NHL Bloopers: Looking back at the worst mistakes on ice
In honor of Jonathan Quick and Zach Bogosian's on-ice blunders this week, a look back at some of the worst on-ice mistakes in NHL history.
This week brought us two of the absolute worst gaffes you'll ever see on an ice sheet.
Sunday, there was Zach Bogosian looking like he wanted to dig through the ice and out of the arena after a disastrous giveaway to Corey Perry. The next night, Jonathan Quick topped Bogosian's gaffe by giving up an insanely long, insanely insane goal to Ryan McDonagh.
With those misfortunate efforts fresh in our minds, we here at Eye on Hockey thought it would be a good idea to look back and see where these two disastrous mistakes stack up against some of the other great gaffes in NHL history.
So, kind reader, I present to you the Eye On Hockey Steve Smith Memorial Hall of Shame. The Hall is named for current Oilers assistant coach and former Edmonton defenseman Steve Smith. He had a terrific NHL career, but may be best known for committing one of the costliest mistakes in NHL history.
On April 30, 1986, the Oilers were playing the Calgary Flames in Game 7 of the Smythe Division finals. In the third period, Smith attempted to send a long outlet pass from just behind his net. Instead, the puck glanced off goalie Grant Fuhr's skate and over the goal line, giving the Flames a 3-2 lead. The final score of the game was 3-2. It cost the Oilers a shot at three consecutive Stanley Cup titles.
Making matters worse, it was Smith's 23rd birthday. Ouch. Let's all relive it right now.
It's difficult to watch, really.
So here's how this is going to work. There are many mistakes that have been made in the NHL over the years, so this list isn't necessarily meant to be comprehensive. I picked several of the more hilarious or wacky gaffes from recent NHL seasons, all of which led to a goal in one way or another.
Instead of ranking each gaffe, I've come up with the patent-pending "Smitty System." The more Smittys you get, the worse the gaffe. Most Smittys (or Smitties, we're still trying to work that out) wins, if you want to call it a victory. Smittys are denoted by the symbol at right. Yes, that is actually Steve Smith and he is actually face-palming. Photo via USATSI.
Bogosian had the time, he had the room, but for some reason he saw Corey Perry and panicked. His attempted pass to the boards somehow ended up on Perry's stick. The former Hart Trophy winner roofed it to put the Ducks ahead, which stood as the game winner. Bogosian gets extra points for the dive at the end. We can still see you, Zach. There's nowhere to hide. That earned him an extra Smitty for a grand total of Two Smittys.
There's too much bad here. Way too much. The fact that the Rangers were short-handed at the time, that the game was still close in the third period and the fact that McDonagh let the puck go from his own slot -- off the boards no less -- are all just part of the bad. We have more. Quick goes out to play the puck, inexplicably loses his stick and then is unable to corral a fairly slow-moving puck with the giant pillow attached to his leg only to watch it cross the goal line. Just ... how? FIVE Smittys.
Jeff Petry: Oilers vs. Red Wings, 2013
This entry comes to us from last season. Late in a game the Oilers were leading, Jeff Petry put a perfect shot on net. His own net. Poor Devan Dubnyk didn't stand a chance. The Red Wings tied the game thanks to Petry and then in overtime, Petry was beaten on the game-winning goal by Pavel Datsyuk. On the Petry own goal, we also were treated to one of the great Mickey Redmond one-liners: "Oh dad, I didn't do it!" It was a bad night for ol' Jeff, who was raised in Michigan. Seeing as Steve Smith was on the bench for this game, by rule, Steve Smith's presence means an extra Smitty, which will bring Petry up to Three Smittys.
Jaroslav Halak: Blues vs. Red Wings, 2010
How do the Red Wings get so lucky with wacky goals thanks to the other team? They have Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. I think they're good on their own. Anyway, Jaroslav Halak was just trying to bat the puck away from the front of the goal after making a routine save. That's all. Only he paddled the puck over his left shoulder and into the goal. It was the dreaded double tap and therefore double Smittys.
Ryan Suter: Predators vs. Ducks, 2011
Ryan Suter had already helped put the puck in his own net once earlier this night against the Ducks, but the good thing is that no one remembered how the first one went in. So, look on the bright side, Ryan. With Corey Perry (some guys get all the luck) sending a high pass through the middle, Suter had only one way to get to it -- with his foot. So he kicked at it, right up and over Pekka Rinne's blocker and in to help Anaheim pull within one goal. If I wasn't wearing my glasses, I would think it was Christiano Rinaldo himself putting that one in. Four Smittys.
Carolina Hurricanes: Hurricanes vs. Devils, 2013
Martin Brodeur is the all-time leading scorer among goalies in the NHL thanks to the hilarious mistake the Hurricanes made on a delayed penalty call against the Devils. Brodeur sent a puck behind his net simultaneously with the official raising his arm for the forthcoming penalty against the Devils. As Eric Staal collected the puck, he tried to send it to the left point. Instead, it went off the boards and all the way down the ice for a goal. So much had to go right (or wrong) for this to happen and because of that, it's just a One-Smitty entry.
Since all of these were all a little more recent, it is time to hand out Lifetime Achievement awards for all-time badness. These two mistakes may never be topped, but then again, hockey is a slippery game played on ice. Weird things can happen. Either way, please welcome Marc Bergevin and Patrik Stefan to the newly remodeled Patrik Stefan Wing of the Steve Smith Hall of Shame.
Marc Bergevin: Blues vs. Sharks, 2000
This is one of my favorite things that has ever happened in the NHL. As Bergevin gloved a puck down, he tried to throw it away from danger. Instead, he threw it past Roman Turek and into the net. As you may know, Bergevin is now the same man who makes all the important decisions for the Montreal Canadiens as the team's general manager. So just remember, Habs fans, if he ever makes a trade you don't agree with, know that it isn't the worst thing he has ever done in the league. Six Smittys.
Patrik Stefan: Stars vs. Oilers, 2007
This may be the most famous mistake in the history of the NHL. With his Dallas Stars leading late in the game on the road in Edmonton, Stefan was the beneficiary of a mistake by Marc-Andre Bergeron, who lost the puck in his own zone with his net empty. Stefan skated in for the easy goal, put the puck to his backhand and whiffed. Then he fell down. Then the Oilers went all the way down the ice and tied the game. Dallas did win in a shootout, but who cares? Stefan's mistake will be replayed forever. Since the wing is named after him, Stefan gets 10 Smittys. So, Congratulations?
This concludes our look back at the greatest blunders of recent NHL history. For those who didn't make it, always remember it's an honor just not to be nominated.
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