Saturday, November 13, 2010
Invented by hockey pioneer and visionary Frank Patrick in 1921, the penalty shot was added to the NHL rule book in 1934. The first person to be awarded the opportunity to take one was the Montreal Canadiens Armand Mondou on November 10, 1934. His attempt was unsuccessful, as he was foiled by George Hainsworth of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The first successfully converted penalty shot was when Ralph "Scotty" Bowman of the St. Louis Eagles scored his first career goal on this date in 1934 against Alex Connell of the Montreal Maroons. Of note, Bowman was a defenseman who played seven seasons in the NHL and totaled just eight goals for his entire career!
The Carolina Hurricanes Eric Cole became the first player to be awarded two penalty shots in the same game, which happened on November 9, 2005 versus the Buffalo Sabres. The result was a draw, as Cole beat Martin Biron once, but Biron got the better of Cole on the other. Cole had the distinction of becoming the answer to another piece of penalty shot trivia when he was awarded another penalty shot in his very next game, the first player to have taken penalty shots in consecutive games. Only the little known Esa Pimes of Finland, who played just 57 games with the Los Angeles Kings, has also been awarded penalty shots in back to back games.
Twice a team has scored on two penalty shots in the same game, first on February 11, 1982 when the Vancouver Canucks Thomas Gradin and Ivan Hilinka scored against Gilles Gilbert of the Detroit Red Wings. Not until December 30, 2009 was that feat duplicated, when Ryane Clowe and Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks beat Michal Neuvirth of the Washington Capitals.
The first penalty shot awarded in the playoffs came on March 25, 1937 when Lionel Conacher, then of the Montreal Maroons, was stopped by Tiny Thompson of the Boston Bruins. To date, 46 penalty shots have been awarded in playoff action, with just 10 being successful. The first of those ten would not arrive until 1968 when Wayne Connelly of the Minnesota North Stars beat Terry Sawchuk, then playing with the Los Angeles Kings, on April 27th of that year.
Joe Juneau of the Washington Capitals received the first opportunity to end a playoff game with a penalty shot in overtime on April 24, 1996, but he was foiled by the Pittsburgh Penguins Ken Wregget. To date, no player has yet to score on a penalty shot in overtime of a playoff game.
The first penalty shot goal in the Stanley Cup Finals would not occur until June 5, 2006. That goal belongs to Chris Pronger, then of the Edmonton Oilers, who beat the Hurricanes Cam Ward.
In NHL history, one man is the answer to two penalty shot questions, "Who has taken the most penalty shots?" and "Who has scored the most goals on penalty shots?" That man is Mario Lemieux, who at one point was 5-for-5 before he came out of retirement in 2001. His final career totals are 8 penalty shots taken and 6 scored.
Today's featured jersey is a 1934-35 St. Louis Eagles Ralph Bowman jersey. Bowman, the first NHL player to ever score on a penalty shot, played a season with the Ottawa Senators, remained with the club when they moved to St. Louis for most of their only season as the Eagles before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings, where he won the Stanley Cup in 1936 and 1937.
Since the Eagles lasted only one season before the club was disbanded, this is the only style sweater the Eagles ever wore, as nine of the clubs in the NHL that season, six of them had only one jersey style. It would not be until 1951 when the Rangers adopted a white jersey to go with their traditional blue one, that every club would have a white home and colored away jersey.
The penalty shot.
Sometimes you score...
...sometimes you don't.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Born in 1971 in Moscow in the Soviet Union, Pavel Bure was once selected to practice with Wayne Gretzky and Vladislav Tretiak for a television program at the age of 11. By the age of 14, Bure was named to the famed Central Red Army's junior team.
In 1986, five years before playing in Vancouver as a professional, Bure toured Canada with a Soviet youth team and played a game at the Pacific Coliseum, his future home rink.
Bure made his debut with the Central Red Army senior club in 1987-88 at the age of 16 as a fill-in player when the Red Army Club was without several regulars who were participating in the 1987 Canada Cup. In all, he managed to get into five games, which included scoring his first goal.
While with CSKA Moscow, Bure was teamed with Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov, a dangerously potent line combination that was set to dominate not only Soviet hockey, but international hockey for years to come, until politics interfered and changed everything.
Bure set a Soviet League record for goals by a rookie in 1988-89 when he totaled 17 goals in 32 games, a mark that would stand for 18 years. He was recognized for his for his efforts by being named the rookie of the year. He also participated in the 1989 World Junior Tournament, with his eight goals tying for the tournament lead. Additionally, his 14 points led the tournament in scoring, earned him Best Forward honors and led the Soviet Union to the gold medal.
Mogilny would later defect after that spring's World Championships in Sweden, breaking up the line the Soviets expected would lead them into the future.
Later on June 17, 1989, thanks to some detective work by their head scout, the Vancouver Canucks were able to draft Bure one year earlier than many thought he would be eligible due to a rule that stated he needed at least two seasons of play, with a minimum of 11 games each season, for his top-level European club.
Although Bure only played in five league games, it was discovered he had also competed in enough exhibition and international games to make him eligible to be chosen 113th overall in the 6th round. The Detroit Red Wings had even been told by an NHL vice-president that Bure was not eligible prior to their fifth round pick. Verbal complaints and written protests followed, which resulted in a formal investigation, which ended in league president John Ziegler declaring the pick illegal on May 17, 1990.
Bure would compete in the 1990 World Junior Championships, this time scoring seven goals in seven games, but come up short with a silver medal. Later that spring he made is debut with the Soviet National Team as a 19-year-old at the World Championships in Switzerland in which he scored six points in ten games on the way to a gold medal.
Pavel Bure at the 1990 World Junior Championships
Another international tournament was on the calendar for 1990, this time in Seattle, Washington for the Goodwill Games. While the Soviet Union won the gold medal, and Bure contributed four goals and an assist in five games, the tournament is best remembered for the defection of Bure's other linemate, Fedorov, who tried to persuade Bure to defect with him. Bure declined out of concerns about the repercussions for his brother Valeri, who was then an up and coming 15-year-old in the Soviet Union.
After the Canucks selection of Bure was negated by the league's ruling, Vancouver appealed to the league and provided game sheets proving his participation in the required number of games. On June 15, 1990, the day before that year's Entry Draft in which Bure would have been fair game for any team who wished to select him, Vancouver's selection of Bure was permanently reinstated.
In Bure's third season with Central Red Army in 1990-91, he tied for the team lead in scoring with 46 points in 44 games. His 35 goals were one behind the league leader in that category. During the season he also participated in his third World Junior Championships. Bure finished as the tournament's leading scorer once more following his 12 goal, 15 point effort, but had to once more settle for a silver medal. He concluded his junior career with a tournament record 27 goals.
Later that spring he participated in the 1991 World Championships where he tied for the team lead with 11 points in 11 games on his way to a bronze medal finish.
Bure left Moscow on September 6, 1991 and the Canucks began to negotiate a contract with Bure, but before it could be finalized, the Canucks also had to deal with the Central Red Army club, who had an existing contract with Bure. The two sides met in late October of 1991 in Detroit and in the end, Bure was free to join the Canucks following a $250,000 payment to Central Red Army. Once that deal was settled, Bure signed a four year contract with Vancouver, making him the second highest paid player on the team behind only team captain Trevor Linden.
Due to the court proceedings, Bure missed the first month of the season and eventually made his NHL debut on November 5, 1991 against the Winnipeg Jets which ignited "Pavel-mania". His speed on the ice was eye-catching and led to his eventual nickname of "The Russian Rocket".
Prior to his NHL debut, Bure poses for one of
Upper Deck's unconventional "lifestyle" cards
After a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on November 7th, Bure got his first NHL point on November 10th with an assist on a goal by Cliff Ronning in a 6-0 win over the New York Islanders.
Finally on this date in 1991, Bure scored his first goal in the NHL when he beat Daniel Berthiaume of the Los Angeles Kings and added a second one in an 8-2 win in Vancouver. As he adjusted to life in North America and the NHL style of game, he was able to score 12 goals in 42 games. It was at that point that Bure caught fire and surged to the end of the season with a stellar 22 goals in his final 23 games, which sent Vancouver into a frenzy and gave him 34 goals and 60 points in 65 games, which tied a team record for points by a rookie.
