“Everything is happening!”
Those are three immortal words from a legend of hockey broadcasting, and they very accurately describe the utter chaos that was the final game of Bob Cole’s illustrious career.
By the end of the overtime period between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, the forever rivals had fired 49 shots apiece at Frederik Andersen and Charlie Lindgren, and notched five goals each as well. For a man who has called so many incredible moments, this game may have seemed pedestrian by comparison, but for the fans listening at home, the familiar dulcet tones made it a truly special night all around.
Prior to last night, only seven skaters had ever scored a hat trick in their NHL debut, the most recent being Auston Matthews for the Maple Leafs. Ryan Poehling became the eighth, and did so in just 9:34 of ice time for Claude Julien’s side. Even more impressive is the fact that Poehling is the first Montreal player in 76 years to achieve the feat, Alex Smart was the previous Hab on that very exclusive list.
It’s only fitting that Bob Cole, a man who has seen so much history take place on the ice, got to witness one more small piece of it in his final game.
With the game on his stick in a shootout, Poehling gave reason for one final glorious call
“How about a chance for four,? Ryan Poehling, a standing O coming for him ... YES SIR!”
Poehling’s goal stood as the game-winner after Lindgren turned away one last Leafs shooter, and it was almost as storybook an ending you can have that involved a team not making the playoffs.
Bob Cole was the voice of hockey for generations of hockey fans, and while he wasn’t as sharp in the booth as he once was, he brought a special feeling to every game that he called. Finishing his career calling an Original Six showdown between the Habs and Leafs made the most possible sense, and the teams provided him with a barnburner. Capping it off with a debut like Poehling’s is just icing on the cake.
Farewell, Bob. The NHL won’t be the same without you on the call anymore.