There’s little doubt that Steven Stamkos’ stick-throwing ejection wasn’t due to anything other than pure frustration at his stick breaking. However, rules are rules, and the Tampa Bay Lightning superstar given a misconduct and booted from the game in overtime.
Stamkos, however, isn’t the first player to show their frustration by pitching their stick away. He won’t be the last, either.
Whether it was a bad call, the anger resulting from defeat or simply disgust with yet another broken twig, there have been many stick-throwing incidents hockey. These are the five most infamous stick-throwing incidents:
5. Ilya Bryzgalov flings stick after goal against
Bryzgalov is to hockey what Yoda is to Star Wars. Prophetic, but in a way that makes you have to stop for a second and think about exactly what he’s saying. One of his most famous quotes comes from his first few years in the NHL, while he was a member of the Anaheim Ducks. “That’s hockey, you know. It’s only game,” said Bryzgalov. “Why you have to be mad?”
Well, fast forward a few years and Bryzgalov, then with the Coyotes, was the one who got caught up in the game. Following a goal by Edmonton’s Marty Reasoner, Bryzgalov tossed his stick hard against the boards, almost catching the referee in the head.
Sundin’s stick throw was only met with a one game ban, and it is one of the more blatant examples of a player being so fed up with a bad batch of sticks that a toss into the stands was the result.
During a game against the Nashville Predators, with Sundin in perfect position for a one-timer, he took a pass and his stick was sawed in half on the follow-through. Sundin then tossed the butt end into the Air Canada Centre stands.
As things go, however, when the chance came for rival Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson to mock Sundin’s frustration, he took the chance. You can check out Alfredsson’s shot at Sundin at the 42-second mark of this tribute.
3. Lithuanian players loses it after defeat
Of all the stick tosses on this list, this one is hands down the most vicious. The Sundin and Alfredsson stick tosses had a bit of humor to them, Bryzgalov’s was a narrow miss, but this Lithuanian player will have to live down this moment forever.
Following an international contest between Great Britain and Lithuania, which Great Britain won 3-2, Danielius Nomanovas lost his mind. He looked straight at the referee, reared back and let his stick fly. The helicoptering stick caught the referee square in the shoulder and, thankfully, he wasn’t seriously injured.
2. Tuuka Rask throws tantrum in the AHL
Rask is a world-class goaltender, but he also has a world-class temper. At no time has it been on better display than his infamous freak out following a shootout loss to the Charlotte Checkers while he was a member of the Providence Bruins.
After arguing the first goal scored on him was poke-checked off the stick of the Checkers shooter and that the second hit the crossbar, Rask lost his mind upon the Bruins’ loss. He skated to the referees and tried to plead his case. It fell on deaf ears, however, and Rask proceeded to make his point by smashing then throwing his stick and pitching a crate onto the ice.
1. Tom Webster gets 12-game ban for javelin throw
Webster had a great career in the WHA with the New England Whalers, 220 goals and 425 points in 352 games. He was even inducted into the WHA Hall of Fame in 2012. The most memorable moment of Webster’s career came during his coaching tenure in Los Angeles, though.
From 1989-90 until 1991-92, Webster was the bench boss of the Kings. On Nov. 16, 1991, following what he perceived to be an awful call by referee Kerry Fraser, Webster grabbed a stick from the bench and hurled it, javelin style, at Fraser.
What puts this in top spot is the style of throw and the perfect accuracy. Webster looks like an Olympic track athlete on the toss.
Sadly, that kind of pinpoint javelin accuracy didn’t keep Webster behind the bench. He was relieved of his duties following a first round loss in 1992.