Hockey Notes - January 31st edition

Detroit Red Wings photos

- Christy Hammond of Behind the Jersey posted photos her father took from the front row of the 2-1 Detroit Red Wings win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Photo used with permission.

- LCS Hockey version 3.0 will be relaunched soon. Visit the Best of LCS Hockey for more on the online hockey publication that started it all.

- Jason Arnott scored with 35 seconds left in overtime to give the Dallas Stars a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks in Dallas on Monday night.

The win was the fifth straight for the Dallas Stars [35-15-2, 72 points], who sit one point behind the Detroit Red Wings [34-13-5, 73 points] for the best record in the Western Conference. The loss was the third straight for the San Jose Sharks [23-19-7, 53 points], who are 8 points behind the Colorado Avalanche [28-19-5, 61 points] for the 8th playoff seed.

- The OLN round table discussed the San Jose Sharks on Monday night's broadcast, while the Sharks-Stars game was underway. Here are the rough quotes:

When San Jose got Joe Thornton, I thought they would be great. They are not getting it done in goal. Nabokov has not been good, and Toskala has not been good. - OLN studio analyst Pierre McGuire

15-7-3, that is not bad. Only 48 games played, the least amount of games played in the Western Conference. I see them making it. - OLN studio analyst Neil Smith

- Sharks Try to Surface From Deep - Los Angeles Times.

The Sharks, an NHL team official said, talked with the Tampa Bay Lightning about swapping Nabokov for a veteran defenseman two weeks ago. The trade speculation gained speed when Nabokov sat out the Sharks' game against the Lightning on Jan. 16. The story was Nabokov had a sore groin, and goaltender Nolan Schaefer was recalled from the minors. Nabokov, though, declined to acknowledge the injury to reporters the next day, saying, "I feel fine."

The deal seemingly fizzled and Schaefer was sent to the minors days later.

"Sometimes, I question the actual sanity of some of this stuff," Shark Coach Ron Wilson said. "There are [teams] who try to gain advantage by saying some stuff that is absurd."

- Josh Langfeld [2G, 9A, 39GP] was released by the San Jose Sharks on Monday. On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins claimed the 6-3, 215 pound left wing. Langfeld scored two goals against Boston on January 10th.

From Bostonbruins.com:

The Boston Bruins have claimed right wing Josh Langfeld off waivers from the San Jose Sharks, it was announced today by Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell. O’Connell also announced that goaltender Craig Anderson has been claimed off waivers from Boston by the St. Louis Blues. Langfeld, 28, is expected in Boston for practice tomorrow (10:00 a.m. at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington MA). He has played in 39 games with the Sharks this season with two goals and nine assists for 11 points and 16 penalty minutes. Both of his goals were scored in Boston in a 6-2 Sharks win on January 10 earlier this month.

- Alexander Korolyuk was named by Team Russia GM Pavel Bure as an Olympic replacement for the injured Alexei Zhamnov. From the IIHF:

January 30 -- MOSCOW, Russia -- Team Russia GM Pavel Bure has told the paper Sovietski Sport that goaltender Maxim Sokolov (SKA St. Petersburg) will replace the injured Nikolai Khabibulin (Chicago) on the Russian team for Torino 2006 while forward Alexander Korolyuk (Vityaz Chekhov) has been named as replacement for Alexei Zhamnov, also injured. Bure also informed that one of Denis Kulyash (Dynamo Moscow) or Sergei Zhukov (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl) will replace injured defenseman Dmitri Bykov (Danmo Moscow).

- Carnival of the NHL #18, The Sawchuk Edition, is up at the new Red Wings blog Abel to Yzerman. The former Navy Chief Petty Officer takes an informative look around the hockey blogosphere.

- The AHL Allstar Game festivities begin at 8PM ET tonight with the 2006 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition. The AHL Allstar game will be held on Wednesday at 8PM ET.

AHL Allstar Rosters:

2006 Canadian AHL All-Stars

# Pos Name Team
3 F Mark Hartigan - Syracuse
4 D *Nathan Paetsch - Rochester
9 F Martin St. Pierre - Norfolk
10 F *Kirby Law - Houston
11 F *Eric Fehr - Hershey
12 D Bruno Gervais - Bridgeport
14 D Curtis Murphy - Houston
15 F Layne Ulmer San - Antonio
16 F Jeff Tambellini - Manchester
17 F Denis Hamel - Binghamton
20 F Junior Lessard - Iowa
21 F *Jimmy Roy ("C") - Manitoba
22 D Braydon Coburn - Chicago
25 F Donald MacLean - Grand Rapids
26 D *John Slaney - Philadelphia
28 D Lawrence Nycholat - Hershey
29 D Andy Delmore - Syracuse
33 G *Wade Flaherty - Manitoba
34 D Richie Regehr - Omaha
35 G Dany Sabourin - WB/Scranton
75 G Yann Danis - Hamilton
84 F Corey Locke - Hamilton

2006 PlanetUSA AHL All-Stars

# Pos Name Team
3 D Mike Mottau - Peoria
4 D Filip Novak - Binghamton
5 D *Noah Welch - WB/Scranton
7 F *Erik Westrum - Houston
8 F Aleksander Suglobov - Albany
9 F Ryan Vesce - Springfield
11 F Keith Aucoin - Lowell
15 F Valtteri Filppula - Grand Rapids
16 F Libor Pivko - Milwaukee
18 F Patrick Rissmiller - Cleveland
21 F *John Pohl - Toronto
22 D Thomas Pock - Hartford
26 F *Jiri Hudler - Grand Rapids
29 G Al Montoya - Hartford
31 G Vitaly Kolesnik - Lowell
33 F Eric Healey ("C") - Providence
35 G *Pekka Rinne - Milwaukee
37 D Denis Grebeshkov - Manchester
41 F Ryan Shannon - Portland
52 D *Sven Butenschon - Manitoba
89 F Patrick O'Sullivan - Houston

The AHL Allstar Game will be broadcast live on NHL Center Ice. There also will be a free live webcast of the skills competition and the Allstar Game offered from B2 Networks. The B2 Networks schedule for regular season AHL Cleveland Barons games can be found here.

- Free webcast of All-Star Classic - TheAHL.com.

- Baby-faced trio powering Barons - TheAHL.com.

- Sharkspage 2006 ECHL Allstar Game photo gallery and highlights.

- According to Anaheim GM Brian Burke, the soon to be Anaheim Ducks might lose "in excess of $15 million (US)" this season. Burke also commented on the trades of Sergei Federov and Petr Sykora:

Asked why he traded popular forwards Sergei Fedorov and Petr Sykora, Burke responded: "When you take over a team that has had largely a losing tradition, as we have, you have to shovel out the stable before you start showing the horses. We are in that stage now.

"We've had to get some people out of here that did not want to be here. Some people who did not fit the blueprint of the type of team I need to have."

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks face off against the San Jose Sharks Wednesday at 7:30PM.

- Ducks Skate on Rideau Canal in Ottawa - Mightyducks.com.

- From Kukla's Korner on NBC's Saturday NHL broadcast ratings:

NHL on NBC for the games of January 28th had a 1.3 rating and a 3 share. Same as the first week and better than last week.

With the Stars up 2-1 in the shootout, and Henrik Zetterberg up for the Wings, it was nail biting time for Stars fans. Turco forced him to the right, and lost his stick trying to poke check Zetterberg as the puck slid past the right side of the net. The referee waived his arms, the players began celebrating, the NBC announcers said thank you, good night, and NBC cut away to golf.

One problem. The officials later ruled that Turco threw his stick while trying to make the save. Zetterberg was credited with a goal. Play resumed. Offwing compares the incident to the infamous Heidi affair, and notes that the game was cut away from immediately on Center Ice as well.

- From the Onion:

NHL Players Protest New Goaltending Penalty

NEW YORK—Less than six months since players returned from a yearlong lockout, hockey is once again in turmoil following last week's announcement that "goaltending," or attempting to obstruct a shot on goal or impede the puck's progress with one's body or stick, would become a two-minute minor penalty, a rule change that went into effect Monday.

"Increasing scoring with rule changes and cracking down on obstruction is one thing," said Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph, who claims his job is being banned by the league. "But to take a page from the NBA and just outlaw goaltending outright… Maybe it's just me, but I think that rule just plain goes against the spirit of hockey." Veteran NHL centers, forwards, and some defensemen took issue with Joseph's remarks, claiming he was still angry over being penalized seven times in the Coyotes' Monday night game against Dallas, in which Joseph had zero saves and lost 88-105.

This is so believable, it took a few seconds before it registered as a parody.

- Red and Black Hockey covered the recent Ron Francis tribute night. RAB posted a photo of all the Carolina Hurricanes wearing a #10 in the pregame skate, and Francis's #10 being raised to the ceiling prior to the start of the game.

It was a nice end to a wonderful night. The ceremony was very nice, and at the same time, low key. Throughout the game, all the typical jumbotron entertainment was replaced with video messages to Ron from many current and former players.

During the second intermission, I ran in to Aaron Ward. According to his account, he'll be back on the ice in "seven to ten days". It'll be awesome to have him back, but once he comes back, it means that we won't have room for Babchuk. It'll be a little sad because I've really liked what I've seen from that guy.

While the Canes were winning their game, so were the Lightning. We were unable, then, to stretch our lead to 20 points. However, the Canes were able to stretch their Eastern Conference lead over Ottawa to four points. However, it must be taken into consideration that Ottawa has three games in hand on Carolina.

[Update] A press release from the ECHL:

Thunder's Moreland Named Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender Of The Week

PRINCETON, N.J. - Jake Moreland of the Stockton Thunder is the Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Jan. 23-29. The 26-year-old went 1-0-1 with a 1.44 goals-against average and a .968 save percentage as the Thunder went 1-0-2.

After making 41 saves in a 3-2 win at San Diego on Jan. 27, the 6-foot-2 and 190-pound Moreland had a career-high and team record 51 saves in regulation and overtime in a 2-1 shootout loss to Long Beach on Jan. 28.

Moreland made his first ECHL All-Star appearance and stopped all 12 shots he faced in the second period to help the National Conference beat the American Conference 7-6 on Jan. 25 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. He is tied for third in the ECHL with two shutouts and ranks 20th with a goals-against average of 3.11 while he is 5-11-4 with a save percentage of .913.

In his fourth professional season, Moreland is 36-23-10 with seven shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.56 and a save percentage of .921 in 77 regular season games with Atlantic City and Stockton and is 1-1-0 with a goals-against average of. 1.38 and a save percentage of .926 in two games with Worcester of the American Hockey League.

The native of Grand Forks, N.D. played four seasons at St. Cloud State from 1999-2003 finishing with a record of 26-17-1, four shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.77 and a save percentage of .902. Runners Up: Matt Underhill, Alaska (2-0-0, .50 GAA, .982 save pct.), and Davis Parley, South Carolina (2-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .960 save pct).Also Nominated: Sean Fields (Gwinnett), Todd Ford (Pensacola), Mike Mole (Phoenix), Tom Lawson (San Diego), Justin Eddy (Utah), B.J. Boxma (Victoria), and Andy Chiodo (Wheeling).

Miami (Ohio) University Climbs To No. 1 On USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

A press release from USA Hockey:

Miami (Ohio) University Climbs To No. 1 On USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

This Week's Top-15 Match-Ups

Friday, February 3
No. 13 North Dakota @ No. 7 Colorado College
No. 11 Vermont @ No. 9 Providence
No. 15 New Hampshire @ No. 8 Maine

Saturday, February 4
No. 13 North Dakota @ No. 7 Colorado College
No. 11 Vermont @ No. 9 Providence
No. 15 New Hampshire @ No. 8 Maine

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Miami (Ohio) University has claimed the No. 1 spot on this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll for the first time in team history. The RedHawks swept Ferris State University on the road last weekend to earn 19-of-34 first-place votes.

Reaching No. 2 this week is the University of Minnesota, which swept then-No. 2 University of Wisconsin on the road. In addition, Boston University extended its winning streak to seven games with victories over then-No. 1 Boston College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst to climb four spots to No. 10.

ABOUT THE POLL: The 11th annual USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the six NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the American Hockey Coaches Association and USA Hockey Magazine, the official publication of USA Hockey.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll -- #17

(first-place votes in parentheses, Last Week, Record, Weeks in Top 15)

1. Miami (Ohio) U., 493 (19), 3, 19-4-4, 13
2. U. of Minnesota, 487 (13), 4, 18-6-4, 17
3. Boston College, 439 (2), 1, 17-5-2, 17
4. U. of Wisconsin, 399, 2, 18-6-2, 17
5. Cornell U., 373, 5, 14-4-3, 17
6. U. of Michigan, 307, 8, 14-9-3, 17
7. Colorado College, 296, 9, 17-10-1, 17
8. U. of Maine, 194, 11, 17-9-0, 17
9. Providence College, 188, 12, 14-9-1, 6
10. Boston U., 185, 14, 14-8-2, 7
11. U. of Vermont, 183, 7, 16-8-2, 15
12. U. of Denver, 158, 13, 16-10-2, 14
13. U. of North Dakota, 135, 6, 17-12-1, 17
14. Michigan State U., 76, 15, 14-10-7, 8
15. U. of New Hampshire, 58, 10, 13-9-4, 16

Others receiving votes: Lake Superior State University, 38; Harvard University, 36; St. Lawrence University, 11; Colgate University, 9; College of the Holy Cross, 8; Ferris State University, 5; St. Cloud State University, 2.

The Anchorage Daily News previewed hometown product Matt Carle, as Denver University traveled to Alaska for 2 games this weekend.

After University of Anchorage Alaska sophomore goaltender Nate Lawson was knocked out of the game with a sprained knee, freshmen goaltender Mike Rosett filled in and backstopped a 3-2 loss to Denver on Friday night. On Saturday night, Alaska captain Ales Parez injured a shoulder in a 5-3 loss to Denver.

DU Completes Road Sweep with 5-3 Win Over UAA, Pioneers move into three-way tie for first place in WCHA with Wisconsin and Minnesota - Denver Pioneers.

The Denver Post examines the specifics behind the junior defenseman's success this season.

"He's had more of an impact from Day One than any player I've ever coached," said George Gwozdecky, DU's coach since 1994. "He's the best defenseman I've ever coached."

Carle enters the weekend's two-game series as the leading scorer in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, with 28 points (19 assists) in 18 league games. He's tied for fifth nationally in scoring, with 36 points in 26 games. In addition, he's a smothering defender who rarely makes mistakes.

"He's just got every tool there is to play good defense, and he's got great offensive instincts," DU goalie Peter Mannino said.

Carle, who has 11 goals and 29 assists in 28 games played this season [+11], was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the 2003 NHL entry draft.

[Update] Carle could bring something new to DU - Rocky Mountain News.

More Cal vs Stanford, photos and video

Added two videos from the 13-3 Cal win over Stanford last Thursday. The first video shows a cross check, and two body checks in the corner. The second video show the new Cal Hockey mascot rinkside. Both files are in quicktime format.

Added a Cal-Stanford photo gallery from the Thursday game here, and the Friday game here.

Thanks to the parents who sent in email, and to those who contributed to this blog via Paypal. Much appreciated.

From Calicehockey.com:

Golden Bears Look to Playoffs, Oregon Ducks.

The Bears will be heading to Eugene, Oregon for the Pac-8 playoffs on February 10 and 11th. As the third seed, the Bears will face the second seeded Oregon Ducks in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season. The top ranked USC Trojans will face off against the UCLA Bruins in the other first round game. While the Bears split the season series with the Ducks they still look to avenge the first round loss to the Oregon Ducks in last seasons playoffs. Said captain Amir Moazeni "Oregon is a great team. They are very well coached, well disciplined, and have excellent goaltending. As defending champs, they are the team to beat."


Comments, cellphone hockey photos anyone?

Test post, trying to add comment support to this blog. Questions, comments or links can also be sent anytime via this email form.

If you have a cellphone camera, and regularly attend hockey games outside of the Bay Area, or outside of the USA, drop me a line. Mobile photoblogging has been added to this blog via flickr.

If you can take a photo and email it with your cellphone, you can post a photo on this blog.

[Update] Comments are going to take a little more tweaking before I can get them to work correctly.


Stockton Thunder lose to Long Beach 2-1 in overtime shootout

ECHL Stockton Thunder Long Beach Ice Dogs

Stockton goaltender Jake Moreland made 51 saves on 52 shots, Ice Dogs goaltender Olivier Michaud closed the door on Thunder right wing Joel Irwin to give LB a shootout win, Nick Greenough dropped the gloves with Jimmy Bonneau, the Stanley Cup posed for visitors in the lobby, and piles of teddy bears covered the ice in the second period after Stockton center Nathan Martz scored to unleash the first teddy bear toss promotion.

View a photo gallery from the game here.

[Update] Lines, Thunder and bears, oh my Sellout crowd, charity toss and visit from Cup make Arena buzz - Stockton Record.

[Update2] From the ECHL:

Long Beach Ice Dogs (21-15-5) at Stockton Thunder (7-22-6) 4:00 p.m. PT, Sunday January 29th

- Ice Dogs won 2-1 in shootout at Stockton on Jan. 28 and 4-3 in shootout at Long Beach on Oct. 29.
- Stockton’s Nathan Martz has a two-game goal-scoring streak (2g) and a three-game scoring streak (2g-4a).
- In its last eight games, Long Beach is 7-0-1 including 2-0-0 in shootouts and 1-0-1 in overtime.
- Thunder’s Joel Irwin has a four-game assist streak (4a) and a four-game scoring streak (2g-4a).

The game will be broadcast at 4PM on B2 Networks, with audio available at Stocktonthunder.com.

Sharks lose to Phoenix 6-2, hold a players only meeting

The Sharks took a beating from Pacific Division rival Phoenix, losing 6-2 on Saturday night. According to the SF Chronicle, the San Jose players held a players-only meeting after the loss.

Losers of consecutive games while showing all the energy and urgency of your garden variety snail, the players finally decided it was time to hold a chat.

The visitors' locker room door remained closed for approximately 10 minutes after San Jose's dismal 6-2 loss here to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. The meeting was players only, and that's just fine with coach Ron Wilson.

"Hopefully they'll hold themselves accountable," Wilson said.

It is only two losses in a row, but both were against division rivals. The 10 game losing streak earlier this season erased any margin of error the Sharks had in trying to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.

[Update] Sharks begin soul searching, Wilson hints at changes after 6-2 loss to Coyotes - SJ Mercury News.


Stanford wins late against Berkeley 6-5

Cal Stanford Big Freeze hockey

Cal Stanford Big Freeze hockey

A late goal gave Stanford center Kevin Swan [#10] a hat trick, and the Cardinals a 6-5 win in the second game of the "Big Freeze" home-at-home with Berkeley. Taku Ide contributed 2 goals, and Joe Shapiro scored once for Stanford, 5 different players scored for Cal.

From Stanfordhockey.com:

This was game to watch. This was the game to be at. This was the game that made this season memorable. The home stands were filled with Stanford fans, the temperature outside was a friendly 58 degrees, and inside it was a chilly 36 when the puck hit the ice on Friday night. Coach Howard Neckowitz fired up the team, and Stanford came out invigorated with both guns blazing as Taku Ide scored a breakaway goal on his first shift out, with just 39 seconds having ticked off the clock...

A photo gallery from the second game of the Big Freeze can be found here.


Cal opens first game of the "Big Freeze" with a 13-3 win over Stanford

Cal Stanford Big Freeze hockey

In the first game of the "Big Freeze" home-at-home series with Stanford, the last game on home ice for many graduating seniors, Cal could not be stopped. Berkeley won the first game 13-3 at home Thursday night.

The second game will be played at Belmont Iceland tonight at 8PM.

More here.

Hockey Notes - January 27th edition

- The NHL on NBC this Saturday will feature the Pittsburgh Penguins vs the NY Rangers, the Detroit Red Wings vs the Dallas Stars, and the Tampa Bay Lightning vs the Philadelphia Flyers. John McGourty of NHL.com previews the Saturday games here, and OLN/NBC announcer Bill Clement believes Rangers rookie sensation Henrik Lundqvist will carry New York to the postseason.

- Earlier this week, NHL.com featured an article by Karl Samuelson on San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau. Samuelson compared Marleau to Colorado Avalanche centerman Joe Sakic, described Marleau's drive to excel in all areas of the game, and quoted Sharks GM Doug Wilson on Marleau's production in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"He is very strong in the clutch," concludes Wilson. "People don't realize that the last couple of years Patty had better playoff numbers than Vincent Lecavalier. (Marleau -- 14 goals and 23 points in 29 games; Lecavalier -- 12 goals and 22 points in 34 games) We look at our people performing the best when it matters the most and I truly believe that Patty should be considered one of the top players in the League. He is in that top level now and I honestly think that he's going to get to another level."

Marleau also held a livechat with fans on NHL.com, and answered a number of difficult questions:

Hey Patty, I know it's tough losing 3 players you knew well, but what are your thoughts on the Joe Thornton trade and have you been following your former teammates on the Bruins?

Patrick Marleau
It was very tough to lose friends I broke into the league with. I got close to them all, especially Primeau during the lockout. It's the business side of sports that happens all the time. Joe is a great guy to have on the team. I wish everybody success and I do try to watch them a bit in Boston. It looks like everybody's doing well...

There are some folks that think you don't have a strong enough personality to be captain. What is your response to that?

Patrick Marleau
They don't really know me. You hear that sometimes in the media. The thing about our club is we have a bunch of leaders and we all work together. I've been in the locker room with a bunch of great leaders over the years, so that's helped a lot. My job has been made easier because of that...

Patrick, do you think the Sharks need some more veterans on the team? I know you've got many seasons under your belt, but there aren't many others in their 30s besides Scotty Thornton?

Patrick Marleau
No, I think we're alright. As I said earlier, there are guys around here that are good players and leaders. Plus, we've all played with some solid leaders in the past and know what needs to be done. We have young guys with six, seven years experience.

In his last three games, Patrick Marleau scored an overtime game winning goal and two assists at Los Angeles, 2 goals and an assist in a 4-1 win over the Kings in San Jose on Tuesday, and was held scoreless against the Ducks on Thursday. This season, Marleau has 21 goals and 33 assists in 47 games played.

Most of the talk concerning San Jose mentions the team's record after the Joe Thornton trade, or how Joe Thornton makes his linemates better, but Patrick Marleau is the glue that is holding this team together. The Sharks only dress 11 forwards and 7 defenseman? Double shift Marleau on two lines. Problem on the PP, put Marleau on the blueline. Need clutch scoring in the playoffs? Marleau opened the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals with a hat trick against Colorado, and added another hat trick in the first round against St Louis.

The only question about Patrick Marleau is whether he will be very good, or dominate on a nightly basis. That, and when will he make another entry to his fight log. Ok, that is two questions.

- Backchecking, TSN NHL notes from January 27th.

- Thoughts of Owen Nolan returning to San Jose picked up again this week, first with an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, and then in the San Jose Mercury News. Kevin Gibson of 640AM Toronto mentioned last week that the word was Nolan is close enough with his rehab to return soon.

- Hockey Canada suffered a recent string of injuries to defenseman named on the 2006 Olympic Men's Ice Hockey team: McCabe [groin], Jovanovski [groin], Niedermayer [knee].

This may open a door for Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan to be named at a replacement.

Analyzing Canada's Olympic hockey chances - Kevin Allen.

If you believe Canada will be bothered by a couple of significant injuries, you don't understand Canadian hockey tradition. This is a team that feeds on adversity like it is one of the essential nutrients of life.

- Mentioning the 2006 Olympics in Torino got me thinking about Italian downhill skiing great Alberto Tomba. In addition to being a talented skier and a flamboyant personality, he was also a quote machine. Some of my favorites:

"When I start to really try to win, then perhaps I will have to give my opponents a three-second head start instead of the one second I give them now."

"I really lack the words to compliment myself today."

"This way, even if I lose my hat I'm still aerodynamic." [Tomba on a shorter haircut]

"I used to have a wild time with three women until 5AM, but I am getting older. In the Olympic Village here, I will live it up with five women, but only until 3AM."

This quote from Peter Oliver sums Tomba up perfectly:

"I sat next to Tommy Moe and his girlfriend. Tommy had just won the gold medal [in the downhill at Lillehammer]. Halfway through the meal, in walks Tomba and his entourage. They had this very mafioso look about them. Tomba grabs a bottle of champagne, sprays it all over Tommy, and toasts him: 'Congratulations! You're the man!' Then he and his entourage disappear through this other door, the inner sanctum. I mean, we're already in this special upstairs room, away from the main restaurant, but you got this feeling that even though Tommy was on top of the world, nobody went through that last and final door but Tomba."

Alberto Tomba on Bode Miller in 2005:

"He likes to win or go out. He doesn't like finishing third or eighth place."

"Now that he's good for super-G and downhill, maybe he's lost something in slalom. I think he's the only one now who can win in slalom and downhill."

Sources: Olympics, AP, Outside Online.

[Update] Next Big Thing - Valuev, boxing's tallest and heaviest champion ever, is a hero in Russia, controversy or no controversy - LA Times.

[Update2] Only 23, Ehroff an international veteran - NHL.com.

8 goals scored in third period, National Conference downs American Conference 7-6 in 2006 ECHL Allstar Game

2006 ECHL Allstar Game

The 2006 ECHL Allstar Game from Fresno on Wednesday began as a low scoring affair.

Mike Lalonde of Stockton and Shawn Sinder of Phoenix scored first for the National Conference, both goals coming up over the stick-side shoulder of Johnstown goaltender Jonathan Boutin. The American Conference countered with goals by Ernie Hartlieb of Florida and Luke Fulghum of Pensacola to tie the score at 2.

Alex Leavitt of Alaska scored the only goal in the second period to give the National Conference a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.

Then the offensive dam burst wide open. The National Conference, containing the all-Californian 5 team Pacific Division and 6 team West Division, jumped out to a "comfortable" 6-2 lead. Fresno Falcon forward Luke Curtain scored 2 goals in the first 40 seconds of the period, and Christian Larrivee of Long Beach chipped in another goal at the three minute mark. The 7,667 fans in attendance cheered on local Fresno Falcons goaltender Brett Jaeger as the action picked up considerably in his zone.

The American Conference stormed back from a 7-4 deficit, with two goals in the final minute and 20 seconds of the third period. Goals by Luke Fulghum [giving him a hat trick] and Jeff Campbell made the score 7-6 with 18 seconds left in the third period. American co-coaches Karly Taylor [Reading] and Jeff Pyle [Gwinnett] pulled goaltender Jeff Glass, and flooded the right side of the faceoff circle with 2 wingers and an extra skater. Jeff Legue won the faceoff for the American Conference and dumped the puck in the National zone. The American team briefly gained possession of the puck in the slot before it was lost in traffic and cleared. Game over. National Conference downs the American Conference 7-6.

Notes from the broadcast on OLN:

OLN analyst Neil Smith was in the broadcast booth, the ECHL Allstar Game a good balance between junior and college developed prospects, the ECHL mandatory visor rule is in its third season, Ottawa Senators scout Nick Polano was in attendance, oldest player in the game: Steve Lingren (Victoria) 32, youngest player in the game: Jeff Glass (Charlotte) 20, 12 rookies on American Conference roster, 9 on National Conference, 5 players with NHL contracts: Boutin (Johnstown) Tampa Bay Lightning, Guillaume Desbiens (Gwinnett) Atlanta Thrashers, Jeff Glass (Charlotte) Ottawa Senators, Brandon Nolan (Columbia), Rory Raqlyk (Charlotte) New York Rangers, 6 players with AHL contracts: Sean Collins (Wheeling) W-B/Scranton Penguins, Andy Frank (Wheeling) W-B/Scranton Penguins, Luke Fulghum (Pensacola) Toronto Marlies, Troy Milam (Gwinnett) Chicago Wolves, Daniel Sisca (Florida) Lowell Lock Monsers, D'Arcy McConvery (Idaho) Iowa Stars.

Notes from Sharkspage:

Hockey Hall of Fame Curator Philip Pritchard recounted a few stories of the Stanley Cup's offseason travels and mentioned that the Cup would be on the road this weekend to San Diego on Friday and to Stockton on Saturday for viewing at ECHL games, Commissioner Emeritus of the ECHL Patrick J. Kelly mentioned that the Championship Kelly Cup was building a rich history for the league and the sport, Sharks video scouting coordinator Bob Friedlander was in attendance, Yahoo provided three free streams of the game, 28k audio, 100k and 300k video streams, according to a local sports anchor the game attendance was higher than expected for a Wednesday night, former Sharks prospects in the ECHL Allstar Game: Ryan Kraft (1999, 2000), Sean Gauthier (1998).

Visit the photo gallery from the Allstar Game here.

2006 ECHL Allstar Game

The Stockton Thunder National Conference representatives Mike Lalonde and Jake Moreland both provided standout performances Wednesday night. In addition to scoring the first goal of the game, Lalonde added 2 more assists in the third period. Jake Moreland was the only goaltender to stop all of the shots that he faced, making 12 saves on 12 shots in the second period.

GAME RECAP: 2006 ECHL All-Star Game - Stockton Thunder.

According to Ken Robison of the Fresno Bee, the 2006 ECHL Allstar Game had the largest attendance in 6 years. Defenseman Dustin VanBallegooie, forward Luke Curtain and goaltender Brett Jaeger all represented the home town Fresno Falcons for the National Conference. Luke Curtain earned game MVP honors to a standing ovation by the crowd.

A press release from the Fresno Falcons:

CURTIN WINS ALL-STAR MVP, National Conference Defeats American Conference, 7-6

FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno Falcons assistant captain and leading scorer Luke Curtin was named the ECHL All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player for scoring two goals in a 20 second span during the first minute of the third period. His two tallies extended a one-goal lead at the start of the frame to a three-goal margin that helped propel the National Conference to a 7-6 victory over the American Conference at Save Mart Center.

Falcons goaltender Brett Jaeger, who played the third period for the National side, was peppered with 19 shots and made 15 saves. Fresno’s third All-Star in the game, defenseman Dustin VanBallegooie, finished as a +1.

Doing the goalie shuffle in the ECHL - NHL.com.

Box Score from the ECHL:



Date: Jan 25, 2006 Location: Fresno, California Arena: Save Mart Center Attendance:7667 Start time:7:13 End time:9:25 Total time:2:12

Goals by Period


1st period - 1, NATIONAL, Lalonde, Mike-1 (Taylor, Adam-1) 12:36. 2, NATIONAL, Sinder, Shawn-1 (Bennefield, Jesse-1) 14:47. 3, AMERICAN, Hartlieb, Ernie-1 (Mosienko, Tyler-1; Campbell, Jeff-1) 18:17. 4, AMERICAN, Fulghum, Luke-1 (Legue, Jeff-1; Rawlyk, Rory-1) 19:07.

2nd period - 5, NATIONAL, Leavitt, Alex-1 (Taylor, Adam-2; Sinder, Shawn-1) 12:58.

3rd period - 6, NATIONAL, Curtin, Luke-1 (Bembridge, Garett-1; Gaucher, Ryan-1) 00:23. 7, NATIONAL, Curtin, Luke-2 (VanBallegooie,Dustin-1; Lalonde, Mike-1) 00:43. 8, NATIONAL, Larrivee, Christian-1 (McConvey, D'Arcy-1; Lalonde, Mike-2) 03:56. 9, AMERICAN, Bertoli, Scott-1 (Sisca, Daniel-1) 11:00. 10, AMERICAN, Fulghum, Luke-1 (Rawlyk, Rory-1; Campbell, Jeff-1) 11:33. 11, NATIONAL, Lingren, Steve-1 (McConvey, D'Arcy-1; Taylor, Adam-1) 11:50. 12, AMERICAN, Fulghum, Luke-1 (Burke, Gerry-1; Bertoli, Scott-1) 18:43. 13, AMERICAN, Campbell, Jeff-1 (Milam, Troy-1; Fulghum, Luke-1) 19:42.

Shots on goal - AMERICAN 43; NATIONAL 26.

Power plays - none.

Penalties - none.

Goalies - AMERICAN, Glass, Jeff (18:33 minutes, 8 shots-4 saves) ; Franck, Andy (20:00, 8-7) ; Boutin, Jonathan (20:00, 10-8) ; EMPTY NET (01:27, 0-0); NATIONAL, Moreland, Jake (20:00, 12-12) ; Magliarditi, Marc (20:00, 12-10) ; Jaeger, Brett (20:00, 19-15).

Referee:Matt Bialota Asst Ref:Rob Fay; David Jones

MVP Luke Curtin Fresno

[Update] All-Stars hope success carries over to remainder of season - Stockton Record.

[Update2] Cup connoisseur, The ECHL All-Star Game is today, but fans will get a kick checking out the NHL's storied trophy - Fresno Bee.

[Update3] The 2006 AHL Allstar Game will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba Wednesday February 1st.


2006 ECHL Allstar Game photo gallery

2006 ECHL Allstar Game

2006 ECHL Allstar Game photo gallery. More coming soon.


Mario Lemieux retires

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Mario Lemieux retired from the NHL for a second time.

From the NHL:

Lemieux, who has been out of the lineup with an irregular heartbeat, won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins and amassed 1,723 points (690 goals, 1,033 assists), seventh on the League's all-time scoring list.

More coverage of Lemieux's retirement is available from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the NHL, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kukla's Korner chronicles the media reaction, and rounds up a number of blog responses as well.

NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman released a statement on Lemeiux's retirement:


NEW YORK (January 24, 2006) -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the retirement of Mario Lemieux:

"Mario's exceptional play earned him accolades. His ability to face adversity earned him respect. His devotion to Pittsburgh and the Penguins earned him admiration. His dedication to hockey - at both the NHL and International levels - earned him the enduring appreciation and thanks of everyone associated with the game. We celebrate his playing career and wish him only the best in the future."

OLN posted video of Wayne Gretzky on Mario, and they are also running an episode of Fearless that details how Lemieux overcame debilitating back pain and cancer to become one of the most productive players in the league.

Lemieux's play on the ice, and his efforts to save hockey in Pittsburgh twice, will be missed.

2006 ECHL All-Star Skills Competition results


Results are in from the 2006 ECHL All-Star Skills Competition, the All-Star game will be held Wednesday at 7:05 PM.

2006 ECHL All-Star Skills Competition Presented By Bud Light

FRESNO, Calif. – Results from the 2006 ECHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by Bud Light held on Tuesday at Save Mart Center.

Outstanding Goaltender – Marc Magliarditi, Las Vegas

National Conference d. American Conference, 15-8

In Glas Co Puck Control Relay

American Conference (Jeff Legue, South Carolina; Sean Collins, Wheeling and Gerry Burke, Toledo) d. National Conference (Alex Leavitt, Alaska; Luke Curtin, Fresno and Steve Villeneuve, Long Beach).

In Glas Co Individual Puck Control Relay

National Conference (Luke Fulghum, Pensacola) d. American Conference (Justin Aikins, Long Beach).

RBK Hockey Fastest Skater

National Conference (14.723) d. American Conference (14.895).

1. Jesse Bennefield (San Diego), National Conference, 14.576.
2. Chris Lee (Florida), American Conference, 14.747.
3. Shawn Snider (Phoenix), National Conference, 14.755.
4. Daniel Sisca (Florida), American Conference, 14.804.
5. Garett Bembridge (Idaho), National Conference, 14.850.
6. Brandon Nolan (Columbia), American Conference, 15.134.

CCM Vector Hardest Shot

National Conference (93.3 mph) d. American Conference (89.8 mph).

