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Let's put this myth to bed, please

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In an otherwise solid article about Jeff Finger, Adrian Dater says this: "In his first NHL game last season, after parts of four seasons in the minor leagues, Finger was on the ice for a goal-against on his first shift against Calgary. It makes for a great story - a long-time minor leaguer finally gets his break, gives up a goal on his first shift, but then goes +11 for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, it's wrong.

It was started by Peter McNab. McNab made a comment after the goal that he thought it was Finger's first shift. As Finger improved in subsequent game, McNab repeated that "fact", giving the myth some additional legs. The fact that Finger went for a long stretch without allowing another goal only made the anecdote more interesting.

So, let's nip this in the bud now before Finger has to start explaining to his grandkids that it was all a mistake. On February 20th, Finger's first NHL game, Tony Amonte scored at 9:31 of 1st period. Jeff Finger was on the ice for that goal. But it wasn't his first shift - it was his 3rd. He and Ossi Vaananen were out there for a very short shift around the 3 minute mark, a shift that ended when Ben Guite was called for high sticking at 3:20. He also appears to have been on an even shorter shift at the 8:29 mark - with he and Vaananen coming on (with Stastny, Hejduk and May) for a faceoff in the Flame's zone after Calgary iced the puck. The shift last only 5 seconds, getting whistled down for a puck in the netting, and Ken Klee came on to replace Finger (play by play is here). His next shift, his 3rd of the game, was the one where Amonte scored. It may have been his first lengthy shift, but it wasn't the first one of his career.

Oh, and in case the shift chart isn't good enough, I also mention that was his 3rd shift in my recap. I think we can safely say that this myth is BUSTED.