Why the Fleury Flub is Not the Worst NHL Playoff Blunder of All-Time

Despite Friday's loss, Vegas look to even up the best-of-seven series tonight in Montreal

By the time you read this, dear friends, a replay of Marc-Andre Fleury's  puck-fumbling act will have been played about three million times. 

And it all comes out the same way; one of the all-time faux pas committed in National Hockey League playoff history.

Should -- and only if -- the Canadiens miraculously oust Vegas, then The Flower of Nevada will get my nanny award as All-Time NHL player goat.

For now, however, you should know that the Cup-costing blunder of forever was caused by the man after whom the Coach of the Year prize is named: The Jack Adams Award.

Here's the why and how of it.

During the 1942 Stanley Cup Final, the underdog Red Wings led the Maple Leafs three games to none and looked to win the Silverware in a four-match sweep.

So desperate was Toronto's coach Hap Day that he benched his leading scorer Gordie Drillon and top defenseman Bucko McDonald.

Drillon was replaced by an untried rookie Don Metz while McDonald's subs were rookies Bob Goldham and Ernie Dickens.

Miraculously, the Leafs rallied to win Game Four but not without incident. 

Coach Adams was notorious for his ultra-hot temper -- ironically his nickname was "Jolly Jawn" -- and railed throughout the contest over referee Mel Harwood's officiating. 

But that was just for starters.

When the final buzzer announced the Toronto victory, Adams leaped over Detroit Olympia's boards, charged at Harwood and leveled him with a right cross.

That spurred other Detroit cats to join in leading to a monstrous melee that eventually was subdued. 

Adams charge-of-the-heavy brigade did not win friends or influence NHL President Frank Calder who had held office for a quarter of a century.

The league's one and only head boss did what then was un-thinkable; he suspended Adams for the rest of the Cup Final. Ebbie Goodfellow, a Hall of Famer but now in his career twilight, would replace Adams.

As it happened, the Wings were a different team behind the Motor City bench. Meanwhile, the Leafs were galvanized by Detroit's negative chain of events.

They returned to Maple Leaf Gardens for Game Five and won again. Game Six at Olympia didn't faze Day's revived sextet. Toronto tied the series at three games apiece

The climactic Game Seven was the talk of Canada and produced the largest crowd ever to see a big-league hockey game to that point in time.

Although Detroit took the lead, Toronto rallied and won the finale -- and  The Stanley Cup -- on a goal by third-stringer Pete Langelle. 

Since that tourney 79 years ago no team reaching the Final ever won four straight games after being behind three games to none.

In a realistic sense, the '42 Leafs could thank Jack Adams for that. 

Had the Detroit coach maintained revolutionary decorum and not belted out referee Mel Harwood, he could have master-minded at least one of the next three games and very likely won a game.

But "Jolly Jawn" exploded; President Calder unloaded and the 1942 Maple Leafs remain renowned for the most outstanding Cup comeback  in playoff history!