NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Goaliefest

45 saves for Tim Thomas

The goaltenders took center stage on Tuesday, as the NHL action was sparked by some serious defensive numbers:

-585 total saves
-Three shutouts (each with fewer than three total goals)
-Nine goalies with 30 or more saves (two with at least 45)
Here are some of the highlights:

1. Down to the Wire
In the NHL, it’s rare to stop all 39 official shots that get thrown your way- and still get tacked with the loss. Just ask Panther goalie Alexander Auld, who had a monster game against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night, going 39-for-39 on save opportunities to earn a shutout in the stat books. Sometimes, though, posting a perfect save percentage just isn’t enough to win you the game. Montreal’s Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu both got the puck by Auld in the shootout period, and gave Habs netminder Cristobal Huet his second shutout of the year. This was only the second time in NHL history that a goalie posted a shutout and received the loss. Huet was outsaved by his counterpart on the opposite side of the ice, but still had an amazing game in his own right with 36 saves. It was Florida’s fourth straight loss, as the Panthers remain at the pit of the Southeast Division.

2. Terminator Tim
Boston Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas stopped 45 pieces of vulcanized rubber from Toronto sticks on Tuesday night, only letting one puck hit the twine behind him. Unlike Alex Auld, Tim’s career night actually ended with a win, as the Bruins’ offense clicked to the tune of four goals. Thomas picked the right time to come up big, as last-place Boston is barley clinging to relevance. Tim’s comments, from the AP:
“We’re fighting to get back into the race. We had a meeting this morning and Coach [Dave Lewis] said this was the closet thing we’ve had to a playoff game. To get to the playoffs we have to beat teams like the Maple Leafs. He basically challenged us.”
If the Bruins want any chance at playing in the postseason, they’re going to need Tim Thomas to answer the challenge as he did on Tuesday.

3. Olaf the Great
Tuesday’s saves leader was Washington’s Olaf Kolzig, who fell a measly two saves short of the half-century mark. Ollie went 48-for-50 on save opportunities, and the Capitals’ offense banged home five goals for the victory. It snapped a six-game skid for a second-to-last Caps club, as a potent offensive attack was able to get red-hot Tampa goalie Johan Holmqvist pulled from the game in the second period. Five different players tallied scores for Washington, including last year’s Calder Memorial Trophy winner, Alexander Ovechkin (granted, it was an empty netter- but Ovechkin is Ovechkin, so it is newsworthy all the same).

Check It Out
Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail reminds us of just how similar rookie Paul Stasny is to his dad. His dad Peter earned a reputation for being a go-to guy, which is part of the reason why he stands in the Hall Of Fame today. Paul, a college hockey powerhouse Denver University alum, is off to a good start in the pros with Colorado: through 24 games, he has six goals and thirteen assists.

Game of the Night: San Jose at Minnesota
Sharks have won five of last six games

The Last Shot
Yesterday in Bethlehem, New York, a new YMCA opened–featuring an NHL-sized hockey rink. It is the second YMCA in New York to showcase a pro-sized ice sheet, and the Y would be smart to continue with the trend. Out here in the Rockies, we have several YMCA’s- and to our knowledge, no hockey rinks are to be found. The twelve million swimming pools that are found within one YMCA would get quite a bit more use if they were frozen over.


Nov 22 in Sports History: Before Mike Tyson went insane

Devil on his shoulder

In 1986: Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at 20 years old after he knocked out Trevor Berbick. Tyson, like he did to many fighters early in his career, made quick work of Berbick (who in an odd piece of trivia was Muhammed Ali’s last opponent), knocking him out in the second round. After winning the WBC title from Berbick, Tyson went on to become the undisputed heavyweight champion the following year by claiming the rest of the alphabet soup titles. Berbick, sadly, quickly declined after the Tyson fight and was recently murdered in Jamaica. (

In 1917: The National Hockey League was formed as a result of the disbanding of the National Hockey Association. Charter members included the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Arenas and Quebec Bulldogs. It didn’t get off to a great start, as the Bulldogs dropped out of the league before playing a game; while the Wanderers played six games before their home arena burnt down. The Arenas won the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. The next season was tougher on the fledgling NHL, as only three clubs fielded teams and the Stanley Cup Finals were cancelled after five games due to an influenza outbreak that killed Canadiens defenseman Joe Hall. (

In 2003: The Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers played the first outdoor game in NHL history. The game was played at the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos’ Commonwealth Stadium. 57,167 fans braved the well-below zero temperatures to witness two historical games. First, an exhibition called the Mega Stars game featured Oilers versus Canadiens greats, including Wayne Gretzky (who suited up in blue and orange for the first time since being traded in 1988) and Mark Messier for Edmonton. In the night cap, the NHL squads played an official game, with the Canadiens prevailing 4-3 on a late Richard Zednik goal. It was so cold that most players had to wear thermal underwear and ski caps under their equipment. (

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Anyone up for a shootout?

John Madden

1. Shootout Spectaculars

  • New Jersey defeated Carolina 3-2: The Devils got revenge for being booted from the playoffs by defeating the Hurricanes on Tuesday night. New Jersey’s John Madden scored the game-winning goal in the sixth round of the shootout, sending his team to a 3-2 win and helping the Devils to winning four of their last five games.
  • Montreal defeated Edmonton 3-2: Alex Kovalev scored the game-winning goals for the Canadeins in the shootout, making sure the Canadeins stay in the thick of things in a crowded Northeast Division – currently they’re in third, ix points behind division leader Buffalo. With the victory, Montreal has won three of its last four games.

2. MacInnis Back with Blues
Longtime St. Louis Blues defenseman Al MacInnis has decided to break out of retirement, but not to get back on the ice. Instead he’ll work in the front office, as the vice president of hockey operations for a Blues team that is on the decline (they missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1979). Al was a 13 time all-star with Calgary and St. Louis. He won the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, and racked up a Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) to go with it. In 1999 he won the James Norris Trophy for best defenseman in the league. His last season in professional hockey came in 2004, as a member of the St. Louis Blues.

3. Higgins Hurting
The Montreal Canadeins suffered a mighty blow Tuesday when they learned that their star left winger Chris Higgins would be out for a month and a half. Higgins has a partially torn ligament in his left ankle, which he suffered on Saturday in a game against the New Jersey Devils. Higgins is the team leader in goals (8) and points (13). A first round draft pick in 2002, it looks like he has finally reached his potential in professional hockey, and that could be huge for the Canadeins own the stretch.

Check It Out’s Shawn Roarke explains the USHL’s impact on NHL Entry Drafts, and looks at some players from several leagues who will be competing in the USA Junior Hockey Jamboree, a junior hockey all-star event taking place next week. It’s nice to see some of these developmental leagues get some pull from the media – without the USHL’s of the world, we wouldn’t have a lot of the NHL stars that we do today.

Game of the Night: Ottawa at Atlanta
Sens trying to avoid first five game losing streak since 1996

The Last Shot
In a meeting between NHL general managers that lasted several hours, it was determined that the NHL’s unbalanced schedule (see yesterday’s “Check It Out”) will most likely remain for at least one more year… that’s a real bummer, because nobody will be seeing a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals unless it ends up coming in the Stanley Cup Finals – hard to determine the best team in hockey with only one series.

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Early season payback

1. Sweet Revenge
In a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Montreal Canadiens squared off with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. Goaltender Cristibal Huet was rock-solid in net, making sure that it wasn’t a playoff repeat for the Hurricanes. He lead them to a 4-0 victory, dropping Carolina’s record to an underwhelming 6-6-2. It was Huet’s first shutout of the season, and it couldn’t have come against a more ideal opponent. Coming off of their Stanley Cup season, the Hurricanes are now 0-3-1 against all of the Easterrn Conference teams they defeated in the playoffs.

2. #450
Florida Panthers coach Jacques Martin reeled in his 450th career victory on Thursday night, leading his team to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He became just the 13th coach in NHL history to reach the milestone. Martin, who also happens to be the General Manager of the Panthers, has worked for St. Louis, Colorado, and Ottawa in his professional career; he picked up a Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche organization in 1996.

3. Sabres Stay Hot
As the Boston Bruins found out last night, the Buffalo Sabres are never really out of the game. Buffalo overcame a 4-1 deficit with just 8:49 remaining in regulation to eventually win it in a shootout, 5-4. Maxim Afinogenov scored the second and third goals of the night for Buffalo, trimming the Bruin lead to one with only 2:30 left in the game. Less than a minute later, at the 1:35 mark, Ales Kotalik tied the score at four apiece. The Sabres would eventually roll out of Boston with a victory, improving their record to a miraculous 11-0-1 on the year. Even with the win, Buffalo’s Daniel Briere had his league high 10-game point streak snapped.

