Ray Scapinello hasn’t stopped smiling. He’s part of the new class of inductees into the Hall of Fame.
With four decades and 2,508 regular season and 426 playoffs Scapinello has never missed a single game he was assigned too. No linesmen in the NHL have played more game then him.
“I mean, I've done countless games where I got drilled with the puck,” Scapinello said today. “I worked a game in Toronto where I picked up 14 stitches. I pulled some groins over the years, but I was fortunate enough to recover on time for the next game.”
“My dad was 87 years old and never missed a day's work, so it was in the genes.”
He almost missed one game because of bad weather forced his flight to Long Island back to Toronto. That didn’t stop him. He eventually made it, but not in time for the puck drop.
“It was into the first period,” Scapinello said. “Richard Trottier was in the area, so he went on the ice for me. I dressed too quickly, when I finally got there, I don't think I even put my shin pads on. Believe it or not, the faceoff was in the corner where the visitors go off on Long Island. I banged on the glass. He looked back at me, dropped the puck, I opened the door, he stepped off, I moved down the ice and threw my arm up for icing. That was the closest I ever came to missing a game.”
A though customer for him was Bob Clark. Many players enjoyed talking with linesmen, but he was a different story.
“Bob Clarke was all business," Scapinello said. "He didn't want me to ask him how his family was.’You do your job and I'll do my job.' I threw him out of a faceoff one night in Philadelphia and he looked up at me and said, 'Why don't you just drop the puck, nobody came to watch you.' I said, 'Maybe nobody came to watch me, but you're not taking this faff.' But what a competitor that man was.”
Game 7 of the '94 Cup final at Madison Square Garden is one of his best highlights in his career.
“Oh, the pressure leading up to it,” Scapinello said. "We went into New York the day before, obviously, and it's just running in your mind. Nobody has to tell you what's at stake. You're nervous all day. You don't sleep and you don't eat very well. But after the anthem is over, you're on automatic pilot.”