The Most Outrageous but True Tales in NHL History
With the hockey season nearly upon us, it's always fun to take a look at some of the wackiest and goofiest fun facts in the storied history of the NHL. Consider it a hockey morsel to nibble upon so you don't have to read anymore about make-believe girlfriends or doping cyclists.
There were tons of fun things to include in here and I tried to steer clear of the multiple NC-17 rated incidents involving the Stanley Cup. Trust me there are quite a few more stories that didn't make the cut.
The next six months promise to be action packed as 1440 games get compressed into this makeshift season. There will certainly be some headlines and stories that can alter the fortunes of each team as they dash towards hockey's holy grail. Some might be entertaining and some might make you cringe.
I guarantee you that you won't catch any headlines like these in the 2013 NHL season. Then again, with the train wreck of the collective bargaining negotiations anything is possible. Here's to a great season! Enjoy now!
"Cagie" Ken Doraty
A quick glance at Ken Doraty's career stats will show you nothing remarkable from the journeyman winger. He only scored 15 goals in his NHL career, but three of them will keep "Cagie" Ken in the hockey record books forever.
Before there was a sudden death overtime in the NHL teams would play a 10-minute overtime period at the conclusion of a regulation tie. Doraty and his Toronto Maple Leafs found themselves in this situation in 1934 against the Ottawa Senators. Tied 4-4 heading into the overtime session, Doraty channeled his inner sniper, scoring the only hat-trick in NHL overtime history, leading the Leafs to a 7-4 victory.
With the changes in the overtime rules, Doraty will remain in the NHL record books forever.
Brendan Shanahan and Rick Vaive
NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan told a funny story a few years ago on radio show about when he was a young player. Shanahan was a huge fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs growing up. He was skating at a rink in the summer of 1983 in Toronto and heard that Rick Vaive had been skating at an adjoining rink and was in the next locker room over.
Shanahan wandered in to the locker room and asked the Toronto captain for an autograph. He described the response from Vaive as less than accommodating.
Shanahan would get drafted and went straight to the NHL four years later with the New Jersey Devils. He never forgot about his encounter with Vaive. During a game against Buffalo Shanahan lined up next to Vaive and attacked him when the puck dropped. After the scrap, two linesmen had to drag the rookie winger to the penalty box.
Vaive, dumbfounded by the malice in the confrontation found out from Shanahan's teammate Jim Korn that the rookie pugilist happened to be a disgruntled autograph seeker from four years before.
1907 Montreal Wanderers
The Montreal Wanderers were originally an amateur Canadian hockey team that played in several leagues before joining the NHL in 1917. Prior to 1926 the Stanley Cup was competed for by teams outside of the NHL. As each league folded the NHL gained exclusive rights to compete for the trophy.
In 1907 the Stanley Cup was won by the Wanderers as they defeated the Kenora Thistles. Prior to 1912, in the challenge era, teams could challenge one another for the Stanley Cup at any time depending on rink conditions. In 1912 it was decided that the Stanley Cup would be competed for only once a year at the end of the season.
At some point during the 1907 the Wanderers were being photographed with their prized Stanley Cup. Unfortunately they left the trophy at the photographers house. The silver chalice was later found being used as a flower pot, housing geraniums for the photographer's mother.
Chris "Knuckles" Nilan
One of the biggest characters in NHL history is Chris Nilan. Most of his career was spent with the Montreal Canadiens before finishing his career with the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. He earned the nickname "Knuckles" for his strong desire to throw them at opponents' faces.
Nilan makes the list for three reasons. Reason one is the massive amount of penalty minutes accumulated in his career (3043). The second is Nilan's unique place in the NHL record books. In a 1991 game while playing in Boston, Nilan collected 10 separate penalties: six minors, two majors, one misconduct and one game misconduct, for a total of 42 penalty minutes.
The most awesome fact about Chris Nilan is that he purchased the old penalty box from the Montreal Forum when they were auctioning off pieces of the historical barn. Possibly the coolest addition to any man cave ever.
New York Rangers Stanley Cup Curse
Everyone knows the big story about how Mark Messier ended the New York Rangers' 54-year Stanley Cup drought. Does anyone know the story about why it became a curse? Other than the blue shirt futility on Broadway, there appears to have been some supernatural concoctions along the way that give much more "valid" reasons behind the championship void.