Bure as a rookie in 1991-92
Once in the playoffs, Bure registered his first hat trick during Game 6 of the Canucks opening round series against Winnipeg. The Canucks would participate in two rounds of the playoffs that season, with the confident rookie scoring 6 goals and 10 points in 13 games.
At the conclusion of the season, Bure was named the winner of the 1992 Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year, the first Canuck's player to win an individual award in the team's 21 seasons.
Bure poses with the Calder Trophy
Today's featured jersey is a 1991-92 Vancouver Canucks Pavel Bure jersey as worn during his rookie season in which he scored his first two NHL goals on this date in 1991.
This jersey features the NHL 75th Anniversary patch on the right chest as worn by all players in the NHL that season. This style of jersey was adopted in 1989 and worn through the 1996-97 season, with the only notable change being the addition of the "Canuck Place" patch in 1992.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1991 Soviet Union Pavel Bure jersey. Following Adidas in the mid to late 1980's, the Finnish brand Tackla became the supplier for the World Championships and Olympics through 1993. Their jerseys featured mesh fabric and classic styling (for the most part), with contrasting colored shoulders which contained repeating diamond shapes, which is the Tackla company logo.
Their jerseys are also instantly recognizable by their block font numbers with the "3-D" drop shadow effect. These jerseys are all sublimated, and therefore age very well, retaining their bright colors over time.
Jerseys worn in 1994 and 1995 were branded as Reebok jerseys, but have all the hallmarks of being produced by Tackla, the dye-sublimated mesh fabric and 3-d block numbers, especially the logo on the lower left hem on the back which reads "manufactured by Tackla"!
In today's video segment, a look at what could have been, with Bure, Mogilny and Fedorov playing together at the 1989 World Junior Tournament.
Next, a look at "Pavel-mania" during Bure's rookie season, including footage of his first NHL game and his first two NHL goals.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
John MacLean began is road to the NHL with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League in Canadian junior hockey in 1981-82. The right winger progressed from 39 points in his first season to a 47 goal, 98 point total, which led to him being drafted 6th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.
He made his NHL debut on October 5, 1983 before being returned to Oshawa. He later participated in the World Junior Championship for Canada, scoring 7 goals in 7 games, and was subsequently recalled by the Devils later in the season. He played a total of 23 games that year, which included scoring his first ever goal - the only point he would score that season.
Now established with the Devils, MacLean was a hard working player who could be counted on day in and day out, rarely missing a game. His first three seasons saw his point totals climb from 33 to 57 to 67. While his point totals dropped noticeably in 1987-88, MacLean scored the most important goal in Devils history up to that point, when on the final night of the season, April 3, 1988, he scored an overtime goal against the Chicago Blackhawks which clinched the Devils first playoff spot since their move to New Jersey in 1982.
From there, MacLean's offensive game took another step forward, reaching 40 goals for the first of three consecutive seasons, topping out at 45 in 1990-91. During this time period MacLean would play for Canada during the 1989 World Championships, scoring 9 points in 10 games in his only World Championship appearance.
MacLean was forced to miss the entire 1991-92 season due to a serious knee injury. He returned the following year to score 48 points. After a 37 goal, 70 point season in 1993-94, his best offensive season post-knee injury, MacLean and the Devils would win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history at the conclusion of the strike-shortened 1994-95 season. MacLean played an important part of the Devils playoff push, placing third in team scoring with 18 points in 20 games.
Devils Captain Scott Stevens hoists the Stanley Cup while MacLean celebrates
After two more seasons with the Devils, MacLean was traded to the San Jose Sharks after 26 games of the 1997-98 season, ending 15 year run with the New Jersey club. Apparently life on the west coast was not MacLean's style, as he finished out the season with the Sharks and signed a free agent contract with the New York Rangers, who played just 8 miles from the Devils home arena.
He played two seasons with the Rangers, which included his milestone 1,000th NHL game on this date in 1998, and then was traded to the Dallas Stars in February of 2001. He signed on for a second season in Dallas, which amounted to 20 games before his retirement.