Check It Out
Former Islander co-owner Sanjay Kumar is not a happy camper right now – he’ll be spending the next 12 years behind bars for accounting fraud.

Game of the Night: Dallas at Edmonton
Dallas: Off to best start in franchise history (10-2-0).

The Last Shot
Last night, the Red Wings defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 for their fifth straight victory.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Nov 1 in Sports History: Groundhog Day for Byung-Hyun Kim

Bad case of deja-vu

In 2001: How would you feel if you gave up an improbable, game-tying, eventual series-tying, heart-wrenching, expletive-inducing homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning of a World Series game with millions watching? How would you feel if it happened again almost 24 hours to the minute? Ask Byung-Hyun Kim, who fell victim to the Yankees again in the bottom of the ninth of Game 5 in New York in almost exactly the same fashion as the night before. This time, third baseman Scott Brosius did the honors with the Yankees trailing 2-0 in their last at-bat. Kim’s blank stare was replayed just as much as Brosius’ amazed, arms-in-the-air celebration. Once again, the game went into extra innings and well past midnight (don’t they all nowadays?); and once again the Yankees won it, taking a 3-2 Series lead back to the desert.

In 1959: Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens became the first full-blown sissy-girl in the NHL. Ah, we kid, we kid here. Plante was actually the first smart goaltender in the NHL to regularly don a facemask for protection. After he was nearly decapitated by a shot from New York Rangers’ hall of famer Andy Bathgate, Plante returned to the Madison Square Garden ice with the plastic headgear amid taunts, jeers and the objections of his coach Toe Blake, who felt the mask impaired his vision. The Canadiens won that game 3-1 and 10 of their next 11, so the mask stayed. The Canadiens also later captured their fifth consecutive Stanley cup behind the girly goalie (we kid again…sort of). (

Colorado Avalanche

Let’s Play: Which STD did Jose Theodore get from Paris Hilton?

Ahhhh Paris Hilton, ruining yet another life. This time, an NHL star. We believe this is the first time Paris has hooked up with a hockey player but when you make the rounds like she does, it’s only a matter of time.

Jose Theodore, who may or may not be balding or on steroids, was spotted holding hands and er… canoodling.. with Paris Hilton at a Toronto awards ceremony. Of course, anytime Paris gets a new man (so every 24 hours), the paparazzi are all over it and photos were in the press. His girlfriend/baby momma was none too pleased to find out about his affair and kicked him out of the house, ending their eight year relationship.

Good going Jose. You’ve been booted by your girlfriend who you recently had a daughter with and now you’re on your way to Colorado while they stay in Montreal. On top of that, you probably should get checked out at the local clinic for Herpes Simplex Ten. May we suggest using the name ‘Renard Montreal”?

[Toronto Star]: Theodore shut out by girlfriend
[CTV]: Theodore dumped over apparent Hilton tryst: report

NHL General

Flyers and Canadiens, you’re next on the tee

First, let’s talk about the Canadiens. They came out and gave the #2 seed quite a scare by beating them twice on the Carolina home ice. But ultimately, Carolina righted their ship and won the next four to send the Habs packing. Good season, Canadiens, no shame in losing to the Huricanes.

Next, we have the Flyers. A team that came out and showed no heart whatsoever in a home elimination game. After being down 5-0, they ultimately whimpered into the summer with a 7-1 defeat.

Like clockwork, the Flyers fold in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And, like clockwork, Flyers fans melt down about it. Here are some of the best quotes from Not for the easily offended.

bryboy7:”If anyone ever sees Petr Nedved in person………Kick him in the balls. As hard as you can. Just to see if he has any.”

Luzinski’s Gut: “Bunch of f*cking ****** ass ***** c*cksuckers. Dead men have more heart than these mouthbreathing sh*tf*cks.”

nitz: “They should have come out in short skirts and fishnets, because they’ve played like a buch of bit**es.”

nitz: “F**k this team. I’m going to go downloading porn. If I want to see someone get f***ed, I at least want it to be sexy.”

Man, we love meltdowns.