Eight records nobody wants

Jay Bouwmeester now has the dubious distinction of playing the most career games without reaching the postseason. (Resolute/Wikimedia Commons)

Jay Bouwmeester now has the dubious distinction of playing the most career games without reaching the postseason. (Resolute/Wikimedia Commons)

By: Tim Kolupanowich


With Calgary’s 2-1 loss in Minnesota on Tuesday, Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester broke Guy Charron’s mark to set the record for most career games without a playoff appearance. Having been in the NHL since 2002-03, the 2002 third-overall draft choice has now played 735 games without making the postseason. He played on Florida who made the playoffs last year for the first time in ten seasons until 2008-09. He was then traded to Calgary in the summer of 2009 for Jordan Leopold and a Round 3 draft pick in 2009 (Josh Birkholz) and has played there since the 2009-10 season, the year after their last playoff appearance.

For the record, the most games played before someone’s first playoff game is Bouwmeester’s former teammate Olli Jokinen. The Florida Panthers’ all-time leading scorer played 799 contests before playing in Chicago on April 16, 2009 in Game 1 of the Flames-Blackhawks conference quarterfinal series. The Flames bowed out in six games, the only playoff games Jokinen has played to date.

Here are some of the other records nobody wants, but somebody has to have.

Worst career plus-minus – Robert Stewart, minus-260

Robert Stewart, a defenseman from Charlottetown, P.E.I., was drafted 13th overall by Boston in 1970. He played eight games, registering a plus-8, for Boston in the 1971-72 season before being traded to the California Golden Seals with Reggie Leach and Rick Smith for Carol Vadnais and Don O’Donoghue. He would never see a plus rating again.

In 16 games for the Golden Seals that season, Stewart was a minus-11 bringing his season total down to a minus-8. In the next six seasons with the Seals/Barons franchise, the team averaged 20 wins and 313 goals against, scoring just 223 a year. Four times in that span Stewart was at least a minus-30 and in 1974-75 he set a career best for a full season with a minus-18. Stewart went to the Blues for the 1978-79 season and was traded the next year to Pittsburgh where he made his only playoff appearance in his final season.

Worst career winning percentage – Bernie Wolfe, 0.167

The Washington Capitals set the record for fewest wins with eight in their first season in 1974-75 and didn’t improve for a while after that. In their first eight seasons, their highest win total was 27 in 1979-80 and they failed to crack 20 in three of their first four years in the NHL. Bernie Wolfe was a goalie for the team in years two through five for the franchise, winning just 20 times in 120 appearances.

Wolfe set a career high of 40 games played in 1975-76, earning five of the Caps’ 11 wins. The next year was his best, going 7-15-9 with a 3.84 goals-against average. He won four games in each of the next two seasons playing 25 and 18 games, respectively, bring his career record to 20-61-21 with a 4.17 GAA and one shutout.

Most games before first goal – David Hale, 231 games

Defenseman David Hale was drafted by the New Jersey Devils with the 22nd pick in the 2000 draft, but it took him five years and 231 games to get his first goal. Hale spent his first two-and-a-half seasons with the Devils before being traded to the Flames during the 2006-07 season with a Round 5 pick in 2007 for Calgary’s Round 3 pick that same year. He spent the next season with the Flames before signing with Phoenix for the 2008-09 season.

His first goal came on November 26, 2008 in Columbus at 9:41 of the second period against Steve Mason on the 138th shot of his career. The goal tied the game at one and the Coyotes won 3-2. Hale would not have to wait nearly as long for his second goal, netting a goal against Calgary 13 games later. It may have taken a while, but at least Hale eventually score. Some have failed to net a goal at all, which brings us to…

Most career games without a goal – Steven Halko, 155 games

Steven Halko was drafted 225th overall in 1992 by the Hartford Whalers, spending the first four years after he was selected with the Univeristy of Michigan, playing in the NHL for the first time with Carolina during the 1997-98 season. The defenseman played 18 games that year and 20 the next season before getting into a career-high 58 in 1999-2000. Halko played 48 the next season, but just 11 the next two years, ending his career with the Lowell Lock Monsters of the American league.

At least Halko managed to get on the scoresheet with 15 assists, putting up a career high of eight in 1999-2000, as it gets worse…

Most career games without a point – Gord Strate, 61 games

Defenseman Gord Strate played parts of three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings in the late 1950s, playing a high of 45 in 1957-58, and never managed to find a way on the scoresheet. The next highest games played total for someone without a point is Frank ‘Frosty’ Peters who played 43 games for the 1930-31 New York Rangers without recording a point, although he did manage 59 PIM.

Highest career goals-against average (min. 50 games) – Gary Laskoski, 4.65

Gary Laskoski played 59 games for the Los Angeles Kings in the 1982-83 and ’83-84 seasons. He compiled a 19-27-5 record and allowed a total of 228 goals on 1,533 shots for a .851 save percentage. Overall the Kings allowed the third-most goals in 1982-83 (365) and ’83-84 (376). But that’s not the worst ever, just out of players with a significant number of games played.

Selected 232nd overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2004, Martin Houle played just one game with the big club and it could not have gone worse. He came in for Antero Niittymake during an 8-4 Flyers loss in Pittsburgh, facing three shots and letting up one in just 2:12 of ice time. It would be the only game Houle would ever play, leaving him with a career 27.27 GAA.

Most stitches in a career – Eddie Shore, 978

(Wikimedia Commons)

Eddie Shore (right) was one of the most ferocious characters ever to lace up skates. (Wikimedia Commons)

This isn’t a record there’s a lot of information on, but “The Unofficial Guide to Hockey’s Most Unusual Records” claims Shore received almost 1,000 stitches during his career. Shore, often regarded as one of the toughest players in NHL history, played 553 games for the Boston Bruins and New York Americans between 1926-27 and ’39-40, posting 105-179-284 with 1,037 PIM. He remains the only defenseman to win the Hart Trophy four times. One of the most famous incidents involving Shore was when teammate Billy Coutu ran the blueliner during practice his rookie season, severing his ear. Shore refused anesthetic so he could watch the doctor sew his ear back on and even made him change the last stitch so it wouldn’t leave a mark.

It’s surprising the record isn’t held by a goalie since they used to play without masks. Terry Sawchuk, third all-time in wins (447) and second in shutouts (103) received over 400 stitches in his career. Unfortunately, the same willingness to get in front of shots that helped him carve a career as one af the best goalies ever also helped carve up his face.

Most playoff games without a Stanley Cup – Dale Hunter, 186

Selected 41st by the Quebec Nordiques in 1979, Hunter was one of the biggest pests in history. He played 1,407 regular season games, posting 323-697-1,020 to go along with 3,563 PIM, the second-highest total of all-time. He played 19 seasons and missed the playoffs just once and while he had some pretty good runs, he never got to lift Lord Stanley.

Hunter spent the first seven years with Quebec, reaching the Wales Conference final in 1982 and 1985. He was traded to Washington in the summer of 1987 with Clint Malarchuk for Gaetan Duchesne, Alan Haworth and the Round 1 draft choice in 1987 that turned out to be Joe Sakic. In 11 full seasons with Washington, Hunter reached the second round five times, the conference final twice and made the only Stanley Cup final appearance of his career in 1998. The following season he was traded to Colorado where he played in his fifth conference final.

In 186 playoff games, Hunter posted 42-76-118 with 727 PIM. Unfortunately his postseason career is largely remembered for one play, when he checked Pierre Turgeon after he scored in the first round series-clinching game in 1993.


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