Tom Reid may be the only NHL player to ever try to decline an opportunity at a penalty shot.
The date was Oct. 14, 1971 and Reid's Minnesota North Stars were playing the Montreal Canadiens. When Reid was awarded a penalty shot after he was tripped by Canadiens defenseman Guy Lapointe, he basically told the referee thanks but no thanks.
The odds weren't exactly in Reid's favor. In 86 games with the Chicago Blackhawks prior to joining the North Stars, Reid, a rugged defenseman, did not score a goal, and the Canadiens' goaltender was future Hall of Fame member Ken Dryden.
Reid told the referee he didn't want to take it, an act of defiance supported by North Stars coach Jack Gordon.
"We went back to the bench and I didn't tell Jack Gordon what was happening," Reid said. "[The referee] came over and said, 'Come on Jack, he's got to get set up here. Tom's got a penalty shot.' Jack looked at him, looked at me and looked back at him and said, 'Does he have to take it?'"
Reid had no choice. He not only took it, he scored the only penalty shot goal Dryden ever allowed.
"I went in there and I was fortunate," Reid said. "It was one of those things. I took the shot and fortunate for me and unfortunate for Ken it went in. We tied the game and it was a final, 1-1. I went back to the bench and I looked at Jack and said, 'Jack, was there ever any doubt in your mind?' He looked at me and pulled his hat down and looked the other way. It was a fun time."
Reid, part of the Minnesota Wild's radio broadcast team since their inaugural season in 2000, is planning on having more fun when he helps coach North Stars and Wild alumni on Feb. 20 for the 2016 NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game at TCF Bank Stadium. Reid will join Lou Nanne and Mike Ramsey behind the bench for the game against Blackhawks alumni one day before the Blackhawks and Wild compete in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (3:30 p.m., NBC).
North Stars and Wild alumni include Brad Bombardir, Neal Broten, Andrew Brunette, Dino Ciccarelli, Darby Hendrickson, Antti Laaksonen, Mike Modano, Bobby Smith and Wes Walz. Hall of Fame member Denis Savard and Jeremy Roenick are among alumni who will play for the Blackhawks.
"We have a good cast of characters," Reid said. "I'm looking forward to Mike Modano coming here, too. He's one of those guys who should bring a lot of energy and a lot of smiles to the faces of people here."
Reid played 690 NHL games with the Blackhawks and North Stars before retiring in 1978. The North Stars relocated to Dallas in 1993 and became the Dallas Stars, but the state of Minnesota has embraced the histories of the North Stars and Wild.
"We had some wonderful, wonderful years here from '67 to '93 when the team left," Reid said. "The Wild have done a terrific job of trying to associate with the North Stars alumni over the years and certainly have, especially in the last few years, really put their arms around the North Stars alumni players who still live in the area, which is quite a few."
The Stadium Series will be the first NHL regular-season game to be played outdoors in Minnesota.
"Hopefully the weather will cooperate," Reid said. "I understand if you look at the long-range forecast it should be in the 30s, which should be OK. I think people here are hardy enough to be able to withstand some of the cold. I think everyone is pretty excited about what's happening here, probably will sell out TCF Bank Stadium, and there should be a good smattering of fans not only from current team but a lot of those fans from years past."
It's been a struggle of late for the current Wild. Minnesota has lost five straight, is 1-9-1 in its past 11 games, and is three points behind the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche for a wild card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Wild have scored 18 goals in those 11 games and need contributions on offense from slumping forwards Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund and Thomas Vanek; the latter was a healthy scratch before a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
The Wild face the Stars at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday in the first of a three-game homestand (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).
"They just have to work through it," Reid said. "There's not a lot of help coming in from the outside at this point. Right now some of our guys are having a hard time just putting the puck in the net. Of course, that weighs on them so much. They want to do well. It's not that they're not trying. They're a little bit tight right now and hopefully that will change.
"I've never seen a team where so many good quality players have gone so cold point wise. You need your big guys to be your big guys."