1. Christian Larrivee (Long Beach), National Conference, 96.7 mph.
2. Steve Lingren (Victoria), National Conference, 94.3 mph.
3. Mike Gabinet (Idaho), National Conference, 92.5 mph.
T.J. Kemp (Reading), American Conference, 92.5 mph.
5. Rory Rawlyk (Charlotte), American Conference, 91.4 mph.
6. Dustin VanBallegooie (Fresno), National Conference, 89.7 mph.
7. Ernie Hartlieb (Florida), American Conference, 87.7 mph.
8. Brian Passmore (Augusta), American Conference, 87.6 mph.

RBK Hockey Rapid Fire

National Conference (24 saves) d. American Conference (15 saves).

National Conference vs. Jonathan Boutin (Johnstown), 6 saves.
Mike Lalonde (Stockton), 2 goals.
Jesse Bennefield (San Diego), 2 goals.

American Conference vs. Marc Magliarditi (Las Vegas), 9 saves.
Scott Bertoli (Trenton), 0 goals.
T.J. Kemp (Reading), 1 goal.

National Conference vs. Jeff Glass (Charlotte), 5 saves.
D’Arcy McConvey (Idaho), 4 goals.
Marco Peluso (Las Vegas), 1 goal.

American Conference vs. Brett Jaeger (Fresno), 8 saves.
Jeff Campbell (Gwinnett), 1 goal.
Tyson Teplitsky (Dayton), 1 goal.

National Conference vs. Andy Franck (Wheeling), 4 saves.
Ryan Gaucher (Alaska), 3 goals.
Scott Basiuk (Bakersfield), 3 goals.

American Conference vs. Jake Moreland (Stockton), 7 saves.
Tyler Mosienko (Greenville), 1 goal.
Troy Milam (Gwinnett), 2 goals.

MeiGray Group Accuracy Shooting Competition

National Conference (11 of 22) d. American Conference (7 of 22).

1. Gerry Burke (Toledo), American Conference, 4 of 7 and 1 of 1 in tiebreaker.
2. Adam Taylor (Victoria), National Conference, 4 of 7 and 1 of 2 in tiebreaker.
3. Garett Bembridge (Idaho), National Conference, 4 of 7.
4. Matt Craig (Utah), National Conference, 3 of 8.
5. Guillaume Desbiens (Gwinnett), American Conference, 2 of 8.
6. Sean Collins (Wheeling), American Conference, 1 of 7.

RBK Hockey Breakaway Relay

National Conference d. American Conference, 8-6

American Conference vs. Jake Moreland (Stockton), two saves Sean Collins (Wheeling), goal; T.J. Kemp (Reading), miss; Jeff Legue (South Carolina), goal; Tyler Mosienko (Greenville), goal; Chris Lee (Florida), miss; Guillaume Desbiens (Gwinnett), goal.

National Conference vs. Andy Franck (Wheeling), two saves Matt Craig (Utah), goal; Jesse Bennefield (San Diego), miss; Steve Villeneuve (Long Beach), goal; Alex Leavitt (Alaska), goal; Mike Gabinet (Idaho), goal; Adam Taylor (Victoria), miss.

American Conference vs. Brett Jaeger (Fresno), four saves Luke Fulghum (Pensacola), miss; Daniel Sisca (Florida), goal; Gerry Burke (Toledo), miss; Brandon Nolan (Columbia), goal; Tyson Teplitsky (Dayton), miss; Jeff Campbell (Gwinnett), miss.

National Conference vs. Jeff Glass (Charlotte), five saves Christian Larrivee (Long Beach), miss; Shawn Snider (Phoenix), miss; Steve Lingren (Victoria), goal; Garett Bembridge (Idaho), miss; Dustin VanBallegooie (Fresno), miss; Marco Peluso (Las Vegas), miss.

American Conference vs. Marc Magliarditi (Las Vegas), 6 saves Brian Passmore (Augusta), miss; Rory Rawlyk (Charlotte), miss; Troy Milam (Gwinnett), miss; Sean Collins (Wheeling), miss; Ernie Hartlieb (Florida), miss; Scott Bertoli (Trenton), miss.

National Conference vs. Jonathan Boutin (Johnstown), 3 saves Ryan Gaucher (Alaska), goal; Justin Aikins (Long Beach), goal; Scott Basiuk (Bakersfield), miss; Mike Lalonde (Stockton), goal; D’Arcy McConvey (Idaho), miss; Luke Curtin (Fresno), miss.

Big Freeze Hockey

Big Freeze hockey

This is the second flyer sent in on the "Big Freeze" Cal vs Stanford series starting Thursday at Berkeley, and finishing on Friday at Stanford.


Stockton goaltender Jake Moreland named as ECHL Allstar Game replacement

Jake Moreland

Stockton Thunder goaltender Jake Moreland was selected as a replacement player for the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game. He joins teammate Mike Lalonde, who was named to the National Conference Allstar roster earlier this year. The ECHL Allstar Game skills competition begins tonight at 7:05 PM PT.

The Stanley Cup will visit Stockton on Saturday, January 28th. Fans will get a chance to take a picture with the Cup prior to the 7:30 game with the Long Beach Ice Dogs.

[Update] Teams are desperate to take a shot at goal - SF Chronicle.


Hockey Notes - January 23rd edition

- In San Jose's 4-3 overtime win over Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, Joe Thornton scored his first goal against a Pacific Division opponent, Patrick Marleau scored the game winning goal with 8.9 seconds left in OT, and the Sharks continued their psychological hold over the purple and white rivals to the south.

Kings Can't Close the Door, Explanations are in order after a two-goal lead is wasted in the Sharks' 4-3 overtime victory - Los Angeles Times.

- OLN double header tonight: Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins, Anaheim Mighty Ducks vs Los Angeles Kings. Coverage starts at 7PM ET.

From NHL Public Relations:

WSH-BOS Game Preview: The Capitals, winners of a season-high four straight,hope a much-deserved day off doesn't slow down their scoring surge as they meet the Bruins.

ANA-LA Game Preview: Jean-Sebastien Giguere is returning to his old form and the Mighty Ducks are enjoying the rewards. Giguere will likely get the chance to lead the Mighty Ducks to their third consecutive win for the first time in nearly two months when they visit the Kings.

- NHL scoring race as of January 22nd.

Total Points:
1. Jaromir Jagr - 71 pts
2. Ilya Kovalchuk - 66 pts
3. Joe Thornton - 66 pts
4. Daniel Alfredsson - 65 pts
5. Dany Heatley - 64 pts

(18. Patrick Marleau - 51 pts)

Total Goals:
1. Ilya Kovalchuk - 35 goals
2. Alexander Ovechkin - 33 goals
3. Simon Gagne - 32 goals
4. Dany Heatley - 31 goals
5. Eric Staal - 30 goals

(11. Jonathan Cheechoo - 26 goals)

Total Assists:
1. Joe Thornton - 49 assists
2. Peter Forsberg - 45 assists
3. Marc Savard - 43 assists
4. Jaromir Jagr - 42 assists
5. Pavel Datsyuk - 38 assists

(23. Patrick Marleau - 32 assists)

- Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers saw the return of Todd Harvey to the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Harvey commented on the homecoming to Robin Brownlee of the Edmonton Sun:

Harvey, 30, spent parts of five seasons as a member of the San Jose Sharks and he's got some fond memories from the days when he called The Tank home.

"I do have some good memories here," Harvey said. "We went from being a team that really hadn't done very well when I first got here to building a team that was competing for the Stanley Cup."

Edmonton played a solid, well coached game. The Oilers supported the puck carrier well, pressured the Sharks on the forecheck, and were excellent positionally on defense. All of that analysis evaporates when two Edmonton players throw their hands up in the air and dive to the ice. That is not NHL hockey, but it is a problem that has yet to be solved by the "new NHL".

- This isn't soccer! Taking a dive is illegal - SJ Mercury News.

- Two photos of the new Stanley's Bar at Logitech Ice. The bar feels like more of a wooden lodge, with NHL Center Ice on display, Molson on tap, and 3 overlooking views of the rinks at the Logitech Ice Center.

Stanleys Bar at Logitech

Stanleys Bar at Logitech

That Molson is purely for display purposes only.

- From Washington Capitals Ted Leonsis's latest Owners Corner, effusive praise for all things Alexander Ovechkin. Can you blame him? You could tell from watching video last season in Russia that highlight Ovechkin goals were going to come, but he appears to value hitting opponents as much as he does scoring goals.

More from Leonsis:

We maybe witnessing something historic here with Alex, and I look forward to hearing our fans say: "I was there at the beginning." Alex’s performance in Anaheim truly showcased his remarkable ability. He is the first rookie in the past decade to score 30 goals in a season, the last being Chicago’s Eric Daze in 1995-96 (30 goals), and we’re just past the midpoint of the season...

Other players have been involved in a variety of activities, everything from learn-to-skate initiatives to helping Hurricane Katrina victims to assisting low-income families on Christmas Day. Olie [Olaf Kolzig], Jeff Halpern, Dainius Zubrus and Alex Ovechkin visited Katrina victims staying at the D.C. Armory, and I was incredibly moved when I learned that the four of them were "adopting" one of the victims – paying for her rent and other necessities to help her recover from that terribly tragedy. My wife and I were inspired to build a Habitat for Humanity house in New Orleans instead of exchanging big holiday gifts this season...

- Boston Herald reporter Stephen Harris pens a column defending GM Mike O'Connell. In defense of O'Connell: GM makes tough decisions - Boston Herald.

It was a huge loss when Boston traded Joe Thornton, but they significantly upgraded their team speed with Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau. O'Connell has to balance making a run at the postseason this year, with retooling an older team for youth and speed to compete in the "new NHL". The Boston Bruins are 8 points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 38 games left to play in the season.

Measuring Marco's Worth - New England Hockey Journal.

- Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun ranks the top 5 garbage men [trash talkers] in the NHL today.

1. Matthew Barnaby, Chicago
2. Sean Avery, Los Angeles
3. Steve Ott, Dallas
4. Vaclav Varada, Ottawa
5. Garth Snow, NY Islanders

Just last night I spoke with an ACHA goalie about the difficulties of a goaltender talking smack on the ice. With Garth Snow, he has the added problem of ginormous pad syndrome to overcome.

- Darryl Sutter flashback from January 3rd, after Calgary's Byron Ritchie and Marcus Nilson were injured in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Sutter was quoted describing Jaroslav Spacek's low hit on Byron Ritchie:

"That's a cheapshot, That's the same as running someone from behind. It's a lack of respect, that's what that is."

Darryl Sutter on a late Tuomo Ruutu hit on Flames forward Marcus Nilson:

No penalty was called and Sutter didn't complain, suggesting Nilson was to blame for "admiring" his pass while skating through the neutral zone. "Finns are gonna hit the Swedes," Sutter said...

Sutter didn't say whether he'd ask the league to review Spacek's hit on Ritchie for a potential suspension. "My opinion doesn't matter," he said. "There are five or six different replays of it. It's up to them."

Classic Darryl Sutter.

The Thursday quote sheet should be back up at Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed's new home. I would be disappointed if they did not find a lot of quotable material from Sutter for the rest of the season.

- The goal machine, Jonathan Cheechoo starting to feel at home among the NHL's leading scorers - Edmonton Sun.

- It has been confirmed that Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Bryan Berard tested positive for the banned anabolic steriod 19-norandrosterone prior to his participation in the 2006 Olympics.

Official statement from NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly:

"While today's announcement relating to Bryan Berard certainly is disappointing, it does nothing to change the fact that the use of steroids is not a pervasive problem facing the National Hockey League. Mr. Berard is one of hundreds of players who, as a result of being identified as potential Olympic candidates, have been subject to random testing for the past several months. There have been dozens of tests administered to a wide cross-section of our players during this time period and Mr. Berard's is the only positive test of which we are aware. We are confident that with the introduction of our new collectively-bargained Performance Enhancing Substances Program, including the educational, testing and penalty elements that are part of that Program, the use of banned substances by any NHL players will be eradicated in short order.

"Mr. Berard's eligibility for play in the National Hockey League is not impacted by this positive drug test. Testing for performance-enhancing substances under the NHL/NHLPA Program began on January 15, 2006. Like all NHL players, Mr. Berard is subject to unannounced testing pursuant to our Program. In the event he were to test positive for a prohibited substance, Mr. Berard would be subject to the mandatory suspension of 20 games for a first offense."

Official Columbus Blue Jackets statements from defenseman Bryan Berard and Blue Jackets President and General Manager Doug MacLean:

Blue Jackets defenseman, Bryan Berard:

"Last summer, I made a mistake that has resulted in this suspension and while unintentional, I take full responsibility. I became aware of the problem after the fact and for that I am disappointed in myself. I have learned a difficult, but valuable lesson and want to let everyone know that this is something that will never happen again."

Blue Jackets President and General Manager Doug MacLean:

"Bryan Berard is one of the most courageous and dedicated athletes I've ever been around. To overcome the adversity that he has in recent years has been inspiring. He made a mistake, has acknowledged it and is committed to moving forward. We have every confidence in Bryan and firmly believe there will be no subsequent issues with the new program addressing the use of performance-enhancing substances adopted by the National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association this season."

Tom Benjamin has more.

It is a black eye for the league to be sure, but it goes nowhere near proving the ridiculous speculation by World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound earlier this year that 33% of the league was taking banned substances.

Report: Pound slams NHL testing - TSN.

- Whatifsports is already playing out the Olympic Men's Ice Hockey schedule. It was interesting when G4tv did this last year during the NHL lockout, now notsomuch.

- The Next Great Sportswriter contest at Foxsports.com is down to the last 4 finalists: HiPlainsDrifter, Jon_Mano, mustangj17, tyhildenbrandt.

- A question about an explicit Sean Avery photo from the Toronto Star's you be the editor feature received a 68% publish rate from 1,239 readers:

Question 6: Sean Avery, "Nasty boy of the NHL," gives the finger to a photographer — a perfect illustration for a feature about Avery that is to run inside the Sports section. Some worry the picture is inappropriate for students.

A. 68 per cent said publish.

"I would publish the photo just to show the public what an ungrateful, rude person he is. Parents and teachers can discuss the poor taste and inappropriateness of the gesture with the children," said Arlene Martin, Brampton.

B. 32 per cent said do not publish.

"Children would think it was 'cool' behaviour and copy it," said Juanita Burnett of Guelph.

The Star published the photo.

Much of the media criticism surrounding how children would react to certain news items at times extends far beyond how the children would actually react. The best policy when I was volunteering at a grade school was to treat 5th and 6th graders like adults until they behaved otherwise. In contemporary media criticism, it is acceptable to do just the opposite.

- Open Question: The NCAA Frozen Four finishes play on April 3rd, which will leave 8 remaining Sharks games that will be critical to qualifying for the playoffs. If Matt Carle joins the Sharks on that date, would he crack the lineup ahead of Davison, Ehrhoff, or Fahey?

Matt Carle, a defenseman for the two-time NCAA champion Denver Pioneers, has 11 goals, 25 assists, +9, and 112 PIMs in 25 games played this season. The Denver Pioneers completed a two game sweep of #1 ranked Wisconsin over the weekend. Last Week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine men's college hockey poll can be found here.

- Around The NHL: Palffy retirement is puzzling - St Louis Post-Dispatch.

Ziggy Palffy is 33, was averaging a point a game and had a contract that would have paid him $10 million for two more seasons.

On Tuesday, he retired.

Thanks to Offwing for the link.

[Update] Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami had a shouting match with Baron Davis inside the Warriors locker room prior to a game two weeks ago. Keep in mind this is after he called out Julio Cesar Chavez for being washed up at a press conference, then declined when challenged to a round of sparring in the gym. Kawakami began one of his recent San Jose Sharks columns apologizing for his lack of knowledge of the sport.

Kawakami is entertaining, and he is doing his best to drum up a little controversy [a la Skip Bayless?], but it is odd to see him repeatedly act in a manner that would get a sports blogger drawn and quartered. I will keep reading, and isn't that the bottom line?

[Update2] The life and times of Joe Corvo - James Mirtle.

[Update3] David Singer of Hockeyfights.com and The Ice Block was on 640AM Toronto last week to discuss the latest NHL heavyweight matchups.

Hockeydirt's midseason poll of hockey bloggers gave the Tough Guy Neely award to Ottawa Senators right wing Brian McGrattan, with 53% of the vote. Mirtle made a case for the Minnesota Wild's Derek 'The Boogeyman' Boogaard, but David Singer believes that there are still a number of contenders for the NHL heavyweight title this season.

With a 5-3 win over BYU on Saturday, San Jose State finishes undefeated at home

San Jose State vs BYU hockey

SJSU [22-0-1] downed BYU 5-3 on Saturday night with goals by Sean Scarbrough, Mason Nave, Jeff Mattern, Brian Doll and a rink-wide empty net goal by Ian Fazzi in the final seconds of the game. San Jose goaltender Ryan Lowe made 29 saves on 32 shots to earn the victory.

Box score from the 5-3 SJSU win over BYU on Saturday night from achahockey.org. Visit SJSUhockey.com for more information.

San Jose State hits the road to face 4th ranked Colorado on Friday, and 2nd ranked Colorado State on Saturday. Then SJSU finishes the season with two games against USC, and a final game against Long Beach State on February 4th.

The ACHA D2 West Regional tournament to determine the last two teams to head to Nationals will be held at Logitech Ice February 17-18th. The top two teams from the West will get an automatic invitation to Nationals, which will be held on March 8-11th in Rochester, New York.

Current West Rankings [as of 01/22/06]: 1. San Jose, 2. Colorado State, 3. Denver, 4. Colorado, 5. EWU, 6. USC, 6. Metro State, 8. Weber State, 9. UNLV, 10. Utah State.

Big Freeze hockey

[Update] Stanford travels to Berkeley for the first game of the "Big Freeze" home-at-home Thursday, January 26th. The second game of the series will be held at Belmont Iceland on Friday, January 27th.

ECHL Allstar Game updates

In addition to the news that the ECHL Allstar Game from Fresno will be aired live on the NHL Network and NHL Center Ice at 10-12:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 25, and will be rebroadcast by OLN on Jan. 26 from 5-7 p.m. ET, there are futher developments.

XM Radio will air the ECHL Allstar Game on Home Ice XM 204 at 10 p.m. ET in the United States, and in Canada through XM’s partner, Canadian Satellite Radio, on Channel 204. The Stanley Cup and the ECHL Championship Kelly Cup will be on display together, and Fresno Falcons goaltender Brett Jaeger will represent the home crowd at the ECHL Allstar Game in Fresno.

Complete American Conference Roster:

* - Rookie

7 *Sean Collins Wheeling 5-9 178 Reading, Mass.
9 Ernie Hartlieb (A) Florida 6-2 210 Warren, Mich.
10 Brian Passmore ^ Augusta 5-11 180 Mississauga, Ontario
11 *Jeff Legue S. Carolina 5-10 165 Cornwall, Ontario
16 *Tyler Mosienko ! Greenville 5-8 175 West St. Paul, Manitoba
17 Jeff Campbell $ Gwinnett 5-9 170 Hensall, Ontario
18 *Luke Fulghum Pensacola 5-11 180 Colorado Springs, Colo.
19 Scott Bertoli (C) Trenton 5-11 205 Milton, Ontario
20 Mike Kompon % Reading 5-11 190Thunder Bay, Ontario
21 *Guillaume Desbiens Gwinnett 6-2 213 Alma, Quebec
23 Brandon Nolan Columbia 6-1 185 St. Catharines, Ontario
28 *Daniel Sisca Florida 5-9 160 Woodbridge, Ontario

5 *Tyson Teplitsky # Dayton 6-0 190 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
6 Troy Milam Gwinnett 6-0 188 Lake Orion, Mich.
8 Rory Rawlyk (A) Charlotte 6-5 191 Edmonton, Alberta
14 *T.J. Kemp Reading 5-11 197 Pickering, Ontario
22 *Gerry Burke Toledo 6-4 225Milton, Mass.
44 Chris Lee Florida 6-0 185 MacTier, Ontario

30 *Jeff Glass + Charlotte 6-2 185 Cochrane, Alberta
34 Andy Franck @ Wheeling 6-0 175 Lakewood, Ohio
35 *Jonathan Boutin Johnstown 6-2 210 St-Joachim-de-Sheffo, Quebec

Coaches: Karl Taylor, Reading and Jeff Pyle, Gwinnett
Equipment Manager: John Jennings, Florida
Athletic Trainer: George Sporing, ATC M. Ed., Dayton

# - replaced Mark Flood of Dayton, who is injured
@ - replaced Mike Brodeur of Greenville, who is injured
! - replaced Greg Hogeboom of Reading, who is called up to Manchester
$ - replaced Kurtis McLean of Wheeling, who is called up to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
% - replaced Pascal Pelletier of Gwinnett, who is called up to Chicago of the AHL
^ - replaced Nicolas Corbeil of Augusta, who is called up to Lowell
+ - replaced Cody Rudkowsky of Reading, who is injured

National Conference Roster

9 D’Arcy McConvey Idaho 5-10 190 Richmond, Ontario
10 *Shawn Snider Phoenix 5-10 170 Fergus, Ontario
11 *Marco Peluso % Las Vegas 5-10 160 Bovey, Minn.
12 *Alex Leavitt Alaska 5-10 175 Edmonton, Alberta
14 *Adam Taylor Victoria 6-1 200 Courtenay, British Columbia
16 *Justin Aikins @ Long Beach 6-0 177 Surrey, British Columbia
19 *Mike Lalonde Stockton 5-10 185 Chetwynd, British Columbia
21 *Jesse Bennefield San Diego 6-0 195 Calgary, Alberta
23 Christian Larrivee Long Beach 6-3 200 Gaspe, Quebec
37 *Matt Craig Utah 6-0 195 London, Ontario
41 Garett Bembridge (A) Idaho 6-1 188 Melfort, Saskatchewan
72 Luke Curtin (A) Fresno 6-2 210 St. Paul, Minn.

2 Steve Villeneuve ! Long Beach 6-0 196 St. Jerome, Quebec
5 Dustin VanBallegooie Fresno 6-0 200 Murilo, Ontario
7 Ryan Gaucher Alaska 6-0 195 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
8 *Mike Gabinet # Idaho 6-3 210 Edmonton, Alberta
17 Steve Lingren (C) Victoria 6-0 185 Lake Cowichan, B.C.
20 Scott Basiuk $ Bakersfield 6-2 205 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

29 *Mike McKenna Las Vegas 6-3 187 St. Louis, Mo.
30 Chris Beckford-Tseu Alaska 6-3 205 Toronto, Ontario
34 Brett Jaeger Fresno 5-9 175 Manning, Alberta

Coaches: Davis Payne, Alaska and Glen Gulutzan, Las Vegas
Equipment Manager: Khris Bestel, Idaho and Chris Burke, Fresno
Athletic Trainer: Mike Hannegan, Las Vegas and Brad Jellis, Fresno

# - Replaces Jonathan Zion of Idaho, who went to Finland
@ - Replaces Ash Goldie of Long Beach, who is injured
! - Replaces Tim Hambly of Las Vegas, who is called up to Omaha
$ - Replaces James Laux of Utah, who is injured
% - Replaces Alexandre Bolduc, who is called up to Manitoba


San Jose Skyrockets down Florida 100-89 to split weekend series, Tim Hardaway scores 42 points in 2 games

San Jose Skyrockets vs Florida Pit Bulls

San Jose Skyrockets vs Florida Pit Bulls

San Jose Skyrockets vs Florida Pit Bulls

The Ron Boone Division leading San Jose Skyrockets [15-4] met the Barnes-Malone Division leading Florida Pit Bulls [13-5] for the second straight night Saturday at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. In the Friday meeting, Florida rallied from 15 points behind to pull out a 106-103 win in overtime. Tim Hardaway drained 6 three's and scored 27 points to lead all scorers.

In the second tilt, the San Jose Skyrockets pulled out to an early 11 point lead, which held tight until a tumultuous fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was another beauty. For the second straight night it looked as though San Jose would pull away for a comfortable win by building its lead to 86-72 with 9:20 to go in the game, but the Pit Bulls closed the margin to 89-87 with 2:19 remaining. However, with 35 seconds left in the game, San Jose's Rock Winston made his first free throw, but missed the second. Winston then charged down the middle of the lane to tip in his missed shot to put the Skyrockets in the lead 94-87. Todd Okeson sealed the victory with two clutch free throws and 22 seconds left.

The San Jose Skyrockets earned a 100-89 win on Saturday Night to split the two game series with the Florida Pit Bulls.

San Jose district 2 City Councilman Forrest Williams was the 11th man on the bench for the San Jose Skyrockets. The 11th man is an interesting program by the ABA that allows civic leaders, ex-athletes or other local celebrities to suit up in an ABA uniform, listen to the pre-game coaching strategy, and be eligible to play in an ABA game. Skyrockets President and CEO Kazumi Hasegawa and Executive VP James Hasegawa awarded Tim Hardaway a #00 11th man jersey [for a future game] prior to the start of the game. Hardaway thanked the fans in attendance for the support he has received over the years from the Bay Area.

The game was the first live Skyrockets game available for streaming online via thedigitaltimes.net. The price is an affordable $2.25, and the program runs 2 hours and 45 minutes. Up next on January 30th, Dennis Rodman and the Tijuana Dragons visit San Jose. Rodman, a current contestant on the UK's Celebrity Big Brother reality show, is facing an early eviction along with British politician George Galloway.

Interesting notes from the CEO of the ABA, Joe Newman: The ABA allstar game will be held on Saturday, February 11th in Florida, [rumors of Ron Artest to Golden State or Sacramento?] ABA Maryland Nighthawks owner Tom Doyle made an offer of Randy 'White Chocolate' Gill and Lawrence Moten [Syracuse] to the Indiana Pacers for Ron Artest, and the Mississippi Stingers ABA franchise was also shuttered by Hurricane Katrina.

Tim Hardaway, what isn't he doing? Even at age 39, he looks like he could still be in the NBA - San Jose Mercury News.

Then Hardaway was presented an opportunity this summer by the Florida Pit Bulls, an expansion team in the ABA. Demetrius Ford, an ABA vice president and owner of the Pit Bulls, gave Hardaway and former Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Fielder each 10 percent ownership of the franchise...

From that initial offer, Hardaway soon adopted additional duties as president, general manager, head coach and starting point guard. He is also a mentor and counselor to the players. But he will not be content to stay the biggest fish in a small pond.

"This is a steppingstone," Hardaway said. "To me, this is not starting at the bottom with an NBA team, like Pat wanted me to start at. I'm starting at the top with an ABA team and working my way up to the NBA."

View a photo gallery from the Skyrockets-Florida game here. Visit sjskyrockets.com or floridapitbulls.com for more information.

[Update] Interesting breakdown of the various basketball minor leagues from WBA Mufreesboro Musicians Director of Basketball Operations Steve Tucker for probasketballnews.com:

Right now, the United States has no unity or organization within pro basketball, particularly when to comes to the minors. There are plenty of leagues, but no common goal. There's the NBA D-League, the CBA, the ABA, the IBL, the USBL, and the WBA.

The D-League is the only one with a direct affiliation to the NBA. The CBA also gets an occasional player called up to the NBA. Each of those leagues consist of eight teams. Meanwhile, the ABA has lots of franchises, but few, it seems, with a lot of talent or strong ownership.

Meanwhile, the USBL and WBA each operates during the spring and summer. The USBL has been around for a long time and has had many players advance to the NBA, but seems to be struggling lately. The WBA is in its fourth season, operating mostly in the southeast, and has shown great promise.

[Update2] The San Jose Spiders NWBL franchise starts their second season Saturday, February 2nd against the San Francisco Legacy at Deanza College. The official Spiders website has an interview with new forward Lindsey Yamasaki. Lindsey finished her career at Stanford at 9th on the alltime scoring list [1,497 points], second in career 3 point goals [192], and averaged a team-high 17.2 points as a senior. Yamasaki also reached the NCAA Championship game with the Stanford Women's Volleyball team.


OLN to broadcast the ECHL Allstar Game from Fresno tape delayed on January 26th, the NHL Network and NHL Center Ice will carry the game live

A press release from the ECHL:

PRINCETON, N.J. - OLN, the cable home of the National Hockey League, and the ECHL announced that OLN will televise the ECHL All-Star Game on Jan. 26 from 5-7 p.m. ET. "The ECHL is excited about the opportunity to air our showcase event on OLN, the nation's platform for professional hockey," said Glen Thornborough, Senior Vice President of Marketing/Business Development.

"Now fans nationwide will be afforded the excitement of ECHL hockey and the opportunity to witness some of hockey's future stars." The ECHL All-Star Game will be played at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. PT. Showcasing some of the top young players in the ECHL, the game draws coaches and scouts from both the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League and there have been over 25 players from the ECHL All-Star Game that have gone on to play in the NHL.

About OLN, OLN is the leader in competitive and adrenaline-charged content. Now in 63.4 million homes, OLN is the cable home of the National Hockey League and best-in-class events like The Tour de France, The America's Cup, Professional Bull Riders (PBR), the Boston Marathon and USSA Skiing. The network offers unique programming in four primary areas: Action Sports, Field Sports, Bulls & Rodeo and Awe-Inspiring Series, and is the exclusive home of Survivor in syndication. OLN, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

About ECHL, The Premier 'AA' Hockey League, the ECHL began in 1988 with five teams in three states and is playing with 25 teams in 14 states and one Canadian province in 2005-06. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL and there are more than 100 players in the ECHL under contract to NHL teams. There have been 289 ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL, including 33 in 2005-06, and each of the past five Stanley Cup winners have had a former ECHL player.

The ECHL Allstar Competition takes place Tuesday, January 24th at 7PM. The ECHL Allstar Game takes place Wednesday, January 25th at 7PM. Tickets can be purchased from the Fresno Falcons website or from savemartcenter.com. More on the ECHL Allstar Game is coming up this weekend.

It was announced today that the NHL Network and NHL Center Ice would be carrying the game live:

All-Star Game Live On NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, Telecast Available In Over 80 Million Homes

PRINCETON, N.J. - The ECHL announced on Thursday that the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game presented by Bud Light will be available in more than 80 million homes. The game will be televised live across North America from 10-12:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 25 and will be rebroadcast by OLN on Jan. 26 from 5-7 p.m. ET.

The play-by-play announcer will be Darren Abbott of the South Carolina Stingrays while OLN analyst Neil Smith will provide color commentary for the fifth consecutive year. Jack Michaels of the Alaska Aces will handle interviews with players, coaches and representatives from the ECHL and the National Hockey League. For the fourth-consecutive year, the telecast will be shown live on NHL Network and NHL Center Ice.

It will be shown live in Reading (WTVE), in Dayton (Time Warner Cable), in San Diego (Cox Communications) and Trenton (WBCN). The game is also being telecast on Altitude Sports & Entertainment, the official television network of the Colorado Avalanche, and on Catch 47 - Tampa Bay Sports Television.

The ECHL, in association with Yahoo! Broadcast, is also making the telecast available online with live broadband video for the fourth year in a row. The live broadcast video requires a minimum connection speed of 100 Kbytes and Real Player. Dial-up customers will be able to listen to the radio broadcast on Yahoo! Broadcast, marking the eighth consecutive year that Yahoo! has carried the ECHL All-Star Game audio broadcast live on the Internet.

Live Broadcast at 7:05 p.m. PT:

NHL Center Ice (United States)
NHL Network (Canada)
WTVE (Reading, Pa)
Time Warner Cable (Dayton, Ohio)
Cox Communications (San Diego)
WBCN (Trenton, N.J.)
Altitude Sports & Entertainment
Catch 47, Tampa Bay Sports Television

Delayed Broadcast Schedule:

OLN on Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. ET
Comcast Sports Net West on Jan. 25 at 10:30 p.m. PT
Comcast Sports Southeast on Jan. 26 at 12:30 p.m. ET

SJSU final homestand this weekend against BYU


Undefeated San Jose State [20-0-1] faces off against the BYU Icecats Friday at 7:45PM, and on Fan Appreciation night Saturday at 7PM. Both games are at the Logitech Ice Center in San Jose.

Visit SJSUhockey.com for more information.


Trade rumors swirling around Sharks goaltenders Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala

Evgeni Nabokov

It is an odd time for trade rumors to pick up around Sharks goaltenders Evgeni Nabokov [11-12-0, 3.02GAA, .890SV%] and Vesa Toskala [5-4-0, 3.36GAA, .868SV%]. After struggling through an up and down season until this point, both have provided consistent play and made the big saves to help San Jose go on a 13-6 run since the Joe Thornton trade. The forwards are making an effort to backcheck hard shift in and shift out, and the young defense is making high percentage plays in their own zone. The team is pointed in the right direction to fight for a playoff spot down the stretch.

Earlier this month on Hockey Night in Canada, Globe and Mail reporter Eric Duhatschek mentioned that teams were looking into what it would take to get Vesa Toskala or Minnesota goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Duhatschek reported that the offers were nowhere near what it would take to get them.

The rumor mill picked up steam when Nolan Schaefer [5-1-0, 1.88GAA, .920SV%] was called up late on Monday, January 16th. The 6-2, 200 pound Schaefer produced for the Sharks earlier in the season with Toskala and Nabokov down with injuries. When Toskala and Schaefer were penciled into the lineup, and a Nabokov who appeared healthy two nights earlier during a 6-2 loss to Montreal was not, rampant trade speculation ensued.

The first indicator of the Joe Thornton trade came just after the team's pregame skate. Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau were called back into the locker room, and a trade for Joe Thornton was announced shortly thereafter. Nothing similar happened against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. Toskala stopped 22 of 23 shots in the 3-1 win, and Vesa picked up his fifth consecutive victory.

The San Jose Mercury News followed the next day in its print edition with an article titled Nabby News. Head coach Ron Wilson said that Nabokov had "tweaked his groin" against Montreal, although Nabokov countered that he felt fine. Earlier this season Vesa Toskala was criticized by Wilson for coming back too soon from an injury, only to have Toskala aggravate it further.

The Chronicle reports that Evgeni Nabokov missed 10 games total this season from groin and shoulder injuries, and The Feeder notes that Vesa Toskala missed 11 games due to injury. On the Mercury News blog, David Pollak mentioned an "internet rumor" of a Shark interest in Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Then the trade speculation came fast and furious: James Mirtle noticed something fishy at the Tank, Chuqui heard more information from section 127, Spector played down the Nabokov trade rumors a day after doing the same to those surrounding Roberto Luongo, the Globe and Mail's Pierre Lebrun reports that the Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks are equally concerned about their four unrestricted free agent goalies after this season, Kevin Gibson notes a Toronto Maple Leafs Nabokov interest for his Wednesday hockey report on Toronto 640AM, and finally Eklund offers the cryptic "Nabokov, another Shark, to Boston (e1) or Toronto (e2)".

The Mercury News rebounded with an article affirming the San Jose commitment to both Nabokov and Toskala this morning, G.M. says Nabokov, Toskala both important to Sharks. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson tried his best to squelch the trade rumors from spreading any further:

"Especially with the compressed schedule and the importance of the games, we're going to need both of them," Wilson said. "We're fortunate to be in a situation with our goaltending where we have depth. But I don't want a strength to become a weakness because of injury."

Doug Wilson goes on to describe Nabokov's competitiveness, and reports that a meeting with Nabokov's agent Don Meehan was scheduled for today to discuss a contract extention. That question was also asked of Nabokov by a knowledgeable fan during the State of the Sharks event prior to the start of the season.

There you have a rundown of all the Sharks trade speculation of the last few days. The NHL trade deadline for the 2005-06 season lands on Thursday, March 9th.

[Update] Nabokov laughing off sudden trade rumors - SF Chronicle.

Evgeni Nabokov might not agree with his employers on his health, but at least he hasn't lost his sense of humor.

The team's top goalie, forced to take it easy after saying his groin hurt Sunday, laughed off trade rumors that have run rampant because he didn't dress for Monday night's game.

"Let's see, where am I going today? Boston? Tampa Bay? Back to Russia?" Nabokov bellowed, chuckling between thoughts after participating start to finish in Wednesday's practice at Logitech Ice.

This is the perfect way to handle the crush of trade rumors, but I am sure Metallurg Magnitagorsk or AK Barks Kazan would be interested.

Russian Notes: Sidearm delivery reports that payrolls in the Russian Super League have been out of control for some time, and that reforms may be coming soon. Evgeni Malkin gave an interview to Sport-Express in Russia, translated on Rushockey.com by Alexei Belousenko and Ruslan Salikhov. According to Hockeydb.com, Alexander Korolyuk has 16 goals and 17 assists in 39 games played for Chekhov Vityaz this season.

The Russian Super League has announced invitees for the 2006 allstar game including; WEST: Korolyuk Aleksandr (Vityaz), Semin Aleksandr (Khimik, MO). EAST: Karpovtsev Aleksandr (Sibir), Yushkevich Dmitriy (Metallurg Mg), Eriksson Anders (Metallurg Mg), Malkin Evgeniy (Metallurg Mg), Morozov Aleksey (Ak Bars), and Chubarov Artem (Avangard).

Route announed for February's Tour of California cycling race

Tour of California cycling

Tour of California cycling

This February the inaugural Amgen Tour of California cycling race will wind its way through San Francisco, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Martinez, San Jose, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach. Sixteen teams will compete in the 600+ mile Tour that starts in San Francisco on February 19th and finishes February 26th in Redondo Beach.

Details from a Tour of California email:

- What is the Tour?

This February, international and U.S. cyclists will make history in the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, a Tour de France-style 600+ mile race through the challenging and beautiful terrain on the California coast. Sponsored by Amgen, the world’s leading biotechnology company, the race will start on February 19 in San Francisco and will culminate with a February 26 circuit race in Redondo Beach. The Amgen Tour of California is a UCI- and USA Cycling-sanctioned race.

- Who's riding?

Three-time USPRO National Road Champion and Los Angeles-area native "Fast Freddie" Rodriguez's Davitamon-Lotto (BEL) team will be joined in competition with international powerhouses such as the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team (USA), Phonak Hearing Systems (SUI), Saunier Duval-Prodir (ESP), T-Mobile (GER) and Levi Leipheimer's Gerolsteiner (GER). Defending National Race Calendar (NRC) team champion Health Net Pro Cycling and the U.S. based, but European seasoned, Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team are among the first of America's growing professional class to confirm with race organizers. The Amgen Tour of California will have more Pro Tour and UCI Continental teams announcing their participation in the coming weeks.

- Route Details:

Don't miss the most anticipated cycling event of the year! Between the opening Prologue in San Francisco and the finale in Redondo Beach, the race will visit ten host cities for official stage starts and finishes. Host cities for the eight daily stages include San Francisco, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Martinez, San Jose, Monterey, San Louis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach.

For more information visit amgentourofcalifornia.com.

Amgen Tour to Cover California - Los Angeles Times.

"The field is going to be very attractive," said Johan Bruyneel, manager for the Discovery Channel team.

AEG, former owner of the San Jose Earthquakes, current owner of the Los Angeles Kings, stated a desire to bring a slice of the Tour de France to American shores.

Bob Colarossi, managing director of Amgen Tour of California and AEG Cycling, said the goal of his organization is to bring a scaled-down version of the Tour de France to the U.S.

"In putting the course together, we found it was more difficult to decide where not to go, than where to go," Colarossi said. "California offers so much."

Amgen Tour of California route announced - USAcycling.org.

Prologue: Sunday, Feb. 19
At 11 a.m., riders will open the competition with a short, intense Prologue through the streets of San Francisco. Starting by the Ferry Building at Pier 1, the 1.9-mile course will run along the Embarcardero until making the sharp left onto Bay Street that will bring the riders up the tight and steep climb through Telegraph Hill to the finish at Coit Tower.

Stage One: Monday, Feb. 20
With the start on the Marin side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage One will cover roughly 84 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. On its way up Highway 1, the course will run through the Marin Headlands, flanked on both sides by national parkland, before leaving the Point Reyes National Seashore for the race’s first sprint competition line in Point Reyes. After crossing into Sonoma, spectators can watch the race for the stage win unfold as the field completes three laps of a technical finishing circuit in downtown Santa Rosa.

Stage Two: Tuesday, Feb. 21
The race will next turn south toward two decisive days in San Jose. After neutral parade laps in the start city of Martinez, the stage is a hilly ride through the East Bay that will bring the race over its first significant climb. Coming 22 miles before the finish line in downtown San Jose, the Sierra Road climb east of the city center will be the first Category One (highest ranked in order of difficulty) ascent in the King of the Mountains competition.

Stage Three: Wednesday, Feb. 22
A 17-mile Individual Time Trial on the outskirts of San Jose will test the cyclists on an undulating course along the Chesbro and Calero Reservoirs.

Stage Four: Thursday, Feb. 23
The “Queen Stage” of this year’s race begins in Monterey and follows scenic Highway 1 where the mountains run into the Pacific Ocean. At 130 miles, this is the longest stage of the 2006 race and will test the riders on consistently hilly and technical terrain. The six-hour day will see the athletes go through the community of Big Sur and by Hearst Castle before shifting inland toward the finish in San Luis Obispo.

Stage Five: Friday, Feb. 24
Starting in Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo, Stage Five to Santa Barbara will follow the central coast until the sprint city of Guadalupe, where the field will leave the flatlands and head east to the Santa Ynez Mountains via the Solvang area. The riders will then face the four-mile Category One climb to San Marcos Pass before descending to a beachfront finish in Santa Barbara.

Stage Six: Saturday, Feb. 25
This shorter stage with a hilly profile from Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks features four KOM climbs in the 80 miles that precede three laps of a three-mile circuit in Thousand Oaks that will cover the stage’s final ten miles before finishing at title sponsor Amgen’s corporate campus.

"Amgen staff are excited about welcoming the race to our corporate headquarters in Thousand Oaks and highlighting our Breakaway from Cancer initiative, a partnership with The Wellness Community to support cancer patients and their caregivers," said Daly.

Stage Seven: Saturday, Feb. 26
The race will culminate with a circuit race in Redondo Beach. The race will be active as the riders compete on ten laps of a 7.65 mile circuit along the Redondo Beach Esplanade and through an intermediate sprint line in Riviera Village before returning to the start/finish line on Harbor Street. Thousands of spectators will be able to watch the race develop as the cyclists vie for the honor of winning the final stage of the first Amgen Tour of California.

More on this Tour as it comes in. Someone needs to import the Texas Longhorn guy to chase the leaders up Telegraph Hill with a large American flag.


University of Wisconsin Unanimous No. 1 On USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

A press release from USAhockey.com:

University of Wisconsin Unanimous No. 1 On USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

This Week's Top-15 Match-Ups

Friday, January 20
No. 5 Vermont @ No. 2 Boston College
No. 7 Colorado College @ No. 3 Minnesota
No. 11 St. Lawrence @ No. 8 Cornell
No. 13 Providence @ No. 12 Maine

Saturday, January 21
No. 5 Vermont @ No. 2 Boston College
No. 7 Colorado College @ No. 3 Minnesota
No. 13 Providence @ No. 12 Maine

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The University of Wisconsin remains No. 1 for the seventh straight week on the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll. Wisconsin swept No. 7 Colorado College on the road last weekend and received all 34 first-place votes for the second consecutive week.

Moving up two spots to No. 2 on this week's poll is Boston College, which swept Merrimack in a home-and-home series. St. Lawrence University jumped four places following road wins over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union College. And Boston University (No. 15) returned to the poll for the first time since Nov. 7 after collecting a pair of wins over No. 12 University of Maine.

ABOUT THE POLL: The 11th annual USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the six NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the American Hockey Coaches Association and USA Hockey Magazine, the official publication of USA Hockey.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll -- #15

(first-place votes in parentheses, Last Week, Record, Weeks In Top 15)

1. U. of Wisconsin, 510 (34), 1, 18-2-2, 15
2. Boston College, 451, 4, 14-4-2, 15
3. U. of Minnesota, 437, 2, 14-6-4, 15
4. Miami (Ohio) U., 414, 3, 15-4-4, 11
5. U. of Vermont, 378, 6, 15-5-2, 13
6. U. of Michigan, 318, 9, 13-7-1, 15
7. Colorado College, 263, 5, 17-8-1, 15
8. Cornell U. , 234, 8, 11-4-2, 15
9. U. of New Hampshire, 206, 11, 12-7-4, 14
10. U. of North Dakota, 179, 10, 15-10-1, 15
11. St. Lawrence U. , 160, 15, 14-7-1, 8
12. U. of Maine, 138, 7, 14-8-0, 15
13. Providence College, 115, 12, 12-8-1, 4
14. Lake Superior State U., 87, 14, 12-6-4, 2
15. Boston U., 33, NR, 10-8-2, 5

Others receiving votes: Michigan State University, 22; Clarkson University, 20; Harvard University, 20; University of Denver, 18; Colgate University, 16; The Ohio State University, 16; Mercyhurst College, 14; Northern Michigan University, 14.

The New Jersey Star Ledger ran a feature on Princeton goaltender Eric Leroux's off-ice work as an HIV councilor in Kenya during the offseason, his volunteer work in Ecuador the season prior, and his creation of PUCK (Providing Underprivileged Communities and Kids) providing underprivileged Baltimore youth hockey equipment.

[Update] Sharks Feeding Frenzy - Intelligent Design.

I got to meet some 49ers last month because of their generosity in partnering with CityTeam, and today I got to meet seven (eight if you count Sharky) of my San Jose Sharks, when they came to help distribute boxes upon boxes of food donations to various local charities–CityTeam included.

More flickr photos of the Sharks from the December 7th CityTeam event that delivered food and toys to 15 local non-profit charities in the South Bay.


The Hockey Podcast-o-sphere

James Mirtle recently tried to create a comprehensive list of all of the hockey blogs on the internet. Abel to Yzerman and the Battle of Alberta are two of the newer sites I would recommend, the Globe and Mail's all-Crosby-all-the-time The Rookie, The Blue Line by David and Aziz Nekoukar and the Toronto Star Hockey Page are mainstream newspaper blogs that are worth a look, and the Blueland blog and Razor with an Edge are two team affiliated options.

An update to the blogroll and links page on this site should be finished soon, but I wanted to separate the television broadcast links section [below on the right] and the radio/podcast feeds. One suggestion I would make to independent sites and teams creating podcasts, do not simply offer a link to an XML feed. Have at least a static page that people can link to, and if possible include a link and a short description of each show.

My introduction to the upcoming wave of hockey podcasts and online shows came in 2004 with the Thrasher Fan Faceoff hosted by Tobin and Duane. It was an infectious mix of enthusiastic hockey discussion, sarcasm and a heavy southeastern drawl. They hit their peak chronicling the lockout drama and the ensuing cancellation of the 2004-05 NHL season, but the show is no longer active.

Bleacherguy Radio, Offwing Radio, Sportsbloggers Live, Capitals Report, Faceoff Hockey Show, Power Play Post Show, and the Official Sharks Podcast are shows I regularly listen to. It is perfect for riding or jogging along the bay wetlands.

The Socal HockeyCast, Boltcast, and the NY Hockey Report are a few shows I am going to check out in the future. The Chicago Blackhawks Hawkcast and multimedia section are the latest examples of why they were named the top NHL website by Sharkspage at the start of the season.

Doing a little research to see what is out there I found a list of ESPN Radio Podcasts. You can stream, download, or import via Itunes a breakdown of the week in hockey from Barry Melrose. TSN also has a podcast section, which by definition should include a lot of hockey discussion. It has not been updated in awhile, but everyone's favorite hockey blogger Eklund posted audio interviews on Hockey Buzz Radio with John Buccigross, Darren Pang, Stan Fischler and Alan Hahn.

Inside College Hockey Online also has a podcast to compliment the excellent INCH news blog. The latest show takes a look back at the World Juniors and a look ahead at the second half of the college season.

Two sites I did not find podcasts on were NHL.com, and a page of MSNBC Podcasts that include the Nightly News, Hardball, Meet the Press and other top NBC programs. I will fire off an email to Ice Age's Phil Coffey and see if I missed them.

Feel free to contribute any suggestions you have here. I am particularly interested in hockey podcasts and adding a few more links to the major Canadian radio stations that are not listed. More podcasts from NHL team websites will be added later tonight.

No podcasts will be forthcoming from this site, although a Sharks podcast with Max from DFTS, Mike from the Feeder, Mike Chen, and Chuqui from Teal Sunglasses would be an interesting and an informative one. The Sharks mentioned that they have been doing this type of thing for awhile but that only what they are called has changed. Unfortunately, there are only so many ways you can package the same message from the same people. New voices, new opinions, and new insight are what weblogs and podcasts offer, and I think what they have done for the league, especially during the lockout, speaks for itself. Res ipsa loquitur.

I would be a guest on a podcast just to make use of this audio introduction.

Technology-wise, I would still have to recommend Sound Forge for editing and cleaning up audio. It works well at smoothing out imperfections and has a number of filters that make difficult effects possible at the push of a button. At Macworld, an Apple employee demonstrated how the new iLife software could drag and drop images and audio, combine them into a multimedia presentation, and export it to a blog in about 5 minutes. The one caveat? You need a mac.

[Update] Can podcasting save hockey? - Corante.com.

[Update2] David Singer and Kukla's Korner discuss a possible upcoming NHL deal with Apple that would allow video Ipod downloads of NHL content.


Natural Selection, San Jose Stealth overcome Colorado Mammoth 10-7 in home opener

San Jose Stealth Colorado Mammoth NLL Lacrosse

San Jose Stealth Colorado Mammoth NLL Lacrosse

San Jose Stealth Colorado Mammoth NLL Lacrosse

One day after a 9-7 loss in Colorado, San Jose rebounded with a dominant 10-7 win in the Stealth's 2006 home opener. San Jose rookie forward Jeff Zywicki scored a hat trick, with teammate Matt Alrich contributing 2 goals and 2 assists. Dan Stroup scored 3 goals for Colorado, and Gavin Prout added 3 assists. Anthony Cosmo made 43 saves on 50 shots to earn his second win of the season.

The Stealth held off a late charge by the Mammoth near the end of the game. Jeff Zywicki scored the 10th Stealth goal on a penalty shot to seal the win, and Colorado responded by running several San Jose players as the clock ticked down.

Visit the photo gallery from last night's 10-7 SJ win here.

The Stealth opened their franchise two years ago with a last second 13-12 win over the Colorado Mammoth. In last year's home opener, the Stealth lost 14-10 to the defending NLL champion Calgary Roughnecks. The San Jose players held a meet-and-greet taking pictures and signing autographs for fans after the game.

San Jose Stealth's Jeff Zywicki Wins Player of The Week - Our Sports Central.

[Update] Stealth Get Revenge in 2006 Home Opener - Cityathletes.com.


Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, face Sharks team that has won 5 straight

Saku Koivu - Action ©Photofile

The Montreal Canadiens announced today that head coach Claude Julien was relieved of his duties, and that General Manager Bob Gainey will assume interm coaching duties. Guy Carbonneau will join the team as assistant coach. From a Montrealcanadiens.com:

Gainey became the 15th General Manager in Canadiens history on June 2, 2003. Now 52, Gainey played his entire NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens from 1973 to 1989, assuming the role of team captain for his last eight seasons. His resume includes five Stanley Cup championships (1975 through 1979 and 1985-86) and seven Prince of Wales Conference championships. A four-time NHL All-Star, Gainey also won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as best defensive forward four straight seasons, from 1978 to 1981, more than any other NHL player. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1979.

Gainey joined the Minnesota North Stars as Head Coach in 1990. A year later, he led his team to the Stanley Cup Finals. He was the Stars' head coach and General Manager from 1992 to 1996; during that time, he managed the team's move to their new home in Dallas. From 1996 to 2002, as the Stars' General Manager, Gainey led his team to a Stanley Cup Championship (1999), five consecutive Division Championships (from 1996 to 2001), and two Presidents Trophies for finishing with the best regular season record (in 1998 and 1999). Gainey has a total of 415 NHL regular season games and 45 playoff games behind the bench...

Claude Julien became the 26th head coach in the history of the Canadiens on Jan. 17, 2003. He posted a regular season coaching record of 72-62-10-15 with the team. This season was Rick Green's fifth as an assistant coach; he had joined the staff back on November 27, 2000.

Claude Julien fired, Gainey returns as Habs' coach - Montreal Gazette.

Canadiens fire Claude Julien - Habsblog.

Montreal goaltender Cristobal Huet might start his third consecutive game for the Canadiens as Jose Theodore will remain on the bench. Shortly before he was fired, head coach Claude Julien claimed that Theodore was still the team's #1 netminder. Huet has posted back-to-back 40 save performances in a 2-1 loss to Colorado, and a 4-1 win against Ottawa. Prior to Huet's starts, the Canadiens lost 4 games in a row with Theodore in net.

[Update] Habsfan emails that according to Gainey today in the press conference, a goaltending change to Jose Theodore for the Sharks game would be made. RDS cites two reasons for Julien's removal, players on the team did not play up to their full potential, and the coaching staff did not set up a system of play to enable the Canadiens to win tight games.

Sisu hockey linked to this Terry Frei feature on Canadiens owner George Gillett. Frei discusses Gillett's ski mogul background, his purchase of the team ["$183.1 million for the arena and 80 percent of the team"] from Molson, his Wisconsin roots, and the possible trade status of Jose Theodore.

Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette recounts the mid-season excuses for the struggling Canadiens. Hickey cites inconsistent goaltending from Jose Theodore, injuries, and a failure to adapt to the new up tempo NHL rules. Goaltending was given a D-, defense a C, forwards a C-, special teams a C-, and coaching a C.

Ross McKeon of the San Francisco Chronicle crunches the numbers on the Sharks Western Conference playoff push during the second half of the season:

Here's more harsh reality. Merely duplicating the 45 points earned in the first 41 games is not going to be good enough. It's very likely going to take at least 95 points to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs, and San Jose would fall five short at its current pace. Eighth-place Colorado is on pace for 97 points.

One other note to throw into the mix; Brad Stuart scored the only power play goal from the Sharks blueline until Scott Hannan's scored on the man advantage in a 6-2 win over Boston Tuesday. The goal, assisted by Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheecho, gave San Jose a 3-1 lead over Boston. Hannan picked up two assists, 21:23 minutes of ice time [6:03 on the PP], and a +3 rating in his best performance of the season. Brad Stuart, since traded to Boston in part of the Joe Thornton deal, skated for nearly 25 minutes and was held scoreless. In 16 games since the trade, Brad Stuart has scored 3 goals and 6 assists [-2], with 2 goals and 2 assists coming on the PP.

Sharks focus on avoiding letdown in Montreal - SJ Mercury News.

Victor Chi notes in the Mercury News that Sharks color commentator Drew Remenda will be a guest on HNIC's Satellite Hotstove program today. Archive hotstoves can be found online.

Three more days left in Center Ice's free preview from January 10–16th. Visit DirectTV, Dish Network or In Demand to find it in your area.

Last week a man crashed a Montreal Canadiens practice and took two shots on goaltender Jose Theodore. While a concern for the players saftey should be paramount, Theodore had a tougue-in-cheek reaction:

"I didn't really know what was going on until the guy came on," a grinning Theodore said later. "He came at me with his head down so I just wanted to say `Welcome to the big boys.'"

"I poke-checked him to say `You have to keep your head up.' When he came back, I though about going out of the net and not playing into his game, but then I thought he had the (courage) to go on the ice, so I let him have a free shot at me."

"He couldn't beat me. That's the main thing."

Chalk one up under maintaining your focus at all times for Theodore's scouting report. NHL deputy commissioner Bil Daly, and Candiens defenseman Craig Rivet cited concern for saftey after the incident. Alexi Kovalev cited the Canadiens need for a right handed shot.

From the Wikipedia.org entry for the Montreal Candiens:

Stanley Cup Championships:


Team Captains since 1989:

Saku Koivu 1999-Present
Vincent Damphousse 1996-99
Pierre Turgeon 1995-Oct.1996
Mike Keane 1995 (Apr.-Dec.)
Kirk Muller 1994-95
Guy Carbonneau 1990-94
Guy Carbonneau and Chris Chelios (Co-Cap.) 1989-90

Retired Numbers:

1 Jacques Plante, G, 1952-63
2 Doug Harvey, D, 1947-61
4 Jean Béliveau, C, 1950-71 (Number was also worn by Aurel Joliat, LW, 1922-38)
5 Bernie "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion, RW, 1950-64 (to be retired on March 11, 2006)
7 Howie Morenz, C, 1923-34 & 1936-37
9 Maurice Richard, RW, 1942-60
10 Guy Lafleur, RW, 1971-85
12 Dickie Moore, LW, 1951-63; and Yvan Cournoyer, RW, 1963-79
16 Henri Richard, C, 1955-75 (Number was also worn by Elmer Lach, C, 1940-54)
99 Wayne Gretzky (retired league-wide by the NHL)

From the Sharkspage list of Stanley Cup Champions:

The Montreal Canadiens also won a Stanley Cup Championship in 1915-16 before the formation of the NHL. The Montreal Wanderers won four cups, Montreal AAA won four cups, the Montreal Shamrocks two, and the Montreal Victorias three.

First U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup? The Seattle Metropolitans in 1916-17.

The NHA champion Montreal Canadiens made the trip west by train to face Seattle for the Stanley Cup. The entire series was to be played in Seattle, and the first game sold out in a matter of hours. Over four thousand fans packed the Ice Arena for game one, but a travel weary Montreal still came away with a 8-4 victory.

That was Montreal's only taste of success, however. Seattle went on to win the next three games, outscoring the NHA champs 19-3 to become the first US team to win the Stanley Cup. Bernie Morris led the team with 14 goals (including six in game 4) during the series.

Games 1 and 3 were played using PCHA rules (7 players per side, forward passing in the neutral zone, and no substitution for penalized players) and games 2 and 4 were played using NHA rules (6 players per side, no forward passing, substitutions).

Boo that Vancouver.

[Update] A message to Montreal Canadiens fans, from Toronto - Sharkspage.

[Update2] NHL releases mid-season rankings of prospects for 2006 Entry Draft, Americans Johnson and Kessel top-tated among North American skaters - NHL.com.


NBC Announces Olympic Hockey Broadcast Schedule, NHL returns to NBC on Saturday

A press release from USAhockey.com:

NBC Announces Broadcast Schedule For 2006 Olympic Winter Games Men's And Women's Ice Hockey Tournaments

All Team USA Games To Be Aired Live On Either NBC, The USA Network Or MSNBC

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - An unprecedented amount of hockey coverage is part of the record 416 hours of programming the NBC television family will provide during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

NBC Family Television Coverage, 2006 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team
Date/Game/Time (EST/Network

Feb15 vs. LAT, 3:00 p.m., USA
Feb16, vs. KAZ, 3:00 p.m., USA
Feb18, vs. SVK, 2:00 p.m., NBC
Feb19, vs. SWE, 11:00 a.m., NBC
Feb21, vs. RUS, 2:30 p.m., NBC
Feb22, Quarterfinal, TBD, USA
Feb24, Semifinals, 10:00 a.m., MSNBC
3:00 p.m., USA
Feb25 Bronze-Medal, 2:30 p.m., NBC
Feb26 Gold-Medal, 9:00 a.m., NBC

2006 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team
Date/Game/Time (EST)/Network

Feb11, vs. SUI, 2:30 p.m., USA
Feb12, vs. GER, 1:00 p.m., USA
Feb14, vs. FIN, 2:30 p.m., NBC
Feb17, Semifinal, 7:00 a.m., NBC
Feb20, Bronze-Medal, 10:30 a.m., MSNBC
Gold-Medal, 2:30 p.m., NBC

The hockey coverage will include live telecasts of all Team USA women's and men's contests on either NBC, USA Network, or MSNBC.

"We're extremely grateful for the broad coverage of hockey the NBC family is providing from the Olympic Winter Games," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "We hope that our teams will perform well and that the exposure will enhance our efforts to further grow the game in the U.S."

Coverage of Team USA will begin Feb. 11 (Saturday) with the U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team's first preliminary match-up against Switzerland at 2:30 p.m. EST on the USA Network. The U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team kicks off preliminary action on Feb. 15 (Wednesday) against Latvia at 3 p.m. EST on the USA Network.

In addition, all Team USA games broadcast on the USA Network or MSNBC will be simulcast on Universal HD for those with high-definition viewing capability.

Along with Team USA games, the NBC family of networks - NBC, USA Network, CNBC, MSNBC and Universal HD - will carry games involving all teams in both tournaments. A total of 54 of the 58 ice hockey games to be played at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games will receive coverage, including all of the medal games. A full listing of the NBC family's Olympic schedule can be found at nbcolympics.com.

NBC will begin its broadcast of NHL games this Saturday, with regional matchups that will include the New York Rangers vs Detroit, the Colorado Avalanche vs the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Dallas Stars vs the Boston Bruins. Visit the January 14th game previews, or the game broadcast map [PDF file] to see which game will be on in your area.

San Jose, Guam, Anchorage, and Honolulu will all get the Avalanche-Flyers game. Rangers-Wings will be aired in 51.061% of the markets, Stars-Bruins in 14.52%, Avalanche-Flyers in 34.523%.

Rockefeller Center becomes broadcast home of NHL hockey show Saturday - NHL.com.

Kuklas Korner posted a report after listening to a teleconference NBC had prior to the start of their NHL coverage this weekend.

I just participated in a tele-conference NBC had regarding their plans for the NHL. Participating on the call were Mike “Doc” Emrick (lead play-by-play); John Davidson (lead analyst); Pierre McGuire (lead inside-the-glass reporter); Bill Clement (studio); Ray Ferraro (studio); Cammi Granato (inside-the-glass reporter) and Sam Flood, NBC Sports Coordinating Producer and the producer of the NHL on NBC.

The goalie cam will be used Saturday, the Ranger goalie will have it attached to his helmet for a uniqure view of the game. The studio will be at 30 Rock in NYC, and the ice rink outside the studio will be used during intermission to show and describe some of the play. Messier will be a guest this week in studio and Ed Olczyk will be the special guest in studio the 2nd week.

The "Inside the glass" reporters; Pierre McGuire, Joe Micheletti and Cammi Granato will bring the fans closer to the action. They will be cutting in with comments like who is trash talking on the ice, why isn’t a certain player get the ice time expected, etc.

McGuire mentioned they do not plan on "dumbing down" the game for the viewers. John Davidson stated hockey is a very difficult game to broadcast, but they will be bringing the game to you and this is your chance to see the game in the best way possible.

JD was asked if the NHL will ever get bigger on the national level. He mentioned Shanahan, on his own dime, got together a bunch of people to make the game better. Many people were startled by this, but the next thing you know, the game is being played a whole different way. The game was not doing well, and now is our chance to show people how great the game really is. McGuire stated this is our chance to show the people in non-traditional markets how cool this game is.

Drop me a line if any NYC fans are going to visit the studio.

[Update] NBC returns to pro hockey - Morning Buzz.

Local college hockey this weekend

The only undefeated team in ACHA D2, the San Jose State Spartans [18-0-1], face the Virginia Cavaliers Friday at 7:45PM, and the tenth ranked Utah State Aggies at 8:00PM on Saturday. Both games are at Logitech Ice in San Jose.

Watch the game from the new Stanley's Sports Bar, which has a view of 3 Logitech rinks, and several flat screens with NHL Center Ice. SSB is open till 1AM.

Stanford faces Virginia at 9:30AM Sunday morning at Bellmont Iceland.

Berkeley faced the Virginia Cavaliers last night, and scored 4 unanswered goals to lead 6-5 late in the game. Virginia pulled their goalie and got a goal from captain Mike Martyak with a second left in regulation. Kevin Miller scored in OT to give the Cavaliers the 7-6 win. Cal hosts Utah State at 10:45PM tonight at Berkeley Iceland.

A. Sheldon posted a breakdown of the scoresheet:

1) UVa: No.17 John Gelb (EV, 18:22)
1) CAL: No.27 Michael Fina (EV, 16:29)
1) CAL: No.86 Charles Bahn (PP, 12:23)
1) UVa: No.25 Ian McGuire (EV, 8:29)
1) UVa: No.17 John Gelb (EV, 3:03)

2) UVa: No.18 Risto Keravouri (EV, 16:26)

3) UVa: No.14 Alex Bronson (EV, 18:56)
3) CAL: No.15 Chris Moulton (EV, 10:12)
3) CAL: No.15 Chris Moulton (EV, 9:41)
3) CAL: No.39 Steve Polchinski (EV, 3:56)
3) CAL: No.55 Sean Haq (EV, 2:22)
*time-out UVa, empty net (1:30)
3) UVa: No.9 Capt. Mike Martyak (extra skater, 0:01)

OT) UVa: No.7 Kevin Miller (EV, 4:34)

CAL No.20 Adam Meehan
UVa No.27 Tyler Teass (1st period)
UVa No.1 Dave Adelman (2nd & 3rd periods)

CAL 39
UVa 47

[Update] The ECHL Stockton Thunder face the Florida Everblades on Friday and Saturday night, before going on the road for a triple header against Alaska, and a road game against the San Diego Gulls.

From the Thunder Weekly newsletter:

The Thunder faces the Everblades (ECHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes) for the first time this season; Florida was a Kelly Cup Finalist for the last two seasons. The Everblades are enjoying a surge with wins in eight of their last 10 games, and have posted the best record in the American Conference this season (22-8-2, 46 points). Forward Dan Sisca, recently named to the American Conference roster for the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game, leads Florida in scoring with 38 points (11g-27a).

Stockton is 6-18-4 in their inaugural season for last place in the all-California Pacific Division. The Stockton Thunder are second in the ECHL in home attendance, averaging 5,927 fans over 9 home dates. Joel Irwin has a 10 game point streak going for the Thunder. Irwin leads the team with 8 goals and 16 assists in 27 games played this season. Jake Moreland [4-10] leads Stockton goaltenders with 4 wins, a .910GAA and a 3.11GAA.

[Update] NHL.com's ECHL report has a feature on Florida Everblades goaltender Phil Osaer: Winning is sweet for Osaer. The Everblades will be visiting Stockton this Friday and Saturday.


Joe Thornton's return to Boston

Joe Thornton's much heralded return to Boston lasted all of five minutes and thirteen seconds. After checking Hall Gill up against the boards, Thornton was assessed a five minute major penalty for checking from behind and given a game misconduct. Hall Gill left the ice after the hit and reportedly suffered a pinched nerve.

San Jose earned a 6-2 win, their first ever in Boston, and pulled one point ahead of last place Phoenix in the Pacific Division. With only 40 games played, San Jose has 3 games in hand on Phoenix [43GP], 2 on Dallas and Anaheim [42GP], and 5 on the Los Angeles Kings [45GP]. With 42 games left in the season, the Sharks are 8 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Joe Thornton talked to reporters the game:

I talked to Hall. He said he saw me coming. It was just one of those things. He pinched his shoulder, but he is going to be ok. It is too bad, all the fans came and wanted to see me play. At least they saw a Sharks win.

Hall Gill on the hit:

For something like that, if I don't go down there and have a pinched nerve, I think it is sloughed off as a good hit.

San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson on his team's reaction to the call:

We were shocked that they threw him out of the game. I'm very proud of our team, in spite of that kind of huge adversity, that we never lost our focus and probably played our best game all season.

Nils Ekman continued his blistering pace for the Sharks, scoring a goal and two assists. Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo also contributed a goal and two assists, and Josh Langfeld scored his first and second goals of the year. Defenseman Scott Hannan scored a goal and assist, and earned a +3 on the evening to raise his season total to -4, up from -19 earlier this year. Rookie Boston defenseman Milan Jurcina scored both goals for the Boston Bruins.

Evgeni Nabokov [10-11-0] made 21 saves on 23 shots to earn the win for San Jose. Andrew Raycroft [7-14-0] stopped 21 of 26 shots before leaving in the third with a knee injury, Tim Thomas [0-0-0] made 6 saves on 7 shots to finish the game for Boston. Bruins goaltender Hannu Toivonen [9-5-4] is sitting out with a high ankle sprain, but does not enjoy watching.

B. attended the game and sent in the following:

I just saw the Sharks / Bruins game at the Fleet center. Easily half the people wearing jerseys had Thornton on the back, and they cheered him when he skated on the ice. By the second period the fans were booing their own team pretty hard though... Kind of sad. The Sharks sure looked good even without Thornton.

[Update] Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe revisits the venom Joe Thornton faced from the Boston media with his column: Ex-captain finally showed some teeth. There are times when a writer is so married to an opinion that they will continue to push it to describe events that have no connection. Dupont railed against Thornton for his lack of production in one playoff series when he was playing with a serious injury, and Wednesday Dupont claimed that in Thornton's "Causeway Street redux" the "message Thornton sent with that hit was precisely the message, and style, that indeed would have made him a franchise center" in Boston.


As brief and unproductive as Joe Thornton's stay in Boston was this year, his reappearance last night was even shorter, less productive -- and both a tiny bit troubling and immensely out of character for mild-mannered Jumbo Joe...

"He said, 'Are you all right?'" recalled Gill, who said repeatedly after the game that he had no problem with the hit, that he saw it coming and felt it warranted no more than a double minor. "Now, whether he was being sarcastic when he said, 'Are you all right?' I don't know. Maybe he was a little"...

Now, the ugliness and illegality aside (easy to dismiss when it's not your noggin driven into the boards), the message Thornton sent with that hit was precisely the message, and style, that indeed would have made him a franchise center -- and the most valuable player in the game -- here in the Hub of Hockey...

Nearly nine years later, a real Jumbo Joe, playing with a flash of anger and a force to be feared, showed up on Causeway Street. If he had displayed that each night while wearing Black and Gold, with all that brute force and a bit better judgment, how different things might have been.

It is hard to reconcile those statements with the comments Joe Thornton and Hall Gill made above, or after watching hit of the video on TSN, but this proves that if you are looking to find a problem you will probably find one. Dupont's column would have been much the same if Joe Thornton hit Hall Gill or not.

[Update2] The Daily News of Newburyport Online ran a feature on Joe Thornton with positive reactions from the co-owner of Britannia Arms, the community relations director for SJ mayor Ron Gonzales, and the Merc's Victor Chi. The article, In San Jose, he's not your average Joe, is now only available on the Daily News plus edition.

The Bruins Insider blog at the Boston Herald notes that contract extention talks with the Bruins and Sergei Samsonov have yet to begin. Douglas Flynn also posts the highs and lows and an extensive list of quotes on his Bruins-Sharks post-game breakdown.

The Sharks dominated this one from start to finish, humiliating the Bruins on Garden ice in a 6-2 rout. Somehow, despite the electric atmosphere in the building generated by Thornton's return, the Bruins played with little passion or energy. They didn't respond when Thornton took out Gill, and they never responded the rest of the night as San Jose cruised to the easy victory.

Boston blue line was no barrier for visitors - Boston Globe.

Game Highlights - Bostonbruins.com

Blog reaction: Boston Sports media watch has a thorough review of Thornton's return here, nice "Shaaks" update from Pasquinade, Joe Thornton was gone before they made it to their seats, Random Musings takes a look at how the same hit is described 3 different ways on 3 newscasts, and The Feeder notes the media buzz surrounding the game.

[Update3] Reader D.V. emails:

I'm a Bay Area transplant living in Boston and got to see the Sharks play in person for the first time since the lockout on Tuesday. While they played phenomenally one of the most interesting things I noticed was just how completely the fans in Boston seemed to have turned on the Bruins.

After Thorton's hit visibly injured Hall Gill there wasn't anything close to outrage or dismay. Granted the hit was probably clean but nobody in the stands was upset in the slightest that he was leaving the ice...

I can't help draw comparisons between Gill's treatment and the reaction that Mike Rathje received when he came up with the Sharks. Both are (very) big defensemen who have been labeled "soft" because they don't appear to play up to their size.

Rathje eventually turned into a very solid defenseman and I think that Hall Gill has the same potential. However, I don't think it's going to happen in Boston where the fans are exceedingly unforgiving and the media more numerous.

That is a perfect comparison.

It is official, Cleveland Barons will move to Massachusetts and become the AHL Worcester Sharks

Dmitri Patzold

Monday it was announced that the AHL Cleveland Barons would be moved to Massachusetts next season to become the Worcester Sharks. The Sharks signed a 10-year agreement with Worcester, and will begin play for the 2006-07 season at the 14,800 seat DCU Center.

For several years, Barons fans have been beset by "will they or won't they move" questions about the team's status in Cleveland. The answer is now a definitive yes, but AHL Commissioner Dave Andrews has since mentioned that the AHL is still interested in returning to Cleveland.

The Cleveland Plains Dealer article on Monday quoted Barons President Michael Lehr stating that Worcester made the best business offer for the team. Attendance has been a concern for the franchise since the move from Lexington in 2001. Sharks president and CEO Greg Jamison said the Barons had lost "millions" in that time period.

Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports that the move of the Barons to Worcester may set off a run on AHL franchises. The Cincinnati RailRaiders have started a season ticket drive and are looking for an NHL affiliation, Cleveland may rebound as early as next season, and 3 NHL teams share an AHL affiliation "Buffalo Sabres/Florida Panthers with the Rochester Americans, Montreal Canadiens/Edmonton Oilers with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Carolina Hurricanes/Colorado Avalanche with the Lowell Lock Monsters".

The official Sharks AHL press release detailed the New England connections on the San Jose Sharks roster, the Cleveland Barons roster, San Jose prospects, and in the Sharks front office:

While based in San Jose, the parent club realizes the importance of New England hockey, as one third of the club’s reserve list has New England ties. Current San Jose Sharks Niko Dimitrakos (Somerville, Mass.) and Jim Fahey (Milton, Mass. – Northeastern University) grew up in the area. Current AHL prospects Tom Cavanagh (Warwick, RI – Harvard), Josh Hennessy (Brockton, Mass.), Josh Prudden (Andover, Mass. – New Hampshire), Patrick Rissmiller (Belmont, Mass. – Holy Cross) and Garrett Stafford (New Hampshire) were raised or played collegiately in the area.

In addition, numerous Sharks prospects currently play in the area. They include P.J. Fenton (Springfield, Mass. – UMASS, Amherst), Michael Hutchins (Wolfebro, NH – New Hampshire), Carter Lee (Northeastern), David MacDonald (Harvard), Brian Mahoney-Wilson (Boston, Mass.), Torrey Mitchell (Vermont), 2002 1st round selection Mike Morris (Dorchester, Mass. – Northeastern), Brian O’Hanley (Quincy, Mass. – Boston College), Dan Spang (Winchester, Mass. – Boston University) and Tom Walsh (Arlington, Mass. – Harvard).

The San Jose Sharks front office has heavy New England ties as well. Current Worcester Sharks General Manager Wayne Thomas has a permanent residence in East Falmouth, Mass. San Jose Sharks Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Burke proudly hails from Melrose, Mass., and still resides in the state and Professional Scout Cap Raeder, who grew up and still lives in Needham, Mass., played for the New England Whalers of the old World Hockey Association and was an All-American goaltender for the University of New Hampshire.

CNNSI notes the fluctuating nature of hockey franchises in Cleveland and Worcester:

The original Cleveland Barons played in the AHL from 1937-72 and the second edition was in the NHL from 1976-78. The current Barons replaced the Cleveland Lumberjacks, an International Hockey League club that folded.

Worcester had an AHL team for 11 seasons before the franchise was sold and moved to Peoria, Ill., at the end of last season.

Nolan Schaefer

From AZhockey: The Cleveland Barons played in the American Hockey League from 1937-1973 before being transferred to Jacksonville midway through the season. The NHL California Golden Seals [aka Oakland Seals] moved to Cleveland for two seasons in 1976, but the home games were played in Richfield and the team later merged with the Minnesota North Stars. Minnesota was later transferred to Dallas to become San Jose's arch nemisis, the Dallas Stars.

The Worcester Icecats played in the AHL from 1994-2005 and were the primary AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators and later the St Louis Blues. Ironically, the Icecats team colors were blue, teal, white and silver. Visit the Worcester Icecats Fan Club for more information.

The San Jose Business Journal runs more of the numbers:

The Barons have average 3,716 fans per game over its five-year run at Quicken Loans Arena. That has put the franchise at or near the bottom for attendance figures in the American Hockey League...

The Sharks claim they lost millions of dollars on the Barons franchise since it moved to Cleveland. The Quicken Loans Arena, formally known as the Gund Arena, holds 20,562 for basketball and 10,400 for hockey. The DCU Center has 14,800 seats but the Sharks are expected to reduce that to about 7,000 seats by curtaining off most of the top deck.

This was a business decision. The hockey reasons listed above make sense in one regard, but not when you are looking to grow the fan base on the West Coast. The NHL team that can afford the travel costs of an AHL franchise in Vancouver, Seattle, or Portland will be successful if the team is launched right.

Several photos of past, present, and future Sharks and Barons are available at the Hockey Photo Project. Adam Burke contributed a mid-season progress report on the Cleveland Barons for Don't Feed the Sharks. Erik Cassano notes that this is the fifth failed hockey franchise in Cleveland history.

Thanks to C.M. for the recent Cleveland updates, and Melissa Hess for Barons information and photos [Nolan Schaefer, Craig Valette] in the past.


Live from Macworld

In case there are any hockey bloggers using the Mac platform, here are a few photos and links from MacWorld SF 2006. Photos below taken with an Olympus IR-500.




Bonus Macworld photo.

Not as many announcements as last year's Macworld, but Apple released a powerful new Intel Imac, a new Macbook Pro laptop, and a new iLife and iWork line of software products. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was enamored with the new Apple commercial, "the Intel chip, for years its been trapped inside pcs... inside dull little boxes. Now it is free." Kiefer Sutherland provides the narration and proves that yes, he is everywhere.

Apple provided a stream of Steve Jobs keynote address here. SFist has more, as does Macworld magazine, and Engadget has an index of its Macworld coverage and a photo of Intel CEO Paul Otellini in a bunny suit.

Met a sports photographer from Australia who recommends Bells Beach, saw a demo of PRweb's new photo wire, took advantage of a conference only promotion for a free year of professional photo sales from printroom.com, tested the new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G DX/ED/VR lens first seen at the PhotoExpo conference in NYC [Ken Rockwell has an early review here], and took a few photos of the John Lennon educational tour bus [more on the J.L. songwriting contest here].

Thanks to Peachpit Press for the Exposition pass.

That is all.


University of Wisconsin At No. 1 For Sixth Straight Week On USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

This week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll from USAhockey.com:

University of Wisconsin At No. 1 For Sixth Straight Week On USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

This Week's Top-15 Match-ups:

Friday, January 13
No. 1 Wisconsin @ No. 5 Colorado College
No. 10 North Dakota @ No. 2 Minnesota

Saturday, January 14
No. 1 Wisconsin @ No. 5 Colorado College
No. 10 North Dakota @ No. 2 Minnesota

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The University of Wisconsin remains No. 1 for the sixth straight week on the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll. Wisconsin was idle last weekend and will travel to face No. 5 Colorado College on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 13-14).

For the second consecutive week the poll features three teams that were unranked last week, including returning poll members University of New Hampshire and Clarkson University and poll newcomer Lake Superior State University. New Hampshire took three points from No. 6 University of Vermont last weekend to vault to No. 11. Clarkson defeated the Rochester Institute of Technology and No. 15 St. Lawrence University to move up to No. 13. And Lake Superior State swept Western Michigan University to crack the poll at No. 14.

ABOUT THE POLL: The 11th annual USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the six NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the American Hockey Coaches Association and USA Hockey Magazine, the official publication of USA Hockey.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll -- #14

(first-place votes in parentheses, Last Week, Record,Weeks In Top 15)

1. U. of Wisconsin, 510 (34), 1, 16-2-2, 14
2. U. of Minnesota, 442, 3, 13-5-4, 14
3. Miami (Ohio) U., 424, 2, 14-3-3, 10
4. Boston College, 419, 6, 12-4-2, 14
5. Colorado College, 409, 5, 17-6-1, 14
6. U. of Vermont, 312, 4, 13-5-2, 12
7. U. of Maine, 286, 9, 14-6-0, 14
8. Cornell U. , 267, 8, 10-3-2, 14
9. U. of Michigan, 266, 7, 13-7-1, 14
10. U. of North Dakota, 176, 10, 14-9-1, 14
11. U. of New Hampshire, 139, NR, 10-7-4, 13
12. Providence College, 133, 12, 12-7-1, 3
13. Clarkson U. , 84, NR, 12-6-2, 4
14. Lake Superior State U., 61, NR, 12-6-4, 1
15. St. Lawrence U., 59, 11, 12-7-1, 7

Others receiving votes: Colgate University, 38; University of Denver, 29; Harvard University, 22; Ferris State University, 2; Boston University, 1; College of the Holy Cross, 1.

Also take a look at Inside College Hockey's introduction to college hockey. INCH lists 4 of college hockey's biggest rivalries: Boston College vs. Boston University, Colorado College vs. Denver, Michigan vs. Michigan State, and Minnesota vs. Wisconsin.

Interesting tagline for Friday night hockey at CSTV, "Watch your face off". Nebraska-Omaha faces off against Ohio State on Friday. Visit cstv.com for more information.


Vesa Toskala trade rumor on Hockey Night in Canada

On last week's HNIC Satellite Hotstove broadcast, Globe and Mail reporter Eric Duhatschek finished the segment with goaltending trade rumors that were under the radar:

A couple of the names that you haven't heard that general managers are in listen mode about. The San Jose Sharks and Vesa Toskala, because they like what they saw with Nolan Schaefer earlier this year. Minnesota with Dwayne Roloson, because Fernandez has basically won the job and both are unrestricted at the end of this year.

There are about 5 teams looking for goalies. You are going to have to pay a premium to get one of these guys. The offers have been terrible so far and they are not going to move these guys until the offers get better.

J.D. mentioned on this week's Satellite Hotstove that Owen Nolan was going to visit a doctor in Cleveland after suffering "a bit" of a setback recently. He stated it was not expected to be serious.

According to the TSN depth chart for San Jose, Evgeni Nabokov is scheduled to earn $3.363 million this season and Vesa Toskala $684,000. Evgeni Nabokov is eligible for UFA status after this season, Toskala in 2007.

Here are my scouting reports on Evgeni Nabokov, Vesa Toskala and Michael Garnett from December. With two consecutive shutouts and consistent solid play, Garnett may have played himself into the starting goaltender role for the Atlanta Thrashers.

Rumors that league revenue will be significantly higher than the $1.8 billion pre-season estimate appear to be gathering momentum. Lyle Richardson speculates that this may result in a salary cap increase from the current $39 million to a figure between $41 and $45 million.

[Update] Scott Cullen of TSN answers a fan question about San Jose's Grant Stevenson:

[Q] Hey Scott, I've been following San Jose in my fantasy pool, and I've been seeing a lot out of this kid Grant Stevenson. He seems to kind have come out of nowhere to me. A straight out of college signing, and a guy who didn't really produce all that much in the AHL last year he's scoring at a point per game basis in the NHL. What do you know about this guy and what's your take on him? And I believe he's playing with Patrick Marleau, is that right? Thanks, Tom, Scarborough

[A] Tom, Stevenson sure did seem to come out of nowhere. Not touted as a top prospect, he arrived with little fanfare and has quietly been very productive and playing quite a bit alongside Marleau as you note. A native of Spruce Grove, Alberta, the 24 year-old left Minnesota St. after his sophomore campaign and signed with the Sharks. He scored 78 points in 148 games with Cleveland of the AHL before arriving on the scene with the Sharks this year. Considering his relative lack of scoring in the minors, it's hard to say that Stevenson will be able to keep it up, but he's certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Watching Stevenson on a regular basis, one of the keys to his success this season is that he puts himself in position to make plays. Grant is deceptively quick, and resembles Jonathan Cheechoo in the fact that he always finds an open area of ice.

One more reason Grant Stevenson might be able to keep up the production next season, the possible return of Alexander Korolyuk. Korolyuk/Marleau/Stevenson would be a potent offensive line combination.

Scott Cullen also discusses possible trades for San Jose, and comments on the Sharks recent up and down play. Cullen cites an inexperienced blueline and struggles in goal as two areas of concern for the Sharks.

[Update2] Sharks cool off Kings, Scott Thornton joins fun with 2 goals for San Jose - SF Chronicle.

Already with eight players on injured reserve, the Kings also were without leading scorer Pavol Demitra, who injured a leg in their last game. Forwards Jeremy Roenick, Eric Belanger, Valeri Bure, Jeff Cowan, Ryan Flinn, George Parros plus defensemen Aaron Miller and Mike Weaver are all on injured reserve.

Sharks Take a Bite Out of Kings - LA Times.

"We definitely have under-achieved to this point," forward Jonathan Cheechoo said. "There is no way at the beginning of the year that we thought we'd be in this position. I mean, last season we were second in the Western Conference"... "We just need to find some consistency to get better," Cheechoo said.

[Update3] Anaheim Mighty Ducks send Petr Sykora to the New York Rangers - TSN.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim announced that they acquired defenseman Maxim Kondratiev from the New York Rangers in exchange for Petr Sykora and a fourth round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Sykora, the 5-11 190 pound right wing from Plzen, Czechoslovakia, had 7 goals and 13 assists with Anaheim this season for 20 points in 34 games played.


San Jose State downs Duke Blue Devils 10-2

SJSU Duke Blue Devils Hockey

SJSU Duke Blue Devils Hockey

SJSU Duke Blue Devils Hockey

Sean Scarbrough scored 4 goals, and San Jose State scored 3 short handed goals to earn a 10-2 win over the visiting Duke Blue Devils. SJSU, ranked first in the ACHA D2 West, remains undefeated on the season with a 18-0-1 record.

Photo gallery from the game, box score coming soon.

More on the 10-2 win from A. Sheldon, who with Erik Kuhre designed the new black SJSU 3rd jerseys.

SJSU Spartans Hockey Remain Undefeated, Down Duke University Blue Devils 10-2

"Don't try to push your luck, just get outta my way..." – AC/DC, "Back in Black"

Because the Spartans are back! Back in brand new black jerseys and picking up where they left off last year with yet another dominating display, dropping the Duke University Blue Devils 10-2 on Saturday night in front of an overflow crowd in Logitech's North Rink.

It was the first game in a while for both teams, as players have been enjoying the month-long winter break The SJSU squad (18-0-1) last saw action with a 9-0 victory over the Cal Golden Bears for the Gold Rush Championship on December 3. Duke Captain Steve Lake said the Blue Devils (9-4-0) have been away from competitive hockey since November 18-19, in which they lost a two-game series to Kentucky.

"We were a little rusty and slow," Lake said. "We were trying to force the play and push things, which ended up as stupid mistakes and it just snowballed."

SJSU's Sean Scarbrough got the snowball rollin' at 11:53 of the first, when he picked up the puck for a shorthanded breakaway and beat Duke goalie Shawn Brenhouse for his team-leading 24th goal on the season. The Spartans went up 2-0 at 15:18 when right wing Mike Villalobos robbed a Duke D-man of the puck in front of Brenhouse and backhanded a shot from the slot.

In the second period, Scarbrough struck again 18 seconds into the frame for his second goal of the night, connecting with the lower left corner of the cage for a 3-0 lead.

Two minutes later, Spartan veteran Adam Dekeryel registered his 20th goal of the season with help from longtime linemate Jon King, who worked the puck down low to open up the shooting lane.

Up 5-0 and once again on the penalty kill, Scarbrough notched his second shorthanded tally of the match for the hat-trick. The sophomore sniper leads the entire league in shorthanded goals with seven, three more than the rest of the ACHA DII pack Duke's Quebec keeper, who would allow seven goals before being pulled, said he had to contend with too many breakaways.

"There were a lot of giveaways in our end," Brenhouse said. "(SJSU) was able to capitalize on our mistakes, but we couldn't on their mistakes."

The Blue Devils were awarded a string of 5-on-3 powerplays, but even with a lengthy two-man advantage it was SJSU’s all-time point leader Aaron Scott who lit the lamp by picking off a predictable drop-pass.

Scott said it was his first shorthanded goal of the season. "I leave those up to Sean."

Scarbrough's fourth goal and final goal of the contest came at 12:37, when he abandoned his patented on-ice slide, to roof the puck just under the crossbar.

"That was my first ever top shelf goal – I was becoming too predictable and the guys were giving me a hard time about it," Scarbrough said with a grin. The second session ended with Duke's Bert Maidment grabbing the Blue Devils first goal of the night during the waning seconds of a full 5-on-3 man advantage.

Lowe, who's 93.6 save percentage in 10-plus games has him ranked No.6 in the league amongst starters, had not surrendered a goal since December 2 against the University of Washington.

Duke's Captain said it was difficult to net that first goal against last season’s All-West 1st team goaltender.

"Their goalie being goofy messed us up and we just couldn't get it going." The third period saw a change in the crease for both teams, as senior Martin Moody dropped in for Lowe and New York native Marc Roitman took over at the other end of the ice.

Duke struck again at 2:45 of the final frame as sophomore Brandon Jenkins from Virginia cleanly beat Moody to bring the score to 7-2. But Moody shut the door and it was all SJSU the rest of the way as Dekeyrel posted his second goal and defenseman Andy Whiteside bulged the twine with a blast from the top of the left face-off circle to beat Roitman glove-side. Roitman said having to adjust to the new NHL blue lines may have hindered his play.

"We play with the old rink dimensions, so it was hard to pick an angle." Spartan left wing Skyler Yu connected with 37 seconds left on the clock after he split the D and danced the puck around Roitman for a 10-2 SJSU victory.

