Today in Hockey History: June 3

One of the most memorable penalties in Stanley Cup Final history was called on this date. Also, June 3 was a very busy day for the front office in Motown and provided plenty of postseason drama too.  

The “Illegal Stick” Game

The Los Angeles Kings were sitting pretty on June 3, 1993. They won the first game of the Stanley Cup Final over the Montreal Canadiens and held a 2-1 lead with two minutes to go in Game 2. Then, Canadiens head coach Jacques Demers asked the officials to check the curve on Kings’ defenseman Marty McSorley’s stick blade and the series seemed to change.

After McSorley’s stick is deemed illegal, referee Kerry Fraser gives him a minor penalty. Moments later, Eric Desjardins scores his second goal of the night to force overtime. He struck for a third goal just 51 seconds into overtime to even the series at 1-1 while becoming the first defenseman to score a hat trick in the Stanley Cup Final.

McSorley has never denied he had an illegal stick and has said that the reason the Canadiens knew about it was that they wheeled the Kings’ stick rack into their locker room.

“Would they have called somebody else?” McSorley said in a 2012 interview. “I think, probably. Because they knew – there were numerous guys. I think we treated it at that time at almost like [former baseball player] George Brett’s [illegal] pine tar [bat]. To make a call like that is really, really gutsy. To find out later that they knew, and how they knew, was really, really disappointing.”

The Canadiens went on to win the next three games to win the series and the Stanley Cup.

A Mixed Bag for the Stars

The Dallas Stars played a lot of hockey in June between 1998 and 2000 as they made multiple deep playoff runs, including back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances. On June 3, 1999, they beat the visiting Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in overtime, in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. Guy Carbonneau tied the game with 1:25 remaining in regulation before Jamie Langenbrunner scored on a slap shot from near center ice, 46 seconds into overtime, to stun the Red Wings.

Two years later, they were on the losing end of a 2-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. About five minutes after Sylvain Cote gave the Stars a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal in the first period, Jason Arnott evens up the score. Arnott had the primary assist on Petr Sykora’s second-period power-play goal, which proved to be the difference. Rookie Brian Rafalski had assists on both Devils’ goals and Martin Brodeur made 22 saves to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead in the series.

No Fun in Tampa Bay

On June 3, 2004, Tampa Bay Lightning lost 3-2 in overtime to the Calgary Flames, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Oleg Saprykin scored at 14:40 of the extra session to help the Flames tie an NHL record with their 10th road win of the postseason. Martin Gelinas and Jarome Iginla scored in regulation for the Flames. Martin St. Louis and Fredrik Modin scored in the losing effort.

The Lightning hosted the Chicago Blackhawks, on June 3, 2015, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Things started well with Alex Killorn opening the scoring at the 4:31 mark of the first period.

Teuvo Teravainen got the Blackhawks on the board late in the third period and ended goaltender Ben Bishop’s shutout streak at 113:28. Less than two minutes later, Teravainen set up Antoine Vermette’s game-winning goal. Vermette scored four goals for the Blackhawks during their championship run, with three of them being game-winners.

A Busy Date in Detroit

The Red Wings have been very busy, on June 3, off of the ice. On this date in 1955, they traded Terry Sawchuk, Vic Stasiuk, Marcel Bonin and Lorne Davis to the Boston Bruins, in exchange for Real Chevrefils, Ed Sandford, Norm Corcoran, Gilles Boisvert and Warren Godfrey.

The future Hall of Famer, Sawchuk, was the key player in the deal. He missed half of the 1956-57 season due to exhausted. On July 10, 1957, he was traded back to the Red Wings for John Bucyk, in a deal that worked out very well for the Bruins.

Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings
Sawchuk’s first stint with the Red Wings ended on this date in 1955. (THW Archives)

On June 3, 1968, Bill Gadsby was named the new head coach of the Red Wings, replacing Sid Abel who stepped down to concentrate on his general manager duties. Detroit missed the playoffs in the 1968-69 season and Gadsby was let go just four games into the following season, with Abel returning to the bench to replace him.

The Red Wings fired head coach Brad Park on June 3. 1986. Jacques Demers was named as his replacement a few days later. Park was a midseason replacement for Harry Neale and went 9-34-2. Demers went on to coach the Red Wings for four seasons, making the postseason in three of them.

Bryan Murray, who had been the Red Wings’ general manager since July of 1990, was fired on June 3, 1994. The team’s NHL 25-year playoff streak started under Murray’s watch when they qualified for the 1991 postseason. Some of his memorable draft picks included Keith Primeau, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Martin Lapointe, Chris Osgood, Darren McCarty and Anders Eriksson, who was eventually traded for Chris Chelios.

Odds & Ends

On June 3, 1958, the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted goalie Johnny Bower from the Cleveland Barons or the American Hockey League, the New York Rangers’ farm team. Bower went on to play 12 seasons with the Maple Leafs, winning four Stanley Cups, before being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.

Bower had a heck of a run with Toronto. (THW Archives)

The Philadelphia Flyers had the first pick of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft, held on this date in Montreal, and they used it to select center Mel Bridgman. He would score 119 goals and 324 points in 462 games for the Flyers. On Nov. 11, 1981, he was traded to the Flames for Brad Marsh.

On June 3, 1981, Bob Berry was named the new head coach of the Canadiens, replacing Claude Ruel. He was fired late in the 1984-85 season and replaced with Jacque Lemaire.

Hall of Famer Dave Keon officially announced his retirement on June 3, 1982. He played in 1296 games, scoring 396 goals and 590 points, for the Maple Leafs and Hartford Whalers. He was a huge part of three Stanley Cup championships in Toronto and won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the 1967 playoffs. He is third all-time in Maple Leafs franchise history with 858 points.

Dave Keon of the Hartford Whalers
Keon finished his career in Harford after his time with the Maple Leafs. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

New York Islanders fired head coach Peter Laviolette, on June 3, 2003, and named Steve Stirling as his replacement. Stirling lasted just a season and a half with the Islanders. Laviolette was hired by the Carolina Hurricanes and won the Stanley Cup in his second season with the team in 2006.

The Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-1, on June 3, 2013, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Bruins get a pair of first-period goals from Brad Marchand, as well as tallies by Nathan Horton and David Krejci, to become the first road team in 30 seasons to score four or more goals in the opening period of a conference final or Stanley Cup Final game.

Happy Birthday to You

There are 23 current and former NHL players who were born on June 3. The most notable of the group are Barry Beck (63), Doug Houda (54), Chris Thorburn (37), Pavel Francouz (30), Sami Vatanen (29), Nick Seeler (27) and Filip Chlapik (23).