Blog Entry

Weekend Wrap: This one's for the good guys

Posted on: January 8, 2012 3:11 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2012 3:32 pm
 

By Brian Stubits

While you were busy worrying about the upcoming summer of labor after the NHLPA declined the realignment plan ...

With all due respect to the guys of Green Day, nice guys really can finish first. Or at least succeed.

Saturday was a milestone day for two of the classiest and most loyal players in the NHL. One milestone awesome, the other simply dumbfounding, on a couple of levels.

First, the awesome: Jarome Iginla's 500th goal in Saturday night's win against the Minnesota Wild. Nobody is surprised that Iginla hit the 500-goal mark in his career. I've seen it argued that he would have passed that milestone a while ago if he had played with some better centers in his time with the Calgary Flames.

It doesn't matter how ugly it might have been. Iginla's had enough beauties in his career, I don't think for one second he was worried about it coming on a pass from the boards that bounced off skates and into the net.

I could go on about with platitudes about the class of guy that Iginla is. People already know that and my personal experience with the guy did nothing at all to change that impression for me. I like to point to this somewhat infamous and incredibly cringe-worthy exchange with Iginla and a reporter earlier this season that Iginla dealt with as patiently as any player could, even though nobody knew what exactly was being asked.

Iginla became only the 42nd player in NHL history to hit the plateau. So we're talking about a pretty exclusive club. Iginla's case is even more unique when one realizes that he became only the ninth player ever to score his first 500 goals with one team.

Every franchise usually has a designated Mr. (fill in the team name). Iginla no doubt is Mr. Flame.

The second milestone also came from a Mr. Franchise type and it was a bit more amazing.

Unless you work for the Elias Sports Bureau or are the biggest Phoenix Coyotes fan out there, it probably caught you by surprise that Shane Doan's hat trick on Saturday night was the first of his career.

It took him 1,161 games to get there, but Doan finally put three in in one game. And it's not like we're talking about a guy who doesn't score. He joins Scott Mellenby as the only other player in NHL history to score 300 goals before his first hat trick.

The most amazing part of all? It took Doan 59 minutes, 59 and 9/10 of a second to get that third goal.

Sometimes you can't make this stuff up.

Like Iginla, Doan has been a consummate professional, a player with the loyalty to a franchise that fans love to see in sports these days. This is a guy who has stuck with a franchise that has been surrounded in questions for a couple of years but has stuck with the only team he has ever known.

A little bit of irony in Doan's goal coming with only 0.1 second left, the Coyotes fell victim to a similar situation earlier this season. The Rangers potted a goal with the same exact amount of time on the clock. The only difference between those two last-second tallies? The Rangers' was for a win, Doan's for the hat trick in an already-decided game.

And all those hats he collected? They are reportedly being donated to the Phoenix Children's Hospital.

It was almost as if Saturday was a night for the good guys in the NHL. Two great honors for two great players. Certainly beats more concussions.

Blue moon

The St. Louis Blues are no fluke, people. This sample size with Ken Hitchcock at the helm is big enough to draw that conclusion.

More from the weekend
Recaps
Stories

The Blues are in the Central Division. They compete with the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators. Yet, after Saturday's games, it's the Blues that are sitting in first place of the monster division, for my money the best in the NHL.

St. Louis dominated the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, pitching a 4-0 shutout. The Avs had been maybe the hottest team in the NHL, bringing a four-game win streak into the Lou. Instead they were just another victim for St. Louis.

That moved the Blues to 18-5-5 under Hitchcock. Their sole lead isn't going to last long. By the end of Sunday they will at least be in a tie with either the Blackhawks or Red Wings. But they are right there and will remain right there for the entire season.

The goaltending duo of Brian Elliott -- who had another shutout -- and Jaroslav Halak has rightfully received a lot of the attention for the Blues' success, but the guys in front of them deserve a lot. Just look at what the Avalanche were able to -- or unable to -- do: They only had 15 shots on goal for the entire game. That's why Elliott didn't even get one of the three Stars of the game. The most shots in one period that Colorado had? Seven. In the first they had just two.

I'll admit I'm happy for the fans of St. Louis. It's not a market that gets a lot of recognition as a big one like the cities in the Northeast or Canada, but it's been a strong market for hockey and remains that way. They haven't had a lot to cheer for in the past couple of years but they do now.

And of course the Western Conference has another team to be reckoned with.

Jerseylicious

The story out of Pittsburgh on Saturday was that the Penguins lost their fourth straight game, something they had not done in two years. On Sunday it was compounded by the announced injuries of James Neal (broken foot) and Jordan Staal (out 4-6 weeks).

But that's taking away from the success of the New Jersey Devils.

Their 3-1 win in Pittsburgh came a night after their 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers at home on Friday. They have points in seven of their last 10 games. They have also hurdled the Penguins in the Atlantic Division and are creeping up on the Flyers, four points behind Philadelphia.

A common thread in those two weekend wins? Ilya Kovalchuk had the game-winner. He's up to 15 goals on the season now, tied with David Clarkson for the team lead. He has the penchant for turnovers -- that's nothing new -- but is still as electric as almost any player in the league with the puck on his stick. What Peter DeBoer wouldn't give to continue to get that kind of production from Kovalchuk.

