Sports Outside the Beltway

Anaheim Duck Teemu Selanne scores 600th goal

The Finn has the most goals of any active player. From AP-

Teemu Selanne can finally exhale. His 600th goal is in the books, with four home games to spare in what likely will be his final NHL season.Teemu Selanne2

Selanne became the 18th player in NHL history to reach the milestone, scoring 34 seconds into the second period during a power play in the Anaheim Ducks’ 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.

“I was a little nervous that if it didn’t happen tonight, it might not happen here at all,” Selanne said. “It’s great, but it’s way more special happening at home. So I’m very happy about that. It was a big relief for me, for sure.”

Selanne is the fourth player to reach the milestone in the last four seasons, along with Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan and Joe Sakic. All but one member of the 600-goal club have joined that exclusive fraternity since Nov. 23, 1988, when Wayne Gretzky got the ball rolling just four days before the 23rd anniversary of Gordie Howe’s 600th.

“There are only 17 other guys that have done it before, and it’s a very unique, special group,” Selanne said. “You need a lot of luck, hard work and great players to play with. I have had all those things.”

The 39-year-old right wing from Finland, playing his 16th NHL season, scored on his fifth shot of the game while John-Michael Liles was off for hooking Matt Beleskey.

Selanne’s first NHL goal was scored in 1992. He is only the 3rd former Calder Trophy winner to get to 600 goals.

The Ducks improved their record to 34-29-8. It is unlikely they will make the playoffs.


Duck Hunter- Chicago beats Anaheim 4-2

Old friends ran into one another last night. From AP-

For the second straight game, the Chicago Blackhawks lost a key member of their defense because of a vicious check against the boards behind the net.Corey Crawford

To add insult to injury, Anaheim’s Saku Koivu scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period — just seconds after a blind-side cross-check by Corey Perry against defenseman Brent Sopel that easily could have been called interference. As a result, the Ducks won 4-2 Wednesday night and handed the Blackhawks their third straight loss — preventing them from tying idle San Jose for the Western Conference lead.


The play started when Lubomir Visnovsky’s shot from just inside the blue line was deflected high in the air, and Sopel was cross-checked to the ice by Perry as they waited for the puck to come down. Perry then got the puck to Koivu, whose 20-foot wrister beat Corey Crawford with 5:36 remaining.


Anaheim defenseman James Wisniewski knocked Brent Seabrook out of the game less than 2 1/2 minutes into the second period. Wisniewski began his NHL career with the Blackhawks before getting traded to the Ducks in March 2009.

He drove his ex-teammate into the glass behind the Chicago net with a vicious shot to the jaw, causing Seabrook’s head to strike the glass with enough force that it left him with a dazed expression a couple of seconds before he crumpled to the ice.

The injuries to Seabrook and Brian Campbell could seriously harm the Blackhawks’ post season chance. This team is not known for its stellar defense when healthy.

Here’s video of the hit.

IMHO what Alexander Ovechkin did to Brian Campbell was worse.

Chicago Goalie Corey Crawford was only just called up from the AHL and put into the lineup. He has some previous NHL experience.

Two seasons ago, Crawford beat the Ducks 3-0 at Chicago for his first NHL shutout. It came in his second career start

Curiously I blogged about that game in 2008. Crawford has a 2-3 lifetime record in the NHL and both wins have come against Anaheim. In light of how weak Chicago is at Goalie, I’m surprised they haven’t given Crawford whose been up and down with the team back to 2005-06, more of a chance.


Break time- Anaheim beats Edmonton 7-3

There will not be another NHL game for two weeks. From AP-

Ryan Getzlaf made a strong case to keep his spot with Team Canada, scoring twice and adding two assists in his first game back from a sprained left ankle to help the Anaheim Ducks beat Edmonton 7-3 on Sunday.Edm-ANa

Saku Koivu, Corey Perry, Scott Niedermayer, George Parros and Bobby Ryan also scored for Anaheim, which trails Calgary by two points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference as the NHL heads into the Olympic break.

