NEWARK, N.J. | Sunday is the 19-year anniversary of the most dubious illegal stick penalty in Stanley Cup Playoff history. Los Angeles Kings fans remember it well.
The Kings won Game 1 of the Cup Final and were leading 2-1 when Marty McSorley’s illegal stick paved the way for the Montreal Canadiens’ tying goal. Montreal won in overtime and took the next three games to keep Los Angeles from its first title in franchise history.
They’re still looking for that first Cup, but don’t expect New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer to reach for that trick in this series. Asked if he’s ever asked for an illegal stick check, DeBoer recalled a time from the Game 3 of the 2005 Ontario Hockey League Western Conference final that didn’t work out so well for him.
“Mike Richards would remember it, he was my captain in Kitchener. Mike and I, We had Corey Perry, who plays in Anaheim, we had all been together with the world junior team,” DeBoer said. “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 Richie call Corey for an illegal stick. We actually got it. Didn’t score in the five-on-three and I think London scored shorthanded and we lost the series. It backfired.”
For what it’s worth, Richards didn’t remember the specific incident.
Dale Hunter joked at the time that “Pete must have measured it when he was with Team Canada.” DeBoer said that night it was a calculated risk.
He hasn’t asked for a stick check since.
“Didn’t work. You know what, they changed the rule to make the bigger curves more legal since then,” DeBoer said. “You know, you have to have a boomerang basically now in order to be called for that. So it’s not even an option.”