We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Faceoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Blackhawks raise their 6th Stanley Cup Banner on October 7th season opener against the New York Rangers.
We have finally after almost a week ran into a Chicago Blackhawks jersey number that has been worn for our Countdown to the 6th banner raising in Chicago Blackhawks history.
The #72 has been worn once in Chicago Blackhawks history and it wasn’t for an extended period of time. John Tonelli was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks as a free agent in the summer of 1991.
His stay in Chicago wasn’t very long. Here are his career stats while wearing #72 with the Chicago Blackhawks.
John Tonelli‘s Career
Game Winning Goals-1
Tonelli was traded to the Quebec Nordiques on February 18, 1992 where he would play his final 19 games of his very distinguished NHL career. Tonelli was a legend with the New York Islanders being a part of their 4 straight Stanley Cup Championships to open up the 1980’s.
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Since Tonelli’s greatest days were with the New York Islanders I reached out to the team at Islanders Insight for their take on his career. Thomas Henderson from Islanders Insight was nice enough to send us his view of Tonelli’s career in New York!
John Tonelli was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 2nd round, 33rd overall, of the NHL Amateur draft. The two-time All Star’s “crowning” moment with the Islanders came on May 24th, 1980, when he assisted Bobby Nystrom’s overtime cup clinching goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, but the gritty forward contributed to other significant moments during the Islanders’ dynasty run of four consecutive Stanley Cups as well.
In 1982, the fourth place Chicago Blackhawks were one of three teams to eliminate their first place rival in the opening round of the NHL playoffs. The Blackhawks (72 pts) eliminated the Minnesota North Stars (94 pts) three games to one in the Norris Division semi-finals. Amazingly, on April 13, 1982, the fourth place Pittsburgh Penguins were less than three minutes away from eliminating the first place and two time defending Stanley Cup Champion New York Islanders in the Patrick Division semi-finals. A Penguins victory would have made it a clean sweep for all four fourth place teams. After Islanders’ defender Gord Lane innocently cleared a puck into the Penguins’ end that skipped over Randy Carlyle’s stick, Tonelli swarmed in and sniped a shot passed Pittsburgh goalie Michel Dion. Tonelli put an exclamation point on the dramatic late game tying goal by scoring the game winner in the first overtime. These are still two of the biggest goals in the history of the New York Islanders.
Earlier that season, the Islanders found themselves in pursuit of a 52 year old NHL record as they faced off against the Colorado Rockies with a chance to win their 15th consecutive game. The contest was tied with one minute left in the third period and with no overtime period it looked like the Islanders were going to fall short of a record the team wanted desperately. Bryan Trottier lead one final charge down the ice and fed a pass to Tonelli as the crossed the blue line. Tonelli ripped a shot between the pads of former Islanders’ goalie Chico Resch and absolute mayhem ensued in New York.
Thanks again to Thomas Henderson and the team at Islanders Insight for this look into Tonelli’s career!
72 short days until the next Chicago Blackhawks banner is raised!