Ryan Potulny, Ethan Moreau and Lubomir Visnovsky scored for the NHL-worst Oilers.

Getzlaf banged a rebound past Jeff Deslauriers off a scramble on a power play at 5:27 of the third period, then added another with the man advantage off a pass from Niedermayer with 3:02 left.

Before I saw this article, I had thought last night’s games was where NHL play halted. The Florida Panthers aren’t the barometer to measure the NHL by and I should know it.

The NHL’s trading deadline is March 3rd and while the Olympics are going on, there is trade ban in effect. IMHO there will be a lot of silent work resulting in a bunch of trades shortly after March 1st. Florida is definitely a seller but I just don’t know many quality Panthers are really available at this point. GM Randy Sexton says no one is untouchable but I believe that about as much as I do the team’s promises of a more successful franchise.

Note- Anaheim has 8 players participating in the Olympics. How will that affect the team’s performance when the Olympic break is over? Particularly against teams who are better rested. Anaheim is currently 30-25-7 and 2 points out of the last Western Conference playoff spot


Where are my earplugs?- Anaheim beats Florida 3-0

I attended the game in person tonight but I’ll use the AP article to lead off this blog post.

It took a swing through the Sunshine State for the Anaheim Ducks to salvage a 13-day road trip.Ana-FL

Jonas Hiller made 33 saves to earn his second shutout of the season, and the Ducks beat the Florida Panthers 3-0 on Monday night.

Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry each scored for the Ducks, who wrapped up the six-game trip and snapped Florida’s five-game winning streak at home.

Hiller’s other shutout this season came on Nov. 5 in a 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators. Hiller, who has six NHL shutouts, was coming off a 30-save effort in the Ducks’ 2-1 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.


Florida’s Tomas Vokoun stopped 22 shots. Vokoun was coming off his seventh shutout of the season, a 33-save performance in the Panthers’ 2-0 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday.


The Ducks went ahead 3-0 on Perry’s goal at 17:18 in the third. He scored with a slap shot from the right circle after taking a pass from Getzlaf from behind the net.

Selanne gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal in the final second of the second period. James Wisniewski’s shot ricocheted off the left post and hit Vokoun in the back, and Selanne then tipped in the loose puck.

After a scoreless first period, Getzlaf netted an unassisted goal at 15:17 into the second. He picked up the puck on a turnover by Keith Ballard and scored with a wrist shot from in front, beating Vokoun on his stick side.

Corey Perry scored the final goal of the game with under three minutes to go in the game. I was already out of my seat and getting ready to leave but saw the goal go in the net. Just prior to this the Panthers had two consecutive power plays, which overlapped one another for about 30 seconds resulting in a 5-3 for the cats. The score of the game tells you how Florida fared with those advantages.

Florida got thoroughly outplayed tonight. This was one of their worst home efforts of the 2009-10 season.

Now some random comments and occasional barbs related to my night out at the Bank Atlantic Center.

*- Tonight was my first visit to the BAC. In fact, I haven’t seen a professional team sporting event in person in almost 20 years.

It took me a while to find my way around the parking lots on arrival but did ok. On the way out, I found my car with ease and got out of the parking lots but headed in the wrong direction on the Sawgrass Expressway. South instead of north to Palm Beach County.

*- Food prices at sporting events is ridiculous. $6.00 for a hot dog. I can buy a package of buns and a 8 pack of hot dogs at the grocery store for less. 20 oz. Coke was a ‘cheap’ $5.50. If sodas were priced were priced the same amount times over hot dogs were, they would have been $10.00 or more tonight.

How does a family manage a night out at a game? Even with half off Monday, the family of three in my row had to cough up about $170 for their tickets. That doesn’t include food and anything else bought at the stadium. You better be upper middle class to go see a game or expect to make a car payment to see 60 minutes of hockey.

