Sports Outside the Beltway

Fast Draw- St. Louis Blues take 8 seconds to score goal

It tied a record set almost 25 years ago. From AP-

Alex Steen of the St. Louis Blues tied a franchise record for fastest goal to start a game, scoring at the eight-second mark Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Steen’s 20th goal tied the mark set by Greg Paslawski on Oct. 29, 1985 against the Washington Capitals.

Peter Budaj stopped Steen’s shot from the left boards after the Blues won the opening faceoff but the rebound appeared to deflect off left wing T.J. Galliardi on its way into the net.

Peter Budaj was in goal for Colorado.


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.


St. Louis Blues fire Coach Andy Murray

A new year and decade is only a day old and a firing has already taken place.

The St. Louis Blues have fired coach Andy Murray, naming Davis Payne coach in the interim.Andy Murray

Payne was promoted from the team’s AHL affiliate in Peoria, Ill.

“Davis is very knowledgeable of the players in our organization and we feel he is the best candidate to coach our team,” team president John Davidson said in a prepared statement.

Davidson was expected to discuss the decision at a news conference Saturday morning.

The Blues are 17-17-6 with 40 points, fourth in the NHL’s Central Division.

What is much important than the Blues’ Standing in the Central Division is where they are in relation to the Western Conference playoff race. The Blues are 12th of 15 teams and stand a full 9 points out of the last playoff slot.

That in a nutshell is the real cause for Murray’s firing. I know nothing about Payne, but St. Louis doesn’t have the talent Pittsburgh did a year ago when the team fired their coach and his replacement turned things around. All the way to the Stanley Cup Championship. I’m willing to bet $20 the Blues don’t even make the 2009-10 NHL playoffs.


Carolina signs Goalie Manny Legace

He will be the Hurricanes backup netminder as Michael Leighton fills in for the injured Cam Ward. From AP-

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed veteran goaltender Manny Legace to a one-year, $500,000 deal, general manager Jim Rutherford said Monday.

The Hurricanes lost starting goalie Cam Ward to injury Saturday for at least a month.

Legace, a 10-year NHL veteran with the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues, has played six games with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves this season, logging 317 minutes while going 2-2-1 with a 3.21 goals-against average.

He last played in the NHL for the Blues last season.

At this point in his life, Legace is a mediocre backup Goalie at best. The Canes better hope Leighton picks up the slack or this season will grow even worse than one that already features a eleven game streak without a win.


Veteran NHL C Mike Sillinger retires

He played for 12 different teams in his career but he scored the most points for his final team, the New York Islanders. Enjoy your retirement Mike.

New York Islanders center Mike Sillinger decided two hip operations were enough.

The center who played for a record 12 teams during 17 seasons in the NHL is retiring because of an injured left hip.

“The decision was clear to me after dealing with hip surgery the last two seasons, Sillinger said during a conference call Wednesday. “If I was to come back and be a hero I’d be getting a hip replacement before I’m 40.”

The 38-year-old forward played in only seven games last season and had season-ending hip resurfacing surgery in January. In February 2008, he had a microfracture procedure on the hip that forced him to sit out the final 29 games of that season.

Sillinger spent three years with the Islanders and his 42 goals and 87 points were his most with any NHL team.

“It’s a big hole to fill,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. “Mike was good at many different things, whether it was putting the puck in the net or taking a faceoff.”

Sillinger was chosen No. 11 in the 1989 draft by Detroit. For his career, he had 240 goals and 308 assists in 1,049 games.

Sillinger said he’d like to stay in hockey but downplayed the notion that he might go into coaching right away.

“I’m just going to enjoy the kids for now and see what the future brings,” he said.

Besides the Islanders and Red Wings, Sillinger also suited up for Anaheim, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Florida, Ottawa, Columbus, Phoenix, St. Louis and Nashville.


Did the NHL make a mess of the 2009-10 schedule?

The upcoming schedule was released yesterday. Right away I noticed something interesting. Florida has a home and home series with Nashville.

Nov 28 and Mar 29 are when the Panthers and Predators play next season.

What I find interesting is- Florida is playing Nashville home and home for the second straight season. In 2008-09, the Panthers and Predators played on November 1st and December 23rd.

In light of the way the NHL season is set up, namely that any Eastern or Western conference team plays only play 3 home and homes in any season, Florida and Nashville shouldn’t meet home and home more than once every five years 15 western conference teams divided by 3 home and home series equals five.

Here’s a link to the 2009-10 schedule. Anyone have theories as to what happened here or am I off base?


Former NHL player Peter Zezel dead at 44

His best seasons were with the Philadelphia Flyers in the mid-1980′s. The AP article makes no mention of the controversy at the end of Zezel’s career. He had a niece who was very ill in the Toronto area, so Zezel requested a trade to an Eastern team. At the time Zezel was playing for the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks traded him, but to Anaheim the team furthest from Toronto in the NHL. Zezel retired rather than play for the Ducks. The trade, made by then Canuck GM Brian Burke, was heavily criticized at the time. RIP.

Peter Zezel, a center who played 15 NHL seasons after breaking into the league with the Philadelphia Flyers as a teenager, has died. He was 44.

Zezel struggled with the rare blood disease hemolytic anemia for the past 10 years and died on Tuesday. Zezel suffered from the ailment off and on, but had rebounded after being in critical condition in 2001.

He was admitted to the hospital last week for scheduled surgery, but complications developed and his conditioned worsened.

“Peter will forever be remembered as a great teammate and a wonderful individual who touched the lives of many both on and off the ice,” Zezel’s family said in a statement released by the National Hockey League Players’ Association. “In his typical character of generosity, Peter donated his organs through the Trillium Gift of Life Network.”

The gritty center was known on the ice for his strong two-way game. In 873 NHL games with Philadelphia, St. Louis, Washington, Toronto, Dallas, New Jersey and Vancouver, Zezel had 219 goals and 389 assists.

His matinee idol looks also earned him a small role in the 1986 hockey-based movie “Youngblood” that starred Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.

Zezel was born in Toronto and played junior hockey with the Toronto Marlies before the Flyers chose him with the 41st pick in the 1983 draft. He made his NHL debut in 1984 when he was 19.


San Jose Sharks at 50 points after 5-4 win over St. Louis

The last time a NHL team reached this mark in only 29 games was almost 80 years ago. From AP-

San Jose captain Patrick Marleau stepped up in the locker room after the second period — and the ice in yet another Sharks victory.

Marleau scored twice, including the winner with just over 5 minutes to play, in the NHL-leading Sharks’ 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

“We feel like we’re never out of it,” Marleau said. “When we find ourselves down a couple of goals, we remind ourselves to stick with the game plan.”

Sharks coach Todd McLellen said it started with the players taking responsibility.

“The leadership on this club right now is tremendous,” McLellen said. “No one was letting anybody off the hook. They held themselves responsible. The coaches didn’t say anything.”

The win gave the Sharks 50 points, tying them for the NHL record for fewest games to 50 points. In the 1929-30 season, the Boston Bruins also earned 50 points in 29 games by starting the season 25-4-0.

The Sharks are 24-3-2 for the year. One of those three defeats was against Florida. Does that mean I should expect a San Jose-Florida Stanley Cup? It is nice to dream.


NHL Goalie suffers hip injury after tripping on carpet for Sarah Palin

I wonder how this will effect John McCain’s chances in Missouri.

ST. LOUIS — Blues goalie Manny Legace left after one period Friday night with a hip injury that occurred when he slipped on the carpet placed on the ice for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor dropped the ceremonial first puck before the Blues hosted the Los Angeles Kings. A narrow carpet walkway was placed from the gate at the Blues bench to center ice for Palin, her husband and two of her daughters.

Just before the ceremony, Legace was the first player onto the ice for St. Louis. A team official pointed to the carpet. But Legace said the official moved his own foot from the carpet just as Legace stepped down, causing the carpet to slide.

Legace fell, then gingerly made his way to the crease.

After Legace’s mishap, the official rolled up enough of the carpet so other players wouldn’t have to step on it.

Legace described the injury as a strained left hip flexor. He doesn’t believe it is serious but said it is painful. He said he won’t play Saturday when the Blues host Florida, but wasn’t sure if he’d miss any additional games.

If you want to see the incident, go to the link at the top of the post.

How long before some Democrat makes hay of what happened? There ought to be a law- No women running for Vice-President can drop ceremonial first pucks. We have to protect goalies and other hockey players from further incident.


Florida Panther Defenseman Bryan Allen ‘out indefinitely’

He will have knee surgery on Monday. From AP-

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida defenseman Bryan Allen is set to have surgery on his left knee Monday and will be out indefinitely.

Allen, one of the Panthers’ three alternate captains, has been out since playing in the Panthers’ first two games of the season. He underwent surgery on the knee in the summer and sat out all but the last of Florida’s preseason games.

The Panthers are still without defenseman Bryan McCabe, who has been out since the season opener Oct. 10 because of a back injury. Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said McCabe is making progress and the team is hoping he can begin practicing next week.

Martin also said the Panthers have had discussions with veteran defenseman Jassen Cullimore, who played with the team last season but wasn’t re-signed.

Allen’s abscence is already being felt. Over the last two games, Florida opponents Ottawa and San Jose took 90 shots on goal. So much for the purpose of the Olli Jokinen deal which was to decrease the pressure on Florida goaltenders.

Florida plays St. Louis tonight. Having played in Florida last night, and then Missouri tonight, I expect Craig Anderson to be in goal. If he isn’t, Coach Peter DeBoer has to be taking direction from GM Jacques Martin. Martin showed little confidence in Anderson, and as of now DeBoer seems to be following his predecessor’s lead.

| | Permalink | Send TrackBack

Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.