January 09, 2008

Bobby Rousseau's Unique Penalty Shot

We've been discussing shootouts here recently. But while shootouts are a fairly new add-on to the game, penalty shots are not.

Is there a most famous NHL penalty shot? I always think of Pavel Bure's failed attempt in the 1994 Stanley Cup finals, personally. As a die hard Canucks fan, that moment will live with me, and haunt me, probably forever.

Though it is far from famous, certainly one of the most unique penalty shots was taken by Bobby Rousseau. Roussea was a highly touted junior star and Memorial Cup champion in the 1950s, a silver medalist in the 1960 Olympics, and a NHL all star and 4 time Stanley Cup champion in the 1960s. Now he's the most recent biography addition here at Legends.

Best remembered as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, Rousseau played until 1975, some 20 years before the shoot out was introduced in the National Hockey League. He never performed in a shootout, but he certainly had a memorable penalty shot. Unfortunately it wasn't caught on film, as his tactics were far from expected.

In a game against Boston in 1960-61, Rousseau was awarded a penalty shot against goaltender Bruce Gamble. As opposed to the traditional breakaway approach followed by either a shot or deke, Rousseau unleashed a slap shot from just inside the blue line, surprising the unsuspecting Gamble.

The big wind up is not unheard of, but still rare. In recent years Brian Rolston, Thomas Vanek and Chris Pronger have all scored in similar fashion.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of penalty shots, the one that always still gets talked about here in Minnesota (over 35 years later!) is defenseman (and now broadcaster) Tom Reid's 1971 goal against Ken Dryden. In 10 years with Minnesota, Reid had 17 total goals, and a season high of just 6, making him pretty unlikely to beat someone the stature of Dryden.

Even better, check out Dryden's recollection of the events at the end of this interview...

Anonymous said...

Rousseau's slap shot penalty shot may not be on film, but somewhere there's a still-picture of him taking the shot. I was only nine years old at the time, but I clearly remember seeing a picture of it in the paper.

Unknown said...

I saw the remarkable photo as well. The puck is just bulging the net as Rousseau is captured in his follow through. I have been trying to locate this photo for a long time.

Page said...

I remember that photo, in black and white, by longtime Canadiens photographer David Bier. Sadly, after Bier's death a large part of his life work disappeared; nobody knows what became of his collection of superb prints and negatives from the Canadiens' glory days. Bobby Rousseau was a rookie that year - he won the Calder - and he was understandably nervous before taking the penalty shot. The veterans on the Montreal bench were giving him advice, telling him not to skate in too deep, to make sure he got a shot off. That he did. The goalie may have been dozing on that play but the photographer was not. Bier timed his shutter release perfectly, and as described above the puck was bulging the twine just as his strobes went off.

My other favourite Rousseau moment was the night he scored five goals against Detroit. Fast, with a great shot, he was streaky but a really useful player for the Habs for years.

Anonymous said...

Holy Cow! I was at that Game in Montreal. That was my FIRST EVER NHL game too. I was 7 yrs old. My dad Leo Madigan stood my older brother Danny(age 9) and myself up on our seats as the whole Forum was standing up to witness the penalty shot. I think the game was like 8-1 at the time for Montreal. (Boston sucked back then..lol)Rousseau took the puck and just over the blue line..maybe a bit further...let go a slap shot...even though I don't think anyone was calling it that term back then...and the puck whizzed past Gamble...(although I thought it was always TomJohnston..spelling not sure here). Anyway, the Forum erupted in a frenzy so loud I thought my ears would burst. It was the most exciting feeling I ever had back then and I'll never forget it. I'm only writing this now because I just put on twitter this incident about Rousseau scoring a penalty shot as twitter's "Habs 24 Cups" asked us to wish Happy New Year to Montreal fans. So I told this story there. Then I decided to put the incident in Google and this article above came up. Amazing!!!!! Cheers Mike Madigan mike_madigan@yahoo.com

Unknown said...

Thanks Mike. I only got to see the apparently lost photo of Bobby's follow through and the puck bulging the back of the net. BTW, he was well inside the blue line.

Jim Welch

Pete kapak said...

From what I remember this was a time when slap shots were relatively new to the game, not even attempted by most as to the inaccurate results. Rousseau was fined by the team for attempting such a selfish move, even though he scored.