The NHL has invested in player safety over the years by improving the quality of glass installed above the boards. Once a common occurrence, the glass-shattering hit rarely happens anymore. Here’s a recap of the top five glass-shattering hits in the NHL.
As a player, Canucks president Trevor Linden was the heart and soul of Vancouver hockey. Linden captained the team to a Stanley Cup appearance, also leading the Canucks in scoring for a few years. As a well-rounded two-way player, Linden could also lay down the boom, as witnessed by Jeff Norton.
Some players are content to land a big hit that rattles the glass. Other boast of the time they shattered the glass. As an Edmonton Oiler, Jim Vandermeer hit Tomas Kopecky hard enough to remove the entire pane at once, with the panel falling towards Tomas. Journeyman Jim Vandermeer made a name for himself through his physical play, leading to a long career with six NHL teams.
Adam Pardy bobbled the puck on a difficult play, causing the disc to slide into the corner behind his own net. He was probably annoyed that he gave up real estate to the Chicago Blackhawks, and didn’t expect his mistake to lead to an earth-rattling hit. Brandon Bollig tracked Pardy the entire way, using both of their momentums to slam into the boards.
The glass fell on Chicago Fans, who struggled to keep the panel from crushing them under the weight of the skirmish that followed.
Art Ross winners don’t usually have a hit as part of their highlight package, but Jamie Benn isn’t your typical winger. A power forward with sublime skill, Benn’s known to explode into opponents when the opportunity presented itself. Jamie didn’t hold back against Niklas Hjalmarsson of the Chicago Blackhawks, crunching the defenseman into the boards. Benn’s check was hard enough to shear the glass into large, sharp chunks, instead of shattering into tiny pieces.
The all-time finest glass-shattering hit was by noted strongman Milan Lucic when he was still with the Bruins. He lined up and threw his force into Mike Van Ryn of the Maple Leafs, and the glass exploded into an artful display of destruction. Indeed, the curve of the glass spray matched the upper body of Van Ryn, creating a shadow of glass when watching the hit in slow motion.