Marathon Meetings Yield Some Progress

National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association representatives met for fourteen hours on Thursday and another eight hours on Friday, coming away from the meetings cautiously optimistic about the chances of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement.

“We had two long days of meetings in which the parties discussed and made progress on some of the key issues pertaining to a new economic system,” said NHL executive vice president Bill Daly in a release. “While we have not yet been able to reach agreement on those issues, we remain committed to continuing the process in earnest until a new collective bargaining agreement can be achieved.”

While both sides acknowledged the progress, NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin confirmed that there are many issues left to resolve.

“While we made progress in some areas there remain many issues to be addressed. Since so many of the systemic and economic issues are interrelated, it is clear that much work remains to be done.”

The two sides spent Thursday and Friday attempting to determine what constitutes a team’s revenue. The Players’ Association has long argued that it does not believe the league’s numbers in relation to team-by-team income and expenditures.

The league was represented by commissioner Gary Bettman, Daly, director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, NHL general counsel David Zimmerman, board of governors chairman Harley Hotchkiss of the Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils CEO and GM Lou Lamoriello, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold, outside counsel Bob Batterman and lawyer Shep Goldfein.

Representing the NHLPA were executive director Bob Goodenow, Saskin, associate counsel Ian Pulver, director of business relations Mike Gartner, outside counsel McCambridge, Detroit Red Wings veteran Brendan Shanahan, and the executive committee, consisting of president Trevor Linden and vice-presidents Vincent Damphousse, Bill Guerin, Daniel Alfredsson, Arturs Irbe, Trent Klatt and Bob Boughner.

The sides hope to meet every week until a new CBA is negotiated.

Penalties Tell the Game Story

The one and only matchup this season between last year’s Stanley Cup finalists should have been an intense, entertaining game. Instead, it became an overload of penalties. The Carolina Hurricanes scored on five of a ludicrous nine power plays they were given, and in spite of the Red Wings’ best efforts to score during their rare times at even strength or with the man advantage, they still wound up on the losing end of a 6-4 game.

Detroit scored twice in the first period, both times in four-on-four play. First Brett Hull waited patiently in the high slot, as he does. When Nick Lidstrom sent a well placed pass across from the right side, Hull sent a one-time shot soaring into the net past goalie Kevin Weekes. The second goal came from Kirk Maltby, who crossed the blue line with the puck and wristed a shot past the partially screened goaltender.

Weekes was injured shortly after Maltby’s goal, while the Wings were attempting to score shorthanded. Maltby shoved Bret Hedican towards the net after the play stopped. Hedican fell on top of Weekes, who hit his head. Weekes was helped off the ice and Arturs Irbe came out to take his place.

Pavel Datsyuk was also injured in the first period. He was shoved and fell into Sean Hill. It seemed at first as if he had hit his head, but team personnel later reported that Datsyuk had actually hurt his knee and would need to go for further testing.

The second period saw the Hurricanes come back to tie and take the lead, with one power play goal after another. Jan Hlavac was able to score by tapping the rebound from a Bates Battaglia shot in past Curtis Joseph. A few minutes later, David Tanabe scored the equalizer with a hard shot from the blue line. Igor Larionov dropped to block the shot, but the shot was high enough to glance off the top of his skate and fly past Joseph into the net. Hlavac scored again to take the lead, this time on a tidy passing play. Erik Cole sent a pass from the left boards to Battaglia at the right side of the net, and Battaglia put it out front for Hlavac to whack in for the goal.

Henrik Zetterberg scored just before the period was over, tying the game back up. Tomas Holmstrom made a play to Luc Robitaille, who left a saucer pass for Zetterberg. The rookie made a move around Hill and put the puck in on Irbe’s far side.

Carolina’s fourth power play goal was Hlavac’s third of the game. He waited in front of the net, got a rebound from Rod Brind’amour’s shot, and put it high past Lidstrom and Joseph both.

Hull tied the game again when the Red Wings got the best break they had all night. Penalties to Glen Wesley and to Cole resulted in a 5-on-3 power play, and the Detroit power play used the opportunity to show off its best passing skills. Igor Larionov sent the puck from the right side of the net down to Lidstrom at the right point, and Lidstrom sent the puck across to Hull. Hull’s hard one-time shot flew into the net before Irbe even had a chance to see it.

Unfortunately, a questionable hooking call against Chris Chelios (he lifted the stick of Sami Kapanen to keep him from shooting the puck, and Kapanen’s feet somehow just flew out from under him) gave the Hurricanes the chance to get their fifth power play goal and take the lead for good. Brind’amour’s shot went off the skate of Mathieu Dandenault, and the rebound came out to Jeff O’Neill, who was able to slap it past Joseph.

Carolina actually did manage to score an even strength goal. Kapanen received the puck from Ron Francis. He turned with it and fired. Joseph was partially screened, and the puck just glanced off the top of his catching glove.

Detroit took a total of 28 shots on net. Carolina, aided by their power plays, had 41.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Sunday night at home against the Calgary Flames.


Brett Hull is now on an eight-game point streak, and just 12 goals away from the 700th of his career…. Associate coach Barry Smith said that Pavel Datsyuk’s knee had been “wrenched,” and information about the extent of the injury would be given as it became available.

BELIEVE, One More Time

It was June 13, 2002, about 11:00 pm in Detroit. A buzzer sounded inside Joe Louis Arena, barely audible over the screaming of 20,058 fans. Players in white jerseys streamed onto the ice, hugging, laughing, some of them barely able to believe they’d finally reached their ultimate goal. All over Metro Detroit, in sports bars in Royal Oak, apartments Downriver, parties downtown, whoops of joy and celebration echoed out into the cool early summer night. For the first time ever, Dominik Hasek, Luc Robitaille, Freddy Olausson, and Steve Duchesne, deserving veterans all, hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup above their heads. And a few moments later, Sergei Fedorov brought the Cup to fallen defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov and helped him lift it above his head, one more time.

The Game Five victory against the Carolina Hurricanes did not come easily. As ever, the Hurricanes played their defensive trap and played it well. Matters were compounded for the Red Wings by the NHL suspension of Jiri Fischer for a hard cross-check laid on Tommy Westlund in Game Four. Trade deadline acquisition Jiri Slegr was brought in to fill the spot on the blue line, in spite of the fact that he had not played a game since the regular season. Slegr was ready, however. “Everybody’s dream is the Stanley Cup, and here I’m playing in it right now,” he said.

The first period was scoreless, although the Grind Line created some scoring chances, and Luc Robitaille rang a strong shot off the goalpost. Sergei Fedorov got in all alone on a breakaway, but his shot thudded into the chest of goaltender Arturs Irbe.

The Red Wings opened the scoring early in the second period. Series star Igor Larionov made a centering pass from the right corner behind the Carolina net, and Tomas Holmstrom lunged forward to poke it in for the goal. He was being shoved down at the time, and as he landed flat on his back against the boards behind the net, Holmstrom raised his arms in celebration.

The Hurricanes had a chance to tie the game when Jiri Slegr was given a penalty for holding up big Erik Cole along the boards, but Dominik Hasek made a phenomenal save, screened on a redirected shot, and the Red Wings kept the lead.

The Wings gained a goal cushion, and the eventual game winning goal, on a power play of their own. Jaroslav Svoboda was in the penalty box for roughing, and Steve Yzerman fired a shot on net. The puck flew high, but Fedorov found it behind the net and passed it out front to Brendan Shanahan, who one-timed it past Irbe.

The Hurricanes scored their only goal of the game late in the period, on the tail end of a shortened penalty on Shanahan. Jeff O’Neill took a hard shot from a bad angle on the left wing side. Hasek was screened by Cole, and did not see the shot until it was too late. The shot was so hard and the puck was in and out of the net so quickly that the officials had to review it to make sure it had actually gone into the net.

Play in the third period went end to end, staying mainly in the neutral zone. Carolina played frantically, trying desperately to create needed scoring chances, but the chances would not come. Finally, with just a minute left to play, they pulled their goaltender in exchange for a sixth skater, but Shanahan got the puck from Yzerman, skated it to just outside the Hurricanes’ blue line, and fired a laser shot which landed solidly in the empty net to clinch the Red Wings’ third Stanley Cup in six years. The players wound down the remaining forty seconds or so. The buzzer sounded, and the celebration began. And Jiri Fischer was the first one to jump off the bench and join his teammates on the ice. In front of the net, Hasek jumped up and down like an excited child. “It’s a fantastic feeling, and I’m so happy!” he said.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman presented the awards. The Conn Smythe Trophy for the most valuable player in the playoffs went to the highly deserving Nicklas Lidstrom. And then the Stanley Cup itself, to Steve Yzerman, who took his little daughter Isabella with him to accept the award for the team.

In the middle of the revelry, Scotty Bowman dropped the revelation he’d been holding onto: “This is my last game as a coach.” He had made the decision during the Olympic Break in February, that regardless of this season’s outcome, it was the right time to retire. On top of his coaching game, having broken another of his mentor Toe Blake’s records by winning a ninth Stanley Cup, and ready to go, the winningest coach of all time.

Most of the players have indicated that they wish to return for another season. Chris Chelios and Brett Hull are especially eager to keep their skates for another year. Steve Yzerman, once he recovers from the much needed surgery on his right knee, will return to lead the team again. Dominik Hasek has not yet made a decision. The outcome of the 2002 off-season decisions will be known, eventually.

The outcome of the 2001 off-season decisions was realized tonight, as the Stanley Cup returned home to Hockeytown.

Detroit Leads Series 3-1

When a hockey writer can lead off with a glorious headline like that, why waste time trying to think up something clever? The Red Wings are starting to make up for lost time, scoring the goals that couldn’t get through the Hurricanes’ defensive trap before, and giving Carolina a taste of their own medicine by shutting them down to win Game Four 3-0 and bring a commanding 3-1 series lead home to Detroit.

The first period started just as it had in the three preceding games: tight checking and low in scoring chances. The Red Wings did have an early power play, but Carolina’s penalty killers were in fine form and did not allow the Wings to set up a scoring chance. Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe was tested by only four quality chances in the first twenty minutes, while Dominik Hasek at the other end of the rink had to deal with only three good Carolina scoring chances. The most notable of these happened just as the period was drawing to an end. Rookie Erik Cole dodged around Chris Chelios to go into the zone all by himself, but Hasek came way out of the net and dove towards Cole’s skates, stick outstretched, and took the puck away.

The Red Wings finally managed to open the scoring early in the third period. Freddy Olausson got around a Carolina defender and got the puck to Boyd Devereaux at the blue line. Devereaux squeezed past another defender and carried the puck up the right side, looking as if to shoot the whole way up, but instead he threaded a pass through to Brett Hull coming up the left wing side. Hull dropped to one knee and one-timed the shot off the goalpost and into the net.

The Red Wings dominated most of the game after that. Carolina’s best scoring chance came during a phantom high-sticking penalty to Luc Robitaille. Ron Francis had Hasek beaten, but his shot clanged off the post.

Igor Larionov added an insurance goal early in the third period. Tomas Holmstrom got the puck over to the left side boards in Carolina’s zone, then tied up the Carolina player going after it. Jiri Fischer took a few steps forward from the blue line to get to it. Fischer faked a shot, but instead passed to Larionov just at the right side of the net, uncovered. Larionov held the puck just long enough for everyone to realize what he was going to do, but not long enough that anyone could do anything about it, before flipping it into Irbe’s unguarded net.

Detroit really shut down the Hurricanes after that, lining up and preventing the puck from getting into their zone under Hurricane control. It was basically a game of keep-away, doing to Carolina what they have done to all the other teams in the playoffs. The Red Wings brought one final goal with 5:17 remaining to put the game away for good. Sergei Fedorov brought the puck across the blue line, with Brendan Shanahan following and heading for the net. Fedorov deked past Sean Hill and passed the puck between Hill’s legs, past Marek Malik, and to the outstretched stick of Shanahan. Shanahan made short work of that one, tipping the puck past Irbe for the goal.

Once again, the Red Wings outshot the Hurricanes, this time by a count of twenty-seven to seventeen. Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals will be Thursday evening back at Joe Louis Arena.


Brett Hull’s goal was his 100th career playoff goal. He is the fourth leading playoff goal scorer of all time, surpassed only by Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Jari Kurri…. Igor Larionov broke his own record set in Game Three. He is still the oldest player to have scored in a Stanley Cup Final, just two days older now….. Dominik Hasek also broke his own record, set in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals, with his sixth playoff shutout this year…. Finally, Scotty Bowman broke legendary coach Toe Blake’s record by winning his 35th Stanley Cup Finals game.

