On this date, one future Hockey Hall of Famer completed his tour of the state of New York via a trade. In addition, a pair of new captains were named and Canada claimed victory in yet another big international tournament.
LaFontaine Opens on Broadway
The New York Rangers acquired future Hockey Hall of Famer Pat Lafontaine, on Sept. 29, 1997, by sending a second-round draft pick to the Buffalo Sabres. This move completed the trifecta as he played for all NHL teams in New York after he started his career with the Islanders.
His time with the Rangers lasted just 67 games, but they were a very productive 67 games. He scored 23 goals and 62 points in his stint with the Blue Shirts. On March 16, 1998, he suffered a concussion during a game against the Ottawa Senators and never got back on the ice. He retired on Oct. 12, 1999.
The Sabres used the draft pick on left wing Andrew Peters. He played in 200 games for Buffalo, over five seasons, scoring just four goals and seven points.
New Captains Named
On the same date LaFontaine was traded to the Rangers, the St. Louis Blues named a new team captain. The “C” was attached to the sweater of Chris Pronger, making him the 16th captain in franchise history, replacing Shayne Corson. At just 22-years-old, he also became the youngest captain in team history. He remained captain through the 2002-03 season when the role was given to Al MacInnis. Pronger went on to also serve as captain of the Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers.
Two years later, on Sept. 29, 1999, Kelly Buchberger was named the first captain of the Atlanta Thrashers. Buchberger previously wore the “C” on his sweater for the Edmonton Oilers, who he won two Stanley Cups with. He was captain for only the first 68 games of the inaugural season of Thrashers hockey before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Atlanta had eight different captains in their 10 seasons before relocating to Winnipeg in 2011.
Canada Brings Home World Cup
Team Canada scored another international victory, on Sept. 29, 2016, when it beat Team Europe in the final of the World Cup of Hockey. This was the third time the tournament was held and the first time since 2004.
Canada went undefeated through the tournament, which was played in Toronto. After going 3-0 in group play, they beat Russia 5-3 to advance to the best two-out-of-three championship final versus the European team, which was made of players not from Russia, Finland, Sweden or the Czech Republic.
Canada won the first game of the series, 3-1, to set up a chance to win the tournament. Zdeno Chara put Team Europe up 1-0 early in the first period. His long-time teammate on the Boston Bruins, Patrice Bergeron, tied the game less than three minutes to play. Another Bruin, Brad Marchand, scored the tournament-winning goal, while shorthanded, with just 44 seconds left in regulation.
Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins was named the World Cup’s MVP for scoring three goals and a tournament-high 10 points. Marchand led all players with five goals. Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price started five of the six games for Canada and allowed just seven goals.
The Hammer Heads West
Speaking of trades and the Kings, Los Angeles acquired two-time Stanley Cup winner Dave Schultz on Sept. 29, 1976. They sent two draft picks to the Flyers to land Schultz. He had earned the nickname “The Hammer” by leading the NHL in penalty minutes between 1972 and 1975. He had amassed 1,386 penalty minutes in his first 297 NHL games with the Flyers.
Schultz scored 12 goals and 32 two points, while picking up 259 penalty minutes, in his 84 games for the Kings. He was eventually traded to the Sabres in 1977, along with Gene Carr, for Hartland Monahan and Syl Apps Jr.
The Flyers drafted Yves Guillemette with the 1977 fourth-round pick received in the trade, who never played in the NHL. The second-round pick in 1978 was traded to the Colorado Rockies, who used it to Merlin Malinowski.
Odds & Ends
The Hartford Whalers signed free-agent defenseman Marty Howe on Sept. 29, 1983. He played the previous season with the Boston Bruins after spending nine seasons with the Whalers in both the NHL and World Hockey Association (WHA). He played alongside his Hall of Fame father and brother, Gordie and Mark, during many of those first few seasons. He scored one goal and 13 points in 88 games before retiring in 1995.
On Sept. 29, 1992, the Detroit Red Wings brought back left wing John Ogrodnick after he spent the previous five seasons with the Rangers. They originally drafted him in the fourth round (66th overall) of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He played the first 539 games of his 14-season career with the Red Wings, scoring 259 goals and 536 points. He had four seasons with at least 38 goals, including 55 in 1984-85. His second stint in Detroit lasted just 19 games, with six goals and 12 points.
Shortly after announcing his retirement, the New Jersey Devils named John MacLean as an assistant coach on Sept. 29, 2002. He had played 934 games for the Devils between 1984 and 1997, winning a Stanley Cup in 1994.
He held this post through the 2008-09 season before being named the head coach of the Lowell Devils in the American Hockey League (AHL). He was promoted to head coach of the Devils for the 2010-11 season but was fired after the team started 9-22-2. He spent three seasons as an assistant with the Carolina Hurricanes and was on Rick Tocchet’s staff with the Arizona Coyotes, but did not get his contract renewed following the 2019-20 season.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 25 current and former NHL players have been born on this date. The first player of this group to play in the league was Ray Timgren, who was born on Sept. 29, 1928. The forward scored 14 goals and 58 points, in 251 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks, between 1949 and 1955. The most recent debut came in 2018 with Edmonton Oilers’ winger Kailer Yamamoto, who is celebrating his 22nd birthday today.
Dave Andreychuck is the lone Hall of Famer of the group. Born on this date in 1963, Andreychuk played in 1,639 games with the Sabres, Maple Leafs, Devils, Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning. He scored 640 goals and 1,338 points. His crowning achievement came when he won the Stanly Cup with the Lightning in 2004.
Other notable players born on this date include Walt Tkaczuk (73), John Tucker (56), Trent Yawney (55), Benoit Pouliot (34) and Mark Fraser (34) and Jordan Schroeder (30).