Claude Lemieux a Shark?

An intriguing storyline will be playing itself out over the next little while involving former NHL super pest Claude Lemieux and his quest to resume his NHL career.

This 43 year- old winger who has won four Stanley Cup Championships in a 20- year career with the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars has signed with the Worcester Sharks who are the farm team of the San Jose Sharks.

“Claude called and inquired about resuming his hockey career and we have given him an opportunity to pursue it with Worcester,” said that team’s general manager Wayne Thomas. “He is here to help this team win games.”

While everyone remembers Lemieux as a super pest on the ice, there is no doubt from looking at his statistics, which include 379 career goals and 785 points, that he could in fact score during his prime.

Even though he hasn’t played an NHL game since 2002/03, Lemieux who is one of only eight players to win four Stanley Cups with three different teams (Canadiens, Devils, Avalanche) is confident after completing a 2 game stint earlier this year in Shanghai who are affiliated with the Sharks.

“I would like to thank Wayne Thomas and the Worcester Sharks for the opportunity to show I can still this game at a high level,” said Lemieux. “I look forward to meeting my new teammates and helping Worcester on the ice.”

San Jose who are expected to be among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this year are looking to enter this years playoffs with an experienced Stanley Cup winner who has always shown the ability to produce in pressure packed situations. Over his career this former 1995 New Jersey Devils Conn Smythe Trophy winner has produced 80 career playoff goals, which ranks him ninth all time.

Only time will answer the debate of whether the Sharks made the right move in signing a 43 year old who has been out of professional hockey for a number of years.

Luongo on the Shelf!

Approximately five minutes into Saturday night’s road game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canuck fans from all around the globe were holding their collective breath, as the Canucks MVP Roberto Luongo was lying on the ice in great pain.

This butterfly goalie who earlier this year set a career record by not allowing a goal in 2:42:36 minutes of play, was injured after making a pad save and in the process suffering what has been called an adductor strain.

“This is the first time I’ve had an injury like this,” said Luongo who was replaced by Curtis Sanford in what was a 3-1 Canucks win. “I kind of knew it wasn’t as bad but you never know until you get the MRI.” “I was happy to hear the results.”

Luongo, who is also the team captain, and undisputed leader, admitted to being concerned and thinking the worst when he was being helped off by a couple of his teammates

“Once you’re in that kind of pain, you always think of the worst right away,” said Luongo who has a 11-5-2 record with a tidy 2.18 GAA.  “For the first 24 hours there, I was pretty worried”  “Once I got up on Sunday and was able to come over to the rink and was able to walk and stuff like that, I realized maybe it wasn’t as bad as I first thought.”

 With this injury, Sanford will get his opportunity to show what he can

“You hate to see your teammate got down on the ice like that; he’s the biggest part of our team,” said Sanford. “But we’re going to have to move past that and we’re going to have to play some games without him in there.”

The Canucks have called up young Cory Schneider to back up Sanford.

3-2 Sieg Hannover

Mit 3:2 entschieden die Hannover Scorpions die heutige Partie gegen den Aufsteiger aus Nordhessen, und konnten sich durch diesen Erfolg an der Tabellenspitze der Deutschen-Eishockey-Liga­ festsetzen.

Das Spiel: Man merkte im ersten Durchgang den Hausherren, was das Spiel angeht, die freitägliche Niederlage nicht an. Verzichten musste der Spitzenreiter auf die angeschlagenen Aris Brimanis und Tino Boos, im Tor stand heute Dimitri Pätzold. Vor ansprechender Kulisse mussten die Zach-Mannen zu Beginn eine Strafzeit überstehen, übernahmen danach die Regie auf dem Eis. Tore Vikingstad (6.) scheiterte an Adam Hauser, vier Minuten später die verdiente Führung für die Skorpione. In Überzahl überlistete Chris Herperger den Kasseler Keeper, als den Puck am kurzen Pfosten zur Führung einlochte. Die Huskies dessen unbeeindruckt, hatten durch Alex Leavitt die große Chance zum Ausgleich, doch der Stürmer scheiterte aus aussichtsreicher Position. Die Führung ausbauen konnte Adam Mitchell in der 17. Minute, sein Rückhandschuss ging jedoch denkbar knapp am Gäste-Tor vorbei.

Dank einer Strafe für die Scorpions zum Ende des ersten Drittels, ging es für die Huskies mit einer personellen Überlegenheit in den Mittelabschnitt. Die Nordhessen hatten mit mehreren Einschussmöglichkeiten, hatten im Anschluss dieses Überzahlspiels das nächste Powerplay, als Scorpions-Kapitän Dan Lambert auf das Sünderbänkchen durfte. Diesmal nutzten die Gäste die Gelegenheit, als Ryan Kraft (24.) – wunderbar freigespielt – Pätzold austanzte und zum Ausgleich ins leere Tor einschob. Das Spiel stand auf der Kippe, wendete sich aber zum Guten aus Sicht des Spitzenreiters. Dominic Anger (34.) vertändelte bei Überzahl hinter dem eigenen Tor den Puck an Adam Mitchell, der postwendend zu Herperger spielte, und dieser völlig freistehend keine Mühe hatte die erneute Führung für sein Team zu erzielen. Kurz vor Drittelende der nächste Nackenschlag für die forschen Gäste. Eric Schneider fälschte einen Schuss von Lambert zum vorentscheidenden 3:1 ab.

Froh konnten die Huskies zu Beginn des Schlussabschnittes sein, nicht das vierte oder fünfte Tor kassiert zu haben. Die Hausherren mit guten Chancen, konnten den Puck aber nicht im Tor unterbringen. Die Strafe folgte prompt, in Form des Kasseler Anschlusstores. Just als eine Strafzeit für die Hannoveraner abgelaufen war, traf Hugo Boisvert (53.) von der rechten Seite zum 3:2. Davor war der Aufsteiger schon am Drücker, scheiterte aber immer wieder am glänzend reagierenden Pätzold. Dramatisch gestaltete sich die Schlussphase. Schneider (58.) vergab fast schon fahrlässig, und eine Minute später hatte der Huskies-Anhang den Torschrei schon auf den Lippen, doch Kraft blieb nur zweiter Sieger im Duell mit dem Scorpions-Torwart. So blieb es bis zum Ende beim knappen, aber letztendlich doch verdienten Erfolg der Hannover Scorpions.

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Stimmen: Hans Zach (Hannover): „Wir haben heute gegen eine starke Kassler Mannschaft gewonnen. Ich hatte die Mannschaft vor dem Spiel gewarnt, und sie haben das Spiel auch so entsprechend angenommen. Bin froh die drei Punkte gewonnen zu haben. Jeder muss in Anbetracht der nächsten Spiele gegen Kassel gewarnt sein.“

Stephane Richer (Kassel): „Wir haben ein gutes Auswärtsspiel gezeigt, waren auch gut bei 5 gegen 5. Die Special Teams waren heute entscheidend. Am Ende haben wir viel Druck gemacht, Pätzold war überragend zum Schluss. Hannover stand sehr kompakt in der Defensive, und haben einen guten Job gemacht.“

Statistik: 1:0 (9:14) Herperger (Mitchell) 5-4; 1:1 (23:20) Kraft (McNeil, Tallaire) 5-4; 2:1 (33:42) Herperger (Mitchell, Goc) 4-5; 3:1 (39:29) Schneider (Lambert, Herperger) 5-4; 3:2 (52:50) Boisvert (Bannister, McNeil)

Strafminuten: Hannover 16 – Kassel 14

Schiedsrichter: Sicorschi (Waldkraiburg)

Zuschauer: 5186

Jens Wilke – Fotos by MendaxPress

Brian McFarlane is Legend by Neil Becker

When I made my way to the International Center a couple of weeks ago, to work at the Card and Memorabilia Show, little did I know that I would get the ultimate thrill of meeting and rehashing my favorite childhood hockey memories with legendary broadcaster and author, Brian McFarlane.

For those of you who read my blog, youʼll know, that as a child, my favorite memories consisted of going to Maple Leaf Gardens with my dad to cheer on the Maple Leafs, while hoping that my idols, Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald would score some goals.  

At that time McFarlane, who in his day was an all star hockey player at St. Lawrence University, broadcasted the Leaf games with Bill Hewitt. As his broadcasting career progressed he began writing hockey books, that I found fascinating, and had trouble putting down. I remember in school always carrying his books around and reading them during class; instead of doing my assigned work. Being a hockey history buff, my favorite chapter in one of his books dealt with what McFarlane called his most memorable interview, that almost never happened. The interview took place, while skating around the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, with legendary hall of famer, Cyclone Taylor. At that time Taylor was in his 80ʼs, and because of fear that he might fall, the interview was almost cancelled. 

Making the experience of seeing and talking hockey with an expert like, McFarlane so fascinating, is that even though he is in his late 70ʼs, he can still remember things almost perfectly from thirty years ago.

I realized this when I brought up various hockey games, that I barely remember, from when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Amazingly enough he remembered not, only the scores, but also who scored the goals. I also talked about an absolutely thrilling experience that I had when I was about 9 years old, when my dad took me to the taping of a hockey skills event, which was known at the time as Showdown.

Taking part were various players such as, Marcel Dionne, Bob Gainey, Larry Robinson and a skinny teenager named,Wayne Gretzky. It was amazing to bring up these sketchy details from years ago, and hear McFarlane come up with not –only the date and location of the event — but also to remember all the winners.

Making this experience that much more enjoyable was the fact that both Brian and his wife were encouraging me with their questions to talk hockey. I like to think of myself as a polite person and they kept reassuring me that I wasnʼt being a bother by bringing up all these old games. They asked me my favorite games that I went to at Maple Leaf Gardens; if I played hockey and many more queries, which made the experience that much more enjoyable.

As a youngster I also idolized former Leafs’ goalie, Mike Palmeteer, who would always come way out of his net to challenge the shooters. McFarlane and I reminisced about various games he played, along with another hero, Dave ʽTigerʼ Williams.We talked about how a Canadiens’ defenseman intercepted Williams, after he was irate, and made a bee- line towards the referee; after Montreal scored in overtime, to eliminate Toronto in the play-offs.

After talking hockey with the man I consider to be the greatest hockey broadcaster, all these great memories, that I havenʼt thought about for years, started coming back.

Meeting McFarlane and having the privilege — and thatʼs what it was, a privilege –to talk hockey and hear the various stories and hear his, encyclopedia- like memory working, is an experience that I will remember all my life

Patrick Roy Sweater to the Rafters

The jury is still out on what kind of reception Patrick Roy will get when, on Saturday night at the Bell Centre, he becomes the 15th Montreal Canadiens’ player, in franchise history, to have his jersey number retired and raised to the rafters.

Roy, who is ranked number one all-time in NHL wins, with 551, was also known for being clutch — come play-off time — as he led Montreal to the Stanley Cup in 1986 and — once again — in 1993.

Two years later, in the height of his popularity, this Hockey Hall Of Famer, engineered a controversial act, that today still has people talking. Playing at home, against the Detroit Red Wings on December 2, 1995, Roy stormed off the ice in a huff, after allowing nine goals. He told Canadiens’ president, Ronald Corey, who was sitting behind the bench, that he had played his final game for Montreal .

Even though, in his prime, Roy thrilled the Montreal fans by winning such awards as the William M. Jennings Trophy and the Vezina Trophy, on multiple occasions; fans seem to remember that one particular Saturday night game — when talk turns to Roy’s career in Montreal .

“We’re finally going to put away that December 2, 1995 game — and that’s something,” said Roy, who was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, days after demanding a trade. “That’s one game! When you get to the NHL — they say to you — one game does not make a career. It’s like that — one game — pretty much made my career in Montreal; but I feel that’s not the case. I had so many good years and we had so many good teams.”

