Tag: Did You Know?

Roberto Luongo

Did You Know? Roberto Luongo is a dual record-holder


The “Did You Know?” series ties in the news of the day with some little-known hockey factoids and/or trivia. It’ll be fun. Trust me.

On Saturday, Roberto Luongo backstopped Vancouver to a 4-3 win over San Jose. It was his 19th win of the year and 212th in a Canucks uniform, moving him past Kirk McLean for the all-time franchise record.

Obtaining the record was nice, though not especially extraordinary. Luongo passed the likes of Richard Brodeur, Dan Cloutier and Gary “Suitcase” Smith en route to the honor — let’s just say goaltending hasn’t traditionally been Vancouver’s strong suit.

But there was an impressive feat in all of this. By claiming the Canucks record, Luongo became the all-time wins leader for two NHL franchises — Vancouver and Florida. He won 108 games as a Panther from 2000-06 and is the only goaltender to hold career wins records for two current teams.

More, from the Elias Sports Bureau:

One netminder was the wins leader for two defunct NHL franchises: Roy Worters, with the Pittsburgh Pirates (later the Philadelphia Quakers) and New York Americans. Worters, who is the shortest player in NHL history, at 5’3″, was known as “Shrimp”.


Luongo could hold both records for a very long time. His most recent challenger in Florida, Tomas Vokoun, came close to eclipsing the mark (101 wins), but was cut loose this offseason and is now in Washington.

[Side note: Had Vokoun moved atop the Florida list, he would’ve been mentioned in the same sentence as Shrimp Worters, because Vokoun still holds Nashville’s all-time wins record, with 161.]

The three current Panthers netminders — Scott Clemmensen, Jose Theodore and Jacob Markstrom — have a long way to go. Clemmensen leads with 23 wins, Theodore has 14 and Markstrom (supposedly the goalie of the future) has just two.

Luongo has an even tighter grip on the Vancouver record. The only possible challenger at the moment is Cory Schneider, and he’s 184 wins back.

Other goalies of note

— Nikolai Khabibulin is first all-time for the Lightning, third for the Coyotes, ninth for the Blackhawks and 10th for the Oilers.

— Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen is the career wins leader for the Atlanta Thrashers (94) and fourth on the all-time Stars list. (That said, he’s still 206 wins shy of Ed Belfour.)

— Steve Mason is two wins away from becoming Columbus’ all-time wins leader, which pretty much says everything about Columbus.

Did You Know? Random, high-scoring defensemen used to be the norm

Jeff Brown

The “Did You Know?” series ties in the news of the day with some little-known hockey factoids and/or trivia. It’ll be fun. Trust me.

With 41 points through 43 games, Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson is on pace for a rare kind of season. The 21-year-old Swedish rearguard is flirting with a 75-to-80-point campaign, something only two defensemen have accomplished that since the lockout: Mike Green in 2009-10 (76 points) and Nicklas Lidstrom in 2005-06 (80).

But it wasn’t always this way. In those halcyon, run-n-gun, the-goalies-look-kinda-brutal days of the 70s, 80s and 90s, defensemen would record obscene point totals on a yearly basis.

I’m not just talking about the Coffeys, Leetches and Bourques, either — consider the following:

Jeff Brown, St. Louis, 1992-93

71GP: 25G-53A-78PTS

First, this is the 60th greatest scoring season by a defenseman in NHL history — and it was done by Jeff Brown, a good-but-not-great blueliner that played for seven teams during a 747-game career. Solid player, kind of a journeyman, not a favorite of Kirk McLean’s.

Admittedly, Brown achieved these lofty numbers mostly from feasting on a power play that included Brett Hull and Brendan Shanahan, but still…25 freakin’ goals. That would’ve led the Nashville Predators last season.

Kevin Hatcher, Washington Capitals, 1992-93

83GP: 34G-45A-79PTS

Hatcher wasn’t exactly the most skilled offensive defenseman ever. Physical? Yes. Tough? Yes.

Dynamically skilled? Uhhh

“He has been likened to a skating box car,” wrote Stan Fischler. “Hatcher played as much a stylish as a socko game and that displeased a segment of the Washington fans.”

But the 92-93 season puts him in with some pretty amazing company. Hatcher’s 34-goal effort ranks eighth all-time; the top seven spots belong to Paul Coffey (1st, 3rd, 6th), Bobby Orr (2nd, 5th, 7th) and Doug Wilson (4th).

Ian Turnbull, Toronto Maple Leafs, 1976-77

80GP: 22G057A-79PTS

Playing alongside Borje Salming, Turnbull turned in the greatest offensive season ever by a Leafs defenseman — his 79-point record still stands more than 30 years later. Know what else he did in 76-77? He set the NHL record for most goals in a game by a defenseman (five, in a 9-1 win over Detroit) and in doing so, became the only player in league history to score five goals on five shots in a single game.

Other random defensive stat-sheet stuffers:

— Winnipeg’s Dave Babych posted 61 assists in 1982-83. He finished sixth in the league in that category, one shy of Bobby Clarke.

— Reijo Ruotsalainen scored 28 goals for the Rangers in 1984-85. He’d go on to score 28 goals from 1985-1990.

— Minnesota’s Craig Hartsburg scored 77 points in 1981-82. His career high prior to that was 49; his high after that was 62.

(Jeff Brown photo courtesy gamewornauctions.com)

Did You Know? Dominik Hasek’s amazing run

Dominik Hasek

The “Did You Know?” series ties in the news of the day with some little-known hockey factoids and/or trivia. It’ll be fun. Trust me.

Dominik Hasek is one of the greatest goalies in NHL history. He might very well be the greatest, but that’s up for debate.

What’s not up for debate, though, is that Hasek had the greatest 17-month span of any goalie. Ever.

From Feb. 1998 to June 1999, Hasek did the following (this is in chronological order):

— Won Olympic gold with Czech Republic at the Winter Olympics.
— Finished first in the NHL in shots faced, saves, save percentage, minutes played and shutouts.
— Went to Eastern Conference Finals with Buffalo.
— Won the Vezina Trophy.
— Won the Ted Lindsay Award.
— Won the Hart Trophy.
— Was named to NHL First All-Star Team.
— Had a couple months off in the summer, prepped for the upcoming season.
— Finished first in the NHL in save percentage.
— Went to the Stanley Cup Finals with Buffalo.
— Finished first in playoff save percentage.
— Won the Vezina Trophy.
— Was named to the NHL First All-Star Team.

Now, those accolades alone make for an impressive resume — but consider the teams Hasek was carrying.

Czech Republic: Hasek’s performance in Nagano might be the most impressive, dominant, jump-on-my-back-I’ll-take-you-to-the-promised-land performance in goaltending history. The Czechs didn’t have a single player in the tournament’s top-10 scoring; they only managed two regulation goals in the semifinal and final combined.

In the elimination phase, Hasek stopped 38 of 39 shots against the U.S., 24 of 25 against Canada (plus five shootout attempts) and all 20 Russian shots in the gold medal game. His save percentage in do-or-die games was .964.

And Hasek did all this while his fellow “stars” failed to produce. Jaromir Jagr had just one goal in six games; the key goals in the semi and final were scored by Jiri Slegr and Petr Svoboda. The leading Czech scorer for the tourney was a guy named Pavel Patera, who had a cup of coffee in Minnesota.

Buffalo: The Sabres went to the Conference and Stanley Cup Finals with a pretty thin offense. Their leading scorer in both seasons was Miro Satan…with 46 and 66 points. In 1997-98, nobody scored more than 24 goals; in 1998-99, Buffalo’s top-five scorers included Michal Grosek, Curtis Brown and Dixon Ward.

The wildest year was 97-98, when Hasek led the league in shots faced (2149 over 72 games — an average of roughly 30 per contest). He finished with a 2.09 GAA and 13 shutouts while playing in front of a defense comprised of Alexei Zhitnik, Darryl Shannon, Richard Smehlik, Jason Woolley, Bob Boughner, Mike Wilson and Jay McKee. Not exactly a Norris Trophy shortlist, if you know what I’m saying.

