This day in hockey history - June
This day in hockey history, June 1st, 1949, the NHL increased the regular season schedule from 60 to 70 games.
Happy birthday to Henry Boucha, born June 1st 1951. Henry was a pioneer among American born players as well as Native Americans. His amateur career was impressive. He was ranked as fifth greatest player in Minnesota high school hockey history by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2011. Henry played on the Warroad High School team that lost to Edina in the 1969 Minnesota high school state tournament finals. He was injured during the game, which Warroad lost 5-4 in overtime.
Henry played on Team USA as an 18 year-old at the 1970 IIHF World Championship Pool B tournament in Romania after taking part in six pre tournament games with team. He was the only player under 20 to make the team. He scored four goals and added one assist in seven games for U.S. team that went 7-0-0 to win the 1970 Pool B championship and advance to Group A for the following year's tournament. He played on Team USA as a 19-year-old at the 1971 IIHF World Championship tournament in Bern, Switzerland and scored seven goals and added one assist in 10 games for U.S. team that finished sixth overall. His seven goals tied for the Team USA lead. He also starred for the 1972 United States Olympic hockey team which won the silver medal.
At age 20, Boucha was a key player on the 1972 U.S. Olympic team that shocked the hockey world by winning a silver medal in Sapporo, Japan. Boucha had two goals and six points in the six USA games at the Olympics. In all games played for Team USA in 1971-72, Boucha was the team's leading scorer with 91 points. Many scouts noted that despite his age, he was the best player on the entire team. Boucha came home to more good news, as he became the first of the 1972 Olympians to sign an NHL contract and play in the NHL. He also got his official release from the U.S. Army so that he could enter the NHL.
Boucha was No. 1 overall pick by Minnesota Fighting Saints in the 1972 WHA General Player Draft. He chose to play in the NHL where he was the 16th overall pick in the 1972 amateur draft by Detroit Henry scored a goal against Hall of Famer Jacques Plante in his first NHL game for Detroit on Feb. 22, 1972, vs. Toronto. His goal came at 9:47 of the second period to spark a five-goal comeback from a 4-0 deficit. He won Detroit Rookie of Year award for 1972-73. He also set an NHL record (since broken) by scoring six seconds into Detroit's Jan. 28, 1973, game at Montreal. The goal, scored against Montreal's Wayne Thomas, broke the previous record of seven seconds, set by Charlie Conacher on Feb. 6,1932. Henry played on the first Colorado Rockies team after franchise relocated from Kansas City to Denver, and appeared in the team's first game as the Colorado Rockies on Oct. 5, 1976, vs. Toronto.
In the 1970s, Henry Boucha had a huge impact on the U.S. hockey scene, first by winning the silver medal with the 1972 U.S. Olympic team and then by making a big splash in the NHL. Boucha's talent was undeniable, but the thing most fans will remember about him is the fact that he wore a headband on the ice. At a time when few NHL players wore helmets, and hair often flowed across the rinks, Boucha kept his own hair in place with a basketball-style headband. Prior to Boucha, no NHL player had ever been seen wearing such a headband in games. Buffalo's Rick Dudley would soon follow, but Boucha was the original headband-wearer.
Although he wore a helmet during the Olympics and his brief NHL stint in 1971-72, he began wearing the headband during his first full season with Detroit in 1972-73. Boucha had grown his hair long, which was a problem because it kept getting into his eyes and causing problems with his contact lenses. The headband was suggested to him by a friend. Boucha was an avid tennis player, and players like Bjorn Borg were making headbands popular in tennis at the time. He became something of a national sensation with it when he appeared on back-to-back U.S. national Sunday afternoon TV broadcasts. In the TV game on Jan. 28, 1973, he set an NHL record with a goal just six seconds into a victory at Montreal.
The headband would become his trademark, and he wore a variety of colors and styles during his NHL career. Boucha was a rarity for other reasons too, he was an American playing in an NHL that was almost entirely made up of Canadians. Not only that, he was a full-blooded Ojibwa (Chippewa) Native American. His ethnicity only seemed to add to his legend. In fact, Boucha was said to have worn the headband to draw attention to himself so that young Native players would see that one of their own had reached the NHL.
Unfortunately, in a sign of the era, the rest of the hockey world wasn't terribly diverse, and it engaged did something that would almost surely be considered offensive today. Whenever Boucha took the ice in Detroit or many other U.S. cities, the arena music directors would play Indian war chants in an effort to draw attention to Boucha solely because of his ethnicity. In the years after his retirement, Boucha has worked hard to encourage diversity in hockey as a member of the NHL's Diversity Task Force and in the countless speeches he has given to discuss his own story and the opportunities available to others who come from non-traditional hockey backgrounds.
Henry also had one of the greatest hockey cards of all time wearing his Kansas City scouts uniform in a rare action shot from that era of cards.
Happy Birthday today to the late Vladimir Yevgenyevich Krutov (Владимир Евгеньевич Крутов), born on June 1st 1960.
Krutov was an explosive player who stood 5 feet 9 inches but weighed a solid 194 pounds. He skated low to the ice and could generate explosive speed from a standing start. Krutov was most effective along the walls and in corners. He was the Soviet Union’s player of the year in 1987 and frequently was selected to international all star teams.
Speaking after Krutov’s death, Vladislav Tretiak, the great goaltender who is now president of the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia, said Krutov was “such a dependable and steadfast man that I would have gone anywhere with him, to war, to espionage, into peril.”
He was nicknamed "The Tank" and was part of the famed KLM line with Igor Larionov and Seirgei Makarov which has to be considered as the best forward line in the history of ice hockey. Along with defensemen Slava Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov, the five played together as a unit and dominated international and Russian league play. They were known as the green unit for the green jersey they wore together in practice.
Krutov played for the powerful Soviet Union national team which won the Canada Cup, in 1981, two gold medals (1984, 1988) and one silver medal (1980) in the Olympics, along with five gold medals (1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989), one silver medal (1987), and one bronze (1985) in the IIHF World Hockey Championships.
In the Russian league Krutov played for the fabled CSKA Moscow, known as the Red Army team, from 1978 to 1989.
In 2010, he was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame.
North American fans may be unfamiliar with Krutov and his place among the hockey immortals. The final three games of the 1987 Canada Cup between Canada and the Soviet Union are considered by many to be the best exhibition of hockey in history. It was the only time Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, the most dominant N.H.L. players of the last part of the 20th century, played forward together in a meaningful contest. The three forward positions on the tournament’s all-star team were Gretzky, Lemieux and Krutov..
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This day in hockey history, June 3rd 1993, Eric Desjardins scored scored all three of the Montreal Canadiens goals including the winner in overtime as they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in game two of the Stanley Cup finals. Hos overtime goal 51 seconds into the extra period made him the first defenseman to score three goals in a finals game.
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This day in hockey history, June 1st 1960, Paul Coffey was born in Weston, Ontario. Coffey finished his Hall Of Fame career as the second to Ray Bourqueas the highest scorer among defensemen in career regular season goals (396), assists (1,135), and points (1,531).
Coffey leads all defensemen in playoff scoring with 196 career points. He also hold records for the most goals in one playoff season (12 in 1984-85) most assists in one playoff season (25 in 1984-85), most points in one playoff season (37 in 1984-85) and most assists and points in a single playoff game (five assists and six points).
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1992, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 in game four of the finals sweeping the series 4-0 and winning their second consecutive.This was Pitttsburgh's 11th win in a row. The Pens game one victory had ironically Chicago's own streak of 11 straight wins.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1994, Al Arbour retired as coach of the New York Islanders. He had coached 1,606 NHL games, more than any other coach in league history at that time. Scotty Bowman has since passed him with 2,141 games. Arbour coached the Isles to four Stanley Cup championships and 15 playoff appearances over 19 seasons He coached one game in the 2007-08 season to reach 1,500 career games with the Isles and also got his 740th win.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 2000, the New York Rangers hired Glen Sather as General Manager. Sather built and coached the great Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the 1980's. His legacy with the Rangers largely consists of signing overpaid underachieving free agents like Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Wade Redden, Brad Richards. Bobby Holik and Eric Lindros.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1931, Construction of Toronto's new arena, "Maple Leaf Gardens" began. The Gardens would open on November 12, 1931, only 165 days later.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1976, the Washington Capitals used the #1 pick overall to select Rick Green In the NHL Amateur draft held in Montreal.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1979, Bernie Parent announced his retirement from the NHL due to an eye injury.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1988, Paul Holmgren was named the new head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, replacing Mike Keenan. Holmgren was the first former Flyers' player to coach the team.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1988, Pat Burns was hired as coach of the Montreal Canadiens.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1993, Wayne Gretzky scored a goal and added three assists and Luc Robitaille scored twice to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-1 win over the Canadiens at the Montreal Forum in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals.
This day in hockey history, June 1st 1996, the Florida Panthers defeated Pittsburgh 3-1 in game seven of the Eastern Conference finals with John Vanbiesbrouck blocking 39 of 40 shots. The Panthers eliminated the Penguins and advanced to the Stanley Cup finals.
This day in hockey history, June 2 1948, NHL announced that the Art Ross Trophy would now be awarded annually to the league's leading point scorer. It was presented to the league by Art Ross a Hall Of Fame inductee as a player, former General Manager, and head coach. Ross is also known as the designer of the NHL goal net and the official NHL puck, with slightly beveled edges for better control.
The first winner was Elmer Lach of the Montreal Canadiens. The trophy has been awarded 65 times to 27 players since its introduction.
From 1963 to 2001, Stan Mikita, Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Jaromir Jagr won the trophy multiple times while Marcel Dionne and Bryan Trottier were the only one time winners. From 1981 to 2001, only Gretzky, Lemieux, and Jagr won the trophy.
Gretzky won the trophy ten times, seven times in a row from 1981-1987. Gordie Howe and Lemieux have each won it six times, Esposito and Jagr each have five. Jagr, Esposito and Howe have each won it in four consecutive seasons. Jagr, from the Czech Republic, has won the award the most times out of non Canadians. Patrick Kane in 2016 is the only American born player to win the trophy.
Gretzky is the only player to win the trophy for more than one team. Joe Thornton is the only player to win it while playing for two different teams in the same season. Stan Mikita is the only player to win the Art Ross, Hart, and Lady Byng Trophies all in the same season, which he did twice with Chicago (1966–67 and 1967–68, Gretzky, Bobby Hull, and Martin St. Louis all won each of those awards at least once and won a combination of two of them in the same season, but never all three together.
Bobby Orr is the only defenseman to win the scoring title, doing so in 1970 and 1975 with Boston In 1970 he became the first player to capture four individual awards in a single season as he won the Hart, Norris, and Conn Smythe Trophies that year as well.
Sidney Crosby became the youngest player to win the Art Ross Trophy at age 19, and also became the youngest scoring champion in any major North American professional sport. Martin St. Louis became the oldest player to capture the Trophy at age 37. St. Louis also has the longest gap between scoring titles -nine years.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin are the only brothers to win the award, in 2010 and 2011.
Since 2001, only four players, Connor McDavid, Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and St. Louis have won the award more than once: Crosby in 2007 and 2014, Malkin in 2009 and 2012, St. Louis in 2004 and 2013, and McDavid in 2017 and 2018. McDavid and Gretzky are the only players to win multiple Art Ross trophies before age 21. The current holder is Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers who seems likely to set more Art Ross records of his own.
Art Ross Trophy Winners year by year;
2018: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
2017: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
2016: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
2015: Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
2014: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
2013: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
2012: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
2011: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
2010: Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
2009: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
2008: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
2007: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
2006: Joe Thornton, Boston Bruins/San Jose Sharks
2004: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
2003: Peter Forsberg, Colorado Avalanche
2002: Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
2001: Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
2000: Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
1999: Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
1998: Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
1997: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
1996: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
1995: Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
1994: Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings
1993: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
1992: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
1991: Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings
1990: Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings
1989: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
1988: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
1987: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
1986: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
1985: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
1984: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
1983: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
1982: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
1981: Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
1980: Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles Kings
1979: Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
1978: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
1977: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
1976: Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens
1975: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
1974: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
1973: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
1972: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
1971: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
1970: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
1969: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
1968: Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks
1967: Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks
1966: Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks
1965: Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks
1964: Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks
1963: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
1962: Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks
1961: Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
1960: Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks
1959: Dickie Moore, Montreal Canadiens
1958: Dickie Moore, Montreal Canadiens
1957: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
1956: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
1955: Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
1954: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
1953: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
1952: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
1951: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
1950: Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings
1949: Roy Conacher, Chicago Black Hawks
1948: Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
1947*: Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
1946*: Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
1945*: Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
1944*: Herbert Cain, Boston Bruins
1943*: Doug Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
1942*: Bryan Hextall, New York Rangers
1941*: Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins
1940*: Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins
1939*: Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens
1938*: Gordie Drillon, Toronto Maple Leafs
1937*: Dave Schriner, New York Americans
1936*: Dave Schriner, New York Americans
1935*: Charlie Conacher, Toronto Maple Leafs
1934*: Charlie Conacher, Toronto Maple Leafs
1933*: Bill Cook, New York Rangers
1932*: Harvey Jackson, Toronto Maple Leafs
1931*: Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
1930*: Cooney Weiland, Boston Bruins
1929*: Ace Bailey, Toronto Maple Leafs
1928*: Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
1927*: Bill Cook, New York Rangers
1926*: Nels Stewart, Montreal Maroons
1925*: Babe Dye, Toronto Arenas
1924*: Cy Denneny, Ottawa Senators
1923*: Babe Dye, Toronto St. Pats
1922*: Punch Broadbent, Ottawa Senators
1921*: Newsy Lalonde, Montreal Canadiens
1920*: Joe Malone, Quebec Bulldogs
1919*: Odie Cleghorn, Montreal Canadiens
1918*: Joe Malone, Montreal Canadiens
*Scoring leader prior to inception of Art Ross Trophy in 1948
This day in hockey history, June 2nd 1971, Fred Shero was named as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.
This day in hockey history, June 2nd 1978, Fred Shero was named as the new general manager and head coach of the New York Rangers. The Rangers sent a 1978 #1 draft pick (Ken Linseman) to the Philadelphia Flyers as compensation.
In 1976, the Rangers streamlined their look in a big way, placing their primary shield logo front and center for the first time in team history. New General Manager John Ferguson instituted the change, saying that "we want to project a new image…those wider stripes make an athlete look taller." Indeed, the uniform striping was radically modernized, a total and clean break from a half century of tradition.
Success or failure for a new team aesthetic is often dictated by the success or failure of the team itself. The 1976-77 New York Rangers missed the playoffs. The shield jerseys were directly associated with him and were widely disliked by the fans. Thus it came as no surprise when, in July 1978, new team GM Fred Shero announced that he was scrapping the look instituted by his predecessor.
Shero touted Ranger tradition at his introductory press conference, and no visual symbol was more associated with Ranger tradition then their traditional sweaters. Back they came, and they have remained there ever since.
This day in hockey history, June 2nd 1980, the Boston Bruins traded a pair of draft picks to the Atlanta Flames for goaltender Jim Craig, the Olympic hero and Boston native.
The Flames used the picks well, selecting Steve Konroyd 39th overall with the 1980 2nd round pick and Mike Vernon with the 1981 3rd round pick. Konroyd played 895 NHL games and Vernon played 781 games. Jim Craig played 23 games for Boston and 30 games in his NHL career.
This day in hockey history, June 2nd 1993, Roger Neilson was named as the first head coach in Florida Panthers history.