“Old and Tired”? Whatever!

It was the third longest game ever played in the Stanley Cup Finals. It was the longest game yet in the 2002 playoffs. And it was finally won by the oldest player ever to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals. Igor Larionov played the hero to give the Red Wings a 3-2 victory in triple overtime and a 2-1 lead in the series.

The first period had good pressure early by Carolina, but then the Red Wings got two power plays right in a row. They were unable to convert, but they were able to take control of the game. As momentum from the power plays waned, Carolina was able to increase the pressure again, and Josef Vasicek opened the scoring with just over five minutes to go in the opening period. Detroit failed to clear the puck from their zone, and Vasicek picked it up in the circle, eluded Steve Duchesne, and wristed a shot high over Dominik Hasek‘s blocker.

The Red Wings answered early in the second period. Kirk Maltby and Aaron Ward were both in the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct, creating a four-on-four situation. Brett Hull beat Glen Wesley to pick up an errant Carolina pass in the Hurricanes’ zone, and passed neatly to Igor Larionov at the bottom of the left circle. Larionov one-timed the shot over the shoulder of Arturs Irbe.

Jeff O’Neill regained the lead for the Hurricanes 7:34 into the third period. He slipped in behind Freddy Olausson and got a pass from Ron Francis. O’Neill’s shot rose high and fluttered over Hasek’s glove into the net. The Hurricanes closed down after that, willing to keep a one-goal lead and unwilling to take any risks that could turn into mistakes. They held onto their lead for a long, long time. Detroit got some shots on net, but they weren’t allowed any quality ones, and Irbe was quick to stifle any rebounds.

Finally, with just over a minute to play, the crowd in Raleigh was screaming for their team, ready to celebrate a victory and a series lead. The crowd back in Detroit watching the game on the big screen at Joe Louis Arena was ready to pack up their octopi and go home to regroup for Game Four. That was when Nick Lidstrom and Brett Hull got the job done. Carolina iced the puck, giving the Red Wings a faceoff in the Hurricanes’ end. Larionov won the draw cleanly to Lidstrom, who fired hard. Hull redirected the puck in midair, and it soared into Irbe’s net.

The first overtime saw an amazing number of scoring chances for Detroit. Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan got away on a glorious two-on-one rush, but Shanahan’s shot clanged off the goalpost. Olausson had a clear shot from the right point to the net, but the puck flew off the crossbar. Pavel Datsyuk completely fooled two Carolina defensmen and went right up to the net, but his backhand shot couldn’t lift quite high enough to beat Irbe.

Carolina tried to bring some pressure in the second overtime, but they were no match for Hasek and his acrobatic saves. Finally, past the halfway point of the third overtime, the Red Wings got the break they were able to capitalize on. Erik Cole left his post on Detroit’s blue line to rush up to the play, and the Red Wings got it out of their own zone, leaving most of the Hurricanes behind. Tomas Holmstrom carried across the Hurricanes blue line and left the puck for Larionov, while Mathieu Dandenault headed for the front of the net. Dandenault created a perfect screen to block Irbe’s view, allowing Larionov to skate across the slot and backhand a high shot in to end the game.

Final shots on net added up to fifty-three to forty-three in Detroit’s favor. Game Four will play in Raleigh on Monday night, even though Game Three could had very nearly enough minutes to be two games.


Ron Francis set a record in Game One of this series, being then the oldest player to have ever scored a goal in overtime in a Stanley Cup Final game. Looks like Igor Larionov stole that record cleanly just two games later….. Speaking of being old, certain media personalities who should probably remain nameless have mentioned throughout the playoffs how the Red Wings’ advanced age would be a hindrance to them in overtimes and long series, because they are “so old” that they would tire easily. Hmmm. It appeared to this reporter that those young, strong Hurricanes were the ones wearing out as the game dragged on through the overtimes. So much for youth culture in the world of hockey.

Getting Feisty

With a much more characteristic effort than we saw in Game One, the Red Wings soothed the negative thoughts of those who remember being swept by the New Jersey Devils in the Cup Finals way back in 1995. With a shorthanded goal, a power play goal, and an even strength goal, the Red Wings took a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes to tie the series at one game apiece.