The 1940 New York Rangers were already in a celebratory mood. The mortgage on the Rangers' home, Madison Square Garden was paid off that year so they decided upon winning the championship they would burn the documents in the cup. Though it has been speculated that the burning documents were extinguished with the urine of Ranger players, particularly Lyn Patrick, that story cannot be confirmed.
Another notable theory is that Red Dutton of the rival New York Americans declared that the Rangers would never win the cup as long as he was alive. Dutton's declaration held true to his passing in 1987 and then some.
Sylvain Lefebvre Baptism
I can't be too sure if this was some of the best family planning scheme ever, or if things just happened to work out this way. When Colorado won their first Stanley Cup in 1996, Sylvain Lefebvre decided to have his baby daughter Alexanne baptized in the fabled cup.
The idea was borrowed by rival Red Wing Tomas Holmstrom who used his day with the 2008 cup to have his cousin's daughter baptized in Sweden.
Phil "Bubba" Bourque
The long standing tradition of having your name engraved into the fabled hockey trophy is one of the coolest perks of winning the trophy. Seeing your name on the trophy along with names of some of the all-time greats has to be one of the coolest things in the world.
Phil Bourque got his Stanley Cup in 1991 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The second-most famous (arguably) Bourque in the NHL noticed that the cup was rattling during his day with the trophy during the summer and took it apart. He found that a couple of repairmen had inscribed their own names on the inside of the cup and decided that he wanted to do the same.
Bourque carved in his own message for future curious cup winners: “Enjoy it, Phil Bubba Bourque, '91 Penguins.” Classic.
Kris Draper Trade
We all know Kris Draper as the center of Detroit's famous "Grind Line" along with Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby and sometimes Joe Kocur. Draper wasn't drafted by the Red Wings, but he almost came to Hockeytown at an equally affordable price.
Draper played in only 20 games with the Jets in his first four seasons. With limited opportunities to crack the Winnipeg lineup, he was traded to Detroit in 1993 for $1. The "One Dollar Man" went on to play 1137 games for Detroit, winning four Stanley Cups and a Selke Award in 2004 as the league's top defensive forward.
Not sure if it was an American dollar or Canadian (McCarty says it was Canadian), but that's a steal either way.
Bizarre (Russian) Love Triangle
Straight out of your favorite daytime soap dramas came a Russian love triangle that Hollywood couldn't script. Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure were some of the first wave of Russians to break into the NHL and were regarded during their prime as two of the best players in the world.
Fedorov ended up in Detroit with the Red Wings while Bure became the "Russian Rocket" out in Vancouver with the Canucks. The timetable is pretty sketchy to say the least but it is believed that former tennis prodigy Anna Kournikova was being squired by Fedorov as early when she was 17-years old.
She would attend his games, and he popped up at tennis matches around the globe during the off season. The problem was Kournikova was also taking calls from another Russian superstar hockey player. At one time both Bure and Fedorov claimed to be engaged to the gorgeous tennis diva, but only Fedorov managed to put a ring on it. His ill-fated marriage was short-lived, but the bizarre and spicy triangle was a global extravaganza for all paprazzi.
All of the Russian love drama took a back seat to the international flavor of the Brazilian-Russian combo. Kournikova ditched the sports scene completely, falling under the spell of a certain mole-toting Latin crooner.
Cal Ripken is universally regarded as the "Ironman" in sports for his consecutive games streak. While showing up for work everyday is something that most of us shmoes do every day with much less fanfare, the rigors of professional sports take more of a toll on us than sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day.
Cal may have some competition when you consider the consecutive game streak of Glenn Hall. Though he is probably the most viewed goalie in the history of hockey, only NHL purists recognize him in the picture. Hall is probably remembered as much for his pre-game ritual as he is for his consecutive game streak. Before every game Hall would vomit, and then drink a glass of orange juice.
Amazingly the acid content in his gullet allowed him to play in 502 consecutive games (and 49 playoff games), a record that will never be broken by an NHL goalie. His consistency was rivaled only by his excellent play in goal. Nicknamed "Mr. Goalie," Hall would win three Vezina trophies and two Stanley Cups while playing with the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.