At the time of his meltdown, Roy wasn’t getting along with the Canadiens’ rookie coach, Mario Tremblay, who took over, only five games into that season.

After a decade in Montreal , Roy left for Colorado, where he helped them win the first Stanley Cup in their franchise history — and another one in 2001.

Overall, Roy insists that his time in Montreal was full of good times — that he wouldn’t trade for the world.

“I played for great coaches and for great teammates,” said Roy, who now is involved as the part owner and head coach of the Quebec Remparts, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “The good thing about what’s going to happen (on Saturday night) is that we’re going to talk more about those years — like ’86, or ’89 or ’93. We had some great runs in Montreal .”

Contrary to rumors, over the past several years, that Roy has still lingering resentment towards the Canadiens organization, he insists that isn’t the case; and that he is looking forward to the honor of having his jersey retired.

“You have no control on whether your jersey will be retired, but I certainly hoped it would happen one day,” he said.

Roy, who also ranks first — all time– in play-off wins, with 151 and shutouts at 23, said that not everything went perfect in his career.

“You always have some regrets,” he said. “Nobody’s perfect.”

Bravo Marco!!!!!

Today is a big game against Ingolstadt, as the Scopions are riding high at the top. After a week of getting ready for an important weekend, Hans Zach has his team focused.

There have been a few distractions with newspapers writing stuff that just doesn’t make any sense and what everyone seems to forget, it is a lot easier to build a winning team in the Oberliga than it is in the DEL. Hats off to Marco Stichnoth!!!!!! He has battled the Indians reputation for 10 years and I would like the city of Hannover and all true Hockey Fans to stand up and give him credit. He has been consistent and true to his word. It is easy to criticize but it takes courage to stand up and say well done Marco. Everyone knows he is my friend and everyone knows I played for the Indians and I love the Indians and their fans. But I am a hockey player and a true hockey fan and I take nothing a way from the new management of the Indians or Joe West and Kent Todd, full marks for their success and they deserve it, but is it not time to give the Scorpions their due. They are in first place in a much more competative league as the Indians have three real teams to play hockey against, while the Scorpions have ten.

I think all Hannover hockey fans should be proud for what they have, two very good hockey clubs. I think it is about time to stop the silliness and just celebrate the game of hockey and let us all Indians and Scorpions fans enjoy what we have for the moment; we could be in Duisburg or Herner fans!

Brian Burke Toronto Bound?

The worst kept secret in hockey was officially announced this week in the Toronto media, that the Toronto Maple Leafs are, in fact, talking to former Anaheim Ducks’ general manager, Brian Burke.

Burke, who was in Anaheim when they won the Stanley Cup in 2007, has been rumored, since this past summer, to be the next Maple Leafs general manager.  These rumors got stronger in the off-season, when the Leafs hired Burkeʼs close friend and former Providence roommate, Ron Wilson, to replace the fired Paul Maurice as the head coach. Burke also didnʼt want to sign a long- term deal to stay in Anaheim, and continued to express a desire to move East and into a big hockey market.

People around the NHL thought it was just a matter of time, when Burke vacated the Ducks GM post earlier this month, that he would be the Leafs’ next GM.

Approximately a day after he was allowed to negotiate with other teams, it was reported that Burke, who also worked in the GM capacity with the Vancouver Canucks, was in the hunt for a lucrative deal with Toronto, for a contract similar to the Raptors’ GM, Bryan Colangelo. 

According to those reports, Colangelo is in the middle of a five- year contract that nets him 3.5 million per season. The sticking point with Toronto is that Burke wants the same sort of total autonomy that Colangelo has with the Raptors.

Currently things are at the preliminary stages, as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment representative, Gord Kirke has been talking with Burkeʼs lawyer, Peter Gall. The next step will be Kirke getting the green light from the Board Of Directors, to make a formal deal.

Indications are that a formal meeting wonʼt transpire until this coming Wednesday, at the earliest. Stay tuned to 29sports.com for more information.