Sports Outside the Beltway

Dallas-Vancouver Play 6th Longest Playoff Game Ever

Despite having to get up early, through sheer detemination (or stupidity) I stayed up for all 138 minutes and 6 seconds of the Vancouver-Dallas Game last night. For those keeping track thats about 2.3 games untill Marty Turco could not make his 52nd save and Vanouver won 5-4, of course Roberto Luongo was no slouch stopping 72 of 76 shots. However this is not the longest playoff game in NHL History, but the fact they were still standing after all of that was pretty impressive and in reality this game may have already won the series for Vancouver because losing like that has cause the downfall of many a playoff team. Below is listed how this game stacks up against the other marathon playoff games.

Date Final Winning Scorer Time
3/24/36 Detroit 1, Maroons 0 Mud Bruneteau 176:30
4/3/33 Toronto 1, Boston 0 Ken Doraty 164:46
5/4/00 Philadelphia 2, Pittsburgh 1 Keith Primeau 152:01
4/24/03 Anaheim 4, Dallas 3 Petr Sykora 140:48
4/24/96 Pittsburgh 3, Washington 2 Petr Nedved 139:15
4/11/07 Vancouver 5, Dallas 4
Henrik Sedin 138:06
3/23/43 Toronto 3, Detroit 2 Jack MacLean 130:18
3/28/30 Montreal 2, Rangers 1 Gus Rivers 128:52
4/18/87 Islanders 2, Washington 1 Pat LaFontaine 128:47
4/27/94 Buffalo 1, New Jersey 0 Dave Hannan 125:43
3/27/51 Montreal 3, Detroit 2 Maurice Richard 121:09
3/27/38 Americans 3, Rangers 2 Lorne Carr 120:40

In other action:
Ottawa defeats Pittsburgh 6-3 (Ottawa leads series 1-0)
Anaheim defeats Minnesota 2-1 (Anaheim leads series 1-0)
Sand Jose defeats Nashville 5-4 in 2 OTs (San Jose leades series 1-0)


NHL Playoff Time – 1st Round Edition

Its time for Stanley Cup Playoff and will bring some of the most intesnse hard fought games of any post-season in any sport, so here’s a quick look at the teams looking for Stanley Cup glory.

Eastern Conference
(1) Buffalo Sabres v. (8) New York Islanders
The Islanders put together a strong finish to be the last team to make the playoffs thanks to a shootout victory, while greatly improved with the acquisition of Ryan Smyth will suffer greatly without #1 goalie Rick DiPietro. The only risk to Buffalo would be losing goalie Ryan Miller, with the offensive talent the team has goaltending is the only portion of the team that could hurt them.
Prediction: The offensive assault will be too much for the Islanders, Buffalo in 5

(2) New Jersey Devils v. (7) Tampa Bay Lightning
This series comes down to Devils Goalie Martin Brodeur vs. Lightning Forwards Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. While Brodeur has the ability to carry a team on his back, but after playing 78 games this season he could breakdown at some point, the key for the Lightning will be making him work hard every game.
Prediction: Lecavalier and St. Louis come through, Lightning in 7

(3) Atlanta Thrashers v. (6) New York Rangers
A talented team, deep bench, playoff experienced players, and experienced coaching make the Thrashers a dangerous team these playoffs. Ranger’s Sean Avery can get under anyone’s skin as well as a playoff experienced goalie can help the Rangers down the stretch. The question for Atlanta is if their playoff rookie goalie can stand up to the pressure.
Prediction: Sean Avery does more harm than good, Thrashers in 6

(4) Ottawa Senators v. (5) Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins come in with some of the best young players in the game and a young goalie. The Senators bring in a veteran skilled team with a history of playoff failures to over come.
Prediction: Old age and guile beat youth and good looks, Senators in 5

