blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: December 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Today In NHL History - Mario Lemieux's Cycle

On December 31st in 1988, Mario Lemieux collected five goals in a New Year's Eve game against the New Jersey Devils, one in each of the five possible regulation time scoring situations (even strength, shorthanded, powerplay, penalty shot, empty net) in the NHL's pre-shootout era.
Bob Sauvé allowed Mario's first three markers (a hat trick in the opening period) with rookie Chris Terreri surrendering the penalty shot.

The feat, dubbed the Mario Lemieux Cycle, is considered by many to be the greatest individual scoring performance in NHL history.  It has never been duplicated. Adding three assists to his five goals, Mario figured in each of the Penguins eight tallies in their 8-6 win over the Devils.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Today In NHL History - Joe Thornton Taunts Sedin

On December 28th in 2011, San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton thrice planted his finger firmly into the face of Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin whilst pleading his club's case before referee Gord Dwyer.

Thornton's taunts, reminiscent of the Burrows/Bergeron Stanley Cup Final finger biting episode and aftermath, were neither penalized nor effective as the Canucks Western Conference Final domination of the Sharks continued, beating them that night by a score of 3-2.

That's today in NHL History.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Today In NHL History - Ilya Kovalchuk's Own Goal

On December 26th in 2011, New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk fired an errant pass from the Carolina Hurricanes goal line past extra-attacker and intended recipient Adam Henrique and into the Devils empty net for an own goal, down 3-2 with 29 seconds to play.

Afterwards, the oft-maligned overpaid winger acknowledged "we were working hard, but a bad decision by me cost us the game." Compounding matters, it was Kovalchuk's mishandling of the puck in the first period that led to a shorthanded score by Carolina's Brandon Sutter.

Kovalchuk's own goal was awarded to Cam Ward making him the 10th NHL netminder to be credited with a goal and the first in Hurricanes history. Carolina beat New Jersey that night by a score of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Today In NHL History - Milan Lucic Punches Meyer

On December 23rd in 2010, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic delivered a bare-knuckle sucker punch to an unsuspecting Freddy Meyer in response to being up-ended by the Atlanta Thrashers defenseman.

Despite cowardly striking a defenseless player, whilst being restrained by a linesman no less, Lucic miraculously escaped suspension for his classless act further fueling speculation of league favoritism towards the Bruins owing to NHL chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell's son Gregory Campbell playing for the club. Instead, Lucic was fined $2,500 for the punch and $1,000 for taunting the Thrashers bench afterwards, totaling less than one one-thousandth of the forward's $4m annual salary.

Boston beat Atlanta that night by a score of 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Milbury Beats Fan

On December 23rd in 1979, bruising blueliner Mike Milbury of the Boston Bruins followed Terry O'Reilly and others into the MSG stands following a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers engaging fans with fisticuffs. What occured next is best described with moving pictures.
O'Reilly received an eight game suspension for leading the charge with Mad Mike collecting a mere pair for beating a fan with his own shoe. It remains the most memorable moment of his 12 season playing career.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Today In NHL History - Laviolette Shoves Steve Ott

On December 21st in 2011, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette shoved Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott aside upon being blocked from exiting the benches through the tunnel after the first period of play at the American Airlines Center.

Afterwards, Ott outed Laviolette's actions as arrogant, adding "It's disrespect of our building, just let our team off, it's not that big of a deal."

When questioned by HBO's 24/7, the coach conveniently forgot the event.

Following the second period, officials instructed Laviolette and his team to exit the ice through the Zamboni opening rather than taking the tumultuous tunnel. The NHL refrained from fining or suspending the parties, instead instructing them to "hash it out" in a phone call.

The Flyers beat the Stars that night by a score of 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Sedin Plays Puck With Head

On December 21st in 2011, Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin deflected a high clearing pass from linemate Alex Burrows past Detroit Red Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk with his head, utilizing a soccer move rarely employed in ice hockey.

Daniel's move decidedly raised the brotherly bar set by a stickless Henrik in last season's playoff against the Nashville Predators, when his fancy footwork prevented Mike Fisher's shorthanded opportunity.

Raised in Sweden, it's not surprising the twins are proficient in their country's most popular sport. Daily practice dominating the club's pregame soccer hallway warmup ritual likely keeps them sharp.

Undoubtedly a unique compliment to their game, the back-to-back Art Ross winners are emphatically more effective on the ice when using their sticks. Vancouver beat Detroit that night by a score of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Today In NHL History - Buble Skates With Canucks

On December 20th in 2011, Vancouver Canucks aficionado Michael Buble fulfilled a life-long dream of skating with the team during an off-day practice after signing a one-day contract with the club.

