blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: April 2021

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Today In NHL History - Ference Fingers Montreal

On April 21st in 2011, Boston Bruins blueliner Andrew Ference celebrated his first playoff goal in a decade, tying the game 2-2 in the opening period, with a one finger salute for the Montreal Canadiens fans at the Bell Center.
Afterwards, a straight-faced Ference assured anyone who would listen that the unpenalized gesture was inadvertent, noting that his glove "got caught up" as he was pumping his fist in the air.
The NHL didn't buy it either, electing to fine Ference $2,500, the maximum allowable amount under Rule 75.5(ii) for unsportsmanlike conduct, representing 1/900th of his $2.25m annual salary.

Fourteen months later Ference came clean admitting he intentionally flipped-off Habs fans and cowardly lied to cover his tracks:

"Accountability is lacking in our world. Just look at nuisance lawsuits, or the finger-pointing of politicians around the globe. I am guilty myself of trying to blame a middle-fingered celebration after a goal in Montreal on a glove malfunction. In round one of the playoffs between two of the fiercest rivals in our sport, I scored a tying goal in the enemys building, only to have my fist pump turn into a sign language that crosses all borders. Facing the media and a possible suspension after the fact proved to be too much for my self-accountability. Self-preservation is a powerful thing it is easier to place blame elsewhere and overlook your own responsibilities."

Boston went on to beat Montreal that night in overtime by a score of 5-4, knotting their first round best-of-seven series at 2-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Lidstrom Beats Cloutier

On April 21st in 2002, Norris winner Nicklas Lidstrom scored on Vancouver Canucks netminder Dan Cloutier from center ice in the final minute of the second period breaking a 1-1 tie in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarter-finals.

The goal marked a playoff turning point as the Detroit Red Wings won the game 3-1 and overcame a 2-0 series deficit to steal the series 4-2. 52 days later Detroit hoisted the Stanley Cup with Lidstrom taking the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP of the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Today In NHL History - Good Friday Brawl

On April 20th in 1984, divisional rivals Montreal Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques engaged in a now famous fight known simply by its calendar namesake emanating from the perfect storm of NHL playoffs, politics and provincial pride.

The Good Friday Brawl fisticuffs ensued at the end of the second period of Game 6 of the Adams Division Finals and lasted for ten minutes before teams retreated to their respective dressing rooms. Upon surveying the damage to teammate Jean Hamel from a Louis Sleigher sucker punch, the Canadiens returned to settle the score in the final frame.

Montreal beat Quebec that night to seal the series by a margin of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Today In NHL History - Sedin's Disallowed Goal

On April 19th in 2010, Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin deflected a puck off his skate and past Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick in Game 3 of the opening round of the 2010 playoffs, pulling his team within a goal three minutes into the third period.

Ruled a good goal by on-ice referee Steve Kozari, NHL SVP Mike Murphy and the off-ice video review crew overturned the ruling after a lengthy six minute review, causing CBC's Hockey Night In Canada broadcaster Jim Hughson to remark "Wow, that is a most interesting call".

NHL Rule 78.5(ii) states a goal shall be disallowed "when the puck has been kicked using a distinct kicking motion." A "distinct kicking motion" is defined by Rule 38.4(iv) as "one which, with a pendulum motion, the player propels the puck with his skate into the net." Rule 49.2 clarifies, however, that "a puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal".

Absent evidence of a "distinct kicking motion", Murphy was invited to speak with Ron Maclean on HNIC and share the reasoning behind his decision to overturn the on-ice ruling and disallow Sedin's goal.

The interview appeared to further confuse an already perplexed panel.

Maclean: Tell us exactly how you came to your conclusion.

Murphy: ... It [the puck] had to be propelled some way. We felt it was the skate and not a distinct kicking motion but with a kicking motion that made it move back the other way. It wasn't a deflection. It wasn't a redirect. It was a kick. So that's the decision we came up with.

Maclean: If he's just making a stop ... and it [the puck] hits his skate and changes direction, is that a kicking motion?

Murphy: No ... We'll let that stand as a goal. We felt that wasn't the case here. He knew what he was doing.
When questioned the next day as to how Murphy could have known that Sedin "knew what he was doing", Commissioner Bettman deflected the question and controversy, electing instead to defend his staff:
"Mike Murphy was trying to explain at one o'clock in the morning as best he could exactly what was going on. And if he wasn't as articulate as perhaps those looking to parse his words would like, so be it. But as I said, I have complete confidence in Mike Murphy, Colie Campbell, and the entire hockey operations department. I think this whole tact of innuendo and insinuation is both insulting and pure fantasy. And I suggest everyone move on and focus on the fact we are having a dynamic playoffs."
Interestingly, a near identical goal was scored by the same player three months earlier. After video review, that goal was allowed to stand.

Clouding the waters of incompetence with conspiracy, allegations of partiality surfaced as an interview from earlier that season between and the club's former player (10yrs), captain (7yrs), and coach (4yrs) turned NHL SVP revealed Murphy's bias towards the team. You were with the Kings from early on in the team’s existence – how have you seen the team change in the time since then?

Murphy: Well I have seen some obvious changes with the colors of the uniforms and the logo and the different arena where they play. What has not changed is the great group of solid hockey fans in Southern California that support and love the Kings, even with the changes. I think it would be so neat to see the Kings succeed and win a Stanley Cup because it would do just a tremendous amount for the Southern California market and the Kings franchise. They have been hard working and very close in a number of years, so that would be nice to see.
The disallowed goal preserved the Kings 4-2 lead en route to a 5-3 win, taking a 2-1 series lead over the Canucks. The win, however, would be the last for Los Angeles as Vancouver ultimately cinched the series 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Today In NHL History - Maple Leafs 3-0 Comeback

On April 18th in 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 3-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final becoming the first NHL team to ever recover from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series and win the round, or in this case the Stanley Cup.
In fact, only 3 of the 172 times a NHL team has trailed 3-0 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series have they comeback to win. The other two times happened in the Quarterfinal round, first in 1975 when the New York Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins and then again in 2010 when the Philadelphia Flyers caught up to the Boston Bruins.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also NHL Playoff Comebacks Trailing 3-0.
* See also NHL Playoff Comebacks Trailing 3-1.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Game 7 History.

Today In NHL History - Dan Boyle's Own Goal

On April 18th in 2010, defenseman Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks backhanded a shortside winner into his own goal with 51 seconds played in sudden death overtime of Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarter-finals to the surprise and chagrin of netminder Evgeni Nabokov.

The gaff, Boyle's first goal of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, gave the 8th seeded Colorado Avalanche a 1-0 win and 2-1 series lead against the top seeded Sharks. Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson finished the game with a 51 save shutout, adding another chapter to his storybook season.

The Sharks won the next three games to take the series 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Today In NHL History - Brodeur's Playoff Goal

On April 17th on 1997, netminder Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils scored an unassisted empty net goal against the Montreal Canadiens joining Ron Hextall as the second goalie to ever score in a NHL playoff game.

The Devils went on to beat the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal 5-2, eventually taking the series 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Today In NHL History - Andrew Peters Golf Swing

On April 16th in 2006, Buffalo Sabres slugger Andrew Peters challenged Toronto Maple Leafs bruiser Wade Belak to a fight with 5 minutes to play in the penultimate game of the regular season. Belak's decline was met with a golf swing gesture by Peters referencing the fatal blow dealt to Toronto's playoff hopes that night.

Peters was assessed a 10 minute misconduct and ejected from the game for the unsportsmanlike swing, described by Belak as "disrepectful". Peters later apologized to his teammates and Sabres owner Tom Golisano noting "It was just stupid, I got caught up in the moment."

Buffalo beat Toronto that night by a score of 6-0 and were eventually eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals by the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes. Ironically, Peters never skated in a playoff game during that postseason or any other in his NHL career.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Today In NHL History - Kopitar Highsticks Sedin

On April 15th in 2010, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings inadvertently high-sticked Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarter-finals lodging his stick into the Art Ross winner's helmet.