Western Conference
(1) Detroit Red Wings v. (8) Calgary Flames
The Flames have the best home record in the league, but finished 8th in the Conference cause they can’t win on the road, not a good sign when you don’t have home ice advantage. Despite having on of the top players in the league and solid defense they lack what ever it takes to win at the other guy’s place. The Red Wings again put together one of the best teams in the league (even though the Cap was supposed to bring them back to erath). The Red Wings playoff hopes rest on the shoulder of Dominik Hasek and Todd ‘Sucker-Punch’ Bertuzzi.
Prediction: The Dominator does it again with some offensive help from his friends, Red Wings in 7

(2) Anaheim Ducks v. (7) Minnesota Wild
While the Ducks were the early favorite this season some of the luster off their shine is gone (especially when you lose to the Kings 4 times). However the ducks are backed up by 2 solid goaltenders, 3 forward lines that can hurt you, and 2 of the best defensemen in the game. Minnesota can throw some great offensive talent and goaltending back at anyone, they just don’t have enough to match up every shift against the Ducks
Prediction: With great pain in my gut, Ducks in 6

(3) Vancouver Canucks v. (6) Dallas Stars
Solid lines and improved defense help the Stars, but playoff history hold a dark cloud over goaltender Marty Turco’s head. Vancover plays a disciplined game and can exploit errors; however they will lean heavily on the Sedin Twins for offense while Roberto Luongo will danc eon his head to keep them in games.
Prediction: I go with goaltending and that will be Roberto Luongo, Canucks in 6

(4) Nashville Predators v. (5) San Jose Sharks
The Predators will lean heavily on Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg (who is one of the best playoff performers in history) to guide the fortunes of the team, which includes staying healthy. The Sharks are one of the best power play teams in the league and one of the best at holding a lead when scoring first, to win Nashville will have to score early and stay out of the box. However, both team’s fortunes will rest on who finds the right goal tender to ride through the series.
Prediction: The power play will prove to be too much for Nashville, Sharks in 7

My advice…grab a chair and a beer sit back and enjoy what should be some exiting playoffs thanks to the ‘New NHL’.


NHL suspends Predators’ Jordin Tootoo for punch

I think the NHL missed the boat with this suspension.

TORONTO – The NHL suspended Nashville Predators winger Jordin Tootoo five games for punching Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas in the face.


Robidas was knocked unconscious on the play late in the third period Saturday night in a 3-2 win by the Predators in Nashville.

“While a player is entitled to defend himself, Mr. Tootoo’s forceful blow to Robidas’ head was an overly aggressive and inappropriate response,” NHL senior executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a statement Monday.


Robidas was carried off the ice on a stretcher and was taken to hospital. He’s out at least a week with a concussion.

Tootoo will miss five games. Robidas will miss at least three because of the punch. Tell me if you that is an equitable deal.


NHL Trade Deadline Day

Today brings the NHL Trade Deadline, a national holiday in Canada. Of course most of the trades won’t many anything except to Canadians and the five die-hard American fans, I’ll just bring you some of the big name/impact trades as they happen through out the day. But if you are Canadian or one of the five, visit’s site they will give you everything from Edmonton and Toronto trading 7th round draft picks to the guy traded for a bag of pucks. (oh yes they have a live broadcast too.)

Deals of Note

To NY Islanders: F – Ryan Smyth
To Edmonton: F – Robert Nilsson, F – Ryan Omarra, 2007 1st Round Pick
The inability of Edmonton to reach a new contract agreement with Ryan Smyth forced this trade. Edmonton gains nothing and loses the cornerston of their franchise who has been with the team since they drafted him in 1994. Great move by the Islanders, that will help them in the playoff push. I am suprised Edmonton didn’t get a bidding war going, but it was reported that they refused to deal him to a Western Conference Team.

To Dallas: D – Mattias Norstrom, F – Konstantin Pushkarev, 2007 3rd and 4th Round Pick
To Los Angeles: D – Jaroslav Modry, D – Johan Fransson, 2008 1st Round Pick, 2007 2nd and 3rd Round Pick
This wins the award for most complex trade of the day and most difficult for many Kings Fans. Dallas gets Kings’ Captian Mattias Norstrom a solid (but old school) defensive defenseman to shore up their defensive core, who is under contract for next season. Dallas also picks up Pushkarev who can play bigger than he is, but has attitude problem caused mostly by Russian Clubs who consistently tell him he gets no respect in the NHL and should be playing in Russia. The Kings eat the salary of turn over machine Modry (who is a free agent on July 1st) and get the first right to Swedish prospect defensive Fransson. As for the picks… The Kings net a 1st rounder in the stronger 2008 draft and swap around draft positions in 2007 (the Kings’ original 3rd round pick would be higher than Dallas’ original 3rd round pick based on this season standings. Overall the Kings moved up in the draft board in 2007 while Dallas moved down.

To Colorado: F – Scott Parker
To San Jose: 2008 6th Round Pick
Nothing major here, San Jose just picks up an additional draft pick and frees up some roster and cap space.

To Toronto: F – Yanic Perreault, 2008 5th Round Pick
To Phoenix: D – Brendan Bell, 2008 2nd Round Pick
Yanic, who was unsigned for the frist two months of the season, pays off for Phoenix with a higher draft pick and a defensive prospect to build for the future. Toronto picks up a healthy and effective center for a playoff run in what will be a tight playoff push in the east. This is Yanic’s 3rd stint with Toronto.

To Buffalo: F – Dainius Zubrus, D – Timo Helbling
To Washington: F – Jiri Novotnv, 2007 1st Round Pick
Buffalo adds a talented forward but raw forward (with motivational issues) and a defensive prospect to build for the future and a playoff push. In return Washington gets a low 1st round pick in a weak draft and a talented foward who lacks finishing skills and is prone to laziness

To Detroit: F – Todd Bertuzzi
To Florida: TBA Pending Trade Call with NHL Head Office F – Shawn Matthias, 2007 Conditional Draft Pick, 2008 Conditional 2nd Round Draft Pick
Florida gets a top prospect and picks for rebuilding while giving Detroit Bertuzzi who has only played 7 games this seasons. When healthy Bertuzzi is a force on the ice, but no one knows if he will regain his for and if he can avoid sucker punching other players.

To San Jose: F – Bill Guerin
To St. Louis: F – Ville Nieminen, F – Jay Barriball, 2007 1st Round Pick
San Jose gets a first line winger, Stanley Cup Winner and six time All-Star. He possess a big shot, a mean streak that combine power and speed. He will help the Sharks immensely as they make a push for the Stanley Cup.

To Pittsburgh: F – Georges Laraque
To Phoenix: F – Danny Carcillo, 2007 8th Round Pick
Pittsburgh gets one of NHL’s best heavyweights and enforcers to protect their young stars for the playoff run.

To Philadelphia: G – Martin Biron
To Buffalo: Undisclosed Draft Pick 2007 2nd Round Pick
This deal unloads unhappy goalie Biron to Philadelphia. Biron had lost his starting spot in Buffalo and was going to walk away from the team this summer as a free agent, so they pick up what they could for him. I imagine the draft pick will be determined based on Philadelphia’s ability to sign Biron this summer. (in a minor deal, Buffalo acquired Ty Conklin from Columbus for future considerations a 2007 5th Round Pick to fill Biron’s role as backup for the rest of the season and playoffs)

To Pittsburgh: F – Gary Roberts
To Florida: D – Noah Welch
Roberts is a power forward who loves to crash the net and battle for loose pucks. At 40 years old, he is a short term rental for the young Pittsburgh team to provided leadership and grit from past Stanley Cup Playoffs. Welch is a 24 year old defenseman; he’s a big presence on the blue line (6’4″) with a big shot from the point. With his upside this could pay off for Florida in the long run.

To Vancouver: F- Bryan Smolinski
To Chicago: 2007 Conditional 2nd Round Pick

To Vancouver: D – Brent Sopel
To Los Angeles: 2008 2nd and 4th Round Pick
In both of these trades are to improve Vancouver, currently the #3 seed in the West. Smolinski is a veteran center, who becomes a free agent on July 1st, while Sopel can play like a top 4 defensemen (but is prone to stupid mistakes) and provides additional offensive spark at the blue line. The picks are a wash; Los Angeles got a better deal than Chicago as the 2008 draft is projected to be stronger than the 2007 draft.

To NY Islanders: F – Richard Zednik
To Washington: 2007 2nd Round Pick
Islanders pick up extra offense to sneak into the Playoffs, provided Zednik doesn’t go into one of his prolonged scoring slumps.

To Atlanta: F – Keith Tkachuk
To St. Louis: F – Glen Metropolit, 2007 1st and 3rd Round Picks, 2008 2nd Round Pick
Atlanta gets a veteran scorer (with historic playoff scoring problems), while St. Louis gets a career reserve forward and a bunch of picks to rebuild the time. This deal is mainly to set the price for Bill Guerin.

To Philadelphia: D – Braydon Coburn
To Atlanta: D – Alexei Zhitnik
Philadelphia gets a young defenseman with lots of upside, while Atlanta gets a veteran defenseman with a big slap shot and the ability to play a big man’s game…when he’s motivated to.

To Carolina: F – Anson Carter
To Columbus: 2008 5th Round Pick
Carolina gets Carter, who had been a disappointment from Columbus on the cheap. Could pay dividends for Carolina IF Carter rediscovers his scoring touch.

To Nashville: F – Peter Forsberg
To Philadelphia: F – Scottie Upshall, D – Ryan Parent, 2007 1st and 3rd Round Pick
Nashville sold the farm to get Forsberg, which means this is the year they are really going for the Cup hard. Forsberg is a immense talent and game changer, but recent history shows he is one big hit away from the injured list. By far the biggest risk-reward player out there and really could push Nashville over the top. On an ironic side note, Nashville now has two of the biggest divers in the League on their team in Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya.


Incredible 3rd Period in NHL

Half of the fun in watching sports is the unexpected. Well the end of the 3rd Period in this week’s Dallas-Edmonton Game was exactly that. In less than 20 seconds Edmonton went from losing and pulling the goalie, to giving up an empty net goal to forcing overtime. I have never seen anything like this in all of the years I have followed hockey. Its worth a watch (even if you don’t like hockey), but be sure to have your speakers on.


Back problems force Joe Nieuwendyk to retire

From AP-

SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers forward Joe Nieuwendyk retired Wednesday because of chronic back problems, ending a 20-year NHL career.

Nieuwendyk, who won three Stanley Cup titles and helped Canada capture an Olympic gold medal in 2002, missed 14 of the Panthers’ first 29 games this season because of the injury. He made the decision to retire when doctors told him that his back simply wouldn’t improve.

The center finished his career with 564 goals and 562 assists in 1,257 games.

“He was an all-around elite player,” said Montreal general manager Bob Gainey, Nieuwendyk’s coach and GM with the Dallas Stars. “He is the kind of player whose accomplishments merit consideration for the Hall of Fame.”

Nieuwendyk, 40, visited a back specialist last week and told Panthers coach Jacques Martin of his choice to retire on Monday. Players were told Wednesday morning before practice.


Nieuwendyk spent the first nine seasons of his NHL career with the Calgary Flames, then played parts of seven seasons with the Dallas Stars. He also played for the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs before he and longtime friend Gary Roberts signed with the Panthers before the 2005-06 season.


Nieuwendyk was the 1999 Conn Smythe Award winner — given to the MVP of the NHL playoffs — while helping the Stars win the Stanley Cup. He also helped the Flames win the Cup in 1989 and was part of the Devils’ third Cup-winning team in 2003.

Nieuwendyk finished his career ranked 19th on the NHL goal list and tied with Hall of Famer Mike Bossy for 48th place with 1,126 points.

No question, Joe Nieuwendyk was a very good player for a long period of time in the NHL. He will be missed.


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