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May 27, 2017

This Day In Hockey History: May 27th

1955 - Chicago Black Hawks traded Dave Creighton, Jerry Toppazzini, John McCormack and Gord Hollingworth to Detroit, in exchange for Tony Leswick, Glen Skov, Johnny Wilson and Benny Woit.

1966 - The "Kings" was picked as the name of the new Los Angeles franchise in the NHL, scheduled to begin play in October 1967.

1975 - Bernie Parent shut out Buffalo 2-0 (his 6th and final career playoff shutout) in Game 6 of the Finals, as the Flyers won their second straight Stanley Cup Championship. Parent became the first back-to-back winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy.

1982 - Colorado Rockies franchise was sold to Dr. John McMullen, who moved the team to New Jersey, where they became known as the "Devils".

1993 - Wayne Gretzky scored a power play goal at 1:41 of overtime to give the Kings to a 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the Campbell Conference Finals.

1994 - Stephane Matteau scored the winning goal at 24:24 of overtime to lead the Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Devils, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in New York. Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals vs Vancouver.

2004 - Brad Richards tied an NHL record with his sixth game winning goal of the 2004 playoffs, and added an assist as the Lightning beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 , in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Happy Birthday to Ray Sheppard, Darren Jensen, Richard Park, Ed Van Impe, and Evgeny Davydov.

This Day In Hockey History: May 26th

1966 - Chicago's Bobby Hull was named the winner of the NHL's Hart Trophy, as the league's MVP.

1976 - New York Rangers traded center Rick Middleton to the Boston Bruins, in exchange for Ken Hodge.

1977 - Quebec Nordiques defeated the Winnipeg Jets 8-2, to win the 1977 Avco Cup, as the champions of the World Hockey Association.

1978 - Vancouver Canucks hired Harry Neale as the sixth head coach in team history. Neale replaced Orland Kurtenbach.

1992 - Hartford Whalers named Brian Burke as their new General Manager, replacing Ed Johnston.

1997 - Montreal Canadiens hired Alain Vigneault as their new coach, replacing Mario Tremblay.

2004 - Florida Panthers named Mike Keenan as the team's new General Manager, and Jacques Martin as their new head coach.

Happy Birthday to Lorne Ferguson, Pat Riggin, Steven Rice, Louis Berlinguette, Ralph Nattrass and P.J. Stock

May 25, 2017

This Day In Hockey History: May 25th

1978 - Montreal Canadiens beat Boston 4-1 in Game Six of the Finals, to become the 1978 Stanley Cup Champions.

1989 - The Calgary Flames win their first Stanley Cup championship, thanks to a 4-2 over the Montreal Canadiens in game 6 of the Finals. It was the first time that the Canadiens lost the final game of the Finals on home ice.

1991 - Mario Lemieux scored a goal and 3 assists as the Penguins beat the North Stars 8-0 in Game 6 of the Finals. The win gave the Penguins their 1st Stanley Cup Championship.

1994 - After guaranteeing a victory, Mark Messier scored his 4th career playoff hat trick to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

2002 - Patrick Roy set a playoff record for most career games (among all players) with his 237th appearance, as the Avalanche won 3-2 over the visiting Red Wings, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. He broke the mark of 236 set by Mark Messier.

Happy Birthday to Robert Picard, David Shaw, Kyle Brodziak, Ric Nattress, Nick Fotiu, Wayne Dillon, Mickey MacKay, Morris Mott, Nikita Filatov, Andy Wozniewski and Rick Wamsley.

May 24, 2017

Stanley Cup Heroes: Greg Adams! Greg Adams! Greg Adams!

Greg "Gus" Adams certainly knew how to make a great first impression.

In the summer of 1987 the Canucks made a big trade which promised great things for the future. The Canucks traded talented center Patrik Sundstrom to the New Jersey Devils for a young goaltending phenom named Kirk McLean, and a lanky, streaky scorer from Nelson, BC named Greg Adams.

Hindsight obviously suggests the Canucks did quite well on that trade. Initially Canucks fans had to be a bit patient with McLean, a wait well worth it. But Adams was the talk of the town after just one game.

That's because in Adams very first game with the team he scored no less than 4 goals in an 8-2 season opening white-washing of the St. Louis Blues. Adams had tied the modern day NHL record for most goals scored on a season's opening night.

Opening night heroics were not new to Adams. In 1985 with New Jersey he set a NHL record (since equaled) with 5 assists on night number 1. Not bad for an undrafted free agent from the University of Northern Arizona, of all places.

For all the early season fireworks Adams was known for, he never really emerged as the dominant scoring hero Canucks fans longed for. Injuries played a role in that, but essentially Adams was a streaky shooter who topped out at 36 goals and 77 points as career highs.

