blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: 2020

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Today In NHL History - Patrick Kane's Own Goal

On January 12th in 2014, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane fired a pass past pinching defenseman Duncan Keith, which traveling the length of the ice and into his own empty net during a delayed penalty to Devan Dubnyk, giving the Edmonton Oilers a 2-2 tying goal midway through the second period. Patrick Kane's own goal was credited to Oilers forward Boyd Gordon.

Redemption came 29 seconds later when Kane setup Marian Hossa's go-ahead goal on the ensuing powerplay en route to a 5-3 win.That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Today In NHL History - Rory's All-Star Game Vote

On January 9th in 2007, the NHL revealed that Vancouver Canucks defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick finished 3rd in fan voting behind Western Conference Norris winners Scott Niedermayer and Nicklas Lidstrom, eliminating him from contention for the All-Star Game.

Yearning for an underdog in the asinine exhibition affair, 22 year old Mike Schmid crafted a six-week Vote For Rory write-in campaign complete with spoof smear spots against ballot front-runners to support his cause.

Though on pace to cinch second place with a week remaining, Fitzpatrick finished with 550,117 votes (22,892 shy of a starting spot) ending significant media speculation and even some outrage surrounding the circus. The suspicious result raised eyebrows with Slate who reviewed the data and surmised in Rorygate that the NHL engaged in foul play dumping 100,000 votes in order to yield their desired defensemen.

In the end, the NHL frowned upon fans having the final say, electing to silence the everyday normal fan and bench the blue collar blueliner.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Today In NHL History - Lights Out In New Jersey

On January 8th in 2010, a circuit breaker malfunction caused a lighting failure during a Lightning date with the Devils resulting in a 102 minute delay before the NHL postponed play at the Prudential Center for another day.

The teams met again two days later once radiance had been restored at The Rock, picking up where they left off with the Bolts up 3-0 midway through the middle frame. Tampa Bay ultimately beat New Jersey 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Today In NHL History - FSN Hides Video Replay

On January 7th in 2010, FSN Pittsburgh producer Lowell MacDonald Jr. withheld a definitive replay from the NHL during a late second period Simon Gagne goal review. Absent the authoritative angle officials deemed the video evidence inconclusive and ruled no goal.

After play resumed, prohibiting a reversal of the incorrect call, the angle was aired making clear that the Philadelphia Flyers should be up 6-3 instead of 5-3.Upon viewing the conclusive video evidence FSN commentators joked "oh, we saved that one", which is precisely what happened.

FSN Pittsburgh accepted full responsibility for the incident, noting "there is nothing more important than the integrity of the game" and "FSN Pittsburgh's failure to provide video to the league officials in a timely fashion was wholly unacceptable."

MacDonald was slapped with an indefinite suspension by his employer, though was reinstated a mere nine months later in time for the 2010-2011 season. Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh that night by a score of 7-4.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Eager Punches Armstrong

On January 7th in 2010, notorious cheapshot Ben Eager of the Atlanta Thrashers sucker-punched Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colby Armstrong late in the second period of play with his team trailing by a score of 5-1.

After the game, Eager continued his assault on Armstrong accusing him of being "one of the biggest phonies in the league". Sporting a patch over his right eye, Armstrong offered a two word description of Eager - "meat-head" - joking "I can't believe he missed my nose".

Colby suffered a scratched cornea from the sucker-punch resulting in swelling and leaking from his right eye. Despite the injury, Armstrong continued to play for a month until his vision became blurred from the incident and he was sidelined for a week missing four games.

Eager was assessed a match penalty and subsequently suspended four games, forfeiting $20,752 in pay. The punishment was shocking to some as Milan Lucic escaped suspension two weeks earlier for bare-knuckle sucker-punching Thrasher Freddy Meyer, prompting Eager to opine "there's no real parity in these suspensions that are handed out".

Toronto scored four times on the ensuing man advantage, collecting five powerplay goals on Eager penalties that night, en route to a 9-3 win.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Today In NHL History - Downie Punches Blake

On January 5th in 2008, Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie sucker-punched the Maple Leafs' Jason Blake as the pair were being restrained by officials following early third period fisticuffs.
Already famous for a vicious preseason headshot on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond, earning him a 20 game suspension and criticism from players league-wide (including Blake), the reckless rookie renewed his reputation as a cheapshot four games into his young NHL career.

Even hard-nosed hockey commentator and Coach's Corner co-host Don Cherry was disgusted by the display, dubbing Downie a backstabber.
Flyers VP Bobby Clarke instead applauded his player for the punch, claiming "the kid did what every hockey player should do. If a player like Blake who's been around as long as he has wants to criticize a player, then he has to go on the ice with him and suffer the consequences."
Downie was penalized four minutes on the play but escaped another suspension. Philadelphia beat Toronto that night by a score of 3-2.

That's today in NHL history.

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

Today In NHL History - Stamkos' Penalty Shot Miss

On January 5th in 2011, Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos lost an edge during a penalty shot attempt against Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins and failed to put the puck on net down 5-0 early in the second period.
The miscue comes only six days after the 2010 Rocket Richard co-winner was awarded his first NHL penalty shot which he converted with a nifty spin-o-rama move against Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price.
Pittsburgh went on to defeat Tampa Bay by a score of 8-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Stalberg's Penalty Shot Miss

On January 5th in 2011, Viktor Stalberg of the Chicago Blackhawks collected a hat trick of iron ringing the puck off both posts and the crossbar on a failed penalty shot attempt against Kari Lehtonen in the second period of a 2-2 match, extending his scoreless streak to 19 games.

In response to the miss the Swede remarked "it's hard to imagine that happening" whilst the Finn backstop conceded "I got real lucky there." Dallas would score twice in the third period to beat Chicago 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Today in NHL History - World Junior Brawl

On January 4th in 1987, a bench-clearing brawl erupted during the final game of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Piestany, Czechoslovakia between arch rivals Canada and the USSR.

With Canada contending for a medal (bronze for a loss, silver for a win, gold for a win by five goals) and the USSR playing for pride, tempers flared at the match's midpoint with Canada leading 4-2.

The on-ice combatants were soon joined by both benches, save Canada's Jimmy Waite and Pierre Turgeon, when Soviet skater Evgeny Davydov jumped the boards to enter the fray. Unable to harness the havoc, referees left the ice and turned off the lights on the twenty minute melee to the chorus of disgusted fans in attendance shouting "we want hockey".

An emergency meeting of the IIHF resulted in the suspension of the game and expulsion of both teams. Officials then ordered team Canada to exit the arena, furnishing them with an armed escort out of the country.

Much controversy surrounded the affair with some accusing the USSR of instigating the fight to prevent Canada from winning a medal.

Of the forty roster members in the Punch Up In Piestany, twenty-six (Canada 19, USSR 7) went on to play in the NHL.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Stefan Misses Empty Net

On January 4th in 2007, Dallas Stars forward Patrick Stefan famously flubbed an empty net goal with ten seconds left in a 5-4 game against the Edmonton Oilers. Falling after his failing, Edmonton fed Ales Hemsky who scored on Marty Turco to tie the game with two seconds to play.
Afterwards, Stefan explained his unfortunate mishap: "It's not like I missed the net, I saw it was bad ice and I had so much time so I just tried to carry it all the way to the net. As soon as I put it on my back hand it jumped over my stick. Not much I can do about that."

Dallas secured a 6-5 win in the shootout completing their comeback, down 4-1 midway through the match, despite Stefan's debacle .

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Today In NHL History - Semin Fights Marc Staal

On January 3rd in 2009, Washington Capitals sniper Alexander Semin found himself in his first ever NHL fight with New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. Mostly manhandled during the melee, Semin unleashed a late flurry of face-slaps as Staal lay on the ice, violating the Code but bringing great pleasure to both benches.
Each combatant received five minutes for fighting with Semin earning an ejection for failing to tie-down his jersey in violation of Rule 47.13. The Capitals beat the Rangers that night by a score of 2-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Today In NHL History - Chicago Stick Up

On January 1st in 2009, the Detroit Red Wings played the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL's outdoor Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. In a city famous for crime and corruption, I suppose it's not surprising that Chicago afternoon ended cloaked in controversy.

Fresh off a 6-4 victory in The Friendly Confines, Henrik Zetterberg handed his game stick to 14 year-old Wings fan Kalan Plew. Moments later, a man posing as a security guard confiscated the souvenir from Kalan explaining he could retrieve the prize from customer relations with his parents. As the imposter led Kalan from the stands, he bolted with the kid's stick.

Meanwhile in Wrigley's upper deck men’s washroom, 45 year-old dentist Robert Pappert was relieving himself when a man uniformed as a security guard walked in with a hockey stick. Upon learning that the stick belonged to his wife’s favorite player Henrik Zetterberg, Pappert offered the man $100 and took it home with him to North Carolina.

When Marc Plew met his son Kalan outside the stadium he knew something was wrong. Instead of celebrating the Red Wings' victory, he was crying. Upon learning of the atrocity, Plew reached out to the Chicago Tribune. The paper's Problem Solvers contacted the Red Wings who vowed to “make it right” by sending Kalan another Zetterberg stick and the story was published in their "What’s Your Problem?" column.

Back in Charlotte, Pappert learned that the Tribune published an article relating to his souvenir. Realizing the stick belonged to Kalan, he contacted the newspaper and returned the twig to its rightful owner. “If I had any idea that that was a bad dude, I would have beaten him with that stick before I left the bathroom ... I had a wonderful time with it for four or five days, but it has to go back to who really owns it.”

Kalan and Pappert were united for an interview on NPR's "All Things Considered". Touched by Pappert's honesty and generosity, the Blackhawks rewarded him with a Patrick Kane jersey and stick and Zetterberg flew Pappert and his wife to Detroit for a game.

No word as to the wherabouts of the crook who crushed a boy's New Year's Day dreams. But all's well that ends well in the Windy City. That's today in NHL history.