Happy birthday to Larry Robinson, Russ Courtnall, Charlie Huddy, and Louis Nanne.
On this date in hockey history June 3rd 1955, the greatest goaltender in NHL history was traded away from the team he led to four Stanley Cup championships in a shocking trade, which remains one of the biggest in league history. Nine players switched teams when the Detroit Red Wings sent Terry Sawchuck, Vic Stasiuk, Marcel Bonin and Lorne Davis to the Boston Bruins. In return, the Bruins sent Gilles Boisvert, Real Chevrefils, Norm Corcoran, Warren Godfrey and Ed Sanford to Detroit.
Sawchuk broke into the league in 1950-51 with the most successful start to an NHL career and arguably the best five year stretch of any player in league history. Nicknamed Ukey because of his Ukranian lineage, Sawchuk provided the Wings with the best goaltending in NHL history from 1950-51 – 1954-55 with a GAA under 2.00 for all five seasons while leading the Wings to three Stanley Cup championships.
In spite of his successes, Sawchuk suffered tremedously with physical and emotional injuries. Detroit GM Jack Adams became obsessed with Sawchuk's weight and ordered him to drop 40 pouinds after the 1950-51 season. The weight loss affected Sawchuks personality and he became ill tempered with fans and media. The pressure of playing every game in the era without backups despite suffering numerous injuries also affected him, he had three operations on his right elbow, a collapsed lung, severed tendons in his hand, an appendectomy, ruptured discs in his back and lordosis, an early curvature of the spine as a result of crouching while in goal which forced him to walk in a bent over style and prevented him from sleeping more tha two hours in succession.
Before wearing a facemask in 1961, Sawchuk had taken over 400 stitches in his face. A photo of his face became famous after it was retouched to show the cumulative effect of these scars over time and published in Time Magazine. Sawchuk had been traded to Boston to make room for a young Glenn Hall who Detroit had been developing in the minors. Sawchuk was deeply troubled by the trade and after two season in Boston, he “retired”. He had been playing poorly, suffering from monnucleosis and heading for a nervous breakdown.
The Red Wings reacquired him by trading a young Johnny Bucyk to the Bruins. After seven more season with Detroit, the Wings had a young Roger Crozier ready take over as the starter and Sawchuk was left exposed in the 1964 intra league draft. The Toronto Maple Leafs claimed him and Sawchuk split time in goal with Johnny Bower winning the 1964-65 Vezina Trophy and the 1967 Stanley Cup.
The Leafs left him exposed in the 1967 expansion draft where he was drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Kings where he spent one season before being traded back to Detroit for Jimmy Peters Jr, After playing 13 games for the Wings in 1968-69, he was traded to the Rangers along with Sandy Snow for Larry Jeffrey. Sawchuk died on May 31 1970 from a Pulmonary embolism after suffering a tragic injury from “horseplay” with a teammate he had been sharing a rented house with. He was ranked as the eighth best player of all time and the top goalie by the Hockey News in 1998.
This day in hockey history, June 2nd 1972, the Atlanta Flames name was born when 19 year old Mickey Goodman wins a contest to name the new Atlanta Franchise the “Flames”. Atlanta Flames was a Civil War reference to General Sherman's March to the Sea, during which much of the state of Georgia was set on fire.
Bob Wages conceived the iconic Atlanta Flames logo as a 24 year old, just out of college and new to his first job at Atlanta's powerhouse advertising agency McDonald & Little.
“He looked like a kid,” remembers agency cofounder Mike McDonald, “I thought he was 14!”
On his first day at McDonald & Little, Bob Wages was an assistant art director and assigned to a team to design layouts for an ad campaign promoting then unknown Senate candidate Sam Nunn from Perry, Georgia. Nunn won, a boon to Georgia politics. But it was the next assignment that would be a game changer for the young designer.
The agency had been hired by a group of local investors that owned the OMNI arena, the new NHL franchise the Atlanta Flames and the Atlanta Hawks and led by Tom Cousins, Charles Loudermilk, Paul Duke, Bobby Chambers and Dillard Munford.
Ted Burn, the agency’s senior art director, “had a keen eye for talent and knew Bob Wages had an aptitude for logos,” recalls McDonald. He asked Wages to design the teams’ logos.
“Bill Putnam was CEO and GM of The OMNI Group,” said McDonald. “He trusted us and so gave us free reign to find solutions. When it came time to show the the Atlanta Flames and Hawks’ logo design, Putnam knew the logos were winners.”
“You can imagine how I felt,” recalls Wages. “Straight out of design school, I was designing logos for two major league sports franchises. It was surreal.”
The Flames launch campaign was entitled ”The Ice Age Has Come to Atlanta.” It was a monumental success, helping to sell 11,000 season tickets for the 14,000-seat OMNI Arena before the first season even began.
“The 1972 Hawks logo was eclipsed by the hullabaloo surrounding the Flames’ launch,” Wages remembers. “Not that the owners complained. Everyone went to a lot of hockey games back then. It was the hottest ticket in town.”
Wages says many people have asked him over the years why the two franchise logos have the same line weight, same clarity, same scale and same color. “It’s because they were designed for the same owners, at the same time, and developed to fit in with the OMNI logo designed by my boss, Ted Burn. It was smart branding, plain and simple.”
Looking back, Wages says the attitude of the 1972 Hawk was captured by three elements: “Coke Red,” its determined eyes, and the sharp point of the beak. Likewise, he says, the Flames’ intensity was suggested by the same red, the flame in the letter cross, and, mostly, “by the clever name that dramatizes the tension between the words fire and ice.”
The team would obviously keep its name when it moved to Calgary.
This day in hockey history, June 2nd 1982, Mike Illitch rescued hockey in Detroit when he purchased the Red Wings.
This day in Toronto Maple Leafs history, June 3rd 1958, the Leafs acquired Johnny Bower from the NY Rangers' farm team the AHL Cleveland Barons via the Inter League Draft. the Inter League Draft was a draft of minor-league professionals playing in the Western Hockey league, American league and Western Pro league.
This day in hockey history, June 3rd 1975, the Philadelphia Flyers chose Mel Bridgman with the number one pick in the Amateur Draft held in Montreal.
This day in Montreal Canadiens history, June 3rd 1993, Montreal defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in overtime in game two of the Staley Cup finals when.Eric Desjardins became the 1st NHL defenseman to score a hat trick in the Stanley Cup Finals. His third goal of the game at :51 of OT gave Montreal the win and evened the series at 1-1.
This day in hockey history, June 3rd 1993, Marty McSorley's illegal stick cost the LA Kings and ranks number one on The Hockey News list of top ten playoff snafus.
1. THE MARTY MCSORLEY STICK MEASUREMENT (June 3, 1993)
Gretzky has the Kings in the driver’s seat as they attempt to bring California its first Cup. They win Game 1 of the final against Montreal and, up 2-1 in the third period of Game 2, are about to take a stranglehold. Then Habs coach Jacques Demers throws up a prayer on captain Guy Carbonneau’s hunch.
Carbonneau suggests Kings D-man Marty McSorley has an illegal curve on his stick. Referee Kerry Fraser rules the blade is indeed illegal, and Montreal earns a power play. Eric Desjardins’ second goal of the game ties it with 1:13 left, and he beats Kelly Hrudey a third time in the extra frame, becoming the first D-man in NHL history with a hat trick in the final. Montreal doesn’t lose another game and wins the series in five. What would’ve happened if McSorley’s twig was legit?
This day in hockey history, June 3rd 1998, the Dallas Stars defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in OT in game five of the Western Conference finals. Jamie Langenbrunner fired a slap shot from the red line that bounced over Chris Osgood's pad for the overtime goal after only 46 seconds of play.
