blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: April 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Today In NHL History - Kirk McLean's Game 7 Save

On April 30th in 1994, Vancouver Canucks goalie Kirk McLean denied Calgary Flames forward Robert Reichel of an overtime open net opportunity in Game 7 of the 1994 playoffs' opening round, in what is now known in Canucks circles simply as 'The Save'.
The spectacular save set the stage for Pavel Bure's double overtime series winner, considered by many as the Greatest Moment in Canucks History, capping the Canucks improbable 3-1 series deficit comeback with three consecutive overtime wins against the Flames and igniting their Cinderella run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Highlights from this historic Canucks Game 7 can be viewed below.
That's today in NHL history.

* See also Canucks Game 7 Overtime & Stanley Cup Finals.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Game 7 History.

Today In NHL History - Steve Smith's Own Goal

On April 30th in 1986, rookie defenseman Steve Smith of the Edmonton Oilers accidentally played the puck off of goalie Grant Fuhr and scored on his own goal, putting the Calgary Flames ahead 3-2 in the third period of Game 7 of the Battle of Alberta Smyth Division Finals.
Smith's 23rd birthday blooper held up as the winner and Calgary took the series 4-3. The Flames would eventually advance to the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Today In NHL History - Roger Neilson Surrenders

On April 29th in 1982, Vancouver Canucks head coach Roger Neilson surrendered to referee Bob Myers during Game 2 of the Campbell Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks in protest of poor officiating.

Stymied by seemingly unjustified penalties, Tiger Williams suggested throwing all of the sticks on the ice. Coach Neilson replied, "No, I've done that before, let's surrender". And with that, a white towel was raised on the end of a stick for all to see and Towel Power was born.

Neilson was tossed and the Canucks lost the game 4-1. They went on to win the series against the Blackhawks by the same margin, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

Some 29 years later the Vancouver Canucks unveiled an 800 pound bronze sculpture by Norm Williams outside of the coincidentally named Rogers Arena, memorializing Neilson's historic stand that inspired a team and a tradition.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Today In NHL History - Dale Hunter Hits Turgeon

On April 28th in 1993, Washington Capitals forward Dale Hunter delivered a late shoulder-separating hit on New York Islanders center Pierre Turgeon after the Lady Byng recipient converted Hunter's defensive-end turnover for the Isles 5th goal in Game 6 of the Patrick Division Semifinal.
Witnessing the foul firsthand at Nassau Coliseum, the newly appointed Commissioner Gary Bettman assessed a 21 game suspension costing Hunter $150,000, one-quarter of his $600,000 annual salary. New York beat Washington that night by a score of 5-3 to win the series 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Today In NHL History - Carcillo Fights Talbot

On April 25th in 2009, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxime Talbot challenged Philadelphia Flyers tough guy Daniel Carcillo to a scrap down 3-0 in the second period of Game 6 of the Conference Quarterfinals.

Carcillo won the fight but Pittsburgh stole the momentum responding with five unanswered goals to win the game 5-3, clinch the series 4-2 and eventually hoist the Stanley Cup seven weeks later. Though some discredit the fight as a turning point, Talbot's silencing was golden.

On July 1, 2011, the Flyers parted ways with Carcillo and signed Talbot. Carcillo took a one year $750,000 deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. Talbot earned a five year $8.75m deal with the Flyers.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Today In NHL History - Alan Eagleson

On April 24th in 1933, Robert Alan Eagleson was born in St. Catherines, Ontario. Once considered the most powerful man in hockey, Eagleson's reputation was destroyed and person imprisoned when his fraudulent ways towards his colleagues and clients were revealed.

Starting out as a player agent before pioneering the NHLPA and international tournaments among professionals (1972 Summit Series, 1976 Canada Cup), the NHL icon was enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame and appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1989 only to have both honors stripped nine years later upon cross border convictions.

The unraveling originated with articles penned by player agents Ritch Winter and Ron Salcer, and Eagle-Tribune sports editor Russ Conway. Allegations of embezzlement, colluding to repress player salaries, misrepresenting player negotiations, and skimming disability funds resulted in disbarment as a lawyer, U.S. courts taking his money ($700,000) and Canada's his freedom (18 month sentence of which he served six), as described in Conway's 'Game Misconduct'.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

NHL Tiebreaker Rules and Playoff Seeding

NHL realignment and recent revisions to the tie-breaker system, discounting the value of a shootout win in determining regular season standings, have altered tiebreaker rules and playoff seeding.

First off, the top three teams in each division automatically qualify for the postseason with two wildcard spots being awarded to the next highest ranked teams in each conference. And yes, it is possible for both wildcard berths in a conference to come from the same division, meaning one division sends five teams to the playoffs while the other sends only three.

Total regular season points rules the day in ordering the top three teams in each division as well as wildcard winners. The division winner with the most points is then matched against the wildcard team with the fewest points in the conference, leaving the other division winner to play the remaining wildcard team, while the second and third place finishers in each division battle in the opening round of the playoffs.

If teams collect the same number of points, the one with more regulation and overtime wins (statistically abbreviated as ROW) jumps ahead in the standings. Shootout wins DO NOT COUNT for tiebreaker purposes.

If teams share the same number of points and wins (i.e., regulation + overtime wins, excluding shootout wins), then the club with more points in their head-to-head season series prevails. If an odd number of games occurred between the teams, points collected in the first game in the city hosting an extra match will be discounted in the math.

If teams remain tied after calculating points, wins (i.e., regulation + overtime wins, excluding shootout wins), and their head-to-head season series, then the team with the greatest positive difference between goals scored (GF) and goals allowed (GA) gets the nod.

In the unlikely event two teams remain tied in all of these categories at the end of the regular season, a tiebreaker game will be played. Home ice will be determined by a draw and playoff overtime rules will be in effect (i.e., 5-on-5, sudden death, 20 minute periods). Never before has such a game been played, though Montreal and Buffalo came close in 2000.

Points, ROW, head-to-head season series, GF minus GA, tiebreaker game. Now you know.

* See also NHL Playoff Seeding and Re-seeding Rules.