Despite direct evidence of a high-sticking infraction, the play went unpenalized presumably owing to the absence of an injury. When questioned as to the non-call, the referee Kelly Sutherland responded that the high-stick was "very gentle" and didn't warrant a whistle. Interesting.

The Canucks won the game 3-2 no thanks to the officiating.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Luongo's Stick Gets Stuck

On April 15th in 2010, Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo lodged his goalie stick into the back of his pads after making a spectacular overtime save against the Kings' Jack Johnson in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarter-finals.

After a 15 second struggle, Luongo untangled the lumber in time to stop a shot from Brad Richardson as play returned to his end. Vancouver went on to beat Los Angeles 3-2 that night taking a 1-0 series lead.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Playoff Poop.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (FLA-VAN).
* 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.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Today In NHL History - Rob Ray Fights Fan

On April 14th in 1992, Rob Ray of the Buffalo Sabres pummeled a 21 year old fan who, apparently acting on a bet, elected to jump into the visitors bench at Le Colisée in the dying seconds of a game against the Quebec Nordiques.
Amazingly, the fan survived some 17 or 18 direct blows from the NHL's 6th all-time regular season penalty minutes leader (3,207) before police broke up the melee. Rayzor escaped criminal charges and league suspension that night though his team couldn't avoid a 7-3 loss.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Today In NHL History - Ron MacLean

On April 12th in 1960, celebrated sports broadcaster Ronald Joseph Corbett MacLean was born in Zweibrücken, West Germany. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things hockey and a quick wit, MacLean became the host of CBC's coveted Saturday night franchise Hockey Night In Canada. Raised in Red Deer, Alberta, MacLean spent eight years with CKRD before landing the HNIC Western anchor gig in 1986. Later that season he assumed the Toronto anchor role replacing Dave Hodge who was fired for flipping his pencil in protest of the network's decision to leave an overtime hockey game for the news. MacLean has been a fixture since.

In addition to his regular broadcasting duties MacLean hosts the Hotstove, co-anchors Coach's Corner with Don Cherry, and has participated in CBC's Olympic coverage since 1988, earning him eight Gemini awards, including Best Sports Broadcaster (1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001) and Best Sports Host/Interviewer (2004, 2006).

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Today In NHL History - Hextall's Playoff Goal

On April 11th in 1989, netminder Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers scored an unassisted empty net goal against the Washington Capitals becoming the first goaltender to score in a NHL playoff game.

It was the second time a goalie scored in a NHL game, the first being when Hextall fired the puck into the opposing net on December 8th in 1987. Though New York Islanders backstop Billy Smith was the first to be credited with a goal, Hextall was the first goalie to actually score one.

The Flyers beat the Capitals 8-5 in Game 5 of the Patrick Division Semifinal that night, eventually winning the series 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Trevor Linden

On April 11th in 1970, Trevor Linden was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Fresh off consecutive Memorial Cup wins, the Canucks selected him second overall in the 1988 NHL Draft. Linden would play 16 of his 19 NHL seasons with the club earning the nickname Captain Canuck for his on-ice efforts and community contributions.

In his first season, Linden scored 30 regular season goals and added seven playoff points in a first round series against the heavily favored Flames. Predicted by local media to be the first seven game series to be settled in three games, Linden et al took the eventual Cup winners to overtime in Game 7. The rookie performance landed Linden runner-up honors in the Calder Trophy race and cemented his reputation among the Canuck faithful. Two years later he would be crowned captain.

Linden ended up posting six 30+ goal seasons during a 482 consecutive game ironman streak in Vancouver. The highlight of his career came when he captained his banged up seventh seeded Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup finals, leading them out of a 3-1 game deficit against the Presidents' Trophy winning New York Rangers to force an infamous Game 7 at MSG. Linden scored both Canuck goals in the 3-2 loss.
A 1998 run-in with notorious new coach Mike Keenan launched a three year eastern conference tour with stops in Long Island, Montreal, and Washington. That year Linden would also be elected President of the NHLPA, a position he held for eight years.