It’s probably overlooked because he didn’t win a Cup and his career overall was so successful, but Hasek’s run from Feb. 1998 to June 1999 is the stuff of legend.

Did You Know? That first post-lockout season was weird

Canes Cup

The “Did You Know?” series ties in the news of the day with some little-known hockey factoids and/or trivia. It’ll be fun. Trust me.

Most will remember the 2005-06 season as the year we finally got hockey back.

Others — namely those in Carolina — will remember it as the year the ‘Canes won their first-ever Stanley Cup.

Me? I remember it as one of the most anomalous seasons in NHL history.

Consider, if you will, a few of the bizarre things that occurred in 2005-06:


— This was the highest-scoring regular season in NHL history. Teams had an average of 480 power plays that year, up from 348 pre-lockout.

— Jonathan Cheechoo led all scorers that year with a career-high 56 goals. The next year, he’d score 37…then 23…then 12…then five. Now he’s playing for Peoria of the AHL.

— Brian Gionta finished sixth in scoring with a career-high 48 goals. Prior to that, he’d never scored more than 21. Since then, he’s never scored more than 29.

— 30-goal scorers included: Petr Prucha, Anson Carter, Mike Sillinger and Marek Svatos.


— Dallas went 12-1. Jussi Jokinen scored on his first nine attempts.

— Boston went 2-8 with the worst shooting percentage (16.7) in the league. Twelve Bruins attempted shots that year; only four of them scored.

Standings and Playoffs

— Detroit won 58 games thanks to playing in an awful Central Division and the unbalanced schedule.

— In the West, no team with home-ice advantage made it to the semifinals. The top four seeds were all bounced in the opening round: No. 8 Edmonton beat No. 1 Detroit, No. 7 Colorado beat No. 2 Dallas, No. 6 Anaheim beat No. 3 Calgary and No. 5 San Jose beat No. 4 Nashville.

— Carolina dumped starting goalie Martin Gerber two games into its first-round series against Montreal. Rookie Cam Ward came in, got hot, and led the ‘Canes to the Stanley Cup, winning the Conn Smythe.

— The Oilers played three goalies in the Cup final. Dwayne Roloson started, but hurt his knee. He was replaced by Ty Conklin, who let in this gaffe. Conklin was then replaced by Jussi Markkanen, who was out of the league a season later.

Other weird stuff

— Joe Thornton got traded from Boston to San Jose, then won the Hart Trophy. First and only time that’s happened.

Operation Slap Shot happened.

— The Panthers had to re-schedule two games due to Hurricane Wilma.

— And finally, Marek Malik did this:

Just a weird year, man.

Did You Know? Toe Blake was not to be trifled with

toe blake

Hector “Toe” Blake is one of the most revered characters in hockey history. He won the Stanley Cup 11 times (three as a player, eight as a coach), is a Hall of Famer and, in 1982, was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Also, he was kinda psycho.

Blake coached Montreal for 13 years and is still the winningest coach in franchise history. Yet it’s the way he coached that left an indelible mark on the league and most notably, its referees.

From the Nov. 22, 1965 issue of Sports Illustrated:

Blake does not opt for dialogue when he disagrees with an official. He prefers getting right to the point, which may be located anywhere on the anatomy of the referee in question.

In 1961, in the semifinals of the cup playoffs, Blake became incensed over a tripping call. He raged across the ice and threw a long, looping right hand at Referee Dalton MacArthur. Even though he missed, he was fined $2,000.

During the finals against Chicago last April, Blake was exasperated by some of Vern Buffey’s calls. After the game he skidded toward Buffey, intent upon elevating that referee’s jaw. His players restrained him, but on his way into the dressing room Blake managed to uncork his right at a fan—and missed again.

Moments later he popped his head out of the dressing room and bawled to reporters: “You all saw the game. You all saw what happened. Now let’s see how much guts you’ve got.”

Interesting footnote to this story: In 1945-46, Blake won the Lady Byng trophy — awarded annually to the player that exhibits the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct.