On February 21, 2000, late in the third period, Marty McSorley took the last shot of his long and successful career. He wasn't shooting a puck at the net, dropping the gloves for one last brawl or even laying one more body check on an opponent. McSourley decided to do his best Jose Canseco impression and knock one out of the park. However he wasn't swinging at a ball, but instead at the head of Donald Brashear.
Marty McSorley was one of the toughest players during his time. He skated along side Wayne Gretzky for most of his career and was there anytime someone took a shot at the Great One. He lifted the Stanley Cup over his head twice, is number four all time in penalty minutes with 3,381 and even won an award for highest +/- during the 1990-91 season sharing that award alongside Theo Flurey with a +48 for the season. He wasn't known for being the dirty player that he was made out to be after the Brashear incident. He was one of the leagues top enforcers and took pride in his role and all of the teams he played for.
According to McSorley, Brasher was running his mouth all game and was taking cheap shots at the Bruins. The two fought earlier in the game where Brashear got the best of McSourley, but after the fight Brashear dusted his hands off to the crowd in a sign of disrespect. McSourley got a ten minute misconduct for cross-checking Brasher in retaliation for the act. While McSourley was in the penalty box, Brasher crowding the Bruins net, landed hard on goaltender Byron Dafoe's knee which ended his season. McSourley believed Brashear did it on purpose because he was taking liberties on his teammates all night. Later on in the game Brasher skated by the Bruins bench taunting and flexing his muscles. Coach Pat Burns told his team not to put up with Brashear's antics and that they needed to do something about it. With a minute left in the game McSorley was sent out to fight Brashear. Brashear continued to deny McSorley's attempts to drop the gloves. With three seconds left in the game McSorley skated behind Brashear and swung his stick at Brashear's head. While falling to the ice Brashear hit his head knocking him out suffering an major concussion.
McSorley said he was trying to hit Brashear in the shoulder to get his attention and irritate him enough to drop the gloves. McSorley says there is no way he was swinging for his head and that his stick rode up when he was trying to get Brashear to retaliate. Whether or not he was going for a head shot, the incident earned him a season ending suspension. A jury found McSorley guilty with assault with a weapon and sentenced him to 18 months of probation. It would prove to be the last NHL game Marty McSorley would play. He was a hard nosed player who would stick up for any teammate without second thinking. After all of the time he put into this league he will always be remembered for his poor judgement taking Brashear down the the ice with his stick.
Marty Mcsorley clubs Donald Brashear - full brawl and prelims (via hockeybooks)