Sports Outside the Beltway

NJ Devil Goalie Martin Brodeur wins his 40th game of the season

Only one other goalie has accomplished this feat three or more times. From AP-

DENVER (AP) — Martin Brodeur made one save using the handle portion of his stick, another by extending his elbow out just in time to deflect away a shot.

“I get lucky on a few,” Brodeur said with a grin.

There’s a little skill involved, too. Brodeur stopped 24 shots to reach 40 wins for a record seventh time in New Jersey’s 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Goalies with more than one 40 win Seasons
Martin Brodeur 7
Jacques Plante 3
Terry Sawchuk 3
Miikka Kiprusoff 2
Ed Belfour 2
Ken Dryden 2
Bernie Parent 2

Brodeur said the 40-win mark was nice, but he’s more concerned with turning in solid performances every night.

“I build my career and the way I play around being consistent,” Brodeur said. “I play a lot of games, my teammates expect me to win 40 games. They [goals] are nice to accomplish, but your team has got to be a big part of it also.”

The Devils’ offense tallied four goals for a second straight game as Dainius Zubrus, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jay Pandolfo and John Madden all scored.


Brodeur extended his own NHL record by reaching 40 wins again. Brodeur broke the league mark last season by earning 48 victories, and is 18 shy of topping former Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy’s career record of 551 wins.

Brodeur will pass Roy sometime in the 08-09 season. My Panthers managed to beat Brodeur twice this season, but in another game early this season against the Devils, Brodeur’s backup Kevin Weekes was little short of brilliant.

Because of Brodeur, New Jersey is one of the favorites to win the Eastern conference.


NHL hands Steve Ott three-game suspension for hit to Jordan Leopold

The incident happened last Sunday. From AP-

DALLAS — The NHL suspended Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott for three games without pay Wednesday for his hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jordan Leopold.

No penalty was assessed on the play in the first period of Sunday’s game, but the suspension came after a review of the play.

Ott appeared to leave his feet to make the hit on Leopold against the boards, and Leopold left the game with a head injury. Leopold missed the Avalanche’s Tuesday game against Atlanta.

Ott will miss Thursday’s game at Detroit, as well as games against Vancouver and Anaheim before being eligible to return March 22 against Los Angeles.

Ott forfeits his salary from those three games, amounting to $12,834. The money will go to the NHL players’ emergency assistance fund. It is Ott’s first career suspension.

The NHL some how thinks this is just. Ott puts a player out of the lineup for three games, and he gets suspended for three games. This kind of brutality will continue till the NHL throws the book at players like Ott, Chris Simon, Todd Bertuzzi and others.


Peter Forsberg seeks wants to play in the NHL again

The one-time NHL MVP has been playing in his native Sweden of late. From AP-

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Peter Forsberg has decided not to play for his hometown team Modo this season, instead setting his sights on a return to the NHL.

Forsberg made the announcement to Modo hours before the deadline for transfers in the Swedish hockey league. “My goal is to go back to the NHL,” Forsberg told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

The 34-year-old Forsberg has been sidelined with a foot and ankle injury since finishing last season with the Nashville Predators, but has recently indicated he wants to return to the NHL if he is healthy.

He has practiced with Modo in his hometown of Ornskoldsvik, raising hopes there that he would play for the team in the Swedish league. Modo sports director Erik Holmberg said that Forsberg informed the club Thursday he would not be available this season.

Forsberg told Aftonbladet that he would continue training before the Feb. 26 deadline to sign with an NHL team.

Forsberg won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche and was the league’s MVP in 2003 after scoring 29 goals and adding 77 assists. He also helped lead Sweden to Olympic gold medals in Lillehammer in 1994 and Turin in 2006.

Injuries have plagued him in recent years and he hasn’t played more than 60 games in a season since suiting up for 75 games in 2002-03 with the Avalanche.

Forsberg’s play in the 2006-07 NHL wasn’t very good. Yes he was injured, but Forsberg averaged less than one point per game last season.

Could Forsberg still help an NHL team? Perhaps, but I wouldn’t want to pay out too much on this injury prone player if I was a General Manager.


Post NHL All-Star game playoff assessment- Western Conference

From top to bottom, the standings

Detroit Red Wings 51-37-10-4-78
San Jose Sharks 50-28-15-7-63
Dallas Stars 54-29-20-5-63
Anaheim Ducks 53-27 20-6-60
Minnesota Wild 50-28-19-3-59
Calgary Flames 50-25-17-8-58
Vancouver Canucks 51-26-20-5-57
Colorado Avalanche 50-26-20-4-56

Phoenix Coyotes 50-27-21-2-56
Columbus Blue Jackets 52-25-21-6-56
Nashville Predators 51-25-21-5-55
St Louis Blues 49-23-19-7-53
Edmonton Oilers 53-23-25-5-51
Chicago Blackhawks 50-23-23-4-50
Los Angeles Kings 52-20-29-3-43

Note- The numbers above from left to right are- Games played, wins, losses, Overtime losses, total points

Teams in Bold are Northwest Division teams

I think its more than reason to say Detroit, San Jose, Dallas, and Anaheim are going to make the playoffs, while the LA Kings have no chance. Edmonton’s chances are slim also.