While not the first name you think of when it comes to offensive players, MacLean's longevity and consistency allowed him to put together a career in which he scored 413 goals and 842 points in 1194 games. He also played in two NHL All-Star Games, in 1989 and 1991.
Today's featured jersey is a 1996-97 New Jersey Devils John MacLean jersey. The Devils original jerseys were red with green and white trim, which naturally was associated with the Christmas season.
Things changed in 1992, when the Devils dropped the green from their jerseys, and adopted a more menacing black. By resisting the frequent changes in not only jersey styles, but logos and even team colors since then, the Devils jersey is on it's way to becoming an "untouchable" jersey, not unlike the long-standing styles worn in Montreal, Detroit, Chicago and New York.
In today's video section, John MacLean scores on the first penalty shot of his career against Dominik Hasek on the day his son was born.
Here, Gary Thorne calls MacLean's goal in overtime against Chicago to send the Devils to the playoffs for the very first time.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
On this date in 1991, the Detroit Red Wings held a pregame ceremony where they retired Ted Lindsay's #7 sweater as well as the #10 of Alex Delvecchio.
Delvecchio's #10 hangs in the rafters of Joe Louis Arena with the other Red Wings honored greats
Delvecchio left no doubt that he was ready to play in the NHL following his first and only season in junior hockey when he led the Ontario Hockey Association in assists with 72 in just 54 games. Not only a playmaker, the talented Delvecchio also scored nearly a goal a game for the Oshawa Generals as well. His 49 goals added to his league leading 72 assists gave him an impressive 121 points for the season and second place in the scoring race.
Delvecchio while a member of the Oshawa Generals
He made his NHL debut that same season with a single game for Detroit.
The following season of 1951-52 could not have gone any better for Delvecchio. After six games in the minors, in which he scored nine points, he was called up to Detroit. He scored his first NHL goal, as one of the 15 he would score that season, and played 65 games with the Red Wings before advancing to the playoffs, where they would sweep eight straight games to earn Delvecchio his first Stanley Cup in his first full season of play.
His point total would jump from 37 to 59 in his second season, powered by 43 assists as he was paired with none other than Lindsay and team leader Gordie Howe on the second version of "The Production Line" following the trade of line member Sid Abel. The 59 points would stand as his career high for seven seasons. While his personal point totals would drop in 1953-54, greater things were in store for Delvecchio than personal glory, as the Red Wings would win the second Stanley Cup of Delvecchio's career. He would contribute 9 points in 15 games in the postseason.
Delvecchio may have began to think that winning was easy following the 1954-55 season, as the Red Wings again marched through the playoffs to win their third championship in Delvecchio's four seasons as he chipped in 7 goals and 8 assists in 11 games for third in team playoff scoring.
Alex Delvecchio in action
It would prove to be the final Stanley Cup of what would eventually stretch to a 24 year career.
The 1955-56 season saw him record the first 20 goal season of his career when he netted 25 . The Red Wings would once more reach the finals that season, but fell short against the Montreal Canadiens, who were just beginning a dynasty that stretch for five seasons.
1956-57 was cut short by injury, one of the rare seasons Delvecchio would play less than 70 games, although he was still productive while healthy, scoring 41 points in 48 games. Aside from 1956-57, Delvecchio would play in 1,050 out of 1,054 possible games between 1952-53 and 1967-68.
Following the 1958-59 season, Delvecchio would be named the winner of the Lady Byng Trophy following his 54 point season which saw him whistled for just 6 penalty minutes.
1960-61 was the beginning of six consecutive 20 goal seasons for Delvecchio. He was then named team captain of the Red Wings for the 1962-63 season, a post he would retain for 12 years, the longest in team history until eventually surpassed by Steve Yzerman.
The 1965-66 season was a memorable one for Delvecchio, highlighted by the only 30 goal season of his career, when he scored 31. That season would also be the fourth return to the Stanley Cup Finals in six seasons for Detroit. His season was capped off by being named the recipient of his second Lady Byng Trophy.
