Tony Bruns stopped 98 of the 110 shots he faced in a high school game
Morris/Benson Storm goaltender Tony Bruns faced 110 shots across 51 minutes of play and turned aside 98 shots. Bruns didn’t come even close to picking up the victory, but he did earn himself a pair of records.
Sam LoPresti holds an NHL record that is unlikely to ever be broken. On March 4, 1941, LoPresti, playing for the Chicago Black Hawks, stopped 80 shots in a 3-2 regulation loss to the Boston Bruins.
The thing about the record that’s hardest to fathom is exactly how a goaltender could face 83 shots against across 60 minutes, even with the most mismatched of teams. That’s more than one shot per minute, and there certainly had to be at least some lulls in the Bruins’ attack, right? Or at least enough time with the puck in the Boston zone that the Black Hawks could pot two goals of their own?
With that in mind, try and wrap your head around how on earth Minnesota high school netminder Tony Bruns, who plays for the Morris/Benson Storm, could have possibly made 98 saves on 110 shots in a 51-minute game on Nov. 26.
That’s nearly 2.2 shots per minute by the opposing Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato Dragons in what was a 12-0 drubbing of Morris/Benson, and a game that would no doubt have been much worse if not for Bruns’ spectacular play.
“I was a little surprised,” Bruns told the Minneapolis Star Tribune Minnesota Hockey Hub’s Loren Nelson. “My whole career I’ve had a lot of shots, but never that many. I thought it was just like any other game.”
Bruns allowed just five goals against on 45 shots in the first period, surrendered only two goals on 41 shots in the second, but the dam broke in the third as he was beaten five times on 24 shots in the third. Morris/Benson posted only six shots to their opponents’ 110.
Bruns’ heavy workload is a bit easier to explain when you understand the situation Morris/Benson is working with. The Storm has 12 players on their roster, Bruns included, and three of the players are “new to hockey,” according to Nelson. Four players listed on the roster are considered both a forward and defenseman. It’s not a team that’s heading for the state tournament or prepared to play against top competition, so, as one could imagine, it has actually been quite the norm for Bruns, the team’s only goaltender, to see so many shots.
In fact, Nelson reported three other outings in which Bruns made at least 60 saves, dating back to November 2014, and almost one year to the day earlier against Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato, Bruns stopped 75 shots in a 12-0 loss. Bruns’ outstanding 98-stop game is far and away the busiest he’s ever been, though. And it goes beyond a mind-blowing statistic.
Nelson reported that the previous state record was held by two goaltenders, River Lakes’ Spencer Theis in 2008 and Moose Lake Area’s Gage Mohelsky in 2012, who had made 76 stops in a regulation outing. The national record, Nelson reported, was held by Flint Northern’s Jamey Ramsey, who made 84 stops in a single game back in 1987 in Michigan. Those records now belong to Bruns.
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Giving props to the Flyers surprise leading scorer, the Maple Leafs' all-star snubs, and other stray thoughts from the first quarter of the season.
If Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Austin Matthews is to play in the NHL All-Star Game this season, he will have to make it as a write-in candidate, even though he was the top pick in the 2016 draft. That’s right, Matthews didn’t make the cut amongst players chosen by the league to be on the ballot. Interestingly enough, Patrick Laine, who was chosen second overall by the Winnipeg Jets, is on the ballot. Fans can choose between 32 players to represent the Atlantic Division including Maple Leafs teammates Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk and Morgan Rielly. There are 120 names on the ballot.
Speaking of Maple Leafs rookies, Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander are among the team’s most productive players, but all are minus-3. Toronto has a very impressive rookie corps which includes Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown, Zach Hyman and Nikita Soshnikov. But only Brown is a plus player at plus-3.
Phil Kessel of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who has never produced a 40-goal season, dipped to just 26 goals last season. He salvaged his year with 10 goals in 24 playoff games while helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup. This season Kessel had six goal in Pittsburgh’s first 24 games and was on pace for a 21-goal season. To his credit, Kessel was leading the Penguins with 16 assists. Even when he was lighting the lamp, Kessel was always an underrated passer.
Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers has taken his game to the next level. He has always been a solid contributor, but now he is tied for the lead in Flyers scoring with 11 goals and 22 points in 25 games. Simmonds, who is 28 and in his ninth NHL season, scored a career-best 31 goals in 2013-14. He is on pace for 36 goals this season. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, the lanky right winger is one of those players that could have played in any era of the NHL.
Things were looking up in Arizona last season when rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair burst on the scene with impressive seasons. Domi had 18 goals and 52 points in 81 games while Duclair had 20 goals and 44 points in 80 games. For the Coyotes to continue to make progress they need both Domi and Duclair to take their games to the next level. It hasn’t happened thus far and Arizona is tied with the Colorado Avalance for last place. Domi has four goals and 15 points while Duclair has just one goal and four points. Speaking about his own sophomore, Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings GM said once young players gain a measure of success in the NHL, they attract the attention of the opposition who studies their game and comes up with a plan to stop them. It is up to the player, Holland said, to make adjustments in his game to get back to being productive.
Joe Colborne of the Avalanche opened the season scoring a hat trick in the first game of the season, a 6-5 win over the Dallas Stars, and hasn’t scored a goal since. Colborne is not the only underachiever on the struggling Avalanche. Leading scored Nathan MacKinnon has just five goals and 15 points while veteran Jarome Iginla has three goals and five points, each in 21 games. This helps to explain why the Avalanche sits at the bottom of the league. Three years ago Colorado finished third overall and appeared to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. Then they slipped to 21st the past two seasons and look like a solid bet to finish 30th this season. Something’s gotta give soon.
Scotty Bowman is one of the most important figures in hockey history. Bowman, 83, has been a part of 14 Stanley Cup champions, has the most coaching victories in NHL history and was appropriately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991. Now Bowman’s son Stan is carving out a Hall of Fame career of his own. Having constructed three Stanley Cup champions in the past seven seasons as GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bowman keeps his team in contention mainly because he has masterfully stick-handled around the challenges of dealing with a salary cap. Time and time again Bowman has been forced to move players from a championship roster and replace them in cost-cutting measures. And yet his Blackhawks remain a Cup contender, challenging the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers for top spot through the first quarter of the season.
The Florida Panthers fired Gerard Gallant Sunday, which should have come easy to them, given how many people they've fired lately.
If there’s anyone out there who can figure out exactly what the game plan is with the Florida Panthers these days, feel free to let us know. They apparently weren’t intending on deciding their head coach’s fate until after a six-game road trip that is scheduled to end next week, but a second-period collapse in which they were outshot 13-7 and outscored 3-0 Sunday sealed Gerard Gallant’s fate. One bad period, after the Panthers had gone 5-2-0 in their previous seven going into that game, was apparently the tipping point.
That makes sense. Well, almost as much sense as “promoting” your GM to president of hockey operations – effectively taking hockey decisions away from him – after having the best regular season in franchise history, then replacing him with a guy who has never held a GM post in his life. Then putting that same GM behind the bench and saying that your former GM is once again going to be a part of a three-headed brain trust that will be responsible for all player personnel decisions.
Panthers’ owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu and their crew of military men running the Panthers have a reputation around the NHL as guys who think they’re smarter than everyone else. And hey, maybe they are. Panthers’ fans had better hope that’s the case, because when they literally kicked Gallant to the curb outside the arena in Raleigh Sunday night, they were making a bold statement. And it had less to do with the Panthers’ play than the fact that they want the world to know they’re going to run the Panthers the way they see fit.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re going to purge your organization of solid, good hockey people, you’d better be pretty sure that you have a better way of doing things. So far, that better way of doing things is to install people with limited NHL experience on their resumes. Even Tom Rowe, whose meteoric rise from minor league coach to assistant GM to GM to interim head coach, is 60 years old and he’s never run an NHL bench as a head coach (although he has a lot of coaching experience in the minors and is a former NHL assistant). Of course, he had never been a GM either, but that didn’t stop the Panthers from giving him that role.
This had almost nothing to do with the fact that the Panthers had a terrible second period against the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday afternoon, or the fact that they had a rather disappointing 11-10-1 record, despite the fact they had injuries to a number of key players and were getting sub-par production from a number of others. Through the first quarter of the season, the Panthers were neither great nor terrible and there would have been a lot of time for Gallant to get things on the right track.