In 2001 Linden returned to Vancouver, ending his career in an April 5, 2008 home game against division rival Calgary Flames. Despite an embarrassing 7-1 loss, the Canucks' favorite son was applauded throughout the third period and named the game's first star. At the end of the game, Flames captain Jarome Iginla ordered his team out of the dressing and back on the ice to congratulate the Albertan in person.
Linden's number 16 jersey was retired by the Vancouver Canucks on December 17, 2009, only the second jersey to be retired by the franchise.

On April 9, 2014, Linden was named President of Hockey Operations for the Vancouver Canucks, one day after Mike Gillis was relieved of the role.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Winnipeg Jets White Out

On April 11th in 1987, the Winnipeg Jets introduced the "White Out" in response to the Calgary Flames "C of Red" employed by fans during the first two games of the first round playoff series at the Saddledome.

Winnipeg went on to beat Calgary in six games only to be swept by the Edmonton Oilers in the next round. The playoff attire tradition continued as the club encouraged everyone to "wear white tonight" in a parody of Wang Chung's tune "Everybody Have Fun Tonight".

Amazingly, Winnipeg never won another playoff series after their inaugural White Out against Calgary, a streak that lasted 25 years counting their present incarnation as the Phoenix Coyotes, leading some to dub the custom the "White Curse".

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Today In NHL History - Miracle On Manchester

On April 10th in 1982, the Los Angeles Kings completed the largest single game comeback in Stanley Cup playoff history in Game 3 of the Smythe Division Semifinal beating the heavily favored Edmonton Oilers 6-5.

Down 5-0, the Kings first goal came 2:16 into the third period from Jay Wells skating 4-on-4. Doug Smith added a powerplay goal less than three minutes later. The next three markers came in the final 5:22 with Charlie Simmer and Mark Hardy converting 4-on-4, and Steve Bozek tying it with five seconds remaining in regulation on the powerplay with the goalie pulled. Daryl Evans scored the winner 2:35 into overtime.

The comeback has been dubbed the Miracle on Manchester owing to the address of The Forum where the game was played. The Kings lost Game 4 in Los Angeles but won Game 5 in Edmonton to steal the series 3-2 only to fall to the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 in the next round.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Kane Fights Matt Cooke

On April 10th in 2010, Atlanta Thrashers rookie Evander Kane answered Pittsburgh Penguins pest Matt Cooke's challenge for fisticuffs with a one punch knockout of one of the NHL's most hated players.
Kane KO was applauded by Boston Bruins bruiser Milan Lucic who's linemate Marc Savard suffered a severe concussion from Cooke's dirty play. Atlanta went on to beat Pittsburgh that night by a score of 1-0.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Bergeron Saves Own Goal

On April 10th in 2010, Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron prevented a third period own goal stopping Blake Wheeler's pass from entering their empty net during a delayed Jerome Samson penalty up 3-2 in a must-win game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Boston added an empty net goal to their three shorthanded markers to beat Carolina that afternoon by a score of 4-2 and clinch a playoff spot.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Bruins Shorthanded Record

On April 10th in 2010, the Boston Bruins set a NHL record scoring three shorthanded goals in 64 seconds against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward during a Matt Hunwick minor penalty for hooking Jerome Samson.

The three second period penalty kill tallies from Paille, Wheeler and Begin doubled Boston's shorthanded output for the season and set up a 4-2 win over Carolina, clinching a playoff berth for the Bruins in the process.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Today In NHL History - Kovalchuk Fights McCabe

On April 9th in 2009, Thrashers superstar Ilya Kovalchuk challenged, fought and finished Panthers bruiser Bryan McCabe. 8 years his junior and 10 pounds his senior, the prize of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft KO'valuchuk'd the once-feared blueliner at the midpoint of their match.

Kudos to the captain for handling himself in front of the hometown few. Florida went on to beat Atlanta that night by a score of 3-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Today In NHL History - Vermette's Own Goal

On April 8th in 2013, Phoenix Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette fired a pass from the Vancouver Canucks goal line, past its intended recipient Keith Yandle, the entire length of the ice into Phoenix's empty net with one minute remaining in the third period trailing 1-0. The own goal, credited to Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis, came during a two man-advantage thanks to a penalty drawn by Vermette 22 seconds earlier and goalie Mike Smith sitting for a sixth attacker.

