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MOLLER GOES FROM SHOOTING PUCKS INTO BENCHES TO STANDING BETWEEN THEM

by Chris Ryndak / Buffalo Sabres
Randy Moller and Rip Simonick (Credit: Brian Duff)

Randy Moller spent parts of three seasons in Buffalo from 1992-94, picking up 25 points in 126 games. In 1993-14, he finished third on the team in penalty minutes with 154. Rob Ray (274) and Brad May (171) were the only two players ahead of him.

The former defenseman's most famous stat, however, appears to be his claim that he once led the League in firing the puck into his own bench.

“It was a very distinguished career in Buffalo,” he joked.

Moller now serves as the Vice President of Broadcasting for the Florida Panthers and is in his first season as a TV analyst for Fox Sports Florida. He’ll be on the Panthers broadcast during Thursday night’s game between Florida and Buffalo.

“It took me almost eight years to ruin the radio broadcast. We’ll see how long it takes me to ruin the TV broadcast,” he told Sabres Hockey Hotline on Wednesday.

By Thursday morning, he jokingly predicted it would take six games to “ruin” that TV broadcast. He’s now parked between the benches for all of the Panthers home games and about 20 road games this season.

It’s a different look for him and a welcome change after he’d been calling games – with signature goal calls featuring movie lines and song lyrics – from up in the press box.

“I’ll tell you what, it’s surreal down there – how big these guys are now and how quick the game is and how quick these plays develop,” he said. “I’m really enjoying covering the game from that position.”

Reflecting on his time in Buffalo during the morning skate Thursday in Sunrise, Fla., shooting the puck into his own bench became a big topic of conversation.

During one game in Buffalo, he remembers coach John Muckler gathering the players around the bench and looking right at him during a TV timeout.

“‘Moller, if you ice the puck one more time, you’re not playing,’” he recalled Muckler saying.

“So then the faceoff comes back into our zone and no kidding, it comes back to me. I take the puck and I fire it right into our bench like you throw a hand grenade. The guys on the bench are just killing themselves laughing.

“Everybody goes back towards the bench and I keep circling back in our zone because Muckler’s looking and he wants to kill me – just absolutely kill me. I won’t come off the ice and the guys are killing themselves on the bench.”

He remembers a game on Feb. 23, 1994 in Anaheim just as fondly.

“I come around the corner around the net and I’m going to try to make a long pass up to the wing. And honestly, it wasn’t my fault,” he said.

“All of a sudden, the puck just sails and it went right into the bench. But at the end of the bench, it hit the sticks and the sticks just all went flying. There were sticks everywhere. So then Rip Simonick – I come off the ice – and he just looks at me.”

There was also the moment during a game when he shot the puck into the bench and defenseman Gord Donnelly looked like he was going to catch it.

But at the last second, Donnelly put his glove down and the puck hit then-assistant coach John Tortorella in the mouth, breaking his jaw. He didn’t leave the bench and continued to coach.

“Tortorella never talked to me for two months,” Moller said.

Maybe it was because Tortorella was mad at Moller. Maybe it was because Tortorella literally couldn’t talk.

“But you know what? I always was able to clear the zone,” he said.

So if clearing the zone was an official stat, he probably would’ve led the League in that category as well. At least by Moller’s own accord.

-Additional reporting by Brian Duff

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