Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Sudden Death on the Ice
When the hockey game ends in a tie, in the playoffs in the National Hockey League, the outcome is determined by a sudden death goal. It is a wonderful feeling when your team puts the puck in the net. You watch the referee pointing at the puck inside the cage. You feel the warmth of the red light behind the glass. Sticks are raised, smiles crease faces, hugs for everyone.
But when you lose, it results in instant despondency. It happens so quickly, that instant when you know there will be no more skating, no more shooting. At least on that evening. On some occasions, a sudden death goal is scored on the last game of the playoffs. That’s when it really hurts.
Matt Beleskey temporarily dashed the hopes of the
Black Hawks last Monday night when he scored in overtime. The Ducks had jumped
out to an early lead, and skated off the ice at the end of the first period
with a 3-0 lead. The Hawks dug deep, then deeper, and tied the game in the
dying seconds to send it into overtime. The Ducks now lead the series, but they
have not yet lined up at centre ice to shake hands. You know that the fat lady
is warming up in the wings, but that she has not been asked to take the stage. Chicago
Modere “Mud” Bruneteau put his name in the record books when he scored an overtime winner for the Red Wings against the
Maroons in 1935. It was the only goal of the game, and it crossed the goal line
at 16:30 of the sixth overtime period. The Wings won the Cup that year, and the
next. Bruneteau was also on a Montreal Stanley Cup
winning team in 1943 with the Wings, and played his entire eleven year NHL
career in . Detroit
Another famous overtime hero hailed from
. Mel Hill earned the
nickname “Sudden Death” because of his overtime exploits. In 1939, he potted three
overtime winners for the Bruins against the Rangers in a seven game series. He
did win two Glenboro,
Cups with the Bruins, and another with the Leafs in 1945. Following his NHL
career, he settled in Stanley Regina, and owned and
operated a Pepsi Cola and
Dry bottling plant. Canada
Beleskey’s goal came quickly against the Hawks, less than a minute into the first overtime. In 1986, Brian Skrudland scored for the Canadiens to beat the
Flames at the nine second mark of
overtime. That remains the fastest overtime marker in playoff history. J. P.
Parise scored at the 11 second mark for the Islanders against the Rangers in
1975, and Alexandre Burrows did the same for the Canucks against the Bruins in
The moral of the story is quite obvious. Don’t loiter in front of the fridge if they are about to drop the puck to start the overtime period. And if it so happens that your team loses in overtime, drop all objects that might serve as projectiles. There are several cases of smashed television sets in those instances.
Keep your stick on the ice.
May 26, 2015.