When the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the Dallas Stars tonight, Nathan Horton will go down in history as the first player to score in a game in which he didn’t play. In fact, Horton might be sitting on his couch at home in Columbus, 911 miles away, when he gets credit for the game’s opening goal in Texas.
That’s because tonight’s game is a makeup one for the March 10 encounter in which Stars center Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench due to a cardiac event.
Horton scored in the March 10 game for Columbus before it was postponed at the 6:23 mark of the first period. So his tally will go in the books as official and a full 60 minutes will be played tonight. Matt Calvert and James Wisniewski will also be credited with official assists, while the rest of the March 10 game’s statistics such as shots, hits and penalties, will be washed away. Whoever plays in goal for Dallas has no chance for a shutout.
Horton re-aggravated an injury Tuesday in the Blue Jackets’ win over Phoenix and didn’t make the trip to Dallas. So hypothetically, if Horton was on a record-setting scoring streak, that mark would come to an end tonight because he didn’t play, yet he would get credit for scoring a goal. And if Horton really wanted to be fiendish tonight, he could go out carousing with the boys or look up an old girlfriend. Then if his wife called him on it the next day, he could say, ‘What do you mean Honey, I scored a goal last night!’
Horton’s goal tonight will be recorded at the 0:00 mark of the first period, but he won’t be given credit for the fastest goal to start a game.
Peverley, meanwhile, had successful ablation surgery a week after his collapse. The surgery was aimed at correcting a irregular heartbeat. He’s been spending time recently rehabbing at the Stars training facility.
A similar game postponement incident happened Nov. 21, 2005 when Detroit’s Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench at 12:30 of the first period. That game between the Red Wings and Nashville was re-played later in its entirety. The Predators were leading 1-0 at the time of the postponement and Scottie Upshall had an assist. However, in the re-scheduled game Jan. 23, 2006, Upshall was playing in the American League, yet retained credit for the NHL assist.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN