​This date in hockey history -- February 1st - 14th

On this date in hockey history, February 13th, 1972, Butch Goring scored on a penalty shot against the New York Rangers Gilles Villemure in a 4-2 loss. It was the first penalty shot scored by a Kings player in the history of the franchise.

If Butch Goring had a trademark, it was undoubtedly his unique helmet. He began wearing the Spaps helmet as a 12-year-old in Manitoba. The Spaps helmet was from Europe and had been created by the great Swedish player Sven “Tumba” Johansson. As Goring advanced up the ladder as a profesional player, he decided he would continue to use it for his whole career. As the years went by, not only did Goring's helmet appear wildly outdated, but it also appeared tight on his head and offered little protection, although that didn't seem to matter in an era when most players didn't wear helmets. Goring said he wore the helmet for comfort, and because he got used to having it on his head in minor hockey, rather than protection. He was intensely loyal to his Spaps helmet. He had two of the helmets, one for home games and one for the road. Each time he changed teams, he had the equipment managers repaint his prized helmets in the appropriate colors rather  than get a new one.

On this date in hockey history, February 13th, 1975, Bobby Orr tallied his 100th point of the season. This was Bobby's sixth consecutive season with 100 or more points. He was the second NHL player to score 100 points six times (The first was Phil Esposito) and he was the first to do so in six straight seasons.

On this date in hockey history, February 19th, 1992, Steve Larmer of the Chicago Blackhawks broke Craig Ramsay's NHL record of 776 consecutive games played with one team when he played in his 777 straight game with the Hawks.

On this date in hockey history, February 12, 1983, Craig Ramsay did not dress for a Buffalo Sabres game. He had broken a bone in his foot in a game two days earlier. Why was this an event you might ask? Well, this was the first game ramsay missed in more than ten years and ended a streak of 776 games played with the same team, an NHL record.

On this date in hockey history, February 11, 1988, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the New York Islanders 4-3. During that game, Borje Salming collected his 600th assist. In so doing he became just the fifth NHL defenseman to reach that milestone.

On this date in hockey history, February 9th, 1980, three days before the Lake Placid Olympic Games began, the United States Olympic hockey team played the Soviet Union in a charity fundraiser at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The final score was 10-3 for the Soviets and it seemed to be a repudiation of coach Herb Brooks attempt to build a team capable of defeating the powerful Soviet national team.

Brooks had worked hard for a year at deprogramming the players from playing the North American style of up and down the wing hockey. He had devised of system like the Soviets played, a game of fluditiy where players exchanged positions on the ice with a flow utilizng the width of the rink as well as it's length. He believed that the Soviets could be beat at their own game.

However, their was no guarantee that the U.S. Team would ever play the Soviets at Lake Placid. The two teans were separated during group play. The only way the US and the Soviets could play would be in the medal round. Both teams would need to go undefeated in group play to advance to the medal round. Certainly the USA wasn't expected to do so

So this exhibition game was important because it might be the only chance to put Brooks theory to the test. Could the young team of college players compete with the Soviet team which had dominated international hockey since 1960. The Soviets had defeated the NHL all stars 6-0 at Madison Square Garden in the 1979 Challenge Cup series. How could these college players be expected to do what the NHL's best players couldn't? The USA hadn't won Olympic gold in hockey since 1960, in the Squaw Valley miracle. Even the powerful Canadiens hadn't won gold since 1952 in Oslo, Norway.

This would be the 61st game the US team played together in preparation for the Olympics. The team compiled a record of 42-15-3 against a mixture of college and minor league teams with some games against European clubs and lesser ranked national teams like Holland and Norway, and B teams from Sweden, Czechoslovakia and the Soviets. After their 10-3 loss to he Soviet A team, certainly not even the most eternal optimist could imagine Herb Brooks team was capable of defeating the Soviets at Lake Placid.