Three seasons later Delvecchio set a career high in points with 25 goals and 58 assists for 83 points, including the 1,000th point of his career on February 16, 1969, only the third player in league history after Howe and Jean Beliveau to achieve that feat. His efforts were recognized with the 1969 Lady Byng Trophy, the third of Delvecchio's career.
The final four seasons of his career were as productive as any that came before, with the final full season seeing his second highest point total of his career. Although it was one of the rare seasons in which he did not score 20 goals, coming up just short at 18, he had his second highest assist total with 53 for 71 points.
Delvecchio retired as a player following 11 games of the 1973-74 season when he was chosen as coach of the team. At the time of his retirement, he had established an NHL record for the most games played in a career with only one team at 1,549. In those games, he scored 456 goals and 825 assists for 1,281 points. Additionally, he played in 13 All-Star Games, a total only five players have ever surpassed.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977 and His #10 was retired on this date in 1991.
Today's featured jersey is a 1968-69 Detroit Red Wings Alex Delvecchio jersey. This jersey features the captain's "C", which Delvecchio wore longer than any other player at the time and still remains the second longest tenure of any captain in Red Wings history.
This style of Red Wings jersey was first adopted in 1932 when the team changed their name from the Falcons to the Red Wings and remains essentially unchanged to this day.
Here are highlights of the 1954 Stanley Cup, when the Detroit Red Wings battled the Montreal Canadiens as well as a lively panel discussion with members of both teams hosted by the great Curt Gowdy.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Johnny Bucyk ranks as one of the most successful yet overlooked hockey players in NHL history.
He began his road to the NHL in 1951 when he joined the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League for a single playoff game. He returned to the Oil Kings for the next two seasons, scoring 67 points in 33 games in 1954 and went on to win the prestigious Memorial Cup, before moving up to the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Hockey League for the 1954-55 season, scoring 30 goals and 88 points in 70 games.
Buyck while with the Edmonton Oil Kings
That performance earned Bucyk his chance to debut in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in 1955. Life in the NHL was not the same, as Bucyk competed in 38 games and managed just a single goal and eight assists for nine points. In his second season in Detroit he fared better, scoring 10 goals in 66 games.
A rare shot of Bucyk in a Red Wings jersey
That would prove to be the end of Bucyk's time in Detroit however, as he was traded to the Boston Bruins when the Red Wings reacquired goaltender Terry Sawchuk, whom they had dealt to Boston just two years prior.
His arrival in Boston back in 1957 would begin an affiliation with the organization that continues today, more than 50 years later. While it looked at first that Bucyk had arrived in Boston at a good time, evidenced by going to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first season in Boston, things would quickly turn sour for the club following a first round elimination in the 1959 playoffs, as the Bruins would spend the majority of the 1960's out of the playoffs, missing the postseason eight consecutive years, five of which were as the league's doormat buried in last place waiting for the arrival of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito.
An early Bucyk hockey card following his trade to Boston
Still, Bucyk's personal numbers were incredibly consistent throughout, as eight of his ten seasons were between 52 and 66 points. During that period, Bucyk, a big player for his era a 6', 215 lbs., led the Bruins in scoring in 1962, 1963, 1965 and 1967, a season in which he was team captain.
1966-67 was also the season that the Bruins would begin to climb out of the depths with the arrival of Orr, followed by Esposito the following season. Bucyk would never again lead the Bruins in scoring, but the arrival of Orr and Esposito would ignite a scoring revolution that would propel Bucyk to personal bests never before imagined.
In a hilarious photo, Johnny Bucyk poses with goaltender Eddie Johnston and Bobby Orr as they pose with pucks indicating their career goal totals, Bucyk having just reached 300, Johnston still stuck at zero and Orr at 78
Esposito's first season with Boston saw Bucyk reach 30 goals for the first time ever and eclipse his personal best season total with 69 points as the Bruins returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 1950s. Two seasons later he would equal the 69 points, but raise his goal total to 31. During the postseason, 11 more goals would follow as Bucyk scored 19 points in 14 games as the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in 29 years. As the Bruins had no captain from 1967 to 1973, Bucyk, as the assistant captain with the greatest seniority, was the first to hoist the cup during the championship celebration.