The closest division is the Northwest. Three points separate first to fourth place. I like Vancouver because of Goalie Roberto Luongo. The division is both talented and very tight and I could see anyone but Edmonton could come out on top and deservingly so. The Avalanche, Wild, Canucks nor Flames rate as mediocre or badly underacheiving teams unlike members of the Southeast Division.


Joe Sakic to miss 8-12 weeks due to hernia operation

The Captain of the Colorado Avalanche last played on November 30. From AP-

DENVER – Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic will undergo hernia surgery Friday and will miss eight to 12 weeks, the club announced Thursday.

Sakic has been out since Nov. 30, missing 12 games. The organization said a lack of progress in rehab has made surgery necessary.


Sakic, in his 19th season, has been Colorado’s leading scorer the past three seasons, including a 100-point campaign last year. It was the sixth time he reached the 100-point mark in his career.

The Avalanche are 8-4-1 since Sakic was injured.


Before missing the Avalanche’s game against San Jose on Nov. 30, Sakic, who has seven goals and 15 assists in 24 games this season, had played in 232 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 6, 2004.

My favorite team, the Florida Panthers, is scheduled to play Colorado next month. So I’ll miss one of the rare opportunities a Panther fan gets to see the veteran. Get well Joe.


Report says Vancouver coach ordered attack on Steve Moore in 2004

Moore’s neck was broken a result of hit placed on him by then Canuck player Todd Bertuzzi. From AP-

TORONTO – Todd Bertuzzi’s on-ice attack on Steve Moore might have been ordered by former Vancouver Canucks coach Marc Crawford, according to a report aired on CBC’s “The National” Wednesday night.

Bertuzzi grabbed Moore from behind during a 2004 game, punched him on the side of his head and then landed on top of Moore, driving his head into the ice. The bloodied Colorado player was removed on a stretcher.

Moore sustained a broken neck and a concussion. He filed a lawsuit against Bertuzzi, the Canucks and their parent company in Ontario in February 2006.

A statement of claim filed in court by Moore’s lawyer and obtained by CBC alleges that Crawford pointed to Moore’s name and number on a board in the Canucks’ locker room during the second intermission of that game and said “… (Moore) must pay the price.”

In an accompanying document, Moore’s lawyer claims Crawford’s statement was disclosed by Bertuzzi while under oath, and by Canucks general manager Dave Nonis.

A month earlier, during a Feb. 16 game in Denver, Moore checked Canucks forward Markus Naslund and that led to talk of retribution against him, culminating with the Bertuzzi hit a month later.

Crawford, now Los Angeles’ coach, didn’t want to talk about the report after the Kings’ 4-1 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday night.

Here’s the video of the infamous incident.

I felt at the time Bertuzzi(who now is with the Anaheim Ducks but spent the 06-07 season with the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings) should have been kicked out of the NHL. The NHL, as seen by Commissioner Gary Bettman’s attempts to prod an out of court settlement, would rather make this ugly attack go away. Why do I get the feeling a reason why is that players in the NHL engage in retaliation all the time? Click here and here for other possible proof. The League would rather have the truth kept unknown. Breaking people’s necks doesn’t put the NHL in a good light.


NHL owners approve scheduling changes

All NHL teams will meet again once every season. From AP-

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The NHL’s board of governors approved the sale of the Nashville Predators and changed the league’s scheduling format Thursday night to allow every team to face each other at least once every season.

Paul Kelly, the new executive director of the NHL Players Association, also addressed the league’s owners during a late-afternoon session to open the board’s two-day meeting at an elite resort on the Northern California coast.

After a three-year experiment in developing rivalries in hockey’s far-flung outposts, the NHL voted to go back to the scheduling format used before the 2004-05 lockout, most notably decreasing the current eight games against every team’s divisional opponents to six.

Starting next season, teams will play just 24 total games against their four divisional foes, 40 against the rest of the conference and 18 against the other conference — one game against all 15 foes, and three home-and-home series against wild-card opponents.

First let me state, my interest in hockey was only rekindled in the last year. Otherwise I had watched little of the sport since the end of the NY Islanders Dynasty in the early to mid eighties.

The arrangement where teams didn’t all meet seemed dumb to me. Fans in the west miss out on seeing players like Sidney Crosby and fans in the east miss getting to see……. well see what problem I have. LOL, make that former Florida Panther and ace goaltender Roberto Luongo. Now I can learn about the LA Kings, San Jose Sharks etc. To be honest I’m sick of Atlanta. You would be too if you had to see the Thrashers and Panthers cross sticks eight times a year.


Atlanta Thrashers remove Coach Bob Hartley

The defending Southeast Division champs were off to a rocky start before today’s firing.

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Thrashers are the only NHL team without a victory, and coach Bob Hartley is on his way out. Thrashers defenseman Garnet Exelby confirmed Hartley was removed following an 0-6 start, the first NHL coaching change this season.

“It was a shock,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I don’t think anybody saw this coming. It’s only six games.”

“Sometimes changes need to be made,” he added. “At the same time, it tells all of us it’s a big wake-up call and we need to fix this.”

The team scheduled an afternoon news conference amid reports general manager Don Waddell will become interim coach.

The Thrashers have been outscored 27-9, and their winless start comes after they won the Southeast Division last season and made the playoffs for the first time. Atlanta then lost four straight games to the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.

Hartley, who won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, is in his fifth season with Atlanta. It was clear after Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss to Philadelphia that he was aware of building pressure.

Generally I think 6 games out of a 82 game hockey season is too early to pass judgment on the coach. All NHL teams go through dry spells. My Panthers had a rough one last year. There may be other factors at work here that we don’t know of if its not impatience of Thrasher management.

Bottom line- Hartley will be back coaching in the NHL because of his impressive resume. Another team will Another team hoping Hartley can catch the same lightning he did while coaching the Avalanche.

My take on the Southeast Division is if Atlanta(who normally gives Florida fits) continues to struggle, the division becomes more wide open. As I see it, the race would come down to Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Florida. That makes the Panthers not a dark horse anymore, but a legit contender.


Denver’s Top Five Current Athletes

FanHouse is posting the top five current athletes for America’s top 20 sporting cities. Here are Denver’s.

5. Joe Sakic: One of the classiest players anywhere in sports, Sakic is nearing the end of a long and distinguished career spent entirely with the Avs/Nordiques franchise. Age is not slowing him, either: he put up 100 points last season for the first time since 2000-01. A Hall of Fame lock whenever he decides to hang up his skates, the only thing keeping him down this list is the relative popularity of the NHL.

4. Matt Holliday: The Rockies’ 27 year-old left fielder is emerging into one of the best hitters in all of baseball. Last year he hit .326 and launched 34 homers; this year he is hitting the stratosphere with a .362 BA and an OPS that breaks the 1.000 barrier (he’s currently at 1.015).

3. Champ Bailey: The best player on the state’s most popular team, Champ had a ridiculous ten interceptions last year en route to All Pro status. Now if only the Broncos had John Elway still kicking around…

2. Carmelo Anthony: Though he’s overshadowed by draft mates Lebron James, Darko Milicic, and Dwyane Wade, ‘Melo also just happens to be one of the best players in the game; certainly he’s one of the highest scoring. Would have been an easy #1 on the list until the Sixers got restless and decided to blow the team up. But they did and thus…

1. Allen Iverson: Iverson is one of the most iconic players in the sporting world, to say nothing of the NBA. Though his tenure in the city is short — note to self: do not make hacky joke re: Iverson height here, good job self — and his impact on the court debatable (the Nuggets could have gotten bounced in the first round with or without him), by the criteria established above Iverson is number one with a bullet.

I don’t know, shouldn’t Champ Bailey be #1? After all, he is “The best player on the state’s most popular team”. I think I would also swap Melo and Iverson. Just for the simple fact, the City of Denver has a longer relationship with Carmelo Anthony. Joe Sakic is a great choice and great man. And, Matt Holliday would make the Blake Street Bombers proud.

10. John Elway, No One In Particular (It could be the year 2302 and Robot John Elway could still run for governor with a platform of WOOOOOOO I’M JOHN ELWAY and win 80% of the vote.)

Funny! But, true. haha


NHL Draft Lottery Results

It appears the Chicago Blackhawks have won the NHL Lottery thus making the first 14 picks of the NHL draft order look like this:

1 Chicago Blackhawks (moved up from 5th spot)
2 Philadelphia Flyers (moved down from 1st spot)
3 Phoenix Coyotes (moved down from 2nd spot)
4 Los Angeles Kings (moved down from 3rd spot)
5 Washington Capitals (moved down from 4th spot)
6 Edmonton Oilers
7 Columbus Blue Jackets
8 Boston Bruins
9 St. Louis Blues
10 Florida Panthers
11 Carolina Hurricanes
12 Montreal Canadiens
13 Toronto Maple Leafs
14 Colorado Avalanche

Picks 15-30 will be settled after the palyoffs.


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