This day in New York Rangers history, June 4th 1968, the Rangers began a game of musical coaches chairs at Madison Square Garden by hiring Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion to replace Emile Francis as head coach. Geoffrion would last one season before being replaced by Emile Francis. Exactly five years after being replaced by Geoffrion, Francis was again replaced as head coach, this time by Larry Popein. Popein would last one season before being replaced by Emile Francis. All the while Francis remained the Rangers General Manager. So this was all his idea?
This day in hockey history, June 4th 1980, although seemingly impervious to father time, Gordie Howe finally retired for good at age 52. He had previously retired in 1970 because of wrist problems, but returned to pro hockey four years later with the WHA Houston Aeros. He had played in five separate decades, and had set NHL records for games played (1,767), seasons (32), goals (801), assists (1049), and points (1850).
This day in hockey history, June 7th 1965, Jacques Plante announced his retirement after 12 seasons with Montreal and the New York Rangers.
Maybe he got tired of playing with a weak New York team where he posted a 3.38 GAA in 98 games compiling a 32-53-12 W-L-T record. Compare this to his 2.22 GAA in 556 games with Montreal and a 314-133-107 record.
He did "un-retire" three years later play five more seasons with St Louis, Toronto Boston and Edmonton in the WHA.
The fifth annual NHL Amateur draft was held on June 7th 1967 and the participating team were apparenetly less than thrilled with their options as only 18 players were chosen. There were ten players selected in round one, seven in round two, and only one player chosen in round three. The California Seals were the only team to make a selection in all three rounds and to draft three players, while the St. Louis Blues opted to not draft a single player.
The fifth NHL Amateur Draft was the first to include NHL expansion teams. These teams were allowed to draft ahead of the Original Six. In addition, a player's draft eligibility age was raised from age 18 to 20, which would become the league's standard draft age -- and the subject of much contention -- for the next 11 years until it eventually returned to 18.
The draft marked the first that time a U.S. citizen and the first time a U.S. college hockey player was chosen. After the draft, the NHL allowed the expansion teams to select overage juniors already on the Original Six teams' sponsorship lists. Like the main expansion draft, however, the special draft of young players was an intraleague draft rather than an amateur or entry draft for players whose professional rights had not yet been claimed.
All amateur players not on sponsorship lists who were born before June 1, 1947 were eligible for the draft.
The draft order set by league had the six expansion teams drafting first, according to results of a lottery. Draft positions 7-12 were based on the rotation already established in previous years' drafts with the team that picked No. 1 in 1966 dropping to No. 12 and all others moving up one draft position.
St. Louis claimed an ineligible player with its first round pick and passed in all subsequent rounds. Toronto passed on the first round but drafted a player in the second. Los Angeles, Chicago, Montreal and Boston passed on the second round, and all teams but California passed on the third. All teams passed on the fourth round, ending the draft after California's third-round pick. Montreal had an option to take the first two French-Canadian players before start of draft in place of its first- and second-round picks but chose not to exercise option.
Rotation: Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, (St. Louis), California, Minnesota, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, Boston
No. Team Player Pos. Last team League Nationality
1. Los Angeles Rick Pagnutti D Garson NOJHL Canada
2. Pittsburgh Steve Rexe G Belleville OHA Sr. Canada
3. California Ken Hicks C Brandon MJHL Canada
4. Minnesota Wayne Cheesman D Whitby OHA Jr. B Canada
5. Philadelphia Serge Bernier RW Sorel QJHL Canada
6. New York Bob Dickson LW Chatham OHA Jr. B Canada
7. Chicago Bob Tombari LW Sault Ste. Marie NOJHL Canada
8. Montreal Elgin McCann RW Weyburn CMJHL Canada
9. Detroit Ron Barkwell C Flin Flon MJHL Canada
10. Boston Meehan Bonnar RW St. Thomas OHA Jr. B Canada
No. Team Player Pos. Last team League Nationality
11. Pittsburgh Bob Smith C Sault Ste. Marie NOJHL Canada
12. California Gary Wood D Fort Frances TBJHL USA
13. Minnesota Larry Mick RW Pembroke CJHAL Canada
14. Philadelphia Al Sarault D Pembroke CJAHL Canada
15. New York Brian Tosh D Smiths Falls CJAHL Canada
16. Toronto J. Bob Kelly LW Port Arthur TBJHL Canada
17. Detroit Al Karlander C Michigan Tech WCHA Canada
18. California Kevin Smith D Halifax NSJHL Canada
Total Rounds: Three
Cost to Draft: Amateur teams were paid $3,000 per drafted player.
Number one pick Rick Pagnutti never played an NHL game but was a star in the American league.
Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1966-67 Garson NOJHL 39 30 50 80 92
Named NOJHL MVP, Best Defenseman and First Team All-Star in 1966-67. ... Began NOJHL career with Sudbury Wolves in 1963.
After the Draft he Missed part of 1967-68 season with mononucleosis. Was claimed by Salt Lake (WHL) from Los Angeles in June 1969 Reverse Draft.
Won IHL Governors' Trophy as league's best defenseman and was named to the IHL All-Star First Team with Fort Wayne in 1971-72.
Selected by Alberta Oilers in 1972 WHA General Player Draft, the first draft in WHA history, February 1972.
Holds Rochester Americans single-season record for goals by a defenseman (18 in 1972-73).
Named to AHL All-Star Second Team with Rochester in 1972-73 and 1974-75.
Played on 1973-74 Rochester team that won AHL regular-season title.
Paired on defense with Mike Milbury for Rochester, 1974-75.
Left Rochester in 1976 as team's all-time leading scorer among defensemen (194 points, record broken.
Inducted into Rochester Americans Hall of Fame in 2012.
This day in hockey history, June 7th 1970, Mike Modano was born in Livonia, Michigan. Modano played 20 years for the Minnesota and Dallas Stars and closed out his career by playing one season for his hometown Detroit Redwings for the 2010-11 season.
Modano was born in Livonia, Michigan, the third child and only son of Michael, Sr. and Karen Modano. He grew up in Highland Township, and due to causing problems at school with his mischievous behavior, a friend of his father suggested to put Modano in a team sport to get him controlled. His father, Michael Sr., was a hockey fan and decided to teach ice skating to his seven year old son. At age nine, he was part of a Detroit Red Wings team in a pee-wee tournament in Quebec.
He made the Little Caesar's Triple AAA Midget Major team at the age of fourteen when his teammates were two to three years older. In the 1984-85 season, Modano scored 50 goals and 50 assists on the way to win the USA Hockey National Championship in 1985. As a child Modano decided to pick the number 9 for his jersey in an homage to both Ted Williams, an idol of his Boston Red Sox fan father, and the Red Wings' own Gordie Howe.
In 1986, 16 year old Modano was to come to Saskatchewan and join the Western Hockey League Prince Albert Raiders. He scored a hat trick in his first game. In his second year, Modano was part of the WHL All-Star Team.
Four days before Modano's eighteenth birthday, the Minnesota North Stars selected him as the first overall draft pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. Modano was the second American to be selected first overall in the draft, after Brian Lawton in 1983; since then Bryan Berard (1995), Rick DiPietro (2000), Erik Johnson (2006), Patrick Kane (2007), and Auston Matthews (2016) have also been taken first overall.
Modano is generally considered to be the greatest American born player to ever play the game. He played 1499 NHL games scoring 561 goals and 813 assists for 1374 points and is the all time goal scoring and points leader among American born players.
Modano was the last active player in the NHL who played for the Minnesota North Stars. After the team moved to Texas he helped the Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999. He is considered one of the most influential figures in popularizing hockey in Texas and the southern United States. Modano was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 17, 2014.In 2017, he was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players.
This day in hockey history, June 7th June 7, 1976, Denis Potvin won the Norris Trophy ending Bobby Orr’s streak of eight consecutive years winning the trophy. Potvin emerged as a dominant two way player that season scoring 31 goals 67 assists and 98 points.
Orr played only 10 games that season literally on only one knee, scoring 18 points in 10 games (5-13-18) with a plus 10.