Donning the never-worn-before number 88, Buble challenged three-time Vezina nominee Roberto Luongo to a shootout, ringing a wrist shot wide stick-side off the left post before catching an edge and crashing awkwardly into the end boards.

Afterwards, Buble surmised “I should have faked the shot backhand and tried to go upstairs, I just missed it. I thought I'd perhaps be the next Alex Burrows, but it turns out I'm crappy". Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault reserved judgment on Buble.

Buble's "greatest day of my life" follows other superfan moments including coloring a game with Canuck's voice John Shorthouse in 2009, serenading Canucks broadcaster Tom Larscheid in a duet with Shorthouse during a sold-out Vancouver show in 2010, and rescheduling concerts to watch the Canucks during the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

Buble even wove a Canucks reference into his chart-topping album "Christmas", tweaking a lyric in "Santa Baby" from "I'm filling my stocking with a duplex and checks, sign your X on the line" to "Fill my stocking with Canucks tix for kicks, throw me on the first line".

The three-time Grammy Award winner and two-time Saturday Night Live musical guest will leave puck to the pros and stick with song for now.

Per club policy, the financial terms of Buble's contract were not disclosed.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Barnaby Fights Fan

On December 20th in 2000, Pittsburgh Penguins bruiser Matthew Barnaby exited BankAtlantic Center after an unsuccessful bout with behemoth Pete Worrell when an elderly Florida Panthers fan began hurling obscenities.

Rather than ignoring the unpleasantries, Barnaby engaged the senior grabbing his arm and attempting to drag him through the railing. Releasing before the situation escalated, Barnaby was nonetheless suspended four games for the indiscretion surrendering $53,658 in pay.

The Penguins and Panthers played to a 2-2 tie that night.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Today In NHL History - Fire Destroys Wild's Gear

On December 18th in 2009, the red hot Minnesota Wild fell victim to a truck blaze during an Ottawa road trip incinerating players' bags, including that of goaltenders Backstrom and Harding.

Equipment managers were immediately sent home to collect backup gear while players scrambled locally to replace knee braces, skates, and other protective necessities in anticipation of Saturday night's game with the Ottawa Senators.

Practice equipment arrived the next day forcing players to expedite the normal week or month long break-in process to mere hours. The cause of the fire, sparked during a five minute drive from the Kanata Recreation Complex to Scotiabank Place, appears to be accidental.

Ottawa beat Minnesota the next day by a score of 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Today In NHL History - Sedin Catches Salo's Stick

On December 17th in 2011, Vancouver Canucks coordinated captain Henrik Sedin casually collected defenseman Sami Salo's twirling airborne twig "like a boss" after it was chopped from his hands by Toronto Maple Leafs left winger Clarke MacArthur. The catch came with 3:30 remaining in the first period and ultimately earned the deft Swede the game's 4th Star per local tabloid The Province

The Canucks beat the Maple Leafs that night by a score of 5-3 with Henrik setting up linemate Alex Burrows for the game winning goal. 

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Today In NHL History - Simon Stomps Ruutu

On December 15th in 2007, Chris Simon of the New York Islanders viciously stomped his skate onto the right leg of Pittsburgh Penguins pest Jarkko Ruutu with five minutes remaining in the game, earning the troubled forward a match penalty and his eighth NHL suspension.

In light of his prior history and the severity of this indiscretion, Simon received a league-longest 30 game suspension forgoing over $290,000 in pay. Traded to the Minnesota Wild upon his return, Simon skated for only twelve more games to complete his 15 season NHL career.

The Penguins beat the Islanders that night by a score of 3-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Today In NHL History - Jannik Hansen Beats Rask

On December 14th in 2013, Danish winger Jannik Hansen fired an 88 foot center ice slapshot that deflected off Slovak defenseman Zdena Chara's stick and knuckled past Finnish backstop Tuukka Rask, giving the Vancouver Canucks a 1-0 lead against the Boston Bruins. The Canucks put three more pucks past Rask before being pulled, then added two goals to complete the 6-2 rout of their rival.

The game marked the Bruins first visit to Vancouver since the 2011 Stanley Cup. Despite almost three years passing since the series, the perennially classless pest 
Brad Marchand taunted his opponents in defeat with ring-kissing and Cup-hoisting gestures during the game. Afterwards, Bruins coach Claude Julien noted, "It's definitely not something we will accept in our organization ... it's certainly something we are going to deal with".  Ironically, one of Marchand's ring-kissing gestures was directed towards Brad Richardson, the only current member of the Canucks with a Stanley Cup ring (Los Angeles Kings 2012).

