Coach Kennedy's NHL Trivia Bonanza: Edition #1
With heartfelt apologies to Sens fans looking for Sens stories and only Sens stories, I like trivia. In fact, I love trivia so much I wrote a piece here that I think even the world's most Sens-centric fans will enjoy. As a trade-off, I promise I will do a piece of Sens trivia in the future.
SOME "LAST" TRIVIA
Trivia. Ya gotta love it, and us sports fans in particular really love it. A little while back on our Sens Nation Podcast I made a point to Steve that most sports trivia concerns firsts, onlys and lasts. The best questions are always, "Name the first player to do..." or "Who was the last guy to..." or "Name the only team to ...." I don't remember why or how it came up but I went off on a bit of a tangent in the middle of the show and even came up with a list of NHL players who were actually the first, the last and only players to do a unique something with a team in their careers - specifically, to wear their jersey number.
As an example, Mario Lemieux was the first, is the last and, since the number is retired, will always and forever be the only player to wear #66 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The trifecta of first/only/last trivia! Get it? The complete list is not as small as I would have thought as I came up with 15 players, including one who holds the distinction with two teams and another rather obvious one who can say it about four teams. Here is the complete list...
#3 Edmonton Oilers - Al Hamilton
#7 Washington Capitals - Yvon Labre
#9 Hartford Whalers - Gordie Howe
#11 Buffalo Sabres - Gilbert Perreault
#11 Edmonton Oilers - Mark Messier
#31 New York Islanders - Billy Smith
#35 Chicago Blackhawks - Tony Esposito
#52 Colorado Avalanche - Adam Foote
#66 Pittsburgh Penguins - Mario Lemieux
#77 Boston Bruins - Ray Bourque
#77 Colorado Avalanche - Ray Bourque
#88 Philadelphia Flyers - Eric Lindros
#97 Arizona Coyotes - Jeremy Roenick
#99 Buffalo Sabres - Rick Dudley
#99 Edmonton Oilers - Wayne Gretzky
#99 Los Angeles Kings - Wayne Gretzky
#99 New York Rangers - Wayne Gretzky
#99 St Louis Blues - Wayne Gretzky
#99 Toronto Maple Leafs - Wilf Paiment
So that little exercise got me to thinking about other firsts and lasts and onlys and I have decided that "last" trivia is the best and most impressive while "only" can be kind of silly. Wayne Gretzky is the only player born in Brantford, ON to score over 800 goals in NHL history. And "first" trivia can always be duplicated. Rocket Richard was once the first player to score 50 goals. It has been duplicated more than a few times since to the point that Alex Ovechkin is the last player to do it but I'm not talking about last as in the most recent here. I'm talking about the absolute last, as in, nobody will ever do it again. Ever.
So, here are a few distinctions I came up with and what my research was able to find for correct answers. I hope you enjoy it.
The last goaltender to play without a mask
On April 7, 1974 in a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Flames, Pittsburgh Penguin Andy Brown played his 62nd and final career NHL game without a mask but he did go on to play another 86 games with the Indianapolis Racers in the WHA without a mask as well.
The last goaltender to wear a now old school all fibreglass mask
Sam St Laurent, Detroit Red Wings, 1989-90
The last goaltender to wear the helmet/cage combo
Chris Osgoode, Detroit Red Wings, 2010-11
The last goaltender to play in every one of his team's regular season games
The 1963-64 NHL season consisted of 70 games and not only did Ed Johnston of the Boston Bruins play in every one of his teams 70 games, he started and finished every one of them too! No other goaltender played one second in goal for the Bruins that season. Since then, in 1987-88 Grant Fuhr played in 75 of 80 Edmonton Oiler games and in 1995-96, he played in 79 of 82 games for the St Louis Blues.
The last goaltender to serve his own penalty
Yup, back in the day goaltenders actually went to the penalty box to serve two minutes for their own infractions and I do mean two minutes. In those days a penalized player served their full two minutes. More on that later. Teams were allowed to substitute a skater in at goaltender though but could you imagine how many goals a modern day power play would score in a full two minutes with some defenceman trying to play goal. On December 27, 1936 Chicago goaltender Mike Karakas was called for tripping and served his full two minutes. Astonishingly, Johnny Gottselig ragged the puck for the duration and the Rangers did not score.
The last player to play without a helmet
On April 20, 1997 in game three of the Western Conference final, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the St Louis Blues 3-2. Detroit would go on to win the series in six games and, eventually, The Stanley Cup but game three was the final game in the career of Craig MacTavish. Interestingly, MacTavish did not play every game of his career sans bucket. He wore a helmet for the first five years of his career (78-79 through 83-84) in Boston and after playing his first three seasons in Edmonton without one, he wore one again in 1988-89. The last player to play every game of his career without a helmet was Randy Carlyle who retired following the 1992-93 season. For those wondering, Brad Marsh retired that same year but actually wore a helmet for a few small stretches during his career.
The last player to use a wooden stick
Just prior to the 2010-11 season Paul Stastny dropped the wood and switched to a composite stick but at some point during that same season Adrian Aucoin broke his last wooden stick and started borrowing composite sticks from various teammates. Ryan Smyth began his career with a wooden stick and switched to the two piece aluminum shaft/wooden blade combo and used a wooden blade until his retirement following the 2013-14 season. I know many of you will think the answer here is Jason Spezza but the best I could conclusively confirm was he switched to a composite in 2008, but may or may not have switched back to wood occasionally after that.
The last player to play while wearing eyeglasses
They called him "Radar" while he played, winning three Stanley Cups and the name remained with him into a coaching career that saw him win four more cups. Al Arbour is one of only 11 players to have won consecutive cups with two different teams
The last player to wear "tube" skates
Sorry, couldn't find this one but if you know, feel free to share.
The last player to score the second power-play goal on the same penalty
In the 1955-56 season the Montreal Canadiens, boasting a lineup that included Rocket Richard, The Pocket Rocket, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Jean Beliveau, Doug Harvey and Dickie Moore scored 65 of their 228 regular season goals on the power play. That's over 28% of their goals. In fact, Montreal scored 26% of all the power-play goals scored across the six-team league that season. The rest of the teams were unhappy so the league in a parity move preceding the salary cap by over half a century decided to end the full two-minute power play for the 1956-57 season. On April 10, 1956, at 13:50 of the second period of game five of the Stanley Cup final Marcel Pronovost of the Detroit Red Wings was called for tripping. The vaunted Hab power play took to the ice and Beliveau scored just 26 seconds later. With Pronovost still in the box serving his full two minutes, just 52 seconds later, at 15:08 Maurice Richard scored a second power-play goal It was the last time any team scored two power-play goals during a full two minute power play. The Habs won the game 3-1 to clinch the series 4-1 that night.
The last active player to have played in the WHA On March 31, 2004, the Buffalo Sabres beat the New York Rangers 4-3 in the final game of the illustrious career of Mark Messier. Not only was it the final NHL game played by a former WHA player but it was also the final game played by someone who had played in the league in the 1970s. The last active player to have won a pre-expansion Stanley Cup The 1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs had a lot of old guys on their roster - seven players over 35 including two over 40 but they did have at least a few younger players. Ron Ellis was a 22 year old in his third NHL season. He would go on to play 16 seasons with the Leafs before retiring following the 1980-81 season. The last active player to have played prior to the 1967 expansion In the 1964-65 season, Wayne Cashman played one game for the Boston Bruins. He did not play another NHL game until the 1967-68 season, after expansion, but, hey, one game is all it takes. Cashman would play his final game in round two of the 1983 playoffs on April 24. Serge Savard played two games with the Habs in 1966-67 but played his final game 15 days before Cashman. The last active player to have played on each 1967-68 expansion team's opening night lineup Multiple responses here. Bill Flett of the original Los Angeles Kings retired in 1980, Cesare Maniago the first number one goalie of the Minnesota North Stars last played with the Canucks in 1978. Bob Baun an original Oakland Seal finished up with the Leafs in 1973, while Bernie Parent, Doug Favell and Joe Watson all retired from the Flyers following the 1978-79 season. Keith McCreary, a game one Pittsburgh Penguin retired as an original Atlanta Flame and first-team captain, in 1975. Finally, Bob Plager stated game one with the Blues and retired as a Blue in 1978. The last active Team Canada '72 player Possibly our first controversy as Marcel Dionne retired from the NHL in 1989 but did not play a game in the '72 Summit Series so I am going with Gilbert Perreault who played two games and retired in 1987 The last active Miracle on Ice player 13 players from the gold medal-winning US Olympic team of 1980 went on to play in the NHL from back up goaltender Steve Janaszak's three games to Neal Broten's 1099 games. Broten played his final game with the Dallas Stars on April 29, 1997. The last active player from the '60s '70s '80s, hell why not every decade? Listed by decade each player first played in the NHL
1910's - Reg Noble (1917-1933) who is also the last player from season one of the NHL and Jake Forbes (1919-1933) were the last active players who played in the 1910s.
1920's - Meet Moe Roberts. On December 8, 1925, a 19-year-old Roberts became the youngest goaltender in NHL history (a distinction he would hold for almost 20 years) when he played the final 25 minutes as an emergency replacement for Bruins starter Doc Stewart in a 3-2 win over the Montreal Maroons. Moe did not play in another NHL game until a one-game appearance with the New York Americans in the 1931-32 season and then a whopping 6 games in 1933-34. He then spent 13 of the next 16 years toiling in the minors. The three-year break? Ole Moe was in the US Navy for WW2. But wait; I thought Moe was the last active player from the 1920s? Well, on November 25, 1951, at the age of 45 and while working as an assistant trainer for the Chicago Blackhawks, Moe got tapped as a third-period emergency replacement for the injured Harry Lumley. Bonus info - It was Harry Lumley who broke Moe's record as the youngest goalie in NHL history and at 45 in his final appearance, Moe became the oldest man ever to appear in an NHL game; a distinction he would hold for over 25 years.
