Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A brief history of NHL playoff goats

The Maple Leafs react to the announcement
of that night's starting goalies
The second round of the playoffs has already brought its share of surprises. And while that has some fans looking forward to the conference final matchups, others are dealing with bitter disappointment.

Many in Philadelphia are pointing fingers at the team's trio of underperforming goaltenders. Capital fans watched so-called superstars like Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin disappear for much of the team's shocking sweep at the hands of the Lightning. And despite his team still leading the series, struggling Sharks' star Patrick Marleau has been labelled "gutless" by former teammate Jeremy Roenick.

Of course, assigning blame after a tough loss is nothing new, and the NHL has a long history of fitting players for goat horns. When the pressure is at its highest, it doesn't take much -- one bad game, one mistake, one momentary lapse can be all it takes to change a reputation forever.

Let's take a walk through the history books and spare a moment to mourn some of those in the hockey world who may never live down their moment of postseason shame.

April 21, 2003 - Philadelphia goalie Roman Cechmanek gives up an embarrassing goal while struggling to retrieve his trapper, leading the Flyers to vow to never again employ a goalie with a functioning glove hand.

June 7, 1994 - Pavel Bure fails to score against the Rangers on a critical penalty shot in the Stanley Cup finals, partly due to a great reaction by Mike Richter but mostly because Gary Bettman had snuck onto the ice and flipped the net over.

May 24, 1990 - After the Bruins are dominated in a five-game loss to the Oilers in the Stanley Cup finals, head coach Mike Milbury admits that maybe his whole "Everyone just stay focused on shutting down Wayne Gretzky" strategy may have had a small flaw.

April 20, 2004 - Senators' goaltender Patrick Lalime apparently forgets to reopen his eyes after the national anthem.

June 1, 1996 - Scott Mellanby stops the year's feel-good story in its tracks when, during a team meeting on the eve of the Stanley Cup final, he puts his hand up and says "Hey, did you guys realize that we're the Florida Panthers?"

April 21, 2002 - Canucks' goalie Dan Cloutier whiffs on a Nicklas Lidstrom knuckler from center ice in what Vancouver GM Brian Burke will consider the worst display of goaltending he can ever imagine right up until he arrives in Toronto.

April 18, 2010 - After watching the Sharks' Dan Boyle score the game-winning goal into his own net, Avalanche goalies Craig Anderson makes a mental note that that he'll now has something to talk to Chris Phillips about after next year's trade deadline.

May 5, 1998 - Your favourite team loses in overtime because your stupid brother sits in the green chair when everyone knows you can only use that one for odd-numbered periods.

May 27, 1993 - Doug Gilmour costs the Maple Leafs a chance at the Stanley Cup when he forgets the old hockey adage that you should only get high-sticked in the face during games involving a competent referee.

April 13, 2004 - After costing the Canadiens a game while trying to draw a penalty by faking an injury in double overtime, Alexei Kovalev tearfully vows that he will never ever do that again, by which he means "try".

June 5, 2006 - The Edmonton Oilers lose the game and eventually the series after the previously unbeatable Dwayne Roloson is injured in a goal mouth scramble, Boston Bruin players are innocently reminding each other right now.

June 1, 1992 - The Blackhawks are swept in their finals after star player Jeremy Roenick is held to just two points in the series, although 12-year-old hockey fan Patrick Marleau is sure he tried his very best.




23 comments:

  1. Love the Panthers and Cloutier lines.

    Though I have to be "that guy" and point out that there actually wasn't a playoff game on May 5, 1998. I await the slings and arrows.

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  2. I love the shot at Roenick. Puts everything into perspective!

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  3. The Marleau zinger made this

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  4. Aww, no shots at Uptown Hockey? *is hoping for a whole post on that one*

    Great post as usual, especially the Roenick/Marleau bit.

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  5. Your brother sitting in the wrong chair statement is taken from my childhood, isn't it?

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  6. @Donald you're wrong: http://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/198805050EDM.html

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  7. Cornelius, you're wrong with ten whole years.

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  8. LOL @ Roenick bit.

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  9. I love douches like Donald who say things with such authority and end up looking like a total jackweed when they are proven wrong.

    So if by 'That guy' he meant a douchebag who knows nothing about hockey history, then he definitely was 'That guy'.

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  10. Roenick/Marleau bit - simply brilliant!

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  11. "I love douches like Donald who say things with such authority and end up looking like a total jackweed when they are proven wrong.

    So if by 'That guy' he meant a douchebag who knows nothing about hockey history, then he definitely was 'That guy'."

    The irony... lmfao
    Donald was actually correct. There was no game on May 5 1998. There was a game on May 5 1988 however, as Cornelius pointed out.

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  12. "12-year-old hockey fan Patrick Marleau is sure he tried his very best"

    Best. Line. Evar.

    Down Goes Brown FTW.

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  13. Haha, nice shot at JR! I don't like all this shit talk about Marleau, it's getting me down... :/

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  14. The playoff goats deserve their own "History..." video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fphOdaTadXo

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  15. I don't get the dig at JR?

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  16. And of course, a memorable game on May 4 1998, where Edmonton beat Colorado 4-0 to advance to face Dallas in the first of what would be a long run of constantly losing to the Stars in the playoffs, which Oilers fans now agree were "the good ol' days"

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  17. "After watching the Sharks' Dan Boyle score the game-winning goal into his own net, Avalanche goalies Craig Anderson makes a mental note that that he'll now has something to talk to Chris Phillips about after next year's trade deadline."

    This one wins but 12 year old Marleau was great too and got a good laugh from Milbury, Bettman, Kovalev, Roloson Cechmanek, Burke, so pretty much the whole article. Best one of 2011.

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  18. best caption of an image this year.... =)

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  19. Johnny AppleseedMay 12, 2011 at 4:29 AM

    "Hey, we should do exactly what San Jose did at the end of last nights Sharks-Red Wings game. Rush up ice on a 3-on-2, fire a slapper straight through the slot, swarm the crease, and let the melee begin." 'Yeah, didn't Roloson get hurt a few years back for the Oilers during a crease scrum?' "I don't know, but we've got to get to the front of the net more. It'll help us score more if we're physical there."

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  20. Ironically, it was Marc-Andre Bergeron that pushed a player onto Roloson and precipitated that injury... MAB now on the lightning. Brilliant article DGB.

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  21. Some great ones here. My faves are Kovalev and of course, Roenick/Marleau. XD Great stuff!

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