Bucyk raises the 1970 Stanley Cup
1970-71 was a memorable one for Bucyk, as he would join the exclusive ranks of the 50 goal scorers, as he became the only the fifth player to accomplish the feat, only to be overshadowed by teammate Esposito's record shattering 76 that same season. Bucyk added 65 assists to surpass the 100 point mark for the only time in his career with 116 as Bruins Esposito (152), Orr (139), Bucyk and Ken Hodge (105) finished 1-2-3-4 in league scoring! When it came time to hand out the hardware at the conclusion of the season, Bucyk was named the recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy thanks to his season total of a mere 8 penalty minutes in 78 games.
This card commemorates Bucyk's first Lady Byng Trophy
Although his personal point totals were all down somewhat, his 83 points were still his second best season to date, his 20 points in 15 playoff games were key to the Bruins capturing the second Stanley Cup of Bucyk's career in 1972.
His offensive numbers would rise once more in 1972-73 when Bucyk scored 40 goals for only the second time in his career and his 53 assists propelled him to a 93 point season, including a goal and an assist scored on this date in 1972 in a 8-3 win over the Red Wings in Boston, giving Bucyk 1,000 career points, only the seventh player to reach that illustrious total.
He was again named team captain of the Bruins in 1973, a position he would hold until 1977. Following his 116 point season in 1971, Bucyk was a very consistent, productive player, averaging 83 points per season, and never below 75. 1973-74 saw the Bruins again return to the Stanley Cup Finals and Bucyk collect the second Lady Byng Trophy of his career after again finishing with just 9 penalty minutes. Amazingly, Bucyk was not awarded the Lady Byng in 1972, a season in which he was penalized a total of just 4 minutes, a mark equalled by the winner Jean Ratelle.
On October 30, 1975, Bucyk would again join an exclusive club when he became only the seventh player to reach 500 career goals, a tribute to his longevity, as he reached the 500 goal plateau in his 1,370th game. Of the 41 players to date to reach 500 goals, only Ron Francis would anyone require more games than Bucyk with 1533. Bucyk scored 20 goals or more in 16 of his 23 seasons.
Bucyk celebrates his 500th goal
He would play two more seasons before retiring at the age of 42 due to chronic back problems as the Bruins all-time leader in goals (556), assists (813) and points (1,369) as well as career games with 1,540. He was also the fourth leading scorer of all-time as well as the leading scorer among left wings and third in games played at the of his retirement.
The Bruins retired his #9 on March 13, 1980 and became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981.
Today's featured jersey is a 1973-74 Boston Bruins Johnny Bucyk jersey, as worn the season Bucyk won his second Lady Byng Trophy.
This jersey features the Bruins 50th Anniversary patch, the first commemorative patch of the modern era. The last patch worn on an NHL jersey prior to the Bruins 50th Anniversary patch was back in 1951-52, a gap of 22 seasons. By the end of the decade ten more patches had been added to NHL jerseys, including the arrival of the memorial patch, first worn by the Philadelphia Flyers in in 1977 for Barry Ashbee.
Today's video segment begins with Johnny Bucyk Night in Boston, when the celebrate his 50 years with the organization.
Here, Bucyk scores a goal on February 25, 1971, igniting a Bruins outburst that results in the three fastest goals in NHL history at just a lightning fast 20 seconds!
Finally, a profile of Bucyk from the excellent Legends of Hockey series.
Monday, November 8, 2010
This evening, Dino Ciccarelli will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Ciccarelli was an undrafted free agent due to suffering a severely broken leg in junior hockey. The North Stars had noticed him the year before when he was too young to be eligible for the draft, so when he went through the 1979 draft without being selected, the North Stars had him checked out by a doctor and signed him to a contract.
"I broke me femur badly enough in my second year of junior hockey that the doctors didn't give me much chance of ever being able to play professionally. I had scored 72 goals the previous season, but my injury wiped me off everyone's draft list in 1979. I wasn't going to let that stop me. I had to go through a year and a half of rehabilitation, but I was determined to do everything I could to live out my dream and play in the National Hockey League. I was totally frustrated when I recovered from the injury, scored 50 goals in my last season of junior and was passed on for the second time at the 1980 draft." recalled Ciccarelli.
