Ron Hextall is being inducted into the Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame before tonight's game. Besides his aggressive style of play -- he was once suspended for 12 games after attacking Chris Chelios in retaliation for a dirty hit -- Hextall was a trailblazer in the way he handled the puck.
I was lucky enough to be at the Spectrum the night in December 1987 when he became the first goaltender to score a goal by actually shooting the puck into the net. The crowd went into a frenzy, which confused my then-boyfriend, who had no idea why it was so significant. To be fair, he was not into sports and only went to the game to be with me.
(Before Hextall, the only goal ever credited to a goalie occurred when Islanders goalie Billy Smith made a save, and the rebound was passed by an opposing player out of the zone and all the way into an empty net. Since Smith was the last Islander to touch the puck, he was credited with the goal. In the 1989 playoffs Hextall did it again, becoming the first goalie ever to score in the playoffs in any fashion.)
In his first season Hextall led the Flyers to the 1987 Stanley Cup finals. Despite major injuries they took the Edmonton Oilers -- at their peak with Gretzky, Messier, etc. -- to seven games. Hextall, despite being on the losing team, won the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoffs MVP. After the final game, the late Tom Mees of ESPN interviewed Hextall in the locker room just as Hextall was undressing. Unfortunately for Hextall, the clip lives on thanks to YouTube. Watch for yourself -- as Ryan Seacrest would say, after the break! :smile:
Watch the shadow on the wall to the left of Mees at the very beginning. You see Hextall disrobing just as Mees begins the interview. Then the camera pans back to show Hextall, and veers dangerously close to a view that would make Janet Jackson's nipple seem like nothing.
Hextall manages to get a towel around him by the end of the interview, but the damage is done. -- Joe Guckin