Danny's dance

What a day it was Saturday for Danny Briere. The Philadelphia Flyers veteran had a double rarity in the Flyers' 3-2 win over the Senators: He finished off a hat trick with a goal in the final seconds of overtime and dropped the gloves with Kyle Turris (!).

First, here's the bout from HockeyFights.com.

Not terrible for a couple of guys who don't normally go a round. For Briere it was only his third career fight.

But in the end it was his fifth career hat trick that was the biggest moment of the night. Apparently content to take the game to the shootout, the Senators seemed to give up once the clock moved under 10 seconds. It was up to Craig Anderson to keep them alive. He made the first stop on Briere from point-blank range but couldn't prevent the second from slipping in and winning the game with 5.3 seconds left.

Buffalo bull

They're getting pretty desperate up there in Buffalo where the Sabres just can't seem to do anything right.

It's a solid cast of characters. There's a reason why people thought this would be a contender in the East this season. Add in the ownership takeover of Terry Pegula, and there was a lot of noise coming out of Buffalo. Now, not so much. Really.

"Married couples fighting upstairs, you can hear that on the ice," Ville Leino joked to John Vogl of the Buffalo News.

That'll happen when you're not scoring much. Like they didn't score in the 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night in Buffalo.

Their lack of scoring is the biggest culprit for the following: Since Nov. 12 -- as in the day Ryan Miller met Milan Lucic -- the Sabres have the fourth-worst record in the NHL. The fans are beginning to beg GM Darcy Regier to do something. This isn't how it was supposed to go.

Quote of the weekend

"It got a little tight, so we're being careful with him. We took him and pulled him out." -- Washington Capitals coach Dale Hunter on defenseman Mike Green and his hamstring.

The Caps just got Mike Green back from a hamstring-induced absence that stretched back to early November. Now it might cost him even more time now. If so, that will be the third time that Green has been out with injury. He also had an ankle issue cost him time earlier this season.

The Capitals saw their four-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday night in San Jose to the streaking Sharks. It was actually the first loss of the season for the Caps when Green played. They are now 9-1-0.

Looking beyond this season, Green will hit free agency this summer and here's one argument being laid out for why the Capitals shouldn't re-sign him. It will be worth a debate for GM George McPhee.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Sep 3, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:21 am
 

Weekend Wrap: This one's for the good guys

Oh Iginla is so classy. Like when he fights with his helmet on versus somebody w/o a helmet and than cries because of an inadvertent head-butt. He's a very talented hockey player and has been for some time and I respect him as a hockey player, but he can be a cry baby sometimes, like a lot of players nowadays.

Still will congratulate him on 500 career goals though!


kookfhastouk
Since: Jan 9, 2012
Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:15 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Jul 8, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:15 am
 

Weekend Wrap: This one's for the good guys

Are you forgetting about the Rangers? All they've done is win 9 of their past 10, 4 in a row (again, for the 5th time this season already), 22 of their past 29, and lead the league with 56 points in only 39 games. Yes, as good as the Bruins are, they have fewer points per games played than the Rangers do. Sure Vancouver has 55 pts, but they've played 42 games. These "vaunted" Blues have 53 pts, but in 41 games. And so on.

I know that there's likely some "Rangers media fatigue" setting in, what with them playing in New York, being featured in the Winter Classic, having the 24/7 HBO special leading up to it, etc., but let's not forget that they haven't won squat since 1994, and for 54 years prior to that.

How about giving some REAL credit where it's due?



Since: Jan 5, 2012
Posted on: January 9, 2012 8:31 am
 

Weekend Wrap: This one's for the good guys

I also agree.  Just a great division and all games are competitive and enjoyable to watch.  They would all be deserving of finishing first but should all be playoff bound anyway.  A great finish to the season is in store.




Since: Jan 5, 2012
Posted on: January 9, 2012 8:31 am
 

Weekend Wrap: This one's for the good guys

I also agree.  Just a great division and all games are competitive and enjoyable to watch.  They would all be deserving of finishing first but should all be playoff bound anyway.  A great finish to the season is in store.




Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:48 am
 

Weekend Wrap: This one's for the good guys

The Blues are in the Central Division. They compete with the likes of the Chicago , Detroit and Nashville . Yet, after Saturday's games, it's the Blues that are sitting in first place of the monster division, for my money the best in the NHL.

Couldnt agree more Brian. Hawks, Wings, Blues all with 53 points now and the Predators are playing well and in the hunt also. The Central will probably not be decided untill the last second of the last game. Virtual play-off games for these clubs from here on out.



Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 10:46 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: This one's for the good guys

Everything written about Iginla is true. The guy is class and one of the nicest guys around.



Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: January 8, 2012 10:24 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: This one's for the good guys

Doan.....Shane Doan?  Classy?  Are you nuts?  Shane Doan is one of the dirtiest cheap shotting players in the leasge. 

Classy like Dale Hunter?  Like Marty McSorely?  Like Dan Carcillo? Like Chris Pronger?  If that's how you mean classy, then yeah, Doan's classy. 

If you mean classy like Stave Yzerman or Wayne Gretzky then you are so far off base it's laughable. 

Doan....classy?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!


jennny
Since: Jan 8, 2012
Posted on: January 8, 2012 9:59 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator



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