In the end, it was an opportunity to play an unfamiliar opponent from the East Coast – which Scarbrough said he thoroughly enjoyed. "It was a lot of fun playing a different team because it was something new, unlike seeing CAL play so many times and knowing the players," Scarbrough said. "I can't wait for Virginia."

The undefeated San Jose State Spartans are scheduled to host the University of Virginia Cavaliers (6-4-1) on Friday, January 13 at 7:30pm, in the North Rink at Logitech Ice Center.

SJSU faces Duke Blue Devils on Black Saturday

SJSU Duke Blue Devils Hockey

San Jose State [17-0-1] picks up the second half of their season tonight against the Duke Blue Devils [9-3]. San Jose State is ranked first in the ACHA D2 Western Division, and will host the ACHA Regional Tournament at Logitech Ice Center February 17-18th.

Berkeley picks up after Christmas break with home games against Virginia and Utah St, January 12th and 13th at Berkeley Iceland. Stanford faces Virginia at Belmont Iceland before going on the road to face UCLA.

3 Berkeley forwards all rank in the top 25 in ACHA D2 scoring: Sean Haq [#13 - 10G, 33A], Amir Moazeni [#18 - 21G, 20A], and Martin Galstyan [#24 - 20G, 17A]. Sean Scarbrough from San Jose State University ranks 21st with 23 goals and 15 assists for a total of 38 points. Ryan "Glovezilla" Lowe of SJSU ranks 3rd in the ACHA D2 in wins [13].

From SJSUhockey.com:

San Jose State hockey resumes play for the second semester as it hosts the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday. Also, returning to the team is Adam Smith-Toomey, a former star Spartan who is returning for action to help boost the teams strength as they make the final push for the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament in Rochester, N.Y.

Duke brings a young team with a 9-3 overall record, and a perfect 5-0 tally in Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League play. Led by senior forward Steve Lake, sophomore forward Brandon Jenkins, and junior defenseman Ryan Eick, this Duke team is as strong as any put together by the Blue Devil club, according to coach Drew Evans.

From SJSU captain #4 Ray Kellam:

SJSU Ice hockey kicks off the second semester with a cross country visit from ACC competitor Duke. Saturday night, January 7th, 7pm at Logitech. The Spartans will be dawning their brand new BLACK third jerseys so wear black to the game and help cheer on the Spartans as they look to keep their record setting undefeated season alive.

Always bet on black.

[Update] More on the possible Sharks AHL affiliate Cleveland Barons move to Worcester for the 2006-07 season from reader C.M.: Hockey rebirth foreseen at DCU, Sharks may swarm city - Worcester Telegram and Gazette.

A press conference has been scheduled for Monday afternoon, reportedly to announce the return of pro hockey to the city. While city and DCU Center officials aren’t saying, the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League are expected to announce that they will move their American Hockey League franchise from Cleveland to Worcester for the 2006-07 season.

The article speculates that the new franchise will be called the Worcester Sharks. These photos prove that the name is appropriate.

This was posted earlier, but a map of AHL franchises puts the move into perspective. A map of ECHL franchises shows a decidedly bi-coastal tilt. Related, a future teams section on ECHL.com includes Reno, Nevada.


Top 10 jerseys sold on NHL.com

A list of the top 10 jerseys sold on NHL.com, from the Sports Business Journal:

1. Sidney Crosby - Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Peter Forsberg - Philadelphia Flyers
3. Jaromir Jagr - New York Rangers
4. Simon Gagne - Philadelphia Flyers
5. Steve Yzerman - Detroit Red Wings
6. Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers
7. Alexander Ovechkin - Washington Capitals
8. Mario Lemieux - Pittsburgh Penguins
9. Miroslav Satan - New York Islanders
10. Rick DiPietro - New York Islanders

Alexander Ovechkin may be pulling ahead in support for Rookie of the Year, but Sidney Crosby is a clear leader in jerseys sold. Henrik Lundqvist also surpassed Ovechkin. Miroslav Satan makes a surpise entry on the top 10, and Rick DiPietro should ring up healthy sales as an New York Islander and as a member of Team USA.

Three names that will be on that list next year: Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Jonathan Cheechoo.

Lineup for the Mavericks big wave surfing competition finalized

mavericks surf contest

A press release from Mavericks Surf Ventures:


Thousands Vote in Surfermag.com Poll for Input on Final Five

Mavericks Surf Ventures is pleased to announce the final five competitors who will round out "The 24" competing in the 2006 Mavericks Surf Contest. The five were determined with input from the public who voted in a poll at www.surfermag.com. With an overwhelming 30 percent of the vote, Alex Martens was a shoe in. He's joined by other poll favorites and Mavericks standouts Grant Baker, Josh Loya, Danilo Couto and Russell Smith.

"The poll results really showed who was serious about getting into Mavericks this year," said Contest Director Jeff Clark. "These guys not only had the desire to get in, but they rallied, got the word out and got their friends and family to vote for them."

The Mavericks Surf Contest brings together 24 of the world's best big-wave surfers on just 24 hours' notice – between January 1 and March 31, 2006. Historically, Jeff Clark, contest director, board shaper and Mavericks surfing legend, has hand-picked "The 24" – those with the courage and commitment to face what CNN calls "the most dangerous wave in the world". This year, Clark selected the first 19 and then with input from thousands of voters at www.surfermag.com determined the final five. The remaining nine surfers from the poll will become alternates.

Clark explained that the surfers were selected not just on their popularity, but also on their commitment to surfing Mavericks and how well they've done when they've had the opportunity to surf in previous Mavericks Surf Contests. "We're opening the door for guys who are really pushing it. You never know where the next superstar is going to surface. We want to help them get their day in the sun." Clark, a legendary surfer in his own right also owns the Mavericks Surf Shop in Half Moon Bay and shapes boards for Jeff Clark Surfboards. He continues to surf competitively and recently placed fourth at the Nelscott Reef tow-in contest among peers Zach Wormhoudt, Shane Desmond, Peter Mel and Anthony Tashnick, who will all surf in the 2006 Mavericks Surf Contest.

The 19 surfers previously selected for the contest include: Anthony Tashnick, Greg Long, Tyler Smith, Zach Wormhoudt, Shane Desmond, Matt Ambrose, Brock Little, Ryan Seelbach, Ryan Augenstein, Evan Slater, Eraldo Gueiros, Shawn Rhodes, Randy Cone, Grant Washburn, Darryl Virostko, Kenny Collins, Peter Mel, Nathan Fletcher and Mike Gerhardt.

Clark also named the alternates which include: Mike Brumett, Troy Virostko, Jake Wormhoudt, Carlos Burle, Ross Clarke-Jones, Garrett McNamara, Ion Banner, Noah Johnson and Rodrigo Resende.

About The Mavericks Surf Contest

When Mavericks roared through Half Moon Bay last March, 30,000 spectators and two million television viewers in 70 countries watched the best big-wave riders on the planet conquer waves that crested at nearly 50 feet in frigid waters with dangerous currents, jagged rocks and the ever-present threat of the Great White Shark. Last year's contest was dominated by 20-year-old local surfer Anthony Tashnick, who will be one of the key threats in this year’s contest. But this year also brings the return of three-time Mavericks champion Darryl "Flea" Virostko looking to reclaim his title.

The conditions, the waves and the contest's unpredictability all contribute to the event's allure. When Mother Nature and a little luck combine to produce the notoriously massive waves, "The 24" surfers get the call and have a mere 24 hours to be onsite and ready to compete. Surfers and fans can track the waves and stay up-to-date on contest announcements on the official website, www.maverickssurf.com. New this year, fans can also receive the call and updates through a soon-to-be-announced SMS campaign or watch the contest live from their homes via a live Web cast.

Visit Maverickssurf.com or Mavsurfer.com for more information. Right now there is a huge swell hitting the West coast affecting Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay according to Surfline.com.

A live webcam of Mavericks is also available here, but heavy traffic has made the webcam unavailable for parts of this morning. Current conditions listed for Mavericks:

CURRENT CONDITIONS FOR MAVERICK'S 1/6 - SURF: 15-18 ft. - triple overhead + "occ 25 ft." fair.

WATER SAFETY: Caution, Strong W swell. Water quality remains an issue with the recent rain.

No Sharks allowed.

[Update] Billabong XXL has a biggest wave surfing/photography contest where the prize money equals the height of the wave in thousands. Last years winner earned $70,000 for surfing a monstrous 70 foot wave in Hawaii.

A large December 21st swell that hit Todos Santos, off the shores of Ensenada Mexico, resulted in the first big wave contributions to the 2006 Billabong XXL competition.


Terry Tate Office Linebacker

Terry Tate Office Linebacker

Just saw an old Reebok ad featuring "productivity specialist" Terry Tate. Advertisement Avenue has the video.


Hockey Notes - January 2nd edition

- The week in WJC update is coming tomorrow. 2 power outages from the latest California storm kept me from posting it yesterday. Rain bad.

- FSNBA is broadcasting the USA vs Canada game from Saturday right now.

- Here is a transcript of an intermission segment with TSN's Bob McKenzie from the USA 11-2 win over Finland on the first day of the World Junior Championships.

American interest in the sport has increased over time, this was evidenced when the US took WJC gold in 2004 and are now the favorites for this tournament in 2006. I was just talking to Blair Mackasey, the Director of Player Personnel for Team Canada, and he was saying "the US now has more registered minor league players than Canada, a lot of them are coming from California, Florida, Texas and a lot of the non-traditional hockey markets, they aren't all just coming from Minnesota anymore, you are seeing a shift in the base of top draft picks".

With 8 first round picks in 2005 and many more coming next year with potentially the top three in 2006, This isn't just a cycle, where you are seeing just a good crop of Americans now, I think this is the new reality. You are going to see more and more US born players going high in the first rounds of upcoming drafts

McKenzie's recent commentary on Team USA for TSN has caused a stir: Setting the record straight.

There has been much talk - too much, if the truth be known - about how there is dissension within the ranks of the team that many, including myself, ranked as a pre-tournament favorite to win the gold medal. Which may seem like a funny thing to say since I was the guy who raised the issue of the potential dissension in the first place.

But as so often happens in the black and white world of the media, where shades of gray are apparently frowned upon, this story of possible dysfunction has become a lot bigger than it should have been and it has, so far anyway, not materialized.

Bob McKenzie was one of the first to raise the issue of possible dissension within the favored Team USA, but to his credit, he at least states four reasons why he believes it is an issue to look into: historical problems with team chemistry, a star laden Team USA WJC roster, negative comments made previously about teammates, and the natural glare that comes with being a gold medal favorite.

It is a very contentious issue, but now that it is out there, Team USA has a chance to prove the team chemistry questions were inappropriate. Ironically, this may have created an "us against them" situation to help make it so.

- USAhockey.com also notes that Center Ice is airing the Canada vs USA WJC game tonight.

- Here is a Blogpulse graph that compares the blog penetration of the WJC, with that of the National Hockey League and the 2006 Torino Olympics. Use of NHL as a trend search term would be more appropriate, but it makes for a less interesting result.

- Another double header on OLN tonight features Tampa Bay against the New York Islanders, and the Dallas Stars against the Los Angeles Kings.

- This week's Power Play Post Show [real media file] features Keith Aucoin, captain of the AHL Lowell Lock Monsters, a discussion on Bertuzzi's Team Canada Olympic selection, NHL hockey possibly coming back to Hartford, and the latest happenings in the AHL. The PPP show is a great resource for AHL news, and in depth coverage of Ottawa's AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators.

- AOL's Sports Bloggers Live audio show has no hockey on the schedule for tomorrow. Visit the site and email or AIM Jamie Mottram to change that.

- Hockey may be back after the lockout, but not according to Fox Sports radio host JT the Brick.

"Thank god I don't have to live in a local market and have to break down a hockey game. I am on in 170 markets, and I don't have to cover hockey." - J.T. the Brick

- Reader C.M. sent in an article Sunday that reported the AHL Cleveland Barons may move to Worcester at the end of this season: Worcester hooks an AHL Shark, Cleveland's loss will be our gain - Worcester Telegram and Gazette .

The fishing expedition that started last hockey season when the Worcester IceCats announced that they were leaving town has landed a Shark.

The San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League will move its American Hockey League affiliate, the Cleveland Barons, from that city to the DCU Center when this AHL season ends, sources say.

An official announcement is expected to come early this month. One possible date to introduce the city's new team would be on or around Jan. 10 when the Sharks play the Bruins in Boston.

The article is subscription only, but the Telegram does have a one day rate of 60 cents. The Sharks media relations department declined to comment for the article, but the Telegram also reported that Worcester City Manager Michael V. O'Brien was in San Jose last week, and that discussions with the Sharks have been ongoing for some time.

More on Worcester and the AHL is available here.

An AHL franchise would be welcome on the left coast. Judging from this AHL map, it looks like San Antonio, Omaha and Manitoba are as far West as the AHL goes at this point.

- The ECHL recently announced the starting lineups for the upcoming ECHL Allstar game January 24-25th in Fresno, California.

National Conference Starters

G - Chris Beckford-Tseu, Alaska (11 gp, 9-0-2, 1 shutout, 1.96 GAA, .927 save pct.)
D - Ryan Gaucher, Alaska (24 gp, 7g, 23a, 30 pts)
D - Steve Lingren, Victoria (32, 11g, 12a, 23 pts)
F - Luke Curtin, Fresno (26 gp, 13g, 22a, 35 pts)
F - Garett Bembridge, Idaho (29 gp, 24g, 23a, 47 pts)
F - D'Arcy McConvey, Idaho (23 gp, 16g, 20a, 36 pts)

American Conference Starters

G - Cody Rudkowsky, Reading (11 gp, 10-2-1, 1 shutout, 2.46 GAA, .918 save pct.)
D - Troy Milam, Gwinnett (26 gp, 2g, 18a, 20 pts)
D - Rory Rawlyk, Charlotte (28 gp, 9g, 15a, 24 pts)
F - Kurtis McLean, Wheeling (28 gp, 21g, 17a, 38 pts)
F - Scott Bertoli, Trenton (28 gp, 9g, 17a, 26 pts)
F - Ernie Hartlieb, Florida (27 gp, 15g, 15a, 30 pts)

More on the National Conference starting roster is available here, the American Conference roster here. Stay tuned to this blog for notes and photos from the event.

- USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll Released For Jan. 2-8:

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine

Men's College Hockey Poll -- #13, (first-place votes in parentheses, Last Week, Record, Weeks In Top 15)

1. U. of Wisconsin, 509 (33), 1, 16-2-2, 13
2. Miami (Ohio) U., 468 (1), 2, 13-2-3, 9
3. U. of Minnesota, 403, 3, 11-5-4, 13
4. U. of Vermont, 395, 5, 13-4-1, 11
5. Colorado College, 361, 17-6-1, 13
6. Boston College, 360, 4, 10-4-2, 13
7. U. of Michigan, 312, 6, 12-6-1, 13
8. Cornell U., 263, 10, 9-3-2, 13
9. U. of Maine, 210, 8, 12-6-0, 13
10. U. of North Dakota, 203, 9, 13-8-1, 13
11. St. Lawrence U., 143, 14, 12-6-1, 6
12. Providence College, 130, NR, 11-6-1, 2
13. Harvard U., 97, 10-6-1, 6
14. Colgate U., 76, 11, 10-3-4, 6
15. Ohio State U., 51, NR, 10-6-3, 6

- An annual survey from Harris Interactive asks American fans the question "If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your favorite?"

The NFL is first, as you would expect. MLB, College Football, Auto Racing, and Men's College Basketball round out the top 5. "Hockey" finishes 6th with 5% of the respondents naming it their favorite sport, up from 4% during the lockout season with no NHL last year. NHB discusses the survey with regards to the popularity of boxing and the UFC.

- Girls ice hockey is red-hot in popularity - The News Tribune.

In Connecticut, more than 220 girls hockey teams skated this week in what is billed as the nation's largest youth ice hockey tournament. The four-day tournament drew more than 3,700 girls from across the United States and Canada.

USA Hockey statistics show the number of registered female players around the country has risen from 6,336 to 51,275 since 1990.

Title IX is a major factor in the surge of popularity, as schools look to even the balance between men's and women's sports. More on how determining that balance is changing was discussed in depth over at Offwing.

The debate over Title IX often veers away from what is best for the students, but the application of Title IX has been problematic at best.

- Ovechkin is NHL offensive player of week, Fernandez earns defensive award - NHL.com.

- Nolan return not out of question -- if he can manage to get healthy - Ross McKeon.

General manager Doug Wilson left the door open for the rumor that just won't go away to become reality -- Owen Nolan returning to play for the Sharks again...

"I talked to him and told him 'Get your knee healthy, don't think about anything other than getting healthy and when you get healthy we'll talk,' " Wilson said Friday night.

Interesting report. I tried to contact Owen Nolan's agent J.P. Barry of IMG Hockey two weeks ago, but was unsuccessful. The lockout had to have a positive effect on nagging back/abdominal problems that never fully healed for Nolan in the past, but the effects of his knee injury are a concern. The up tempo "new" NHL has been unkind to veterans who took significant time off from hockey and tried to return this season. San Jose could use his shot on the power play, and a scorer to fill out the top three lines.

The latest column from McKeon deals with the new defensive landscape of the NHL, Patience a virtue -- and it's a trap.

[Update] Blogger Jes Golbez was profiled at Behind the Jersey. Very cool. I wanted to know more about his background with Slovakian and Czech Republic hockey, and about his contributions to McKeens and Hockeys Future. It will have to wait for the second installment.

[Update2] German Ice-Rink Roof Collapse Leaves Nine People Dead - Bloomberg News.

[Update3] I asked Sharks goaltender Vesa Toskala about his play in Finland last season during a live chat on the official site Thursday:

[Q] What are your thoughts on your season with Ilves last year in the SM-Liiga, and how did the team perform in the playoffs?

[A] Vesa Toskala: I only played in the last three regular season games because I was having hip surgery. I played in six games in the playoffs. We lost in the first round, but we played pretty well.