This had everything to do with philosophy. Rowe and ownership had one vision of building a team and Gallant wasn’t completely on board, something Rowe acknowledged in a conference call Monday afternoon. Rowe wanted a team built on speed and puck pursuit and Gallant wanted more size. “There was definitely a philosophical divide,” Rowe said. “Were we on the same page every day of the week? No, when it came to that. The philosophy was different and that did weigh into the decision.”
It was a decision that was apparently so heavily contemplated that Gallant’s luggage was taken off the team bus after the game, before he was picked up by a “car service” (that’s what the Panthers called it) that looked an awful lot like a run-of-the-mill taxi. We say this because the vehicle picking him up at the side of the road outside the PNC Arena in Raleigh was yellow with a checkerboard design on it and was emblazoned with the word ‘taxi’. He had help with his bags, of course, from an employee of the Hurricanes. Any way you look at it or try to justify it, the optics of that look horrendous. So much for no man left behind.
But, as we said, firing the coach and basically dismissing a team’s entire front office is an owner’s prerogative. (Let’s not forget, also, that a very good hockey man in Brian Skrudland left the Panthers as the director of player personnel in 2015.) And it’s also his prerogative to install people with a heavy background in analytics. And this is not, repeat not, a referendum on the state of analytics, any more than the terrible start by the Arizona Coyotes is. The Panthers struggles have a lot less to do with analytics than they do with the fact that Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad and Jussi Jokinen have been injured for all or part of this season and both Jaromir Jagr and Aaron Ekblad have struggled. Aleksander Barkov had a goal in each of his first two games this season and hasn’t scored once since then.
So now the Panthers will be coached by a 60-year-old who has never been a head coach in the NHL before. And their personnel decisions will be made by Eric Joyce, who has a degree in systems engineering from West Point and a master’s from Harvard; Steve Werier, who until this summer was the Panthers’ vice-president in charge of legal affairs; and, Tallon.
What could possibly go wrong with that set-up? With all their military acumen, you’d think the Panthers would know that it’s important to have one person with his hand on the tiller for the most important decisions. But these guys apparently know what they’re doing. Undoubtedly it’s all part of a grand plan that will come to wonderful fruition one day soon. Or not.
Being sent back to the QMJHL after eight healthy scratches in the NHL obviously didn’t hurt Thomas Chabot’s confidence, as the blueliner busted out a remarkable shootout goal in the QMJHL.
Thomas Chabot’s season didn’t exactly start the way he would have pictured.
The Senators prospect blueliner stayed up in Canada’s capital for the first nine games of the campaign, saw a mere seven minutes of ice time and found himself scratched eight times in the first month of the season. He was then sent back to the QMJHL at the start of November, with not so much as a second crack at the Senators’ lineup.
Whatever damage that could have possibly done to Chabot’s confidence seems to be a distant memory, though. Since returning to the Saint John Sea Dogs, the 19-year-old defender has picked up three goals and 15 points in 10 games, and Thursday night Chabot scored an absolutely ridiculous shootout goal in the Sea Dogs’ 3-2 victory over the Shawinigan Cataractes:
That Thomas Chabot shootout goal though ... pic.twitter.com/eTvvkhzZXL— Saint John Sea Dogs (@SJSeaDogs) December 2, 2016
For those scoring at home, we think there’s about four moves in there, depending on what you count. As Chabot slowly weaves in, he pulls one quick head fake and shuffle of the puck, does a second, more exaggerated stick and head fake, moves to his left to fake the quick forehand shot and completes the fancy goal with a Forsberg finish.
Impressive, right? It’s easily one of the best shootout goals of the campaign in any league. Even more so when you consider that Chabot is a defenseman.
It’s almost unfair that, at some point in the near future, the Senators blueline will consist of Erik Karlsson and a youngster in Chabot who can shake goaltenders one-on-one like he’s a 50-goal forward.
Chabot, who is expected to be one of the top blueliners on the Canadian World Junior squad in December, is one of the brightest prospects in the entire Ottawa system, and it likely won’t be long before he’s patrolling the big league blueline.
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