*- My seats were 6 rows behind(Section 102) the Panthers bench and almost right on center ice.

*- Now I know why Florida has a ticket promotion called ‘Half Off Mondays’. The BAC was only half full tonight.(Or worse)

That meant I had half a row to myself with no one seated on my right for 3 seats and only people seated on my left but with an empty seat between us.

*- Anyone attending a Panther game should bring earplugs. The BAC does what they call ‘Rock the Rink’. Loud Rock music that I could have done without. It blared incesantly all through the pre-game warmups.

*- Dumb rude fan moment of the night. A person in their twenties wanted to get out of my aisle. At the time I was standing up, he could have said excuse me and I would have moved. Instead he climbed down a row, stepping on a seat in the process. Wouldn’t you love to be the fan who had to sit there later on? NOT!

*- Should Panther fans forced to view the back of Peter DeBoer’s head all night get a discount on their tickets?

*- The Panthers have a team mascot named Stanley Panther. There’s a kids version, little stan or something. I got nothing against Mascots except they are blocking my view when the puck is in the opponent’s end of the ice. Get your big heads down!

*- One of the reasons I chose tonight’s game to attend, was the fact there was zero television coverage of it. As part of the imbecile deal the NHL made with the devil Versus, no other games are allowed to be aired during that Network’s ‘Game of the Week’.

*- BAC has a computer area where someone can check email etc before the game or during intermissions. I did exactly that between the first and second periods of play.

*- Anaheim Duck Teemu Selanne played tonight. Wasn’t he supposed to be out for over a month with a broken jaw?

*- The Florida Panther who came closest to scoring a goal tonight? Goalie Tomas Vokoun and he almost put one in for Anaheim! The Panthers were on a Power Play and the Ducks shot the puck out of their zone. Vokoun went to handle it and passed it across the goal mouth. I swore the thing was going in for a moment.

*- Florida Panther David Booth played in his second game since suffering a concussion. He played well for two periods but looked fatigued in the 3rd.(He did similarly in a game yesterday but managed an assist.)

That’s about it. Did you have enough already? I needed something to do to help unwind in preparation for bed.


Toronto Maple Leafs complete separate trades with Anaheim and Calgary

They acquire a defenseman and a Goalie. From ESPN-

The Toronto Maple Leafs shook up their roster with a pair of big moves on Sunday, the biggest coming in a trade for star defenseman Dion Phaneuf from the slumping Calgary Flames.Dion Phaneuf

The Leafs also acquired veteran goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from the Anaheim Ducks for Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala.

The Leafs acquired Phaneuf, right wing Fredrik Sjostrom and defenseman Keith Aulie in exchange for defenseman Ian White, center Matt Stajan, left wing Niklas Hagman and right wing Jamal Mayers.


Phaneuf had 10 goals, 12 assists and 49 penalty minutes as of Sunday. In 378 career games over five seasons he has 75 goals, 153 assists and 522 penalty minutes, all with the Flames.

The Leafs gave up two of their top scorers in Stajan (16 goals, 25 assists) and Hagman (20 goals, 13 assists) to obtain Phaneuf.

On the surface Toronto looks to have made out well. Phaneuf is a very good defenseman. Giguere replaces Toskala who has been a bust for Maple Leafs since coming over from San Jose.Jean-Sebastien Giguere


Toronto is 17-28-11 this season, or the worst record in the Eastern Conference. There is no chance in hell this trade will get the Maple Leafs to the playoffs this year.

Giguere hasn’t been playing well this year, 3.1 GAA and .900 save percentage, and his trade comes as no surprise*. That’s an improvement on Toskala who has 3.66 and .874 respectively. Still the numbers are worse for Giggy than they are for Washington Capital Goalie Jose Theodore and regular OTB Sports readers know what I think of that Goalie.