Vancouver beat Phoenix by a score of 2-0, keeping the Coyotes three points from the final playoff spot in the West with nine games to play.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Today In NHL History - Keith Ballard's Own Goal

On April 6th in 2010, Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard swatted an airborn puck past goaltender Tomas Vokoun and into his own net giving the visiting Ottawa Senators a 3-1 lead midway through the second period.Ballard's own goal was credited to the Senators forward Chris Neil. Ottawa beat Florida that night by a score of 5-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Today In NHL History - Turco Bets Canadiens Fan

On April 5th in 2011, Chicago Blackhawks benched backup goaltender Marty Turco allegedly wagered with a Montreal Canadiens season ticket holder named Robert during a match at the Bell Center after a second period goal by forward Michael Cammalleri put Montreal ahead 1-0.

According to Robert's retelling on the sports radio station Team 990, the bet began with a friendly $5 wager that Chicago wouldn't score. When Patrick Kane tied the game three minutes later, Robert slid a $5 bill between the glass to Turco with the note "Habs Rule" written on its face.

Double or nothing escalated into triple or nothing and eventually 5 to 1 odds that the Canadiens would win in overtime, which they did when defenseman P.K. Subban scored a powerplay goal 79 seconds into the extra frame giving Montreal a 2-1 victory over Chicago, and prompting Turco to pass a wad of $5 bills to the fan, including the original $5 bill which had been revised from "Habs Rule" to "Turco Rules!".

Despite Exhibit 14.2 of NHL CBA explicitly stating "Gambling on any NHL Game is prohibited", Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed there would be "no investigation and no action", to which Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville added, "it's something that happened, we're handling it internally". For the record, Turco owned up to passing the $5 bill back and forth with the fan, but did not admit to accepting any wagers.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Iginla Salutes Linden

On April 5th in 2008, the Calgary Flames displayed the sportsmanship that makes NHL hockey special, putting aside their bitter divisional rivalry to salute Vancouver Canucks legend Trevor Linden in his final NHL game.

With fans applauding the Alberta-born center prior to the final period of his career, Calgary players retreated from the faceoff circle allowing players and fans alike to acknowledge the club's games played leader.

At the end of the match, Flames captain Jarome Iginla (who scored his 50th goal that night) recalled his entire roster from the visitor's dressing room and press box to the ice insisting all shake hands and congratulate Linden, a gesture that will forever be remembered in Vancouver.

Afterwards, Iginla shared his thoughts on Linden and their exchange.

Despite Calgary badly beating Vancouver that night by a score of 7-1, Captain Canuck was named the game's first star.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Today In NHL History - Sean Avery Hits Thomas

On April 4th in 2009, New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery slapped Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas in the back of the head with his stick during a television timeout in an attempt to unhinge the 2009 Jennings, Crozier and Vezina winner with 5 minutes to play.Both Avery and Thomas received minor roughing penalties on the play. Boston beat the Rangers that afternoon by a score of 1-0 with Thomas collecting the shutout and the game's first star.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Today In NHL History - 1992 NHLPA Strike Begins

On April 1st in 1992, NHLPA freshman boss Bob Goodenow announced the first player strike in NHL history. The labor strife was resolved after only 10 days largely owing to the assistance of US Federal Mediator John Martin.

The settlement provided a one year labor truce between owners and players in the form of a two year deal retroactive to the beginning of the season, resulting in several changes to the game, including the:

  • addition of two neutral site games per team each season;
  • increase in the number of regular season games (80 to 84);
  • increase in player playoff bonuses ($3.2m to $7.5m);
  • increase in player control over licensing of likeness; and
  • tweaking of the free agency system.
Though no regular season or playoff games were lost due to the stoppage, the strike represented a major moment in owner/player relations and set the stage for the 1994 NHL Lockout. In response to the strike and in anticipation of future disputes, the owners removed NHL President John Ziegler replacing him with Gil Stein and ultimately Gary Bettman.

That's today in NHL history.