Showing posts from June, 2012

Jacques Marcotte, So Close to the Show until Tragedy Struck

A couple years back I wrote about the minor league domination of the IHL's Cincinnati Mohawks and their terrific French Canadian goaltenders.

Just this last month I received a comment on that article from the daughter of one of those fine goaltenders, Jacques Marcotte. She mentioned that her father had indeed made it to the NHL, contrasting the information I had found. Well, her father did indeed get the call up to the big time and got just about as close as one could get to playing in the NHL before tragedy struck.

The 1957/58 Toronto Maple Leafs were a poor squad and would finish the season sixth and last place with a record of 21-38-11. By February 23, 1958 in fifth place and six points shy of a playoff spot, the Leafs attempted to change their luck with a change in the nets.  Ed Chadwick had played every game in net for the Leafs when Jacques Marcotte was obtained from New Y…

Brian Campbell, a True Gentleman

Florida Panther defense man Brian Campbell is a finalist for the Lady Byng Award as the NHL's most gentlemanly player. A defender has not won the award since 19534/54 when Detroit's Red Kelly won. This past season, Campbell collected 53 points and a mere 6 PIM's and really should win the award. Through the history of the NHL, Campbell is in fact the ONLY defense man to ever have a season of at least 50 points and under 10 PIM. In fact, only two other guys have had even 40 points and under 10 PIM, Red Kelly (twice) and St. Louis Blue, Jack Brownschidle in 1979/80.

As for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, in my opinion it should be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, hands down. With 52 points in 62 games, he had a Point per Game Average of 0.84. He becomes only the 10th 18 year old rookie to have at least 0.80 Pts/GP in NHL history. In order of Points per Game:

Dale Hawerchuk   1.29Sidney Crosby       1.26Ron Francis           1.15 Steve Yzerman      1.09 Jimmy Carson       0.99 Dan…

Team Canada officially born 40 years ago today.

Forty years ago today, Harry Sinden officially christened the name of his hockey club that would play the Russians in September 1972. At a press conference in Toronto he declared the squad would be called "Team Canada"  after rejecting names like "Pro Canada", "Canadian Team" and "Canada's Best".

Sinden also announced John Ferguson as his assistant coach this day. As for player selection, Sinden said he was in the process of contacting NHL general managers "to get the official word that, so far as they're concerned, their players are available". He added, "I'm about two-thirds of the way through the list and have had extremely good co-operation. I will have spoken to all of them by end of week, then I'll go about checking the players."

Sinden also discussed the proposed size of his roster of "35 or 36" players. He said he was planning a large squad because "four games in the first week of Septe…

Bryce Salvador, Coming out of Nowhere.

Just how amazing has the point scoring exploits of Bryce Salvador been, unprecedented. Entering this season's playoffs Salvador had a total of 4 points in 50 career playoff games. Through five games of the Stanley Cup Finals he has 14 points in 23 games. Salvador's career high scoring season was in 2008/09 with 16 points in 76 games. Has such a low-scoring defenseman ever had such a ridiculous scoring output in the playoffs? Not even close. No other defender in NHL history whose career high was less than 30 points has scored 14 points in a playoff year.

Lowest Career High Points among D-men who scored at least 14 pts in one playoff.
(Previous career high)
Nicklas Kronwall 2008, 15 pts (35)Dmitri Mironov 1994, 15 pts (36)Dustin Byfuglien 2010, 16 pts (36)Tim Horton 1962, 16 pts (38)Larry Goodenough 1976, 14 pts (42)Jason Wooley 1999, 15 pts (43)Ewe Kruup 1996, 16 pts (44)Jaro Spacek 2006 14 pts (45)Pierre Pilote 1961 15 pts  (45)Tom Kurvers 1988 15 pts (45)Eric Desjardins 1993 1…

1972 Summit Series, 27 Days in September... and November?

Forty years ago today on June 7, 1972 the Canadian Press reported on a proposed postponement of the upcoming Summit Series between Canada and Russia. Apparently, NHL President Clarence Campbell had taken issue with Hockey Canada's original timetable of having the Canadian portion of games played in early September. The NHL's desire was to keep the Russian games as scheduled for September 22, 24, 26 & 28 while bumping the games in Canada to November 7, 9, 13 & 17.

The NHL's proposal would also make it certain that none of the Canadian pros would miss a game with their club team. By mid June however, Campbell was admitting, "Nobody wants the Sept. 1-8 dates which have been proposed, but if it proves impossible to change the dates, we may have to accept them." Of course, in the end the NHL had to give in to the predetermined dates and their fears were realized. With only a few weeks of training camp, Canada was able to win only once on home ice against a Rus…

Jonathan Quick, Breaking Records

One victory away from the Stanley Cup, Jonathan Quick's .950 Save Percentage and 1.36 GAA are in record setting territory. Among goalies that played at least 10 games in a single playoff season only Frankie Brimsek's 1.25 GAA in 1939 can beat Quick. His Save Pct. would also be the best ever among goalies playing at least 10 playoff games. It would however not be the best ever if we look all the way back to 1950 and goalies who played less than 10 games, if only because they won the Cup too quickly.

All-Time Save Percentage Leaders - Single Post-Season (Saves/Shots, Save Pct.)Terry Sawchuk 1952 (8gp) - 217/222  .978 Johnny Bower 1963 (9gp) - 271/284  .954Rogie Vachon 1969 (8gp) - 245/257  .953Jacques Plante 1960 (9gp) - 211/222  .951
These shots on goal numbers were gathered from both The Hockey Summary Project and Google News Archives. From 1951 and prior, shot totals are far more difficult to confirm from newspaper reports.

As far as only speaking of the Stanley Cup Finals,…

Lidstrom or Bourque?

Now that Niklas Lidstrom has hung up the blades and retired the axe, the debate will rage as to where he ranks among all-time defencemen in NHL history. Bobby Orr is the undisputed greatest d-man ever. The general consensus has Eddie Shore and Doug Harvey among the top five. My belief is that the rest of the top five is occupied by Lidstrom and Ray Bourque. I'll look at only these two for now, as their careers overlapped for a full ten seasons. Who should rank higher? Bourque or Lidstrom? is an invaluable resource, and on top of all the standard numbers they have a category called Point Shares. Based on the baseball rating Win Shares originated by Bill James, it basically estimates how many team points in the standings each player contributes in any given year. Point Shares is a combination of Offensive and Defensive contributions as well, so mathematics aside it is a terrific tool to use when comparing players. First, let's look at the first 12 seasons o…