This day in hockey history, June 7th 1993, the Montreal Canadiens with Patrick Roy in goal win their NHL record 10th straight playoff overtime game. John LeClair scored the winner at 14:37 of OT for a 3-2 win over the Kings at Los Angeles in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals.
This day in hockey history, June 7th 1994, the New York Rangers defeated the Canucks 4-2 at Vancouver, in game four of the Stanley Cup finals. Brian Leetch led the way scoring his 10th goal of the playoffs and assisting on three goals.
This day in hockey history, June 7 1993, the original official team colors and logo of the Mighty Ducks were unveiled and Mighty Ducks merchandise was immediately propelled into one of the top sellers in all of professional sports.
Purple, jade, silver and white were chosen as the team's colors while an attractive crest featuring a duck head-shaped hockey mask was chosen to give the club its own unique identity. As a testament to the logos popularity, the Ducks original jersey was named the "most fashionable" uniform in all of sports at the inaugural ESPY awards in 1997.
This day in hockey history, June 8th 1955, the Montreal Canadiens named Hector "Toe" Blake coach replacing Dick Irvin. Blake had been a hall Of fame player with the Canadiens centering the famous Punch Line with Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach.
This day in Toronto Maple Leafs history, June 8th 1965, the Leafs traded Ron Stewart to the Boston Bruins for Orland Kurtenbach, Andy Hebenton and Pat Stapleton.
This day in hockey history, June 8th 1971, Tim Horton was claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins from the New York Rangers in the NHL Intra league draft.
This day in hockey history, June 8th 1972, the expansion New York Islanders selected Billy Harris with the number one overall pick in the NHL Amateur draft held in Montreal.
Named to OHA All-Star Second Team with Toronto in 1970-71. ... Served as Toronto (OHA) captain for 1971-72 season. ... Shared Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy (with linemate Dave Gardner) as OHA's leading scorer with 129 points for Toronto in 1971-72.. ... Won OHA Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy as major-junior league's highest-scoring right wing with 129 points for Toronto in 1971-72. Harris was the inaugural winner of the annual award, which the league introduced to honor the memory of James Edmund Mahon, a high-scoring Peterborough right wing who was accidentally electrocuted at age 19 while attempting to repair a faulty electric water pump at his uncle's home in Maidstone, Ontario, on Aug. 17, 1971. ... Named to OHA All-Star First Team with Toronto in 1971-72.
Also played center and left wing during his pro career. ... Participated in Team Canada's training camp prior to the 1972 Summit Series vs. Soviet Union, but was not on the Canadian roster for the tournament. He was able to take part in the camp because his agent, R. Alan Eagleson, was one of the event's organizers. ...
Played on first New York Islanders team in franchise's inaugural 1972-73 season and scored his first NHL goal in the Islanders' first game on Oct. 7, 1972 vs. Atlanta. Harris' goal came at 16:51 of the third period to close out the scoring in a 3-2 loss to the Flames. ... Took the first penalty shot in N.Y. Islanders history on Oct. 12, 1972, vs. Los Angeles, but was unable to score against Kings goaltender Rogie Vachon. ... Scored 10 goals in the final 15 games of his rookie season from Feb. 24 to April 1, 1973. ... Led N.Y. Islanders in goals (28) and points (50) as a rookie in 1972-73. ... Finished third in voting for 1972-73 Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of year, trailing only Steve Vickers and Bill Barber. ... Scored all three goals for his first NHL hat trick during N.Y. Islanders' 4-3 loss at Buffalo on March 3, 1974. ... Scored three goals in N.Y. Islanders 4-2 win vs. Minnesota on April 6, 1974. ... Tied for N.Y. Islanders lead with 23 goals in 1973-74. ... Led N.Y. Islanders with five game-winning goals in 1974-75. ...
Represented N.Y. Islanders in NHL All-Star Game at Philadelphia on Jan. 20, 1976. Playing on a line with Bryan Trottier and Dennis Ververgaert, he had two assists for Campbell Conference in third period of a 7-5 loss. ... Became first player in N.Y. Islanders history to score 30 goals in a season when he scored No. 30 on March 20, 1976 in a 4-2 home win over Chicago. His 30th goal, the game-winner, broke a 2-2 tie at 18:27 of the second period. ... Scored the first playoff hat trick in N.Y. Islanders history in opening game of Stanley Cup semifinal series on April 23, 1977, at Montreal. Harris scored all three goals in a 4-3 loss. ... Led N.Y. Islanders in playoff goals (7) and points (14) in 1977. ...
Left N.Y. Islanders in 1980 with team record (since broken) for career games played (623). ... Also played left wing during his years in Los Angeles, and filled in for both an injured Dave Taylor at right wing and an injured Charlie Simmer at left wing on team's Triple Crown Line during the 1980-81 season. ... Led Los Angeles with four shorthanded goals in 1980-81.
Missing Out on a Dynasty
Although he was a fixture with the Islanders from the team's first game through its emergence as a Stanley Cup contender, Harris missed his chance to be part of the team's Cup dynasty that began in the spring of 1980. Both he and fellow longtime Islander Dave Lewis were sacrificed by the Isles in the trade that landed Butch Goring from Los Angeles.
Goring was widely considered the missing piece in making the Islanders into champions, and the deal is remembered as one of the best ever made at the trade deadline. But it was not a fun time for either Harris or Lewis, who lost their chance to be part of history. "It was a trade I would rather have not had to make," said Islanders general manager Bill Torrey. "It wasn't easy. I go back a long way with Billy and Dave. And by this trade, I'm not pointing a finger at them. Our problems weren't their fault." Torrey would later give Harris a full player's share of the team's 1980 Stanley Cup playoff money. Nevertheless, Harris was angry about the trade for many years and said he refused to watch his former Islanders teammates in playoff games on TV.
Career Beyond Hockey: Went into real estate and restaurant business after retirement, running Harry O's restaurant in Manhattan Beach, Calif. He then founded a lapel-pin manufacturing company in Toronto before returning to Long Island to work in the automotive business and then run a marina where he kept his own boat. A serial entrepreneur, he later becoming a partner in True North Hospitality, a restaurant management company that opened the showcase restaurant, Black & Blue, in Columbus' Nationwide Arena. In 2003, he went into the candle-manufacturing business as the founder and owner of Muskoka Candle Co. in Rosseau, Ontario, where he had owned a summer home since his early NHL playing days. The company makes 100 percent soy-bean-wax candles.
Missed part of 1979-80 season with foot injury, suffered during N.Y. Islanders' Nov. 30, 1979, game at Edmonton. The injury, which coincided with head coach Al Arbour's decision to bench him for one game anyway, ended his team record consecutive-games streak, as he had played in all of the Islanders' first 576 regular-season games and first 59 playoff games. At the time the streak ended, it was the second-longest active streak in the NHL, trailing only Garry Unger. He did not return until Dec. 4, 1979, game vs. Vancouver. ... Missed part of 1981-82 season with separated shoulder, an injury suffered during Toronto's Nov. 28, 1981, game vs. Buffalo. He did not return until Toronto's March 4, 1982, game at N.Y. Islanders.
Selected by New York Raiders in 1972 WHA Draft -- the first-ever WHA Draft -- in February 1972. Played on junior hockey's most dominant line with Steve Shutt and Dave Gardner in 1971-72.
Turned down a reported 5-year, $750,000 offer to sign with Philadelphia (WHA) in 1972. Signed first NHL contract for two years at what was then a rookie record of $125,000 per year.
Scored first preseason goal in Isles history vs. Buffalo on Sept. 22, 1972, at Peterborough, Ont. Was on Long Island Lightning Co. line with Bryan Trottier and Clark Gillies from 1975 to 1977. Was the Islanders' all-time leader in points (232) through his first four seasons with team.
Was the Islanders' all-time leader in goals (169) through his first seven seasons with team.
