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No McSorley redux: Devils won’t be asking for illegal stick measurement

Jun 1, 2012, 2:07 PM EDT

The NHL’s illegal stick penalty holds an infamous place Kings history.

In the 1993 Stanley Cup finals, Los Angeles was 1:45 away from taking a 2-0 series lead on Montreal when Habs head coach Jacques Demers called for a stick measurement on Kings forward Marty McSorley, which led to this:

The Canadiens went on to win the next three games and hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug.

The incident still haunts McSorley to this day.

Thankfully for Kings fans, history likely won’t repeat itself in 2012. During today’s Stanley Cup finals media availability, Devils head coach Peter DeBoer all but ruled out the possibility of calling for a stick measurement.

Q. A little off the beaten path. Can you recall the last time coaching at any level that you called for an illegal stick check?

COACH DeBOER: I actually do remember it. (laughter). Mike Richards would remember it, he was my captain in Kitchener.

We had Corey Perry, who plays in Anaheim. We had all been together with the World Junior team. I had found, probably a little unethically by coaching him, that his stick was illegal at Christmas. We played London in the playoffs. I had Richy call Corey for an illegal stick. We actually got it. Didn’t score in the five-on-three. I think London scored shorthanded and we lost the series. It backfired. Yeah, it’s a funny story.

Q. Have you not called it since because it hasn’t come into play?

COACH DeBOER: Didn’t work. You know what, they changed the rule to make the bigger curves more legal since then. You know, you have to have a boomerang basically now in order to be called for that. So it’s not even an option.


— I like how DeBoer told reporters that Corey Perry is the guy that plays for Anaheim. “You know, the reigning league MVP.”

— Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk was busted with an illegal stick in 2002 while playing for Atlanta.

— One of the more recent illegal stick penalties came in Mar. 2009, when Ottawa’s Jason Spezza was busted with one during a game against Toronto. The Leafs failed to score on the PP, however, and the Sens went on to win 2-1.

  1. hrudey - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    An interesting followup to the McSorley illegal stick story: after the Kings lost game 2, they also lost games 3 and 4 in OT when John LeClair scored the game winners both times. Needless to say, as a Kings fan, he became one of my least favorite players.

    So anyway, LeClair gets traded to Philly, one of my least favorite teams, and they’re going to be in Tampa a few days later on Valentines day. I figured it was worth the three hour trip to go specifically to heckle LeClair, and he was awful in the warmups. Game starts and he gets a goal and two helpers to Renberg in the first, Tampa scores 2 in the second, and he scores his second early in the third.

    It gets late, and still down 4-2, Tampa pulls the goalie, and at that point I am just hoping he doesn’t get the hat trick. A Flyer player gets called for a penalty in the last minute or so, and LeClair isn’t out on the ice for the faceoff with Tampa’s net empty. Except, of course, the Flyers call for a stick measurement (Klima or Bradley, I don’t recall) and sure enough, it’s illegally curved. So then LeClair comes out, scores into the empty net with seconds left, and has his first career hat trick thanks to another illegal stick penalty.

    Now that he’s no longer playing, I can appreciate the career he had and I’ve never heard a bad thing about him, but it might not surprise anyone that I couldn’t even say his name without interjecting NSFW language for a long, long time.

  2. jkaflagg - Jun 1, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Thanks for bringing up the last check (Spezza in 2009)……I can’t recall seeing a stick check in many years. Probably a check of goalie pad size would be more likely, but since almost every goalie is probably in violation, you could end up with your own goalie busted as well…..

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