On a light day of NHL action, we’ll take a look at some NHL history. Then, we’ll check in with the Florida Panthers on a long, transcontinental flight.
Roy Breaks the Record
The debate about who the greatest goalie in National League Hockey history is or was will rage on for eternity. But one of the names on the shortlist is certainly the Quebec City native Patrick Roy. The former Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche legend won four Stanley Cups in his career and entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.
Roy holds 11 NHL records earned across his career, but on this night in 2002, he broke a record he no longer holds. With his start against the then-Phoenix Coyotes, Roy passed Terry Sawchuk to set the records for the most games played by a goaltender. Martin Brodeur would go on to break Roy’s record in 2009, and later Roberto Luongo would take second, but Roy still has a healthy grasp on third place.
Despite being 36-years-old at that point, Roy still played in 63 games that season, was named an All-Star, and won his fifth Jennings Trophy, one of the records he still holds, sharing it with Brodeur. One season later (after posting similar numbers, including 63 more starts) Roy retired.
Roy remains the only player to have won the Conn Smythe Trophy for Playoff MVP three times. After retiring, he went onto a career in coaching and managing, both with the Avalanche and now with the Quebec Ramparts of the Quebec Major-Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). “Saint Patrick,” as he is fondly called, is still a legend in the NHL, and though this particular record is gone, his legacy remains forever.
Goalie Gram: Bobrovsky’s Long Flight
Sergei Bobrovsky is getting used to life in Sunrise, Florida after signing a seven-year contract with the Florida Panthers this summer. Part of that adjustment includes getting used to playing for the southeasternmost team in the NHL.
Historically, the Panthers have always had awful travel schedules, with even the closest NHL team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, being over 250 miles away. But the Panthers’ next opponent, the Calgary Flames, are a little bit farther away than that, as there are almost 3,000 miles between the southern tip of Florida and southern Alberta. If you think the NHL life is totally glamorous, take a look at Bobrovsky’s latest Instagram post.
Yikes. Now that’s a long flight. Of course, a KHL veteran like Bobrovsky will have no problem with a six-hour flight. But his Panthers teammates might need to hit the aisle (when the seatbelt sign is off, of course) to stretch their legs once in a while.
Panthers management is probably hoping the players will stretch out their claws, too, as the team’s 4-2-3 record is hardly the result the team hoped for when it overhauled the roster and brought in Joel Quenneville this summer. But they’re starting to warm up, and old hockey logic says nothing is better for a newly formed team than a long road trip. In the NHL, there are few longer than that from Sunrise to western Canada, so the Panthers will have plenty of time to bond.
Pawesome Saves, Guys!
There’s no better way to finish the news than with some adorable pictures of animals and their goalies (or is it the other way around?) Petr Mrazek and James Reimer of the Carolina Hurricanes took some shots with their four-legged friends on the ice on Tuesday, as did their teammates.
The animals visited the Hurricanes courtesy of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). We have to say, we’re loving the rise of animals in the NHL. The Hurricanes take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. Maybe they’ll be fueled to victory by puppy power.
Stephen Ground is an author with The Hockey Writers and is co-host of the Two Guys No Cup Podcast. He enjoys studying the numbers and providing fresh looks at various stories.