Paired on penalty-killing unit with Bryan Trottier for N.Y. Islanders from 1975 to 1978.
Never played in minor leagues until Toronto sent him to St. Catharines on Feb, 7, 1984.
Grew up in Toronto, where his father spent 35 years with the Metro Toronto Police Force.
This day in hockey history, June 8th 1965, Glen Sather was claimed by the Boston Bruins from the CHL Memphis Red Wings in the NHL Intra league draft.
This day in New York Rangers history, June 6th 1971, Jean Ratelle was named the winner of the NHL's Masterton Award.
This day in hockey history, June 8th 1983, the Minnesota North Stars drafted Brian Lawton with the number one pick in the NHL Entry draft held in Montreal.
Here are the first round picks that year. You can rearrange these players in the order they should have been drafted.
No. Team Player Pos. Last team League Nationality
1. Minnesota Brian Lawton C Mount St. Charles R.I. HS USA
2. Hartford Sylvain Turgeon LW Hull QMJHL Canada
3. N.Y. Islanders Pat LaFontaine C Verdun QMJHL USA
4. Detroit Steve Yzerman C Peterborough OHL Canada
5. Buffalo Tom Barrasso G Acton-Boxborough Mass. HS USA
6. New Jersey John MacLean RW Oshawa OHL Canada
7. Toronto Russ Courtnall C Victoria WHL Canada
8. Winnipeg Andrew McBain RW North Bay OHL Canada
9. Vancouver Cam Neely RW Portland WHL Canada
10. Buffalo Normand Lacombe RW New Hampshire ECAC Canada
11. Buffalo Adam Creighton C Ottawa OHL Canada
12. N.Y. Rangers Dave Gagner C Brantford OHL Canada
13. Calgary Dan Quinn C Belleville OHL Canada
14. Winnipeg Bobby Dollas D Laval QMJHL Canada
15. Pittsburgy Bob Errey LW Peterborough OHL Canada
16. N.Y. Islanders Gerald Diduck D Lethbridge WHL Canada
17. Montreal Alfie Turcotte C Portland WHL USA
18. Chicago Bruce Cassidy D Ottawa OHL Canada
19. Edmonton Jeff Beukeboom D Sault Ste. Marie OHL Canada
20. Hartford David Jensen C Lawrence Academy Mass. HS USA
21. Boston Nevin Markwart LW Regina WHL Canada
Was first U.S.-born and trained player to be drafted No. 1 overall at an NHL amateur or entry draft. ... Missed parts of 1983-84 season with slightly separated shoulder, an injury suffered during Minnesota's Dec. 7, 1983, game vs. Detroit, and with stretched knee ligaments, an injury suffered during Minnesota's Jan. 27, 1984, game at St. Louis. He did not return from knee injury until Minnesota's Feb. 29, 1984, game vs. St. Louis. ... Missed part of Minnesota's 1984 training camp with shoulder injury, suffered in October 1984. ... Began playing left wing as well as center for Minnesota in 1985-86 season and spent majority of his remaining NHL years at left wing. ... Missed part of Minnesota's 1987 training camp with right knee injury, suffered at Team USA practice for Canada Cup on Aug. 26, 1987. The injury required arthroscopic surgery. ... Missed parts of 1987-88 season with broken thumb, an injury suffered in October 1987, and with bruised ribs, an injury suffered when he collided with teammate Frantisek Musil during Minnesota's Feb. 24, 1988, game at Toronto. ... Played on line with Guy Lafleur for N.Y. Rangers in 1988-89. ... Lost two teeth and suffered 12-stitch gash over left eye when he was hit by Perry Anderson's stick during Hartford's Jan. 27, 1989, game at New Jersey. ... Missed part of 1988-89 season with broken left wrist, an injury suffered when he was slashed by Robert Picard during Hartford's Jan. 28, 1989, game vs. Quebec. He did not return to action until Hartford's Feb. 9, 1989, game vs. Buffalo. ... Missed remainder of 1988-89 regular season and start of 1989 playoffs with sprained ankle, an injury suffered when he crashed into the boards during Hartford's March 25, 1989, game vs. St. Louis. ... Missed part of Hartford's 1989 training camp with cracked bone in left foot, an injury suffered in September 1989. ... Placed on waivers by Hartford and claimed by Quebec on Dec. 1, 1989. ... Released by Quebec on Feb. 1, 1990. He signed with Boston as an unrestricted free agent on Feb. 6, 1990. ... Signed with Los Angeles as an unrestricted free agent on July 27, 1990, but never played for parent team. ... Signed with San Jose as an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 9, 1991. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with foot injury, suffered during San Jose's Oct. 4, 1991, season-opener at Vancouver -- the first game in San Jose Sharks history. ... Missed part of 1991-92 season with knee injury, suffered during San Jose's Nov. 26, 1991, game vs. Vancouver. He did not return to action until Dec. 16, 1991, game at N.Y. Rangers. ... Was Sharks team representative to NHLPA in 1991-92. ... Traded by San Jose to New Jersey for future considerations on Jan. 22, 1993, but never played for parent team.
Lawton Leaves Minnesota: During his five seasons in Minnesota, Lawton failed to live up to expectations the team invested in him as a No. 1 overall draft pick. Lawton, for his part, was upset that the North Stars had not given him more ice time as a rookie -- instead thinking he could be brought along at a slow pace.
His relationship with the North Stars soured over the years, and finally came to a head at the end of the team's 1988 training camp, when he failed to make the roster for the 1988-89 season. When Minnesota attempted to send him to Kalamazoo of the IHL, Lawton rebelled. He refused to report to the minors and said he would retire if the North Stars didn't trade him. On Oct. 8, 1988, the team suspended Lawton for refusing his minor league assignment, but just three days later, they granted his wish by trading him to the New York Rangers in a multiplayer deal. "This is a happy day for me," Lawton told The Hockey News at the time of the trade. "I'm very thankful they moved me and moved me quickly."
Brian Lawton, Player Agent: Having been San Jose's first team representative to the National Hockey League Players Association, Lawton knew about the business side of hockey when he retired. He put that knowledge to use in his next career as a player agent, which he began right after finishing his studies at the University of Minnesota in 1993. Early on, he ran Lawton Sport and Financial, working with friends and ex-teammates as clients.
After earning official certification in 1996, Lawton quickly became a prominent agent, working in a partnership with agent Mike Liut. Lawton eventually sold his business to Octagon Athlete Representation, one of the United States' largest sports agencies. Based out of Minneapolis, Lawton became the head of Octagon's hockey division. His personal experience helps make him a trusted advisor to his dozens of clients, including David Tanabe, R.J. Umberger, Mark Parrish, Dave Scatchard, Adrian Aucoin, Barrett Heisten and Deron Quint. He has also represented Brian Bellows, Sergei Fedorov, Jim Carey, Bret Hedican, Oleg Saprykin, Erik Rasmussen, Mike Crowley, Kelly Fairchild and Alexander Korolyuk.
This day in Buffalo Sabres History, in a draft day blockbuster trade on June 8th 1983, Coach/GM Scotty Bowman essentially shipped out his second line to the Quebec Nordiques sending Tony McKegny, Andre Savard and power play specialist J.F. Suave for Real Cloutier and a first round pick in 1983 (11th overall - Adam Creighton).
Cloutier had been a legendary junior player scoring 93 goals and 216 points with the Quebec Remparts in 1973-74. While Cloutier had been a scoring star in the WHA with 60, 66, 56 and 75 goal seasons from 1975-76 through 1978-79, his NHL totals were more modest and had been declining steadily 42, 15, 37, 28 from 1979-80 onward in his first four injury shortened NHL seasons.
Bowman had gutted his teams depth at forward for this fading player who played only one more NHL season scoring 24 times for Buffalo in 77 games. McKegny who had just scored 36 goals for Buffalo played 8 more seasons in the NHL with five more seasons of 20+ goals including a career high of 40 goals with St. Louis in 1987-88. Savard scored 29 goals for Quebec in 95 games, essentially equaling Cloutier's production for Buffalo.
