Thursday, April 3, 2008

Around The League ... Jokinen Set For Dubious Record ... New Jersey Memories... Penguins Ready To Dominate

It's probably easy for Sens fans to remember Steve Duchesne's goal against Buffalo that put Ottawa into the post-season for the first time in 1997. Over in Jersey, they are remembering the 20th anniversary of John MacLean's goal against the Blackhawks that did a similar thing for that franchise.

"The greatest thing about that year was Johnny Mac's goal," former coach Jim Schoenfeld said. "I didn't even realize until after we won how much that game meant to everybody. I know they hadn't made the playoffs, but I had no idea the emotional investment a lot of people made and how that goal realized so many dreams. The game in Chicago is still my greatest hockey memory.

"In the annals of hockey history it's just a ... footnote. To our little group it was big. Even the Devils have gone on to bigger and better things. But it was a big deal at that time."

Sean Burke, the team's goaltender at the time, agreed.

"I remember the elation after that goal went in," Burke said. "I remember in the dressing room. (Former GM) Max McNab had tears in his eyes."


No one in the current NHL has played more regular season games and not one single playoff game than the hard luck captain of the Florida Panthers, Olli Jokinen. Next season, after 11 more games, he will pass Panthers assistant coach Guy Charron for the all-time record.

"It's people's choice. They can judge," Jokinen said. "Probably a lot of people are wondering, 'Why the hell is this guy still staying here?' That's the question I'm getting from all the other players around the league. I feel like the Panthers gave me a chance to be a player in this league. I don't want to let them down and go somewhere else."
If Ottawa Senators fans were getting their hopes up about Bryan Murray hiring his old buddy and current Red Wing coach Mike Babcock, they might be disappointed to hear that contract talks between him and the Red Wings seem to be progressing. That's good news for Detroit as Babcock is one hell of a coach. I still think the Wings will crash and burn in the playoffs when the games get more physical but he might be the guy to get them over that hump.


The game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers last night was one of the best games I've seen all year. The war between Scott Hartnell and Sidney Crosby was epic. Evgeni Malkin was once again dominant and he reminds me more and more of Mario Lemieux. They have the same size, height, skating stride, shot and reach. It's completely possible that Malkin will turn out to be as good or better player than Crosby. Even Marc-Andre Fleury looked completely different than the goalie who fizzled out against Ottawa last year.

It's the biggest no-brainer to say that the Penguins will completely take over the league starting next year. They might even make a heady run this June.

Easily the funnest team to watch in the league.

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