1930's - Milt Schmidt began his 81-year association with the Boston Bruins by debuting on the ice in 1936. He played his 776th and final game with them in 1955
1940's and 1950's- The great Gordie Howe debuted with the Detroit Red Wings as an 18-year-old in 1946. On April 11, 1980, at the age of 52, he would play his final NHL game with The Hartford Whalers. This would make him both the last active NHLer who played in the '40s and one of the last two active players from the '50s as Bobby Hull was in the Whaler lineup that night. The great Stan Mikita whose career began in 1957 had played his final game earlier in the 1979-80 season and Carl Brewer who also first played in 1957 played his final game less than a month earlier.
1960's - You know how some guys just look old but they really aren't. Maybe it was the Spaps brand helmet he had worn since childhood. Maybe it was the hockey pants that were at least two sizes too big. Maybe it was the fact he used one suit per season. Maybe it was the velcro straps instead of laces he used to tie his skates. The man hated shaving so much, he invented the Stanley Cup Beard. Robert Thomas "Butch" Goring debuted with the Los Angeles Kings on November 26, 1969, and played his final game with the Boston Bruins on April 16, 1985, making him the last player to have played in the 1960s. Only three days earlier, Brad Park who debuted with the Rangers in 1968 played his final game with
the Red Wings.
1970's - If you've been paying attention, you know the answer to this one.
1980's - There's nothing like going out on top and Mark Recchi certainly did that. "The wrecking ball" who broke in with the Penguins on November 16, 1988, played his final game in the Bruins Cup clincher on June 15, 2011. He outlasted Mike Modano who broke in with the North Stars during the 1989 playoffs and played his final game with Detroit a little over a month before Recchi.
The last active player from the 20th century This is TBD as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Zdeno Chara are all still active. In other sports, Bartolo Colon, the last Montreal Expo to play MLB is not officially retired and is playing pro ball in Mexico, Vince Carter just retired as the last 20th century NBA player and Adam Vinatieri is an NFL free agent.
The last player to score a goal in the 20th century
On December 31, 1999, the Dallas Stars defeated the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (remember when that was their official name) 5-4 with Brett Hull scoring the winning goal at 8:49 of the third period. Hull beat Guy Hebert with assists from Mike Modano and Kirk Muller.
The last official to work without a helmet
The NHL mandated helmets for all on-ice officials beginning in the 2006-07 season thereby making Mick McGeough the last referee to work a game without a helmet on June 14, 2006, in game five of the Stanley Cup Final. He beat out Kerry Fraser by a month or so. Kevin Collins, who retired just prior to the season, was the last linesman.
The last player-coach
There is actually an NHL rule forbidding player-coaches but the Minnesota North Stars got around it in January of 1970 when they named centreman Charlie Burns coach. Officially he was listed as both assistant and interim coach but he was the head coach. Since then Al Arbour came out from behind the bench to play again down the 1970-71 stretch drive for the St Louis Blues and Scotty Bowman returned from his GM duties to coach. Arbour is also the last NHL head coach to employ player-assistant coaches as Lorne Henning filled the dual roles in 1979-80 and Butch Goring in the early '80s.
The last player to score a game-tying goal in a game that ended in a tie
The NHL introduced the shootout to ensure a game-winner in every match effective for the 2005-06 season. On April 4, 2004, Carolina's Brad Fast scored his one and only NHL goal at 17:34 of the third period against Roberto Luongo to earn the Hurricanes a 6-6 tie with the Florida Panthers. It was the last official tie game in NHL history.
The last player to score a 4 on 4 regular-season overtime game-winning goal
On April 15, 1998, New Jersey Devil Captain Scott Stevens with assists from Bobby Holik and Doug Gilmour beat Buffalo goaltender Steve Shields to secure the win in the last regular-season tie game to be decided in 4 on 4 overtime. In the four days following the game, three other contests went to overtime only to end in ties. The next season, the NHL instituted the shootout.
The last player to score a 5 on 5 regular-season overtime game-winning goal
On March 7, 1942, Montreal Canadien Joe Benoit with assists from Toe Blake and Kenny Reardon beat Boston goaltender Frankie Brimsick to secure the win in the last regular-season tie game to be decided in 5 on 5 overtime.
The last active player taken in a 16-year-old NHL draft
Yes, believe it or not, the NHL once held an annual draft of 16-year-old hockey players. From 1963 through 1965, the Original Six had three rounds drafts of 16-year-olds. In 1963, Garry Monaghan went #1 to the Habs while Detroit nabbed Peter Mahovlich with the second pick but it was Walt McKechnie taken sixth overall by the Leafs who played the longest in the league retiring in 1983
The last player to score a goal at The Olympia, Maple Leaf Gardens, Montreal Forum, Chicago Stadium and Boston Garden
Another multiple answer here. On December 15, 1979, Greg Joly scored the final goal in Detroit's Olympia in a 4-4 tie vs Quebec. On April 28, 1994, Mike Gartner of the Toronto Maple Leafs scored the last goal in Chicago Stadium. On May 14, 1995, Adam Oates playing for the Bruins scored the last goal in Boston Garden. On March 11, 1996, Andrei Kovalenko of the Habs scored the last goal at the Montreal Forum and on February 13, 1999, Bob Probert of the Chicago Blackhawks scored the last goal at Maple Leaf Gardens.