One and Done is a (hopefully) ongoing series exploring the players who had the quickest of cups of coffee with the team. The players that played in one game, and one game only, for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
For the first time in this series we have a player that played multiple games in the NHL. Doug Littman only played in one game for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but did manage to appear in two other games for the Buffalo Sabres, the team that originally drafted him in 1987.
According to Littman, who penned a series of blogs for the Hockey News, he was called up to Buffalo for the first time when the team's starting goaltender suffered a back injury. That goaltender – Darren Puppa. After spending most of his time in the minors he signed on a free agent with the Lightning in their inaugural season.
He had a solid season for their farm team, the Atlanta Knights. He was recalled on March 21st of 1993 on the same day the Lightning were officially eliminated from the playoffs. He would get a start two days later. The start did not go well.
The Lightning were struggling to the finish line in their first season. When Littman took the ice in East Rutherford, New Jersey to face the Devils that night the team was mired in a seven-game losing streak and sported a last place record of 21-47-5 (yes Virginia, there were things called tied games back then).
Littman would not stop that streak. The Devils scored early and often in racking up a 9-3 win. The young goalie from Rhode Island surrendered 7 goals in just over 45 minutes of play, but the brutal beating wasn't necessarily all his fault. As he told the Lakeland Ledger, "They scored on all their good chances....I wasn't beat from the outside until the seventh goal". Coach Terry Crisp also supported his young netminder by telling the paper, "Littman had a rough go, but he had no support".
He would never play in another NHL game after that night in New Jersey. It left him with the dubious distinction of having the highest Goals Against Average in team history (9.24) and the lowest Save Percentage (.667). He would play in the minors for several more seasons bouncing between the AHL, ECHL and IHL. In 1998-99 he had an outstanding year for the Orlando Solar Bears where he posted 32 wins in 55 games. Sadly, a knee injury would force him to retire a year later.
While younger fans might not remember him from his one game with the Lightning, they might be more familiar with his post-career work with EA Sports. For the last 14 years he has been a producer for the NHL series of the popular video game. Littman got his start with the company by being a game tester. That's right, he sat in a room and played video games all day long looking for issues that needed to be worked out. After that he worked his way up in the chain until becoming executive producer.
Perhaps one of his most interesting contributions to the video game franchise was partly responsible for the change that included women in the game. After reading a letter from 14-year-old Lexi Peters who was frustrated that the player create mode only allowed gamers to create male characters, Littman received from permission from the NHL and EA sports to change that. With the NHL12 release, users could now choose between male and female templates when creating a player. As a nod to Ms. Peters, the default female player was based on her features.
As Lightning fans are well aware, the only woman to appear in an NHL game was Manon Rheaume. She first appeared in an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues prior to the 1992-93 season. After that she signed with the Atlanta Knights in the IHL. She would play in two games that season. The first came in December against Salt Lake City. She started the second period of the game, stopping three shots and allowing one goal.
The goalie that she replaced? David Littman.
Does he have any Lightning hockey cards?
Do I own it?