“You had heard about them. You had known about how good they were. You had known about their successes. And now you were going to play them. And that night it was ‘Welcome to the real world, boys.'” – Mike Eruzione, USA

“€œWe got crushed. And we thought … these guys are in another world. They were the Red Menace. They wore the CCCP across their chests. They were very very intimidating.”  – Dave Silk, USA

“They just kicked us around that rink. The goals they scored – you could have filmed them they were so beautiful. There couldn’t have been a greater low point, given the preparation and the work we had put in. It was very demoralizing.”- Jack O’Callahan, USA

“We were about ready to stand up and applaud them. We had never seen anything like that before. Guys were saying, ‘Did you see that goal? Did you see his move?’ We were spectators.” – Mark Johnson,

“I looked up at the scoreboard. It said 10 to 3. It might as well have said 20 to nothing. 10-3 made it sound closer than it was. It was no contest.“Anybody who left Madison Square Garden that day thought to themselves: ‘The Soviets will win every game in the Olympics, take home the gold medal, and never be challenged.’ And the US? All you knew is that when it came time to face the big bear, they had no chance.” – Al Michaels, sportscaster

“We were playing the Soviets right in Madison Square Garden. I knew I had to tweak Jimmy again. And he was playing well, but it was a mind thing with him. I said, ‘Jimmy, I fucked up.’ I said, ‘I played you too long. Not your fault. My fault. I see these elements in your game. You’re playing tired. My fault, Jimmy.’ He says, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I gotta play Janaszak here half the game. I want to give him some work because, I just see some flaws now. And I’m kicking myself, Jimmy. I played you too long.’ And he said, ‘It’s my job, I’ll show you, you dirty blah blah blah’ So halfway through that game, I yanked him. I yanked him right there in front of 18,000 people. And he was livid. This was my last tweak with this guy. I knew what I had. Solid goalkeeper … Right after we won, he came right to me, with his finger in my face, saying, ‘I showed you, didn’t I. I showed you, didn’t I.’ I said, ‘Yep. You sure did, Jimmy. You did a helluva job, kid.’ ” Herb Brooks USA Coach

“Our National Team arrived in the States a week before the lighting of the Olympic Flame. There was a sparring match between the USA and USSR teams. The score, 10-3, speaks for itself. The Americans showed us only a symbolic resistance; the forces were completely unequal. Our opponents looked up to us, not hiding their respect. For them, we were the team that had beaten the best North American professionals, and not just once! Every one of them dreamed of becoming a professional player. The only question was how many of our pucks they would let in. They were very upset at letting in ten; nevertheless they had a higher opinion of themselves. Who could habe known that this victory would play such a bad joke on us? It would have been better for us had we not won that exhibition game at all. “ Vladislav Tretiak

On this date in hockey history, February 7th, 1980, Ray Bourque, rookie defenseman for the Boston Bruins, picked up three assists during an 8-6 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. This gave him 30 assists for the season, breaking Bobby Orr's record for most assists by a rookie defenseman, 28, which had been set in the 1967-68 season.

Bourque had perhaps the best rookie season ever as an 18 year old defenseman, being named to the first all star team after finishuing with 65 points (17-48-65) and +52, the 3rd best plus minus in the league behind Jim Schoenfeld +60 and Jimmy Watson +53. Bourque was the first non goaltender to win rookie of the year and be named a first team all star.

In one of the oddities of award voting, Bourque finished 2nd in all star votes for defensemen with 183, behind Larry Robinson (280 votes) and ahead of Borje salming (179) and Jim Schoenfeld (134).yet finished fourth in voting for the Norris Trophy as best defenseman. Aren't these essentially the same honor? The top four in Noriss voting for 1979-80 was; Robinson (239), Salming (117), Schoenfeld (85), Bourque (51).

On this date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, February 7th 1976, Darryl Sittler had a legendary game with ten points on six goals and four assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins 11-4. This is a record that is unlikely to ever be broken. The game started slowly for Sittler,relatively speaking, with “only” two assists in the first period. In the second period he scored a hat trick and added another pair of assists for a five point period. At that point it began to look like this might be a special night. In the third period, Sittler scored another hat trick, becoming the first NHL player to record hat tricks in consecutive periods. His sixth goal was scored when Darryl passed the puck out from behind the goal line and the puck hit Brad Park's knee deflecting directly to Boston goalie Dave Reece, off his knee and into the net. Reece was a rookie who played 12 games for Boston that season. He never played another NHL game after that night. Sittler's ten points is an NHL record for most points by a player in a single game. No player has scored more than eight points in a game since then.

