Tag Archives: Steve Yzerman

’98 Nagano – Canada – U.S.

Canada didn’t do well in Nagano ’98, finishing fourth behind the Czech Republic, Russia, and Finland, while in women’s hockey, the U.S. took gold and Canada silver.

But all I’m doing here is showing Gretzky, Roy, Yzerman and the Team Canada gang in action against the U.S. early on in the tournament, when Canada won 4-1, and which I thought you might enjoy because of seeing these guys again.

“The Hockey News” From 1988

In a box in my closet I found a few old issues of The Hockey News from 1988, and here’s a sampling of things mentioned:

“We’re so used to this against Montreal, but we’re not complaining.” – Quebec Nordique GM Maurice Filion after an apparent tying goal was waved off against Montreal Feb. 29.

Consumer crusader Ralph Nader lobbied NHL president John Ziegler in an attempt to keep ticket prices down. FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation’s Sports), a group headed by Nader, cited the average ticket price for an NHL game at $7.87, which Nader said was “the most difficult to justify of all the major sports.” (Note from me – Originally I thought this had to be a typo, so I dug through old ticket stubs and I see that it was very possible. I have a Habs-Bruins stub at the Forum that was ten bucks. And various other stubs I have from the late 1980s ranged from ten to fourteen and upwards around twenty bucks. So maybe $7.87 isn’t completely farfetched. Just seems too cheap, that’s all).

“When Borje and the other Swedes went to the NHL, took all the crap and didn’t come home in a box,” said Mats Naslund, “we all knew we had a chance to play in the NHL.”

After Steve Yzerman scored his 50th goal – against Sabre goalie Tom Barrasso – he fished the puck out of the net. Then, inexplicably, he tossed it into the crowd on his way back to the Detroit bench. “I just thought someone else might appreciate it (as a keepsake) more than me,” Yzerman said. “I have the memory of it, and I’ll never forget it. I don’t need the puck. But he was destined to get it anyway. Jacques Demers chased down the fan who caught it, and traded him another puck and a stick for it. The coach planned to have the milestone puck mounted.

“Obviously, the fans in Minnesota don’t care about the playoff race.” Boston Bruin GM Harry Sinden, after 9,591 people showed up at the Met Center to watch Montreal and Minnesota play a 2-2 tie March 14.

Joe Sakic took it right down to the wire for a photo finish that not even the Western League stewards could decide. The Swift Current centre scored four goals in his team’s last regular-season game March 19 to tie Moose Jaw’s Theoren Fleury with 160 points. The WHL has no formal tie-breaking procedure and declared Sakic and Fleury co-champions. It’s the first time in WHL history two players have tied for the scoring championship.

Originally drafted by the Sabres in 1980, Randy Cunneyworth explains his failure to stick in Buffalo rather succinctly. “Square pegs don’t fit into round holes.”

“It’s funny,” said Stephane Richer. “In the past few games it seems that everything I shoot is going in or any time I make a pass to my linemate he scores.” Richer scored on four of 10 shots in a 7-6 overtime win at Los Angeles March 5. Among the goals was the game-winner, making it 44 goals in 65 for number 44 as he helped Montreal to a league-high eight consecutive victories.

Springfield Indians (AHL) center Bruce Boudreau had his 20-game point streak snapped by Maine in a 4-2 loss Feb. 28.

Leafs suffer double-digit embarrassment – a humiliating 10-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Gomez List

NHL leader lists are an excellent thing. We get to see various groups of players, usually with Wayne Gretzky at the top, leading a pack of players in a variety of categories. 

Although Gretzky’s not in all them of course. He’s not up there in Playoff Penalty Minutes for example. That belongs to Dale Hunter and Chris Nilan with 729 and 541 respectively, with Claude Lemieux third with 529.

Tons of lists. Lots of players with lots of goals and points and such. If you print it off Wikipedia you get about 46 pages worth.

But we’ve got a guy on a list too.

I’d like to mention our very own Scott Gomez.

He’s on this list – Guys Who Have Gone Longer Than 40 Games Without A Goal.

Right freaking now – 44 games – Scott Gomez
2005-06 47 games Cameron Janssen (NJ)
2003-04 51 games Matthew Spiller (Phx)
2002-03 46 games Robert Ray (Buf/Ott)
2002-03 42 games Kryzysztof Oliwa (NYR/Bos)
2002-03 41 games Alexander Henry (Edm/Wsh)
1998-99 61 games Tyler Wright (Pit)
1998-99 46 games Trent McCleary (Mtl)
1998-99 45 games Steven Webb (NYI)
1998-99 44 games Darren Langdon (NYR)
1991-92 50 games Jay Caufield (Pit)
1979-80 43 games Jay Wells (LA)
1974-75 40 games Gary Doak (Bos)
1957-58 45 games Gordon Strate (Det)
1932-33 48 games Vernon Ayres (NYA)
1932-33 46 games Harold Starr (Ott/Mtl)
1931-32 48 games John ‘Jack'; McVicar (Mtl)
1930-31 43 games Francis Peters (NYR)
1928-29 44 games Percival Traub (Det)
1928-29 40 games Gerald Carson (Met/NYR)
1927-28 40 games Charles Langlois (Mtl C/Pit Pirates)

Hoping To Rain On Boucher’s Parade

Guy Boucher practices the famous New Yorker move in preparation for next season's Dancing With The Stars

Ex-Hab Dominic Moore is a Tampa Bay Lightning, Steven Stamkos is a young superstar, Martin St. Louis continues down his stellar Hall of Fame path, and Montreal fans no longer talk about how close the Habs are to getting Vincent Lecavalier.

Things have changed. Maybe we can begin rumours about St. Louis becoming a Montreal Canadien now that the Lecavalier madness has come to a close.

Regardless, this Lightning team appears to be a vibrant bunch, with a new General Manager- Steve Yzerman, a new coach – ex-Hamilton Bulldog head honcho Guy Boucher, and a host of players including the above-mentioned Stamkos and company along with Simon Gagne, Ryan Malone, Victor Hedman, Steve Downie and others who hope to be nasty to the good guys on Wednesday night.

It would be a real nice thing to ruin Boucher’s party. Yes, he did a great job as the Bulldog’s coach and he’s a smart and classy bench boss. But we want him to lose big on this big night and endure a sleepless few hours back in his hotel room, wondering what went wrong.

It’s our way of saying hello and thank you from the Montreal Canadiens.

Victor Hedman has mentioned that this is one of his favourite books

Sidney Crosby And A 3-2 Overtime Thriller Spells Gold For Canada

 

Okay Canada, you can exhale now.

While Alex Ovechkin sat back and watched on TV, if he watched at all, with his Russian team long gone from any Olympic action, the superstar’s main counterpart as hockey’s greatest player, Sidney Crosby, scored in overtime to give Canada the gold medal over a tough Brian Burke-built American squad that just wouldn’t surrender.

And in the process, Sidney Crosby has another chapter written of his still-young but already legendary career.

It is Canada’s night, Crosby’s night, Steve Yzerman’s night, and of course every player’s night. It is a night to celebrate hockey in the Great White North. We have the big prize. The players kissed their gold, but it’s our medal too. Because we’re Canadian, and we love our hockey and we love our players and we love the maple leaf on the jersey.

Such a game, such a moment, such a look of heartbreak and sadness on the faces of the Americans. They battled as formidable foes, this team in blue. They had come from behind and tied it at two with just 35 seconds left in the third period, but in the end, Team Canada with Crosby firing it home, have big, beautiful gold medals wrapped around their necks and they waved the flag and sang the anthem, and a nation cheered loud and strong.

Yes, it was again a little too close for comfort, as was the Slovakian game a few days ago. Never let it be said that it was an easy path to gold for the Canadians. The Americans were great. Slovakia poured it on late and Canada dodged a bullet. The Swiss gave the Canadians fits.

But Canada is a never-say-die team, always has been and probably always will. It’s Crosby now, somebody else next time. Canada is a nation of hockey heroes and heroics. For some inexplicable reason, Canadian hockey players possess a magical will to win.