Adams, who forever became known by his nickname "Gus" when the Canucks acquired another player named Greg Adams, was in many ways a puzzling player. He was primarily a finesse player, though his skill set was largely unremarkable. He wasn't exactly a fast skater, though he had exceptional balance. He was primarily a shooter rather than a playmaker and an average defensive player at best. Physically he had no bulk and shied away from physical battles at times. But his long reach combined with his lanky body and great balance on skates allowed him to protect the puck expertly.

Yet despite the seemingly poor endorsement, Adams played nearly 1100 games in the National Hockey League. He totaled an impressive 355 goals in his long career, plus another 20 in the playoffs.

But all Canucks fans know that no goal was bigger than his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1994 Western Conference clinching game.

Adams backhanded a rebound past sprawling goaltender Felix Potvin in the second overtime of game 5, clinching the series and sending the Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in franchise history.

Adams then repeated the heroics in game one of the finals, scoring the overtime goal to give the Canucks the win in game one over the New York Rangers, a game in which the Canucks were greatly outplayed.

Adams and the Canucks came within a goal post of forcing overtime in game 7 of the Finals, but eventually bowed to the Rangers. That playoff run will forever be special for that team of Canucks.

Adams, who was often a regular left winger on Pavel Bure's line, vividly remembers those two goals in particular. He once called the goal against the Leafs as "the biggest one I ever scored."

In 1995 the Canucks traded Adams to Dallas, removing one of the first core pieces of that precious 1994 team. He was increasingly missing games due to injury, salaries were escalating and his production was seemingly waning. The Canucks landed Rusty Courtnall in that swap. Still, it was sad to see Adams go.

Adams would spend three seasons in Dallas before prolonging his career with stops in Phoenix and Florida. He would play a season in Frankfurt as well before hanging up the skates and returning to BC.

All in all, Gus Adams remains a memorable figure in 1990s Canucks hockey memories.

This Day In Hockey History: May 24th

1974 - Philadelphia Flyers acquired Reggie Leach from the Oakland Seals, in exchange for Larry Wright, Al MacAdam, and a first round draft pick in 1974 (Ron Chipperfield).

1979 - Boston Bruins fired coach Don Cherry.

1980 - Bob Nystrom scored at 7:11 of overtime as the NY Islanders beat the Flyers 5-4 in Game 6 of the Finals, to become the 1980 Stanley Cup Champions.

1984 - Mike Keenan received his first NHL coaching job when he was named the new head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, replacing Bob McCammon.

1986 - Bobby Smith scored the winning goal, as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Flames 4-3 in Calgary, in Game 5 of the Finals, to become the 1986 Stanley Cup Champions.

1988 - The lights went out in Boston at 16:37 of the second period (due to a power outage) with the game tied 3-3 between the Bruins and the Oilers in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The scoring totals counted, but the game was replayed.

1989 - New York Rangers fired Phil Esposito as both their General Manager and coach. Neil Smith was later named their new GM, and Roger Neilson took over as coach.

1990 - Edmonton Oilers beat the Bruins 4-1 in Game 5 of the Finals in Boston, to win their fifth Stanley Cup. Bill Ranford won the Conn Smythe Trophy, as playoff MVP.

1994 - Quebec Nordiques fired Pierre Page, who had been their General Manager and Head Coach. They named Pierre Lacroix as their new General Manager.

1994 - Greg Adams scored at 20:14 of OT to lead the Canucks to a 4-3 win over the Leafs in Vancouver, to win the series and advance to Stanley Cup Finals.

1997 - Toronto Maple Leafs fired General Manager Cliff Fletcher.

Happy Birthday to Lionel Conacher, Pat Verbeek, Kris Draper, Kent-Erik Andersson, Ville Peltonen, Guillaume Latendresse, Vladimir Orszagh, Artem Anisimov, Merlyn Phillips, Alain Lemieux, Pelle Lindbergh and Bruce Gamble.

May 23, 2017

This Day In Hockey History: May 23rd

1968 - Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Pierre Pilote from Chicago in exchange for forward Jim Pappin.

1977 - Gordie Howe left the Houston Aeros, and along with sons Mark and Marty, joined the New England Whalers of the WHA.

1979 - The New England Whalers officially changed their name to the Hartford Whalers.

1996 - Sergei Fedorov picked up four assists as Detroit won 6-4 at Colorado, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

1999 - Lindy Ruff became the Buffalo Sabres all-time leader in playoff coaching victories (breaking the mark of 18 held by Scott Bowman) in a 5-4 win at Toronto.

2000 - Joe Nieuwendyk scored the winning goal at 12:10 of overtime in the Stars 3-2 win against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.

Happy Birthday to Gary Roberts, Dave Babych, Vic Stasiuk, Brian Campbell, Bryan Hextall Jr., Tom Rowe, Ken Quinney, Pete LoPresti and Dolly Dolson.

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