With another hockey season just around the corner, TSN.ca looks back at the most unforgettable moments of 2009-10; from Stanley Cup overtime to Canadian Olympic gold and everything in between; join us as TSN.ca revisits “Hockey's Unforgettable Moments” from the last 12 months. Game on!
It was a strange goal made even more surprising by what it represented: the Blackhawks’ first Stanley Cup since 1961. Patrick Kane's overtime goal will go down as an all-time unusual moment in sport.
With the score tied 3-3 in Game 6 in Philadelphia, the rough-and-tumble Flyers were looking to force a Game 7 against the Blackhawks. With just over four minutes gone in the extra frame, the 21-year-old Kane stepped in from the boards and sent a relatively harmless looking shot towards the net. Then the puck disappeared. And almost no one saw where it went. Almost no one.
What followed was one of the most bizarre championship-winning moments ever. While play-by-play commentators desperately tried to locate that black piece of rubber in order to make the proper call, 20,000 people at the Wachovia Center stood around wondering what the heck was going on, along with millions more watching on TV.
"The reason nobody knew the game had ended was that nobody expected (goaltender) Michael Leighton to whiff on Kane's shot," says Dave Hodge of TSN's the Reporters. "It's as good an example as you'll find of the worth of shooting the puck at the net even when there seems to be no chance of a goal."
The puck was in. It had wedged itself in the side of the net. And while few people knew what had just happened, Kane most certainly did. He motored down the ice back towards his own net, throwing his gloves into the air and jumping sky-high as teammates piled on to him.
"I remember Kane circling back toward the Flyers net and then a split second later he erupted into a Cup-winning celebration," says TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger. "But there was no clear indication the puck had gone in and, as much as the Hawks bench wanted to believe it had, this had controversy written all over it. While Kane had no doubt he had just scored the Stanley Cup winner, the rest of us needed to be convinced."
That seemed to put this goal in the same league as another memorable off-the-wall Stanley Cup tally from 11 years earlier.
"I don't want to say it was the most bizarre game-winning-goal I've seen in Stanley Cup Final overtime history. After all, I was there for Brett Hull's goal in 1999 against the Sabres," TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie wrote following the Hawks' win. "But this one was absolutely muted - the puck went in the net and came back, and everybody was like, 'What happened?’ and the only people that really seemed to know for sure what happened on the ice were the Blackhawks."
For TSN hockey analyst Ray Ferraro - and he certainly wasn't alone in this - it took a few moments for everything to register.
"We were sitting at the far end of the ice, and like mostly everyone else, had no vision of the puck going in," says Ferraro. "My first indication was seeing Nick Boynton with his arms in the air."
The delayed reaction seemed to come in two stages; one, that the puck was indeed in the net, and two, that it meant the Hawks had won the Cup.
In terms of the mechanics of the goal, one veteran TSN reporter was reminded of another famous championship-winning tally that had occurred just a few months earlier in Vancouver.
"As soon as I realized that Kane had scored, I thought, 'Man, that was just like Sid's goal at the Olympics'," says John Lu. "Same wing, same spot low in the offensive zone, same surprise shot along the ice."
For many, the quirky finish to an incredible Cup final was an odd way to wrap things up - no cheering fans, not even a collective gasp of disappointment from the Philly faithful - just an awkward silence followed by a Blackhawks mob on the ice.
"I felt the way the series ended was anti-climactic," says Ferraro. "It was such a terrific series, the ending was almost unfortunate."
Save for the Flyers and their faithful, it was still good news all around for the hockey world; good news for the Windy City - which held a massive parade in honour of its first Cup in 49 years - good news for Marian Hossa - who finally won the Cup in his third straight visit to the Final - and good news for hockey in general, which saw a talented, exciting young team rewarded after a hard-fought and extremely entertaining NHL post-season.
What were your memories of the goal? Will the Blackhawks be able to repeat as champions? Let us know your thoughts in the Your!Call feature below.