"Lou Nanne of the Minnesota North Stars finally gave me an opportunity when he signed me as a free agent. He sent me to Oklahoma City to see how I'd fare in the minors. Things went well, and three-quarters of the way through the season, I was called up to Minnesota for a few games," said Ciccarelli.
After proving himself in the minors, Ciccarelli would play in 32 regular season games with the North Stars, doing quite well for a rookie scoring 18 goals and 30 points, but would really catch fire during the playoffs. Teamed with fellow rookies Neal Broten and Brad Palmer, Ciccarelli would set the rookie playoff scoring records for goals, with 14, and points, with 21, in 19 games as the North Stars would reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. Ciccarelli quickly became a fan favorite with the North Stars fans for his willingness to stand in the crease and absorb all manner of abuse from defenders and goalies alike and they responded by waving inflatable dinosaurs during home games at Met Center.
He would follow up his outstanding playoff performance of the previous year by leading the 1981-82 North Stars in goals with 55 and penalty minutes with 138. He would also surpass the 100 point mark, finishing with 106, the highest single season total of his career. He would also put any doubts about his leg to rest by playing 76 games or more his first three seasons.
He would play nine seasons for Minnesota, leading the team in goals five times while totaling 332 regular season goals for the North Stars, including another season of over 50 goals with 52 and 103 points in 1986-87, before being traded to the Washington Capitals late in the 1988-89 season.
In Washington, Ciccarelli would continue to park himself in front of the net, still getting routinely pounded on during the days when the defense was allowed to viciously cross-check him at will. Still, he would score 112 goals for the Capitals in the three plus seasons in Washington, leading the team in scoring in 1989-90 with 79 points.
In the summer of 1992, Ciccarelli was traded to the Detroit Red Wings, where he would proceed to score 41 goals during his first season in Detroit, his sixth and final season scoring 40 goals or more.
After four seasons in Detroit, which included scoring his 500th goal in 1994, just the 19th player in NHL history to do so, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in time for the 1996-97 season as part of a youth movement in Detroit.
Ciccarelli played one full season in Tampa, scoring 35 goals and was dealt to the Florida Panthers half way through the 1997-98 season. It was with Florida that Ciccarelli would score his 600th NHL goal on February 3rd, 1998, only the ninth player ever to reach the 600 mark, in a 1-1 tie with the Red Wings.
He would be limited to just 14 games of the 1998-99 season, due to chronic back problems from a career of receiving endless amounts of punishment while camped out in front of the opposing goal, scoring 6 goals and 1 assist to finish his career with exactly 1200 points from 608 goals and 592 assists. In addition, he scored 73 goals and 118 points in 141 playoff games.
He retired ranked ninth in league history in goals scored, not bad for a player who was never drafted.
Internationally, Ciccarelli appeared for Canada in the 1980 World Junior Tournament, and the 1982 and 1987 World Championships, with his opportunities for more participation limited by his team's frequent qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs each spring. In the first 16 of his 19 NHL seasons, his team's qualified for the playoffs 14 times.
Until today, Ciccarelli was the highest scoring player in league history not in the Hockey Hall of Fame and the only one with 600 goals to not be included., but all that changes tonight.
Today's featured jersey is a 1987-88 Minnesota North Stars Dino Ciccarelli jersey. The North Stars added the black trim to their white home jerseys back in 1981, but did not add the black to their green road jerseys for another seven years, in time for Ciccarelli's final season in Minnesota.
This jersey features the "JM" patch in honor of Minnesota hockey pioneer John Mariucci, who held the position of assistant general manager of the North Stars since 1967.
Here is a prime example of the kind of treatment Ciccarelli received throughout his career standing in front of the opposition's goal.
Here arch-rivals the North Stars and Chicago Black Hawks, both of the "Chuck" Norris Division engage in a bench clearing brawl in 1983 at the 2 second mark you see Denis Savard up close as he challenges the Minnesota bench and Ciccarelli responds at the 6 second mark, emptying both benches.
In this next video, Dino reacts to the news that he has been selected to finally join the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Finally, a look at Club 22, owned by Dino Ciccarelli in the Detroit area.