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May 03, 2007

NHL Playoff Legends - Mud Bruneteau

One of the biggest surprises for me in the 2007 playoffs is the amount of support there is for altering playoff overtime to prevent marathon games. I understand that difficulties it provides for American broadcasters, but to mess with playoff OT is downright sacrilegious in the eyes of Canadians.

Oh yeah, I forgot: the NHL is more interested in the fans it doesn't have than the fans it does have.

I wonder what Mud Bruneteau would think of all this. He more than anybody is a legend of hockey due to a marathon goal. He is remembered by history only because he ended the longest game in NHL history.

On March 24, 1936, the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons faced-off in what would turn out to be the longest game in National Hockey League history. The playoff match reached a 9th period (6 overtime periods) of scoreless hockey. While the era did not feature the same speed as the modern game does, you can understandably imagine just how exhausted and fatigued both teams were.

By the 9th period it became more and more essential to keep fresh legs on the ice. Top players on each team were greatly fatigued and teams began relying more and more on inexperienced younger players as they had more stamina to continue the marathon. One of those rookies was Moderre Bruneteau, the youngest player on the ice that night.

At the 16 minute mark of the 9th period, Bruneteau surrounded the puck in the Detroit zone. He made a centering pass to Hec Kilrea, who broke in on the Montreal defense. Kilrea faked a return pass and then slid it across the blue line and behind the Montreal defense. As the two Montreal defenders closed in to prevent Kilrea burst through, Bruneteau swept in behind the defensemen and, in far from classic fashion, banged home the loose puck in front of Montreal goalie Lorne Chabot.

The rookie won the game, and became immortalized forever as a hockey legend.

"Thank god" a relieved Bruneteau said. "Chabot fell down as I drove it in the net. It's the funniest thing. The puck just stuck there in the twine and didn't fall on the ice."

It was as if the puck and the net were as tired as the players were.

Read the full Mud Bruneteau biography


Mike Butkus said...

Mud was my midget league coach in Omaha in the 70's. Ive never known a greater and more humble man.
He always had time to teach and talk to kids.
He was my hero.

Joe Pelletier said...

Awesome story Mike. Did he ever share any stories of the big leagues? And did he actually go by the name Mud when coaching kids?


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