Toronto must be hoping for a Giguere bounce back in 2010-11.

Oh you get two defensemen but trade away players(Hagman** and Stajan) who have contributed 36 goals for your team this year. I don’t see these trades helping Toronto short term and long term doesn’t look all that great either IMHO.

*- Anaheim signed their other Goalie, Jonas Hiller, to a 4-year contract yesterday. That made the high priced Giggy expendable.

It looks almost certain Hiller will be in goal when I watch Florida and Anaheim play tomorrow night. Particularly since the Ducks haven’t played since Friday night.

**- I guess that ends the Hagman to Florida Panther trade rumors. Hagman’s first NHL team was the Cats.


Minnesota Wild release Winger Petr Sykora

Just a year ago he helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup. From AP-

The Minnesota Wild have placed right wing Petr Sykora on waivers.

Sykora and rookie Robbie Earl were placed on waivers on Tuesday. Earl can be returned to the minors or stay with the Wild if he clears, but Sykora’s stint with Minnesota is all but over.

Sykora turned down richer offers to play in Russia and signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Wild in September.

The 33-year-old ranked fourth on the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins last season with 46 points in 76 games. He had only two goals and one assist in 14 games with Minnesota, missing nearly two months while recovering from a concussion.

The well traveled Sykora, who played his first NHL game back in 1995, may well be finished as a player for the 2009-10 season. If the concussion isn’t too bad, I am certain he will be back playing pro hockey but perhaps not in the NHL. As of a year ago Sykora could still help a team, and concussion aside, that is the basis for my evaluation.


The Agony of victory- Anaheim beats Boston 4-3

Last night’s victory could prove to be a very painful one for the Ducks. From AP-

The Anaheim Ducks’ season-high fifth straight victory was tempered substantially with word that Teemu Selanne fractured his jaw.Teemu Selanne

Playing his third game after missing the previous 17 because of a broken hand, Selanne was injured with 8:29 left in the Ducks’ 4-3 victory over Boston on Wednesday night. Teammate Ryan Whitney took a slap shot from the left point that deflected off the stick of Boston’s Miroslav Satan and bounced up into Selanne’s face.

“We’ll have to see if it can be surgically repaired tomorrow and what kind of time frame they’re going to give us,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “It’s a tough loss, especially the way it happened. That’s unfortunate for Teemu. We know how much he loves to play the game. It’s unfortunate for him and unfortunate for us. We were just starting to get some bodies back in our lineup and get our likes settled, but that’s just the way it goes. Injuries are part of it.”

Selanne, a 10-time All-Star and three-time NHL goal-scoring champion, is expected to be sidelined anywhere from four to eight weeks. He was planing on competing in the his second Olympics next month in Vancouver.

NHL players are a hardy lot, but a broken jaw which requires it to wired shut, will require a person to slow down. That due to a person’s feeding habits having to be radically altered. A person with a broken jaw will lose weight and easily become dehydrated.

So the Olympics are possibly out for Selanne.(The Florida Panthers are scheduled to play Anaheim on February 1st and aren’t likely to see Selanne then. I was possibly planning to go to that game since it won’t be on television.) Will his injury do damage to the Ducks’ playoff hopes? It certainly can’t help, as this moment Anaheim is 12th in the Western Conference standings.

Get well Teemu.


NHL Western Conference at the mid point of the 2009-10 season

Due to the Winter Olympics, the NHL season is being being played at a more accelerated rate than normal. For instance, prior to Christmas week the Florida Panthers had four games in a week, five straight weeks in a row.

