Islanders: Reliving the dirtiest play in franchise history
It was 27 years ago today that Dale Hunter ran New York Islanders Pierre Turgeon in one of the dirtiest plays in NHL history.
In 1993, the New York Islanders were up 3-2 in their first-round matchup against the Washington Capitals with game six being played on the Island. Ten minutes into the third period the Islanders went up 4-1 thanks to a beauty goal by Travis Green who raced down the wing and beat Beaupre five-hole.
Less than two minutes later, while the Isles faithful regaled the Capitals with “Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye” center Dale Hunter tried to get the puck up to a forward but found only Pierre Turgeon on the forecheck.
Turgeon buried the puck past
to make the score 5-1 and all but assure that the Islanders would take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the following round. But before anyone could celebrate Turgeon’s goal chaos ensued after a dirty play by Dale Hunter.
Dirty Dirty Play
As Turgeon raised his hands to the skies to celebrate, Dale Hunter rammed Turgeon into the boards.
An absolutely disgusting play by a dirty (but good) player. Hunter would get 15 minutes of penalties on that play with a game misconduct and a check from behind major.
The hit separated Turgeon’s shoulder. Turgeon wouldn’t return to the game and in fact, he wouldn’t return until game seven of the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins 16 days later. He also missed the opening game against the Canadiens in the Conference Finals
Hunter would also be suspended 21 games at the start of the 1993-94 season for the hit. The longest for an on-ice incident at the time.
It was, and still remains one of the dirtiest and gutless plays to ever happen in the NHL. It’s also one of the contributing factors as to why a player like Dale Hunter with 1,020 points and 3,566 penalty minutes isn’t in the Hall of Fame.
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Now, to his credit, Hunter called Turgeon and expressed his regret about the incident the very next day. It doesn’t make up for the play, but it at least shows Hunter wasn’t a complete monster even if he lost his mind for a split second.