On this date in hockey history, February 6th 1980, the Hartford Whalers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 7-3 in the first game played at the Hartford Civic Center

On this date in Toronto Maple leafs history, February 5th,1947, Bill Barilko played his first game for the Maple Leafs. He had been playing for the Hollywood Wolves of the PCHL. The Leafs lost that game 8-2 tot he Montreal Canadiens but success was iminent for Barilko and the Leafs who won the Stanley Cup that season and three more for a string of four championships in five seasons; 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1951. Nicknamed “Bashing Bill”, Barilko was known for his rough body checking style who led the NHL with 147 penalty minutes in 1948 and 456 career penalty minutes in 252 games. Barilko is best remembered for his famous goal, the overtime cup winner in game five of the 1951 finals agaonst the Montreal Canadiens. He died tragically in a small plane crash at age 24 on August 26th 1951. His remains went undiscovered for 11 years until the Leafs won their next cup in 1962, with that championship seemingly unlocking the mystery of his disappearnce. There are only two Toronto Maple Leaf retired jerseys numbers,Bill Barilko and Ace Bailey, and Barilko's number 5 is the most celebrated number in franchise history

On this day in hockey history, February 5th 1937, Larry Hillman was born in Kirkland lake, Ontario. Hillman was the most successful of the three Hillman brothers who played in the NHL and enjoyed Stanley Cup victories with Detroit, Montreal and Toronto, including the Leafs' 1967 triumph when he played in all 12 of the Leafs' post-season games. Although he was a journeyman, Larry Hillman was a winner. He played for the Leafs during the glory years between 1960 and 1968. He is also one of the most traveled players in hockey history, having played for 15 different teams in his 22 professional seasons.

On this date in hockey history, February 5th 1934, Don Cherry was born in Kingston Ontario. Cherry turned his five seasons with the Boston Bruins from 1974-1979 into a life long broadcasting career with the CBC on Hockey Night In Canada.. Although he played with Boston in his only NHL game, here is his picture in a Montreal Canadiens uniform from his minor league days in 1962-63 when he was in camp and played exhibition games with Montreal's EPHL Hull-Ottawa team.

On this date in hockey history, February 5th 1980, Detroit's Joe Louis Arena rocked with the return of 51 year old Gordie Howe in the 32nd NHL All Star game. In a classy move, Howe was added to the roster by Wales Conference coach Scotty Bowman and earned an assist on the last goal of the Wales 6-3 victory.

So who was better, Gretzky or Lemieux? Well, on this date in hockey history,February 4th 1997, mario Lemoeux scored his 600th career goal in his 719th game. That's one more game than it took Wayne Gretzky. Lemieux is the only player to score 600 goals playing for only one team during his career.

On this date in hockey history, February 3rd 1982, Grant Mulvey of the Chicago Black hawks had a game for the ages with four goals and an assist in the first period of a 9-5 victory over the St. Louis Blues. He added a goal and an assist later that game, finishing with seven points.

On this date in hockey history, February 3rd, 1954, Dave “Tiger” Williams was born in Weyburn Saskatchewan. Known primarily for his playing days with the Toronto Maple Leafs (407 games played) and the Vancouver Canucks (312), Tiger also played with Los Angeles (162), Detroit (55) and Hartford (26). Williams is by far the all time NHL career leader in penalty minutes with 3.966. While known as an enforcer, Tiger was also a skilled player who scored 241 NHL goals and 513 points. But he knew his role was to keep the opposition honest. His famous quote was (paraphrased) “I came into the league as a crusher, thought I was a rusher, the next thing you know I was an usher.”

On this date in hockey history, February 2nd 1975, the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Kansas City Scouts 8-1. In so doing, they set a team record with 59 shots on goal.

On this date in Toronto Maple Leafs history, February 2nd, 1977, Ian Turnbull scored the first hat trick of his career. Actually he scored five goals in a 9-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Maple Leaf Gardens. Turnbull is the only NHL defenseman to ever score five goals in a game. He was also the first NHL player to ever score five goals in a game on only five shots.