This day in hockey history, June 8th 1988, Jacques Demers won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL coach of the year for the second consecutive season. He was the first person to win the award twice since its inception in 1974.
On this date in Buffalo Sabres history, June 8, 1999, Jason Wooley scored the winning goal in overtime as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 in the first game of the Stanley Cup finals. The opening game was in Dallas and the Stars led 1-0 on a power play goal by Brett Hull, but Stu Barnes and Wayne Primeau scored 5:04 apart in the third to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. Jere Lehtinen tied the game in the final minute of the third period, but Jason Woolley scored at 15:30 of overtime to give the Sabres a 1-0 series lead.
This day in hockey history, June 13th 1978, fearing that the Cleveland Barons (who had finished their second season) and Minnesota North Stars were about to fold, the NHL Board of Governors unanimously agreed to a merger of the two teams. Although it was more than the Barons were absorbed into the North Stars franchise, as Minnesota kept their team but took on the Barons owners. The dispersal draft took place two days later.
The Barons had been losing over $2 million dollars per season. "We're sorry to be leaving Cleveland but we look forward to our new association in Minnesota," said Gordon Gund one of the principal owners of the Barons. Gordon Ritz President of the Minnesota team welcomed his new partners with open arms. "It's going to be a great partnership and it's going to give us one heck of a hockey team." The new team will be caled the Minnesota North Stars and play it's games in Bloomington, Minnesota. It will play in the Adams Division where the Cleveland team had played.
On this date in Buffalo Sabres history, the Sabres drafted Pierre Turgeon with the first overall selction in the NHL entry draft. The Sabres were awarded the first overall pick for having the worst record during the 1986-87 season. The debate over who should be the top pick was between Pierre Turgeon of the Quebec leagues Granby Bisons and Brendan Shanahan of the Ontario Leagues London Knights.
Turgeon put up an incredible 69 goals and 85 assists for 154 points with only 8 penalty minutes, while Shanahan scored a respectable but hardly spectacular 39 goals and 92 points along with 128 penalty minutes. Turgeon's higher point totals were seductive, showing potential for the NHL bound junior star. Shanahan's much higher penalty minute totals could represent a comparative measure of that players physicality and level of competitiveness. The higher the penalty totals, the more physical and competitive the player. The question was, whose game would transfer better to the NHL?
Turgeons low penalty minutes seemed to fit the prevailing stereotype of the Quebec league as a scorers league inferior to the tougher Ontario league which produced players more attuned to the physical style of play in the professional leagues.
Scotty Bowman had recently been fired by the Sabres for presiding over the team's descent into the league basement. Bowman apparently held no grudge over his dismissal when he warned the Sabres not to draft Turgeon because Bowman felt he was too soft. Bowman has proven to be the most brilliant mind in hockey, but he was in a career lull at that point. Maybe that's why the Sabres ignored his advice and drafted Turgeon, In doing so, the Sabres lost an opportunity to build around Shanahan who would become one of the best leaders, goal scorers, and champions the NHL has ever seen.
Drafting Turgeon was the worst decision ever made in franchise history. Turgeon's presence in the lineup created a false hope for success which never materialized as the franchise endured a ten year stretch without a single victory in a best of seven playoff series. Turgeon did prove to be a valuable asset to the Sabres organization when he was traded to the New York Islanders as part of a package deal for Pat Lafontaine.
The general manager responsible for the 1987 draft selections was former Sabres captain Gerry Meehan. Meehan had been a capable player who earned his way into the NHL by rising through the minor professional leagues. After retiring from hockey, Meehan earned an undergraduate degree from Canisius College and a law degree from the University of Buffalo. He was considered a rising star among NHL team executives. How he erred so tremendously at the 1987 draft provides a cautionary tale of evaluating the potential in young athletes.
Meehan was a skilled forward who could fairly be called a soft player (non physical). During his junior career in the rough and tumble Ontario Hockey Association's Jr. A circuit, Meehan was assessed exactly zero penalty minutes over 68 games played over the 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons combined. During his NHL career Meehan was assessed only 111 minutes in penalties in 670 games.
Perhaps Meehan felt a connection to the skilled Turgeon and his low penalty minute totals, maybe he felt that Pierre was “his kind of player”. Maybe he felt Shanahan was like a schoolyard bully with all those penalty minutes and thus didn't fit his vision of the type of player to become the star of his team. Perhaps he saw Turgeon as the heir apparent to the recently retired Gilbert Perreault, another former Quebec league scoring star drafted first overall by Buffalo in 1970. Perreault had dazzled Sabres fans and the entire league for 17 years with his skating and stick-handling moves.
But Perreault had failed to deliver a championship to Buffalo and except for a trip to the finals in 1975, failed to help make the Sabres a contending team, as Punch Imlach pointed out in his book “Heaven and Hell in the NHL” where he recounted his years with the Sabres. Imlach felt that Perreault lacked the fire necessary to be considered one of the games great players like Gretzky or the Rocket. The Sabres team which Meehan had been a part of from 1971-1974 had become regarded in the NHL as a soft team (again see Heaven and Hell in the NHL).
With no “schoolyard bullies” of their own for opponents to fear, the gentlemanly Perreault was regularly defeated in the playoffs by stronger physical two way players who could score as well as he did and also play well defensively, like Bobby Clarke and Bryan Trottier. Quarterfinal round eliminations were common for the Sabres in the Perreault era and Sports Illustrated ignominiously named them Professional Sports Choke team of the 1970's. So if Meehan thought the Perreault model was the way to rebuild with Turgeon, based on that history it was a flawed vision.
What the Sabres got with Turgeon was a good player who put up good point totals but failed to deliver when it mattered, in the playoffs. From 1988 to 1990 the Turgeon led Sabres mmade the playoffs but were eliminated in the first round, twice by Cam Neely and the Boston Bruins. Neely was the epitomy of the NHL power forward, the first of his kind. He could run you over to score the winning goal, set up another and beat up your tough guy all in a nights work. Neely would routinely play a big role in the Bruins playoff victories over Buffalo and the Sabres could not stop him. In a nod to his Irish lineage, Don Cherry called Neely “A fine broth of a lad.”
In 1988 as the Bruins made their way to the Stanley Cup finals after eliminating the Sabres, one of their players told me that they didn't consider Buffalo to be a serious rival like Montreal as the Bruins knew that they could beat Buffalo because the Sabres hadn't learned to do all the things that were necessary to win in the playoffs. That statement was hardly a compliment to team captain and team leader Pierre Turgeon. In comparison to the Bruins Neely, Turgeon was nicknamed “The Tin Man”, perhaps unfairly, by the Bufflo media. This nickname was attached to him for the remainder of his stay in Buffalo.
Drafting Shanahan instead of Turgeon may have altered the destiny of the franchise. A Neely-like power forward himself, Shanahan as a Sabre playing against Neely in those playoffs would have made for epic showdowns with the Bruins star instead of a prelude to golf season. In the Turgeon era, Mike Foligno was one of a few Sabres with the ability and attitude to do whatever it took to win. Imagine Shanahan and Foligno together, their attributes may have been enough to infect their teammates and turn the Sabres into a playoff opponent to be feared rather than an automatic bye into the next round. Even Don Cherry would have found it difficult to favor his beloved Neely over Shanahan since each was a “Fine broth of a lad.”
In his 1524 game NHL career, Shanahan scored 656 goals and 698 assist for 1354 points with 2489 penalty minutes. But stats alone are inadequate to tell his story. Shanahan was a player who evolved and improved his game. Playing with Brett Hull in St. Louis he learned the secrets of shooting and became a better goal scorer netting back to back 50 goal season in 1992-93 and 1993-94. His previous best had been 33.
