Friday, April 12, 2002

Kirk McLean retires: Veteran goalie Kirk McLean has decided to retire. He played in two NHL all-star games in his career - in 1990 and '92. McLean led Vancouver to the 1994 Stanley Cup final, when they lost to the New York Rangers in seven games. He then had stints with Carolina and the Rangers.
Team Canada looking for players for the World Championships: ...are all beating the bushes, looking for players. So far only Nashville's Scott Hartnell, Anaheim goalie J.S. Giguere and Atlanta's probable rookie of the year, Dany Heatley, are definites. Buffalo defenceman Jay McKee is a good bet, too. Ditto for Nashville's speedy centre Greg Johnson and -- take this to the bank -- Brenden Morrow, Darryl Sydor and Richard Matvichuk will all be asked if Dallas isn't in the playoffs.

You don't have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer to realize the Canadian team will also look at Mike Comrie, Anson Carter, Ryan Smyth and Eric Brewer if the Oilers don't get to the post-season.

Maybe Jason Smith on defence, too. Smyth and Brewer have Olympic gold medals, though, so they may not be interested in more international games.

Paul Kariya? He's not going. He loves the Maple Leaf but his contract is up. He's not leaving $50 million on the table in case he gets hurt in Sweden. Iginla's also a free agent. He's tired and he has Olympic gold, too, so why risk a torn knee when he's going to hit the home run this summer? (Edmonton Journal)
More playoff spots clinched: St. Louis' 4-1 win over San Jose last night clinches a spot for them in the postseason dance. But by virtue of Vancouver's victory over Los Angeles, the Sharks secured their division title for the first time in franchise history.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Capitals season is over: Two more games, but they are meaningless.

Last night, the Carolina Hurricans beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2, securing the Southeast Division and the third seed in the playoffs. Following the previous night's win by Montreal, the result left Washington on the outside looking in.

Canada rallies to save small ice rink: Canadians are sending a steady stream of money and memories to Bellegarde, Sask., inspired by the tiny hamlet's effort to save the community hockey rink. (National Post)

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Best beat-downs: The Village Voice somehow identifies the year's best hockey fights in the short period between Dec. 26 and Feb. 7.

What gives?
Theo to quit the NHL and play in Europe? Theo Fleury has an option if the New York Rangers don't pick up the option on his lofty contract. The winger said he will quit the NHL and play in Europe if he cannot work out a deal to remain with the Rangers, according to a report in The Star-Ledger on Wednesday. The Rangers hold a $7 million option on Fleury's contract, but he said he is willing to accept a lower salary if he can stay with New York. "It's either here or Europe. I'd just have to make a phone call," Fleury told The Star-Ledger. "You just pick a place and I'm sure they'd be more than happy to have you." Rangers general manager Glen Sather was surprised to hear of Fleury's plans. (ESPN)
Another fan gets smacked by a flying puck: A fan was struck by a puck during a hockey game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. The female fan, seated behind the side boards across from both teams' benches, was hit in the head when an errant clearing pass by Tampa Bay goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin went over the glass. The fan was treated before walking out under her own power for further treatment. The woman was taken by ambulance for additional treatment, said Bruins spokeswoman Heidi Holland. (AP)
Saku is back, the Caps are sorry: He got a standing ovation, tons of emotion, and his team clinched the eighth seed in the playoffs last night by beating Ottawa 4-3. Saku Koivu is on top of the world.

Unfortunately, now the Caps (who beat the Blackhawks last night 3-1) must pray that Carolina collapses over their last three games. The Capitals can only make the playoffs if Carolina fails to get a single point from its final three games -- and those games are against the worst teams in the Eastern Conference: Tampa Bay on Wednesday, Florida on Friday and Atlanta on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Could he be the first Israeli in the National Hockey League? I've not gotten to see him play for the Albany River Rats (I don't make many minor league hockey games), but Max Birbraer might make the roster of the New Jersey Devils some day.
Bit of cancer can't keep him down: Saku Koivu returns to the ice for Montreal tonight.
Tibbetts not doing well: The Philadelphia Flyers placed former Penguin forward-center Billy Tibbetts on waivers on Monday. (AP)

Cans-Caps race: It will all be over shortly. The Hurricanes need only one more point to seal the division title and third seed in the playoffs. By tying on Friday and losing on Saturday, the Capitals are in deep trouble of losing out on the playoffs...

Monday, April 08, 2002

Benefits of hosting the Olympics: Look at all the positives to throwing a gazillion dollars into luring the Olympics to your state! You too could suffer heavy increases in unemployment!

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Knowing how to win, from learning how to lose:I’m not betting against an organization that hasn’t forgotten how to win or how to deal with losing. Besides, you remember what happened the last time Patrick’s Penguins missed the playoffs, don’t you?

They won the Stanley Cup one year later. (Paul Steigerwald)