A NHL season is 82 games in length. Half of 82 is 41. Most teams are at 41 games or more

San Jose 42 games 27 wins 8 losses 7 overtime losses 61 points
Chicago 41 28 10 3 59
Colorado 43 24 13 6 54
Phoenix 43 25 14 4 54
Calgary 41 24 12 5 53
Nashville 42 25 14 3 53
Vancouver 42 25 16 1 51
Los Angeles 42 24 15 3 51

Detroit 41 21 14 6 48
Dallas 41 18 12 11 47
Minnesota 42 20 19 3 43
St. Louis 41 17 18 6 40
Anaheim 41 16 18 7 39
Columbus 43 15 19 9 39
Edmonton 42 16 22 4 36

Bold denotes all teams who would make the playoffs as of this minute.
The above standings are as of 10 a.m. on Sunday January 3rd.

Teams all but certain to make the playoffs- San Jose, Chicago
Team that won’t make the playoffs- Edmonton

I think Detroit will get their act back together and make the playoffs. Who do I think they will bump? I’m not sold on Phoenix yet. Los Angeles is the next most likely team to drop from the top 8

Columbus won’t make the playoffs unless Steve Mason returns to his form of last season. Dallas could also climb into the top 8. I won’t rule out Anaheim, Minnesota or St. Louis from making the playoffs but IMHO it will be a surprise if any of them do turn around their seasons.


Get the puck out of there- NHL wrap-ups as league takes break for Christmas

Where as the NBA will play games on Christmas day, the NHL won’t.(Florida announcer Billy Lindsay said there may be a clause in the league’s collective bargaining agreement with players that rules out holiday games) Therefore there is no hockey on either December 24th or 25th. My favorite team, the Florida Panthers, doesn’t return to the ice till December 27th.

The NHL is almost at the half way point of 2009-10. With all 30 teams having played at least 35 games. Due to the Winter Olympics and the over two-week break the NHL takes as a result of it, the schedule is accelerated this year.

Here are some random notes on games played yesterday and how the NHL shapes up at the moment.

The New York Rangers beat the Florida Panthers 4-1. Now Florida, Montreal who defeated Carolina 5-1, and the Rangers are in a three-way tie for the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Since the Rangers have played the fewest games, for the moment they have tiebreaks.

Pittsburgh routs Ottawa 8-2. The big news out of this game is the injury to Senator Winger Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson, who is Ottawa’s leading scorer, is expected to be out for a couple of weeks.

Ilya Bryzgalov shuts out Anaheim 4-0 to extend Phoenix’s home winning streak to 8 games. The Coyotes are currently 4th in the Western Conference standings.Steve Mason

If Phoenix is one of the pleasant surprises of the 2009-10 NHL season, the play of Columbus Blue Jacket Goalie Steve Mason ranks as one of this year’s biggest disappointments. A almost 3.50 Goals against average was only helped slightly as Dallas beat Columbus last night 3-1.

Backup Chicago Goalie Anti Niemi notches his 4th shutout of the year as the Blackhawks beat Detroit 4-0.

While not shutting out Tampa Bay, Philadelphia’s 3rd Goaltender of the year Michael Leighton looks impressive as the Flyers beat the Lightning 5-2. Before the game was played, Philadelphia’s practice had to be cancelled due to sewage line problem in their locker room.

Merry Christmas NHL. I hope the season is as exciting (and unusual) post Christmas as it was before the holiday break.


NHL suspends Anaheim Duck Evgeny Artyukhin for 3 games

He will forfeit almost $35,000 in salary also. From ESPN-

The NHL suspended Anahiem Ducks forward Evgeny Artyukhin for three games without pay Thursday for what the league called “a slew-footing incident” against Dallas Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen of Wednesday’s game.

Niskanen suffered a head injury that will keep him out of Thursday’s game against Los Angeles.

Since Artyukhin was suspended for two games in January 2009, he is considered a repeat offender. He’ll forfeit $34,756.11 in salary based on the number of games (82), rather than the number of days (193). The forfeited money goes into the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Artyukhin is a thug. Last year while playing with Tampa he brutally injured Florida Panther Ville Peltonen. I’m not a fan of NHL players who are sadists on ice skates.

Here’s the video of Artyukhin’s hit on Niskanen.


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