Saturday, November 28, 2009
NHL history was made on this date in 1979, when Rob Ramage of the hapless Colorado Rockies, while on a delayed penalty call, would send the puck back to the point anticipating a Rockies teammate would be stationed there, only to find the point vacated and the puck making the long journey down the length of the ice and right into the Rockies goal and the record books.
Since Islanders goaltender Billy Smith was the last Islander to touch the puck, he was the official scorer of the goal, the first one credited to a goaltender in NHL history.
Ron Hextall became the first goaltender to legitimately aim for the net and score a goal in the NHL on December 8, 1987 when he scored against the Boston Bruins, who had pulled goaltender Rejean Lemelin for a sixth attacker who was apparently not in any way a sixth defender.
Hextall scored a second goal during the playoffs on April 11, 1989 versus the Washington Capitals, entering the record books as the first goalie to score during the playoffs.
Chris Osgood of the Detroit Red Wings added his name to the list of goaltenders who have scored on March 6, 1996 with a shot the length of the ice in Hartford versus the Whalers.
April 17, 1997 would see the first of Martin Brodeur's pair of goals, as he would fire one in against the Montreal Canadiens. Brodeur would be credited with his second goal, despite being about 125 feet from the puck when a mishandled puck by a Philadelphia Flyer at his own blueline found it's way into the unguarded Flyers net on February 15th of 2000.
Jose Theodore, then of the Montreal Canadiens would score with style on January 2, 2001 with a backhand shot, as he launched the puck the length of the ice on Long Island against New York in the process of shutting out the Islanders, the only goalie to shoot the puck into the goal and record a shutout in the same game.
Evgeni Nabokov joined the scoring ranks on March 10, 200o when he fired one in against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver for the sixth and most recent goalie to purposely shoot the puck into the opposing goal.
Damian Rhodes of the Ottawa Senators, Mika Noronen of the Buffalo Sabres and Chris Mason of the Nashville Predators would all receive credit for goals of the Billy Smith variety, as the opponents would all misfire in some manner and send pucks down the ice and into their own nets.
Today's featured jersey is a Sandow SK 1980-81 New York Islanders Billy Smith jersey, the same style he was wearing when he "opened the floodgates" of goalies scoring in the NHL.
In addition to going into the history books as the first goalie to score a goal, Smith did manage to accumulate four Stanley Cups during the early 1980's while with the New York Islanders dynasty.
This particular style of jersey with the white and orange sleeve stripes was first introduced for the 1978-79 and used through the 1983-84 season before the Islander changed the specification of the names on the back from two-color to single color white names.
Here is the play on which Billy Smith was credited with the first goal ever scored by an NHL goalie.
Here is a wonderful compilation of all the goals scored by goalkeepers in the NHL, several of which are direct shots by the goalies themselves, and not "own goals" on the part of the other team.
The last video today is a look at the career of Billy Smith from the "Greatest Hockey Legends" series.