Talk about going out with a bang in these 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Really Interesting Story About Carey Price

Like the title says, a really interesting story about Carey Price. Written by CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, it’s a look at Price’s on-ice problems and how he can fix it, his great potential, and thoughts from people like Olaf Kolzig and Steve Yzerman. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/2009/02/a_little_advice_for_struggling.html

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The Carolina Hurricanes Have A Secret Weapon

It should be really interesting to see how the Canadiens rebound from their less-than-stellar performance against Anaheim when the Carolina Hurricanes blow into town.

 

The Hurricanes are no slouches so far this season, but they’re not setting the world on fire either. Led by Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, and Rob Brind’Amour, this team has so far garnered a 4-2-1 record for nine points. Montreal stands at 5-1-1 for 11 points, so they haven’t exactly left the Canes in their dust.

 

However, the Canes have a special weapon, like so many great teams in the past have had. Boston had Orr, Edmonton, Gretzky. Detroit, Yzerman, Chicago, Bobby Hull etc. etc.

 

Carolina has Sergei Samsonov.

 

You can’t really look at the numbers. Okay, so he has no points and is minus 3 after seven games. But I’ll just bet, by the time the season has wound down, this Russian forward will have accumulated probably four goals and two assists!   

 

You know, there was a time when Samsonov was a real player – when he was a fresh-faced newcomer in Boston. He had been a primo Junior star in Russia, and in his first year in Boston, he won rookie of the year. But it all went away, never to be seen again, like dinosaurs, or Milli Vanilli.

 

Samsonov was soon dealt to Edmonton where they paid this underachiever 7.05 million over two years, and of course, he underachieved. From Edmonton it became Chicago, then the minors, and now Carolina, where they’re giving the guy 7.6 million over three years.

 

Every good young player in the minors, and those in the NHL making much less than Samsonov, must wonder what kind of Houdini tricks this guy knows.

 

Samsonov was the ultimate failure in Montreal too. In his year there, 2006-07, he notched nine goals and 17 assists in 63 games. He had become the new Vladimir Krutov, which certainly would give Canucks fans something to shudder about.  However, there’s no word on Samsonov’s hot dog eating abilities, which Krutov was a force to be reckoned with during his short stay in Vancouver in 1989. He was labelled Vladimir Crouton.

 

Montreal really needs this game on Tuesday. Get back to their winning ways. Get back on track. Don’t let Samsonov score.

 

And I’d like to see Alex Kovalev explode. It’s time. He needs to have a big season, like last year.

The Toronto Maple Leafs (How Can I Say It Politely), Will Smell Like Farm Animal Excretement

Hockey fans became completely sick of hearing Mats Sundin’s name about a month ago, and so I apologize for mentioning it now. But His Majesty is on the verge now of announcing whether he will retire or play, so I thought I’d get just a little head start on this.

 

If he plays, there’s always the chance he’ll rejoin his old club, the Toronto Maple Leafs. But I just had a look at the Leafs’ 2008-2009 roster, and maybe His Majesty should consider retiring. Wow! Harold Ballard and girlfriend Yolanda would’ve made this club. King Clancy would’ve made this team, when he was in his eighties.

Several of the hot dog vendors would make this team.  Prince Philip could make this team. Richard Simmons would be on the first line. My daughter’s baby would make this team, and the baby’s not even born yet.

 

The Leafs best player just may be ex-Hab Mikhail Grabovski. And they’ve added Rangers goon Ryan Hollweg, a guy who blows his mind way too often. There was no room for him anymore in New York, but of course there’s lots of room for him in Toronto.

 

Jason Blake will be their leader, like Jean Beliveau, the Rocket, Mark Messier, Joe Sakic, and Steve Yzerman were for their teams. You bet!

 

And I could mention the other Leaf players on the roster but you wouldn’t care anyway.

 

Toronto fans will pack the place every night to see one of the most inconsequential teams in Toronto ever.

 

Mats Sundin will make his choice soon. He can join the Leafs. He can join some good teams like the Habs. He can retire. Or he can help old pal Borje Salming with his underwear business. We’ll see shortly.

 

Sorry to mention his name. Also sorry to mention the Leafs.