Remembering Michel Briere
Today’s research included a look back at the all-too-brief career of Pittsburgh Penguins center Michel Briere, one of only two Penguins players (along with Mario Lemieux) to have had his number retired.
Briere’s number is retired in memory of his one remarkable season with the Penguins in 1969-70. He was the team’s top rookie and scored the first playoff series-clinching goal in Penguins history. Everyone who saw him play swears he would have been an NHL superstar, and his huge numbers in junior, along with the fact that he jumped right to the NHL, suggest that was definitely the case.
I won’t go into the details of his story here, but you can find them on his HDC profile page. It’s very tragic, to say the least. This is the kind of research I don’t enjoy doing because it involves such sadness.
The other detailed bio posted today was for former All-Star goaltender Gilles Gilbert. A true playoff hero for the Bruins — even if he didn’t win the Stanley Cup — Gilbert was a very solid goalie whom I remember well from my earliest days as a hockey fan. He also holds a very impressive NHL record — most consecutive wins.
But there is a big problem with Gilbert’s record: It’s extremely misleading. When you see that record in the books, you assume Gilbert won 17 consecutive starts during the 1975-76 season. That wasn’t the case. Gilbert received wins in 17 consecutive decisions. This is very different from winning 17 straight starts, because Gilbert actually started 19 games during his “streak” and was pulled from the net in one of them. He got hurt in the other game, but his replacement got the decision (a tie). In the game when he was shelled — and should have lost his streak — the Bruins came back to tie it, and Gilbert’s replacement took the eventual loss. So the truth is that Gilbert holds an NHL record for consecutive victories, but not for victories in consecutive starts. The NHL should seriously consider revising this entry in the Guide and Record Book.
You can read the story of Gilbert’s somewhat dubious streak on his profile page.