Proving to be a man of his convictions, when Scotty Bowman sought the missing link to turn his Detroit Red Wings into champions, he acquired the player he had advised the Sabres to draft, Brendan Shanahan. While Steve Yzerman's hockey skills and leadership are properly credited for Detroit's success, it wasn't until the arrival of Shanahan that the Wings became champions. In fact Shanahan helped make the Red Wings the most successful team since the Edmonton Oilers dynasty with Wayne Gretzky. Bowman certainly didn't reach out for Turgeon to build his champion team nor did any other contender.
Shanahan's playoff career was far brighter than Turgeon whose teams missed the playoffs seven times, were eliminated in the first round eleven times and four times in the second. Conversely, Shanny missed the playoffs only twice, in his second year with the Devils and once with Hartford. With three Stanley Cups his teams made the playoffs 17 times with eight first round and six second round losses.
Shanahn's leadership abilities transcended the arena when during the 2004 lockout he called a summit meeting of the games players and executives. His vision was to reinvent hockey by removing obstruction from the game and reinvent the game giving the fans a better product coming out of the work stoppage.
This was a selfless exercise since Shanahan was a physical clutch and grab style of player whose own career would hardly be enhanced by these changes. But Shanahan's vision transcended his playing career and focused on making the game better. The players and the league jumped on board with this plan and the celebrated “new rules” were little more than calling the rules that had always been there but were selectively enforced. As a result of his efforts, Shanahan can properly be credited as the architect of the modern game.
Failing to draft Shanahan was a once in a generation opportunity lost for the Sabres who have had only two opportunities to draft first for available amateurs. They hit a home run with Perreault and missed terribly with Turgeon. Brendan Shanahan was precisely the type of player the Sabres have been searching for the last 25 years, a power forward who can score goals and be a leader. In short, our own Cam Neely. How could they have let him get away?
In a recent discussion. Meehan told this writer that the Sabres needed a number one center and that's what drove the decision to take Turgeon. That being the case, Joe Sakic was a true franchise player at center superior to Turgeon who somehow slipped to 15th overall in that draft. Sakic was the best player drafted in 1987 with 625 goals and 1641 points in 1378 games.
Sakic was a three time first team all star, and won the Hart trophy as NHL MVP in 2001 when he was also voted the best player in the NHL by the Player Association winning the Lester B. Pearson trophy. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1996. Of course to be fair these decisions look much easier in hindsight.
Gerry Meehan, the rising star as an NHL executive, was promoted to Sr. Vice President of business and legal affairs and replaced as general manager by John Muckler in 1993. Meehan never worked in hockey operations at the NHL level again.
In 2010 Meehan and Shanahan were both inducted into the Etobicoke, Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Meehan told the crowd that choosing between the slick playmaking Turgeon and power forward Shanahan was the toughest decision he ever made. The crowd chuckled later when Shanahan told Meehan “Growing up in Toronto I hated the Buffalo Sabres. You made the right choice.”
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On this date in Stanley Cup history, June 14th 1994, the New York Rangers beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in Game 7 of the Finals in New York to end the longest Cup drought in history with 54 having passed since their last Stanley Cup championship in 1940. The Chicago Blackhawks came the closest to breaking that record at 47 seasons before winning the Cup in 2010, and the Leafs and Blues have the longest active droughts at 49 seasons. The Canucks aren’t too far behind at 41 seasons. Defenseman Brian Leetch, who scored the first goal, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. Also in that game, Vancouver’s Kirk McLean set an NHL record for the most minutes played in one playoff year at 1,544, breaking Ron Hextall’s record of 1540 he set with Philadelphia in 1987.
Visit vintaOn this date in hockey history, June 16th 1961, Steve Larmer was born in Peterborough, Ontario. In junior he spent one season with his hometown Pereborough Petes, then spent three seasons with the Niagara Falls Flyers where he finished his junior career in 1980-81 with 55-78-133 totals teaming on a line with Steve Ludzik where they were known as “The Gold Dust Twins.” Larmer had a lengthy and successful NHL career with 441 goals and 1,012 points in 1,006 games, 891 with the Chicago Blackhawks and 115 with the New York Rangers. After spending 11 seasons with the Chicago where he won the Calder Trophy in 1982-83, he helped New York win the Stanley Cup championship in his first season with the Rangers.
This day in Buffalo Sabres history, June 17th 1990, Gilbert Perreault was announced as a member of the 1990 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class along with Bill Barber and Fernie Flaman.
This day in hockey history, June 17th 1989, the Quebec Nordiques drafted Mats Sundin, making him the first European player to be taken first overall in the entry draft. He played four seasons with Quebec before being traded, then playing 13 seasons in Toronto and one with Vancouver.
This day in hockey history, June 17th 1952, Mike Milbury was born in Brighton, Massachusetts. Milbury has had a 44 year career in professional hockey as a player, coach, manager and broadcaster.
His most memorable moment as a player is climbing the glass in New York as a Bruin and beating a Rangers fan with the fan’s own shoe. He’s known as the general manager who traded away players like Zdeno Chara, Roberto Luongo, Wade Redden, Olli Jokinen, and Tim Connolly for basically nothing, and then drafting Rick DiPietro with the #1 overall pick. He also traded Chara and the second overall pick, who became Jason Spezza, for the infamous Alexi Yashin, who he then signed to a ridiculous 10-year, $87.5-million contract. Yashin was a big disappointment and was bought out in 2007. As for his television career…well, he seems to make outrageous statements just for the sake of flouting convention, sort of like America's answer to Don Cherry.
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This day in hockey history, June 19th 1947, Walt McKechnie was born in London, Ontario. McKechnie set a “modern” record for playing on the most NHL teams that no longer exist: the Minnesota North Stars, California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons, and Colorado Rockies. He also played on the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, and Toronto Maple Leafs for a total of eight different teams in his 17-year career.
This day in hockey history, June 18th 1975, Bobby Orr won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman for the eighth consecutive season year. This re-set his own NHL record for most consecutive trophy wins by a single player and total wins of a specific award. Wayne Gretzky tied that record in 1987 with his eighth straight Hart Trophy, and would break the record for most wins of a single award two years later with nine Hart Trophies. The closest anyone has come to trying Orr’s Norris streak are several players with three and Nicklas Lidstrom has a total of seven.
This day in hockey history, June 18th 1987, the New York Rangers traded their first round pick in the 1988 entry draft along with $75,000 to the Quebec Nordiques for Michel Bergeron. What made the trade unusual was that Bergeron was the head coach of the Nordiques. This was the first time a team ever traded for a coach
The Rangers' last coach, Tom Webster, was unable to finish out his rookie year this past season because of an inner-ear problem that even surgery failed to correct. Phil Esposito, the Rangers GM, took over and brought a fiery style to the bench, and he was looking for someone with similar qualities.
Esposito said that he had asked the Nordiques about Bergeron almost as a joke during the National Hockey League draft last Saturday in Detroit. Esposito was shocked when the Nordiques' general manager, Maurice Filion, said, ''Let's talk.''
Losing makes Bergeron angry. A story his mother tells concerns his teen-age years, when he was invariably the top student of the month at the school he attended in Montreal. One month, another boy was named the top student. Bergeron beat him up.
In 1964, goes another story, he toured Cuba with a Canadian baseball team as its catcher. Fidel Castro, who was treated with kid gloves by opposing players, performed for the Cubans. Castro hit a long drive that he was thinking of stretching into an inside-the-park home run. As he rounded third, the throw came in to Bergeron at the plate. Bergeron took the throw and threw the ball to third, where Castro had to dive back. The Cuban leader got up, dusted himself off, and cursed Bergeron.
It turns out it wasn’t a very good trade, as the Rangers went 36-34-10 missing the playoffs that year. He was fired with two games remaining in the 1988-89 season for going over Esposito's head to the owner to advocate player trades.
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