In its heyday, the Spectrum was the most intimidating arena in the NHL, a raucous house of pain that sometimes caused visiting players to miss games due to the “Philly Flu.”
But it wasn’t always that way. Certainly it felt warmly welcoming for St. Louis Blues sniper Red Berenson the night of Nov. 7, 1968. In front of just 9,164 spectators in a game against the second-year Flyers, Berenson accomplished an offensive feat unmatched in league history, doing something not even Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux managed: he collected six goals – and did it in a road game.
The night started slowly for Berenson, who had just three goals in 12 games that season. Flyers netminder Doug Favell, coming off a five-game absence due to injury, stopped Berenson’s first shot and didn’t surrender his first goal until 16:42 of the first period.
For Berenson, that ice-breaker was a huge relief.
Maybe he’s being humble, maybe he’s tired of the same question for half a century. Glenn Hall is just so matter-of-fact when it comes to talking about hockey’s most untouchable record.
“You had to be lucky,” Hall understated. “You had to stay healthy.”
Make no mistake, Hall’s record of 502 consecutive games between the pipes for Detroit and Chicago in the 1950s and ’60s is an ironclad standard enveloped in kryptonite. Even Superman won’t come close to touching this mark.
It’s unusual for a skater to play that many consecutive games. For a goalie, it will never happen again. It would be a cover story in The Hockey News if any stopper made it to 10 percent of Hall’s record. Read more
They are, without a doubt, hockey’s royal family. And like most reigning monarchs, they’ve been through their fair share of bloodbaths. Whether it was against each other on the frozen slough in Viking or against the best the NHL had to offer, the Sutters have always picked (and finished) their own battles.
And they’ve been pretty good hockey players along the way, too. Here are our top 10 Sutters, with a pair of unrelated namesakes rounding out list.
The way you’d like to tell this story, Don Gallinger found his peace and died contented and without any lingering resentment or regret. But sometimes the happy ending just doesn’t happen. It was that way with Donald Calvin ‘Gabby’ Gallinger.
Sixty-five years is a lifetime for a lot of people. It has been that long since NHL president Clarence Campbell banned Gallinger and Billy Taylor of the Boston Bruins for life from the NHL for betting on games involving their team. And even after Gallinger and Taylor had their suspensions lifted 22 years later, Gallinger lived out his life a reclusive, bitter man estranged from his family and the hockey world.
When you think of sparse attendance figures for an NHL game, you picture a bad night in Phoenix or Atlanta (when the Thrashers were still there) – a few thousand fans spread out across a sea of empty seats. But how hollow must it have felt in New Jersey on the night of Jan. 22, 1987, when a mere 334 fans were in the stands?
Of course, the low attendance that evening had nothing to do with the teams and everything to do with the weather. A vicious snowstorm that pounded the Eastern Seaboard from Georgia to New York took a toll on New Jersey’s roads.
“Traditionally players take a nap around 1:00 or 1:30 and there wasn’t a snowflake in sight,” said Doug Sulliman, a member of that Devils squad. “I woke up around 3:30 to have a cup of tea and there had to be two feet of snow on the ground and it was still coming.”
Sometimes men have a little trouble remembering things. Anniversaries and birthdays, for example, have a history of being bumped in the male brain for things such as which weekend the Super Bowl is being played on and how many paychecks have to be sacrificed in order to obtain that new set of golf clubs.
Mike Sillinger, who suited up for an NHL-record 12 teams, could be forgiven if some of the finer details of his family life have been lost in a haze of boxes and moving vans. But if Sillinger ever is asked to recall where each of his three sons was born, he’s got a visual reminder to rely on: the NHL jersey he was wearing at the time.
“One was born in Vancouver, so we have the Vancouver jersey in his room,” Sillinger said. “My other boy was born in Regina, but I played in Florida at the time, so he picked the Panthers along with my Team Canada (1991 world junior) jersey because he wears 16 (one of his dad’s old numbers) when he plays.
“And my other boy was born in Columbus, so he’s got the Columbus one in his room.”
Conventional wisdom in hockey dictates it’s always safer to move a player’s development along slowly, rather than rush him into the NHL spotlight before he’s ready. Yet these mistakes have been made throughout history and likely always will be.
For instance, when the expansion Atlanta Thrashers chose Patrik Stefan with their first-ever draft pick, first overall in 1999, they put him immediately in the NHL and helplessly watched him fail to live up to his potential as a professional. But despite being a first-year franchise, the team was repeating history and making the same mistake a deposed Atlanta franchise had made 27 years prior.
When Jacques Richard was starring alongside Guy Lafleur for the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec League in the early 1970s, NHL teams salivated at his potential. He’d put up 239 points over two years with Lafleur and had set a career high with 71 goals and 160 points in his last junior year after the future Hall of Famer had moved on to the NHL. Richard’s offense and speed were at an elite level and his last name added to the promise and mystique around his future. But that’s about all Richard had in common with The Rocket or ‘The Pocket Rocket.’ Read more
Wayne Gretzky’s famous rant at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, was approximately nine minutes long and began rather innocuously. Although The Great One architect of Team Canadastarted his tirade looking calm and collected, by the time he left the microphones at the podium he’d put together an incredibly passionate, us-against-the-world defense of his players that some argue motivated them to win a men’s hockey gold medal for Canada for the first time in a half-century.