amazingly, Marty admits to playing subsequent games in the Final with sticks identical to the illegal one that so dearly cost his team in Game 2.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Jason Spezza's Illegal Stick.
* See also Today In NHL History - Willie Mitchell's Long Stick.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Today In NHL History - Chris Pronger's Own Goal

On June 2nd in 2007, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger scored an own goal on Jean-Sebastien Giguere late in the second period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, putting Ottawa ahead 4-3, their first lead of the evening. Pronger's own goal, created by the forecheck of Senators forward Dean McAmmond, held up as the game-winner in Ottawa's 5-3 win. Moments later Pronger exacted revenge on McAmmond with an vicious headshot, putting him out of the series that Anaheim eventually won 4-1. That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Pronger Hits McAmmond.

Today In NHL History - Pronger Hits McAmmond

On June 2nd in 2007, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger delivered a devastating elbow to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final rendering McAmmond unconscious. The third period cheapshot was likely in response to Pronger's second period own goal that was created by and credited to McAmmond. Pronger was assessed his 7th career suspension for the unpenalized play, earning the 3rd ever suspension during a Cup Final (Fischer 2002, Nieminen 2004) and marking the 3rd time a player was suspended twice during the same postseason (Lemieux 1996, Nieminen 2004).

Ottawa beat Anaheim that night 5-3 but Pronger returned after his one game suspension to win the Stanley Cup in Game 5. McAmmond missed the remainder of the series owing to a concussion suffered on the play.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Chris Pronger's Own Goal.
* See also Today In NHL History - Downie Hits McAmmond.

Today In NHL History - Larry Robinson

On June 2nd in 1951, Larry Clark Robinson was born in Winchester, Ontario. Blessed with exceptional size, strength and skill, Big Bird patrolled the blueline for 20 seasons in the NHL with Montreal (17) and Los Angeles (3) scoring, banging and scrapping as he saw fit.
Selected 20th overall in the 1971 NHL Entry Draft, Robinson earned six Stanley Cup wins ('73, '76, '77, '78, '79, '86), two Norris nods ('77, '80) and a Conn Smythe ('78). In addition to his 958 regular season (208G/750A) and 144 playoff points (28G/116A), Robinson holds NHL records for plus-minus (+730) and most consecutive post season appearances (20). Stepping behind the bench for New Jersey ('93-'95, '00-'03, '05) and Los Angeles ('95-'99), Larry locked lips with Lord Stanley's Mug three more times, twice as an assistant ('95, '03) and once as a head coach ('00). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995 and had his number 19 retired by Montreal in 2007. That's today in NHL history.