Vancouver Canucks first NHL goalsPosted by whitecovermagazine
(*This “article” is also available on White Cover Magazine.)
I read a cute little story today about Canucks fourth liner/ex-Moose/current Wolves player (I’m thinking he’ll start the year in Chicago in the AHL) Aaron Volpatti and his quest to make the Canucks this year.
(The story is from the Vernon Morning Star.)
It got me thinking about “first goals,” and “NHL first goals,” specifically, and the first goals of several young Vancouver Canucks — always a nice, feel-good story. I myself have tons of experience in this category…
*My first career NHL goal came in 1996, as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. I was a fourth liner, struggling to crack the lineup, but I was called up for a three-game road trip. Of course, I never thought I’d see any real, regular season ice time – not even throw on a jersey – but I was wrong.
During the last game of our three-game stand, in Philadelphia, I was told to suit up. I did, and I sat on the bench for 43 minutes before finally getting on with the fourth line to punch out 30 seconds on the clock (we were down 5-0 to a very strong Flyers team).
Of course, I ran through those 30 seconds like they were five, got caught late and couldn’t change. I was being yelled at by everyone on the bench, and my pulse was racing. Brian Bellows and John Cullen came on the ice as my wingers and I was panicking. They were pushing me around, telling me to get off… every time I tried to skate to the bench, the play kept coming my way. I think the Flyers were doing it on purpose.
Then, the play changed. Bellows broke up a pass from Flyers defenceman Eric Desjardins (intended for Lindros) and started to head up-ice with Cullen in tow. This was my chance to change and I started to head for the bench. But then, I saw it… I saw the players on my bench yelling at me to change, smiling that I could finally get off the ice so somebody better could get on. I saw them content with my failure. I knew destiny was in my hands – that I may never get this chance again. So, I veered back into open ice and started to head after Bellows. I could almost feel the cussing and the spit that my “teammates” started to hurl at me. My own goalie, Darren Puppa, tried to tackle me as I left the zone, but I pushed him over. He rolled his ankle (which nobody knows about until now because he played through it the rest of the year) and it cost him the 1996 Vezina Trophy.
Whatever, bro. Don’t mess with destiny.
Bellows swung wide, Desjardins far behind him now, and dropped a pass for Cullen, right in front of Flyers’ goalie Dominic Roussel (the third stringer who inexplicably got the start over Ron Hextall and Garth Snow). But, Cullen botched it… the puck hopped over his stick and headed right for big Eric Lindros.
Eric was callous, careless, under-calculating. He lazily tried to take the puck out, but I was right there. I prepared to deliver the biggest hit of my life. I lowered my head, and prepared to lower the boom. It was pretty easy… I knocked Eric over like an cement-less pile of bricks (concussion numero four) and I slapped the puck as hard as I could toward the net.
At first, I thought that Roussel had it. I thought I blew my chance (and I was terrified that the Flyers would start to break out again and I’d get stuck in our zone for another minute). Of course, Roussel never stopped anything and the puck slid through his torso and into the net.
5-1, we lost.
(*This never happened. I have never played in the NHL.)
Anyway… back to Volpatti… here is a collection of some recent “first NHL goals” by our favourite Vancouver Canucks (past and present). Enjoy.
(NOTE: The Hodgson one is a beauty. All of these are from the 2010-2011 season, except for Bieksa’s… but the guy is an awesome, Canucks-bred product and I wanted him here.)