Today, longtime San Jose Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan announced his retirement from the NHL.The 37-year-old defenseman played for five NHL teams in his sixteen-year career, but is best known for his two stints with the Sharks (who originally picked him as the 23rd first-rounder in the 1997 entry draft). I know you non-fans out there probably get impatient reading lots of statistics. So, I will show you the top reason why Sharks devotees, defense enthusiasts, and sports viewers in general should remember Hannan fondly (along with fellow defenseman Kyle McLaren, forward Mark Smith, and goalie Vesa Toskala). It’s a moment that I was lucky enough to witness in person (though at the time I was so nervous that I thought I would become physically ill). In Round Two, Game Two of the 2006 Western Conference playoffs, the Sharks faced a 5 on 3 penalty kill against the Edmonton Oilers. “Epic” doesn’t begin to describe the following two-minute sequence, I assure you:
Over the years, I’ve managed to meet Smith (an excellent songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, by the way, though that’s a post for another time) and McLaren at various events, so I was able to thank them for this amazing play. (McLaren smiled and told me that most fans mention this penalty-kill sequence to him, all these years later. Smith chuckled and confessed that he was pretty nervous at the time, too.) Since I’ve never met Hannan, I’ll have to make do with this blog post. Good luck to you, Scott Hannan, and many thanks for all you’ve done for Team Teal!