Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stanley Cup Blackout, The Lost Box Score

Bylaw 27.12
"any playoff game that is unfinished...for any cause beyond the control of the clubs...shall be replayed in it's entirety at the end of the series, if necessary, and it shall be played in the rink in which the unfinished game occurred."
Not only did the power go out at the old Boston Garden just as Edmonton's goal by Craig Simpson was being announced, but there was also the issue of the fog. Five times during the second period, referee Denis Morel had the teams empty their benches to skate around in attempt to clear the fog.
After  NHL president John Ziegler met with officials for 30 minutes, he decided to not continue play even though power had been restored. At 10:07pm the lights were back on without the help of a generator and several players returned to the ice but 95 percent of the crowd had been evacuated.
The Bruins said the building was cleared for security reasons as police feared the backup generators would not last long.
Of course the game would not need to be replayed as the Oilers would complete the sweep at home two nights later. The individual stats from the cancelled game did indeed count toward the player's records. Sites such as and hockey summary project do not have the box score of the game, so here it is.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bruce Boudreau, Most Goals in a Memorial Cup Game

The 2013 Memorial Cup is in full swing and just loaded with stars. Halifax's Nathan MacKinnon has already recorded a hat-trick which brought the question to mind...what's the Memorial Cup record for most goals in one game?

The answer is Bruce Boudreau of the Toronto Marlboros. On May 9, 1975 in Kitchener, Ontario Boudreau fired not only 5 goals in a 10-4 win over the Sherbrooke Castors, but they were ALL on the power play as well. "I guess this will make me sleep better tonight," he said after he ended his own personal scoring drought.  After scoring 68 goals in 69 regular season games, Boudreau had dipped slightly to 12 in 22 playoff matches. He could not be blamed for his struggles however as near the end of the regular season he suffered a freak injury. He fell on coach George Armstrong's skate and required 16 stitches.

Boudreau saved 3 of his 5 goals in this game until the third period, all five were scored on Sherbrooke's Nick Sanza. The victory sent the Marlboros to the Cup Final against the New Westminster Bruins who they beat 7-3. Boudreau finished the four game tournament with 6 goals and 3 assists, one point behind teammate John Anderson, tied with teammate Lynn Jorgenson. Other future NHL Marlies that season were Mark Napier, Ron Wilson, Mike Kaszycki and defencemen Mike McEwen, Trevor Johansen and Mike Kitchen.

Within a month, Boudreau would be drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 3rd round, 42nd overall. The next season he would play in the North American Hockey League with the Johnstown Jets of Slap Shot fame.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More rare vintage Leaf photos.

Here's a few more rarely seen photos from the archive of the Boston Public Library.

Syl Apps, Conn Smythe, Coach Dick Irvin, Gord Drillon pictured in the late 1930's

Great shot of Drillon and Apps, young stars of the Leafs in the late 30's and early 40's.

A young and pudgy Turk Broda

A dapper looking Conn Smythe longing in a Boston hotel. Note his characteristic spats that he always wore over his shoes

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Did That REALLY Happen?

Second Round.
New York Rangers.
Home Ice Advantage.
Which of my eight Leaf jerseys do I wear to work tomorrow in celebration?

These were thoughts running through my mind at about 6:15 PM Pacific Standard Time on Monday, May 13, 2013. Well, they weren't actually "running" through my mind, as opposed to trying to break down the locked front door and prying open the shuttered windows of my mind. I did not want these thoughts, there were still fourteen and a half minutes left in game seven. Sure, my Leafs were up 4-1 on Boston after the goal by Nazem Kadri, but too much time remained for me to give in to the thoughts trying to creep into my head.

It was this point that Twitter exploded with assertions that this game was over, and not from just average fans but from professional and well-respected hockey writers. An example of the Tweets I was seeing at this point in time:

Adam Proteau, Hockey News              
"Kessel. Kadri. Contest. Kaput."
Howard Berger, Author
"Lights out baby. Leafs movin' on."
Dave Bidini, Author, Musician
"monumental. i love you. goodnight from Stockholm."
These comments were all made right after the 4-1 goal and in hindsight were a bit premature. Also right around this time I had a buddy of mine (and fellow Ontario native) named John drop by my house because he wanted to "celebrate with me". Still, I wouldn't give in to the impending euphoria.
And then it began. The previous thoughts attempting to find foothold in my mind were replaced by these new ones...
Did Nathan Horton really score with over ten minutes remaining?
Did Matt Frattin miss the net on a breakaway three and a half minutes later?
Did Milan Lucic throw Carl Gunnarsson into the corner boards two minutes after that?
Did Lucic really shovel in a rebound less than two minutes later?
Was it really 4-3 now with 82 seconds left?
Could it get worse?
It got worse.
Why was Chara alone in front of Reimer...all by himself?
It was at this point where the numbness began to set it. Real, physical numbness. As overtime began I had that feeling of butterflies that is usually brought on by a stressful life event. That feeling I'd gotten only a few times in the past, that nervousness I felt right before making a best-man speech in front of 300 mostly-strangers over a decade ago. I didn't even have this feeling during the 2010 Gold Medal Canada/US game. Probably because deep down, I knew this one was not going to turn out my way.

And of course, it did not.

However, almost immediately after the collapse was complete I turned my thoughts to the big picture scenario and asked a few more questions...

Did we really win two games IN Boston?
Had James Reimer finally proven himself as a number one goaltender, especially in Games 5 & 6?
Did Jake Gardiner really step in after being a healthy scratch and show the poise of a veteran and promise of a future star?
Did Cody Franson emerge as a consistent offensive threat?
Did Dion Phaneuf display the leadership qualities of a captain?
Did Phil Kessel finally exorcise his Boston demons?
Did James Van Riemsdyk step up his game in the post season as he had in the past and is he ready to become a star in this league?
Did Matt Frattin and Joe Colborne prove to be valuable pieces for the future?
Did Nazem Kadri shake off his end of season malaise and prove his year was not a mirage?
Were Grabovski and Kulemin integral spark-plugs that really weren't rewarded for their hard work?
Was James Reimer's wife really that hot?

To all these queries I answered yes.
The Leafs were not going to win the Stanley Cup this season. The average age of the eleven guys I mentioned above is 24 years old. This team has a future, a promising future.

As I checked email and went to work the next day, I received countless "condolences" from friends. It felt like someone close to me had died. Nothing could be further from the truth in my mind. Condolences are not needed, especially from pals who were rooting for the Leafs only because their team had been eliminated. Sure, we blew a stellar opportunity to move on to the second round but the big picture still looks fine to me.

And no, my buddy John is no longer allowed in my house for future Leaf games.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Deja vu, Penguins Averting Disaster?

Isles overwhelmed from the start...
Hounded to the brink of an imposed summer, the young New York Islanders know that even though their hockey season has faded to perhaps it's final days, they came achingly close to spinning this series toward the unthinkable.

They could have and they did outwork the Penguins for long stretches. They could have and they did dictate tempo to their precise advantage throughout the first four games. But all that time, they knew there was one element that if it became critical they could be lethally vulnerable, and it became critical last night.

The Islanders just don't have - can't have- the kind of maturity necessary to deal with bursts of Penguins brilliance.

The Penguins thus have taken the upper hand in this series, but it is far from over. Once the Islanders got through the Penguins strong start last night, they showed the tenacity and resilience that have enabled them to win two games against an opponent with a serious in talent.

This was written in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette referring to the fifth game of the series between the Islanders and Penguins...twenty years ago EXACTLY. Game five of the Patrick Division Finals took place exactly 20 years ago today on May 10, 1993.

The Penguins tallied three goals in the first 108 seconds of the game and won game five by a score of 6-3. With a three games to two lead in the series, the highly favoured Pens seemed on their way to defending their two Stanley Cups.

Of course the Islanders would see things differently by winning game six 7-5 back home and then stealing game seven on David Volek's overtime winner. Could it happen again two decades later? We shall see.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Why do I hate the Canucks so?

Clever, right?

I'm not really sure what it is. If I knew, I would share. Perhaps it's just a collection of feelings and beliefs I have. But the fact remains, almost as much as I love the Toronto Maple Leafs...I really do enjoy seeing the Vancouver Canucks lose.

I know, that sounds juvenile, even callous but it's the truth.

This week was the first playoff game for the Leafs in nine (9) years and they lost, handily. I quickly remembered what it's like to have your team in the playoffs, the fact that despite all the hope and promise it rarely turns out well. I was slightly depressed after the loss but honestly I cannot expect a Cup win this year. It's a process and this is one step of it. On my way to my spring beer league hockey game an hour later, listening to the Canuck's first game on the radio I found myself giving a fist-pump to San Jose's tying goal. Later during a stoppage in play in my own game, our ref shared the fact that the Canucks had lost 3-1. I merely replied, "Good." Why? Do I dislike the Canucks that much?

I think it may come down to the overall unfounded sense of superiority and entitlement by the organization, media and fan base. It's the ridiculous and repetitive comments. Over the last week I have received countless "jabs" either verbally or digitally welcoming my team back to the post-season. That, or they remind me of the fact Toronto hasn't won a Cup since 1967. In most cases, this is the one and only piece of historical knowledge they have about hockey. In reality, both Vancouver and Toronto have missed the playoffs equally on sixteen occasions since 1970. Sure, Vancouver has been to and lost three finals over the years but honestly, I'd rather not make it there at all than be heartbroken as Vancouver has been the last two times.

Maybe it's that heartbreak and disappointment that make Canuck fans bitter, but why so vehemently toward the Leafs and their fans? Perhaps it's the very plain fact that they haven't won at least one Cup in those three attempts. I personally have multiple friends who are diehard fans of  either Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary. Although it may be a small sample, not ONE of these fans shares the outward hatred toward other teams or the superiority complex of a Canuck fan. All of these teams have indeed won a Cup in my lifetime, and it would probably be well within their "fandom rights" to display these qualities, yet they do not.

The Canuck fan is strange sort indeed. To say they are band-wagon jumpers is an understatement of gross proportions. The mere fact that playoff tickets had to be offered at half-price by the team says it all. The rebuttal that fans are complacent about making the playoffs is utter bullshit. This would not happen in any other Canadian city and a lot of American ones too. I feel the Canuck fan is summed up nicely by the most famous pair of them, The Green Guys. These morons are there for one purpose only, to get on TV and "entertain" the crowd. Ask them the score of the game at any point they'd be clueless.

And then there is the radio call-in fan. Yikes. Just this morning a caller to Vancouver sports radio suggested the reason for the Sedin brothers lack of production in the playoffs is because they just don't care. Where does a radio host go with a thought that ridiculous, other than the hang-up button. I'm surprised the caller didn't also suggest the Canucks trade Zack Kassian for Jonathan Toews.  I've kind of chalked up the average Vancouver fan's general lack of knowledge is the simple fact that there is no winter here in Vancouver. In their formative years when guys my age were building backyard rinks and skating on rivers, the typical West Coaster was playing soccer on a rainy gravel field or dragon boat racing. I've played rec-hockey in Vancouver for almost twenty years now, with well over 100 different guys. I'd say easily two-thirds of them were born East of the Rockies. Now, being a good hockey fan doesn't necessarily mean you should have actually played the game...but it sure helps.

Anyway, I think I'm ranting now. I'd love to hear feedback form the Canuck side on this, and I'm sure I will. And yes, I've seen the Leaf Blower.

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