Throwback Thursday: Brian Boucher Gets His Cage Rattled
The 1999-2000 NHL season was a coming out party for Brian Boucher. Riding high from a phenomenal rookie season, he was named the starting goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers heading into the playoffs. After finishing his junior career with the Tri-City Americans, and spending two full seasons with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Phantoms, the former 22nd overall pick was finally ready for the big time.
The move to anoint him as the starter proved to be a very good choice, as he led the Flyers on an improbable run. They easily handled the Buffalo Sabres in round one, and defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in round two – which included the famous five-overtime game that was won by Keith Primeau.
In the Eastern Conference finals, the Flyers were matched up against the heavy-hitting New Jersey Devils, and Boucher continued to stand on his head.
In game six of that series, Scott Gomez unleashed a wicked shot that struck Boucher in the mask. He immediately fell to the ice and threw his blocker off, instantly signaling that something had gone wrong. When he arose, the TV broadcast zoomed in on his mask and revealed something that was not quite right. No, he wasn’t bleeding. The puck had become lodged in the cage of his mask!
Luckily Boucher was not harmed by the shot, but he was clearly a bit startled by the fact that a puck was able to make it partway through the cat-eye cage. This clip always brings up the conversation about the safety of cat-eye cages, that have since been banned in Canada – but not at the professional level.
Boucher would have to use his Phantoms backup mask for the rest of the game, which the Flyers would go on to lose 2-1. Unfortunately, the Devils would go on to win that series in the seventh game, and eventually the Stanley Cup.
But Boucher? He’s just thankful that Gomez’s shot didn’t damage his eye, and he was able to go on and have a very successful 13-year NHL career.
Watch the full clip below: