Sports Outside the Beltway

The Mighty Ducks- Anaheim beats San Jose 4-1, take series

The team with the best record in the 2008-09 NHL regular season has been eliminated from the playoffs. From AP-

Right when the opening puck dropped, Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton dropped gloves. The star centers’ simmering dislike erupted into a brawl dominated by Thornton, who pummeled Getzlaf with at least two flush blows to the face.

Getzlaf took it and smiled, knowing he still could win the only important fight.

And that’s exactly what happened in the waning minutes of Game 6. Getzlaf scored the knockout goal as the eighth-seeded Anaheim Ducks ousted the not-so-mighty San Jose Sharks from the postseason with a 4-1 victory Monday night.

Top To Bottom

With a 3-1 loss to Anaheim, the San Jose Sharks became the fourth team to go from winning the Presidents’ Trophy to first-round elimination in the NHL playoffs.
Season Winner Points Result
2008-09 Sharks 117 lost to Ducks
2005-06 Red Wings 124 lost to Oilers
1999-00 Blues 114 lost to Sharks
1990-91 Hawks 106 lost to North Stars

Teemu Selanne and Francois Beauchemin put Anaheim ahead with their first playoff goals on fortunate deflections 43 seconds apart in the second period, and the Ducks coolly finished off the Presidents’ Trophy winners in an upset that could resonate for years in this juicy in-state rivalry.


Jonas Hiller made 36 saves to finish his phenomenal playoff series debut for the Ducks, who won a fight-filled clincher to complete a remarkable playoff upset two years after winning the franchise’s only Stanley Cup.

The clubs’ final meeting was a slugfest with 60 total penalty minutes and a long series of brawls between Anaheim’s goals and Hiller’s saves. It all started with the stunning fight between Getzlaf and Thornton, who traded shoves and harsh words two days earlier in San Jose.

San Jose was showing its frustration out of being beaten by their in state rival. Personally I thought Anaheim was capable of winning this series, and thought this was the series most likely to see an upset(After the Rangers-Capitals).

Hiller was brilliant in goal and should get most of the credit for Anaheim’s advancement to the next round. San Jose out shot the Ducks in each of the six games of their series.

The Western conference semi-finals are set now, as the other remaining series ended last night also.

Chicago downed injury-riddled Calgary 4-1 in Monday’s Game 6 to take the series 4-2. The Blackhawks’ previous playoff series win was a four-game sweep of Calgary back in 1996.

The Blackhawks were simply relieved after Monday’s game to have earned their first road win in the series and get a breather before facing the well-rested Vancouver Canucks in the next round.

I thought Chicago would win this series, which they did. Now here are my semi-final round predictions-

Detroit beats Anaheim 4-0. The Ducks magic runs out.
Chicago beats Vancouver 4-3. The superior scoring ability of the Blackhawks trumps Roberto Luongo in goal for the Canucks.


NY Rangers fire coach Tom Renney, hire John Tortorella

This marks the sixth time this year an NHL team fired their man behind the bench. From ESPN-

Tom Renney was fired as coach of the New York Rangers on Monday and replaced by John Tortorella in an attempt to save a season that has spiraled out of control.

The Rangers opened 10-2-1, but 10 losses in the last 12 games have knocked the team out of contention for the Atlantic Division title and placed it in danger of missing the playoffs completely.

Tortorella led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup title in 2004 and was let go following last season. The Rangers were not required to provide compensation to the Lightning.

Renney, a former coach of the Vancouver Canucks, was 164-121-42 with the Rangers in four-plus seasons and ranks fourth on the team’s career wins and games coached lists.

I think Renney is the fall guy in New York. The Ranger management has made a series of poor personnel decisions over the last year. Trading for Nikolai Zherdev, Signing Markus Naslund, not retaining Brendan Shanahan.

I do however like John Tortorella. He’ll certainly light a fire under players in New York. Will it work? I don’t know.


Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo’s status remains in question

The star Goalie hasn’t played in a game since November 22nd due to a groin injury. From the Canadian Press-

There still is no word on when Vancouver Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo may return to NHL action.

Luongo, out since Nov. 22 with a groin injury, had been practising with the Canucks and there was speculation he could play in Saturday’s game against the Oilers in Edmonton.

But Luongo left practice after about 20 minutes Wednesday and did not speak to the media after.

Coach Alain Vigneault wouldn’t comment on when Luongo, who is listed as “week-to-week” by the team, may return.

“You are asking questions I can’t answer,” said Vigneault. “He’ll let us know when he’s ready to play.


The Canucks are first in the Northwest Division with a 16-10-3 record for 35 points. Vancouver is 3-4-1 since Luongo’s injury.

Curtis Sanford is expected to get the start against the Oilers.

Luongo has a 11-5-2 record, 2.17 goals against average and .926 save percentage. He also has five shutouts this season.

Luongo is arguably the best Goalie in the NHL today. I just don’t know the Cannucks can keep up the pace without him.


NHL All-Star Hubert ‘Pit’ Martin’ dead at 64

He died in a snowmobile accident on Sunday. RIP.

Hubert “Pit” Martin, a four-time NHL All-Star in the 1960s and ’70s, has died after his snowmobile plunged into an icy lake, Quebec provincial police said. He was 64.

Const. Marie-Josee Ouellet said Martin was driving the vehicle on Lake Kanasuta in northwestern Quebec on Sunday when the ice cracked and he plunged into the freezing water.

Another man who was driving a separate snowmobile at the time has confirmed Martin ended up in the water, Ouellet said.

Divers were attempting to retrieve Martin’s body.

Martin would have turned 65 next week.

He played 1,101 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks, amassing 809 points from 1963 to 1979.

Martin was part of one of the biggest blockbuster trades in hockey history in 1967, when he and two other players were shipped to Chicago in the deal that made Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield part of a Bruins dynasty.


Goalie Roberto Luongo listed as week to week with strained muscle in his groin

He got injured in a game played last Saturday. From AP-

Roberto Luongo has a strained groin muscle and the Vancouver Canucks’ star goalie is expected to be sidelined at least a week — maybe longer.

A two-time Vezina Trophy finalist, Luongo was injured five minutes into Saturday’s 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh and didn’t put any weight on his left leg while being helped off the ice by teammates. He had an MRI exam Monday and the Canucks announced the diagnosis after consulting with team doctors.

Luongo was listed as week to week with an adductor muscle strain in his groin.

“We don’t know, it’s the first time I’ve had an injury like this,” Luongo said just before Vancouver’s game against Detroit on Monday night.

Luongo has always been incredibly durable. He has played in as many as 76 regular season games in a NHL Season. The total amount of non-playoff games for all 30 NHL teams is 82.

With Luongo hurt, who will try to fill in for him?

“This is a great challenge for our group,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “Our players play real well in front of Curtis [Sanford], and Curtis is an experienced NHL goaltender. He’ll do a good job for us.”

Vancouver also recalled goalie Cory Schneider from Manitoba of the American Hockey League. Schneider, the Canucks’ first-round pick in 2004, leads the AHL with a 10-1 record and 1.37 goals-against average. He was second with a .945 save percentage.

The 29-year-old Luongo started 14 straight games before Sanford made his first appearance in more than a month Thursday at Minnesota. Sanford then replaced Luongo in Pittsburgh on Saturday, stopping 45 of 48 shots overall to win both games — his first victories since Dec. 12, 2007.

Sanford was 4-3-1 with an .898 save percentage last season, his first in Vancouver after seven seasons in the St. Louis organization, including a career-high 34 games and 13 wins with the Blues in 2005-06.

Don’t you just love the positive spin by the Canucks’ coach? Sanford is an experienced goalie, but not a very good one. Vancouver would be better off finding out how good Schneider is.


Roberto Luongo records 3rd straight shutout

Imagine if the Vancouver Canuck Goalie was still playing for Florida instead of being traded for shit garbage. From AP-

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Roberto Luongo was quick to credit the Canucks defense for his previous last two shutouts. There was no doubt, however, who deserved the most praise for No. 3.

Luongo made the most sensational of his 29 saves when Vancouver was clinging to a one-goal lead in the second period and backstopped the Canucks to a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night for his third consecutive shutout.

“His best performance yet,” checking-line center Ryan Kesler said. “He kept us in it.”

Sami Salo scored a power-play goal in the first period, and Daniel Sedin added a breakaway tally with 2:41 left to give Luongo his first two-goal cushion in two games. He stopped 28 shots in a 1-0 win over Nashville on Thursday, made 28 saves in a 4-0 victory against Nashville on Tuesday, and has now gone 201 minutes, 8 seconds without allowing a goal.

With Marty Brodeur injured, Luongo is the best goalie suiting it up in the NHL today.


Boston Bruins’ Goalie Tim Thomas makes 30 saves en route to second 1-0 shutout

It appears Marty Brodeur isn’t the only hot goalie in the NHL at present. From AP-

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Boston coach Claude Julien didn’t waste any time picking his starting goaltender against Vancouver.

After watching Tim Thomas backstop the Bruins to a 1-0 win against Edmonton on Monday night, Julien ended his back-and-forth goalie rotation. He passed over Manny Fernandez and gave Thomas a second straight start. The decision paid immediate dividends.

Michael Ryder scored his second goal of the season midway through the first period and Thomas made the best of his 31 saves in the frame en route to a second 1-0 win in two nights, leading the Bruins over the Canucks.

“As soon as the game was over Monday, I knew who I was going with,” Julien said after Boston’s third straight win. “Not only did he get a shutout, but he played well. When I say something I keep my word, and my word is, if somebody is going to get hot, he’s going to get the chance to take the ball and run with it.”


“The composure we kept in the third was awesome,” said Thomas, who also blanked the Canucks in their only other meeting, a 39-save, 2-0 win on Dec. 21, 2006. “Hopefully it gives us confidence that in tight games we can come out with the win, whether it s 4-3 or 1-0.”

At first I thought AP got it wrong. Thomas, who’s 34 years old, had to played against Vancouver more than once. A check of his NHL profile showed me he has only been a full-time NHL goaltender since the 2005-06 season. Until a recent rule change, Eastern and Western conference teams only played the other two out of every three years.

Back to back 1-0 shutouts by the same goalie happened in the 2007-08 season. Florida’s Craig Anderson pulling off the feat.

If I was Julien, I’d continue to play Thomas till one of three things occur-

1 The hot streak ends

2 Boston plays games on back to back nights and one of the games is played on the road

3 The next Bruin game against Florida. Thomas has been awful against the Panthers in the past.

On second thought, let Thomas face my favorite hockey team.


Washington limits Vancouver to just 10 shots on goal

The Canucks scored a goal in the first 70 seconds and after that it was all down hill.

Washington Capitals goalie Brent Johnson let the Vancouver Canucks’ first shot into his net and finished with only nine saves. The Capitals’ star, reigning league scoring champion Alex Ovechkin, was held without a point.

Sounds like a formula for a Washington loss? No way. That’s because the Capitals broke their franchise record by limiting the Canucks to a total of 10 shots Monday night, Alexander Semin scored twice and Michael Nylander made a penalty shot, lifting Washington to a 5-1 victory.

“After the first five minutes, we were just all over them. They couldn’t get out of their zone,” said Johnson, who didn’t have to work too hard to earn his 100th NHL win. “We do that to every team, and it’s going to be tough to get in our zone and put any pressure on us.”

I checked the early season stats on Washington. The Capitals have allowed 62 shots on goal, or an average of 26 for their other two games. What Johnson said may be correct, but at the same time you got to consider Vancouver is one of the weakest offensive teams in the NHL.


NHL Rookie Defensemen Luc Bourdon killed in motorcycle accident

Very tragic, for Bourdon was only twenty-one. He played 27 games this year for the Vancouver Canucks. RIP.

SHIPPAGAN, New Brunswick – Luc Bourdon, a promising rookie defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks, was killed Thursday when his motorcycle struck a tractor-trailer in a crash near his hometown. He was 21.

His death was confirmed by sister Eve Bourdon and stepmother Maryse Godin. Both declined further comment when reached at the family’s home in Shippagan.

Police wouldn’t confirm the identity of the victim but said a motorcyclist was killed in the early afternoon on a road between Shippagan and Lameque.

“Luc was an extremely talented player with a bright future,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. “He brought great passion to the game and was a valued team member on and off the ice.”

Bourdon’s agent, Kent Hughes, called his client a winner and a competitor.

“There was no quit in him,” said Hughes, who knew Bourdon since the player was 15. “He persevered through a lot. He was a great guy and a great teammate.”

Bourdon was the first-round draft pick of the Canucks in 2005, selected 10th overall. He split time this season with the Canucks and the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. In 27 games with the Canucks, he scored twice and had no assists.

“Through hard work and perseverance, Luc was able to realize his dream of becoming an NHL player,” Paul Kelly, executive director of the players’ union. “Luc had a promising life and career ahead of him and he will certainly be missed.”

Bourdon played on the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the 2006 world junior hockey championship in Vancouver and made the tournament’s all-star team. He helped Canada win another gold at the 2007 tournament in Sweden.

Bourdon played for Val d’Or, Moncton and Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before turning pro.


Lopez twins both turning pro

This news comes days after Stanford was eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

The Lopez twins are going pro together. Stanford sophomore Robin Lopez is joining his 7-foot brother Brook in entering the NBA draft. The brothers made their announcement to The Associated Press on Monday through their mother, Deborah Ledford.

It was expected that Brook would declare himself eligible for the NBA, but Robin was not so certain. They were prep stars in Fresno, Calif., and came to Stanford together. Now they will depart as a tandem, too.

“This has been a very difficult decision for me because I really enjoyed my two years at Stanford,” Robin Lopez said in a statement released to the AP. “I have always hoped I would have an opportunity to play in the NBA and I feel now is the right time to make that dream a reality.”

Brook Lopez, a third-team All-American and a first-team Pac-10 selection, averaged 19.3 points and 8.2 rebounds to go with 56 blocks this season. He scored the game-winning basket with 1.3 seconds left in an 82-81 victory over Marquette in the second round of the NCAA tournament to put Stanford in the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.

Both Brook and Robin will hire agents and thus forgo their remaining two years of college eligibility, their mom said.

Since I rarely follow basketball(Pro or college) I am clueless as to the chances the Lopez brothers have of sticking in the NBA. To be honest, I would stay in college. Especially since its Stanford.

There has been a history of twins, identical and non-identical in professional sports. Hardcore golf fans will know golf Hall of Famer Curtis Strange has an identical twin brother Allen. In the NHL right now there are the identical Sedin brothers, Daniel and Henrik who play for the Vancouver Canucks. In baseball there were the Canseco brothers and the O’brien brothers.

If Robin Lopez can’t make it in the NBA, he can always caddy for Michelle Wie. SI reported recently that the two of them are dating.(Hat tip- ROK Drop)


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

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