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Today In NHL History - Shore Hits Bailey

On December 12th in 1933, Boston Bruins blueliner Eddie Shore drilled Toronto Maple Leafs scoring sensation Ace Bailey in response to physical play by penalty killers King Clancy and Red Horner.

Horner recalls, "He [Shore] hit Bailey and flipped him in the air, just like a rag doll. Bailey landed on his head just a few feet from where I was standing. Bailey hit the ice and he went into some kind of convulsion. I thought to myself, 'That's the end of Ace!'"

The blow fractured Bailey's skull in two places ending his playing career and very nearly his life. Horner promptly punched out Shore, rendering him unconscious with a three inch gash in his head resulting in seven stitches. Both players were carried off the ice by teammates.

In the aftermath, Leafs GM Conn Smythe was jailed for striking a fan accusing Ace of faking his injury and Bailey's father traveled to Boston to exact revenge. Smythe was released the next day after agreeing to cover the fan's dental fees and Bailey Sr. was sent home without incident.

Offered a slim chance to live after two risky operations, a priest was summoned to read last rights. Bailey, however, fought through the night and by Christmas was expected to survive. Shore was suspended indefinitely, reinstated on January 28, 1934 after 16 games when it was clear Bailey would live. Horner sat until January 1, 1934.

Adding to the Bruins $8,000 contribution ($342,000 present day), the NHL hosted its first All-Star game raising $20,909 for Bailey ($900,000 present day). Bailey embraced Shore prior to the game resulting in the loudest ovation ever heard at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Shore apologized to Ace maintaining that the hit was purely accidental. Bailey never held a grudge, claiming "It's all part of the game."

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Ryan Scores Koivu's Stick

On December 12th in 2010, Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild stripped Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan of his stick without whistle, having lost his own earlier in the play. Unable to recover the lumber, Silver fetched the Finn's abandoned off-handed hardware and scored.
In celebration of the Ducks fifth goal, Ryan proudly paraded the borrowed blade to the visiting captain Koivu in recognition of the karmic occurrence. Anaheim beat Minnesota that night by a score of 6-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Today In NHL History - Hextall's First Goal

On December 8th in 1987, Philadelphia Flyers netminder Ron Hextall fired a puck the length of the ice into an empty Boston Bruins net becoming the first goalie to score a goal in a NHL game.
Though New York Islanders backstop Billy Smith had been credited with a goal eight years earlier, it was Colorado Rockies defenceman Rob Ramage who in fact last touched the puck. Thus, Hextall was the positional pioneer to actually shoot the puck into an opponent's net.

Hextall repeated the feat two years later in a playoff game against the Washington Capitals. He remains the only goalie to actually score twice.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Today In NHL History - Roy Trade (MTL-COL)

On December 6th in 1995, the Montreal Canadiens traded Patrick Roy and team captain Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko in what remains one of the most lopsided exchanges in league history.

The seeds of the move were sewn on December 2, 1995 during a franchise worst 11-1 home loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Allowing five goals in the first period and two more in the first five minutes of the second, Habs freshman bench boss Mario Tremblay elected to strand Roy.

Eventually relieved with eight minutes remaining in the middle frame, after surrendering nine goals on 26 shots, a humiliated Roy returned to the bench and informed team president Ronald Corey that he'd played his last game in Montreal. Four days later, rookie GMs Rejean Houle and Pierre LaCroix pulled the trigger on what is simply known as Le Trade.

From Le Trade through Roy's retirement in 2003, Montreal won only two playoff series ('98, '02) failing to qualify four times ('99, '00, '01, '03). Colorado never missed a postseason with St. Patrick between the pipes, twice taking the Presidents' Trophy ('97, '01) and Stanley Cup ('96, '01).

Roy finished with five Jennings ('87, '88, '89', '92, '02), four Stanley Cup ('86, '93, '96, '01), and three Conn Smythe ('86, '93, '01) and Vezina ('89, '90, '92) wins. He is arguably the best goalie to ever play the game.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Today In NHL History - Carcillo Punches Bradley

On December 5th in 2009, Philadelphia Flyers goon Daniel Carcillo sucker punched Matt Bradley of the Washington Capitals with five minutes remaining in the first period and the teams tied 1-1.

Carcillo received 29 minutes in penalties on the play (Bradley drew nothing) with the NHL adding a four game suspension, forcing the Flyer to forgo $43,597 in pay. Washington scored three times on the ensuing 9 minute powerplay and ultimately beat Philadelphia by a score of 8-2.

That's today in NHL history.