Early in the first period, the Hurricanes were controlling the play and forcing pressure in the Detroit zone. Dominik Hasek stood his ground and kept the puck out of the net, and no damage was done. Little by little, the Red Wings crept back and took control.

Kirk Maltby put the Wings on the scoreboard in a shorthanded situation which had resulted from a holding call on Steve Duchesne. Kris Draper intercepted a Carolina pass in the Red Wings’ zone and sent it ahead to Maltby. Maltby flew up the right wing side, with Nick Lidstrom keeping up on the left, and Maltby’s shot tipped off of goaltender Arturs Irbe and into the net.

The Hurricanes were able to capitalize on a defensive mistake by Detroit and score a shorthanded goal of their own before the period was over. Jaroslav Svoboda was in the box for roughing, giving Detroit the man-advantage, but Rod Brind’amour intercepted Freddy Olausson‘s attempt at a rinkwide pass and went in all alone against Hasek. He faked the shot low, and Hasek dropped to cover the bottom half of the net, giving Brind’amour the chance to put the puck in high.

Detroit came out strong in the second period, not letting Carolina’s late goal throw them off. The Red Wings controlled the puck for the majority of the time, but Irbe was exactly where he needed to be to make each save, and the score remained tied at one. The Hurricanes’ skaters, for their part, kept to their tight defensive style of play, almost as if they had a lead instead of a tied game, waiting for the Red Wings to make another mistake.

The third period continued in much the same way. Carolina seemed content to run the clock down and take the game to overtime; most of their playoff victories have been won in the extra period. However, the Red Wings had other ideas. Martin Gelinas was handed a penalty for slashing Mathieu Dandenault with only six minutes left to play, and the power play, the seventh power play attempt of the night, got down to business. Sergei Fedorov sent a soft pass from the center of the blue line to Lidstrom, a few strides in front of his usual power play spot at the left point. Lidstrom took a hard one-timer shot that beat Irbe high on the short side to break the game open for Detroit.

Kris Draper followed up only thirteen seconds later. A long pass from Lidstrom sent Draper into the Hurricanes’ zone all by himself. Irbe stepped forward to try to cut down the shot angle, but it was no good. Draper’s wrist shot beat Irbe cleanly on the glove side.

Perhaps the most interesting development of the game came after all the goals had been scored for the evening. The two teams began to develop a distinct dislike for each other. Brind’amour gave Lidstrom an unecessary rough shove, and neither Darren McCarty nor Chris Chelios were willing to put up with that. The shoving match spread to all the players on the ice, while the fans roared their approval. Eventually the officials pulled everyone apart and assessed the unavoidable penalties, but not before the first seeds of actual rivalry had been sown. Remember, the Red Wings and Hurricanes don’t know each other. They hardly meet at all in the regular season. They’ve hardly had time to develop any sort of interesting rivalry. It is developing now, and will surely color the remaining games of the Finals, however many there may be.

Game Three will be Saturday evening at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Raleigh.


Nick Lidstrom and Kris Draper missed tying the Stanley Cup Finals record for fastest pair of goals by only one second?. Steve Yzerman‘s assist on Nick Lidstrom’s goal gives him a five game point streak…. The high temperature today in Raleigh, NC was 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with high humidity. Pity the ESA’s rink manager.

Surprise?

In the Stanley Cup Finals, nothing is guaranteed. Certainly the Red Wings were not guaranteed a sweep, although many fans and members of the media would have had it so. Certainly the Carolina Hurricanes did not become Eastern Conference Champions solely by luck and injuries to other teams. They proved so tonight in a close, even game finally won in overtime by the Hurricanes, 3-2.

The game started at a strong pace. Carolina showed their good defensive trapping ability, making Detroit work hard to get the puck towards the net. They also were able to take the play into Detroit’s zone and create a few scoring chances near Dominik Hasek‘s net.

The Red Wings were able to open the scoring on a power play near the end of the first period. Glen Wesley had taken an interference call and been sent to the box. Steve Yzerman held a Carolina clearing attempt in at the blue line and fired the puck towards the net. The rebound bounced free of Carolina goalie Arturs Irbe at the same time as Tomas Holmstrom was being shoved on top of Irbe by Aaron Ward. Sergei Fedorov was able to skate out from behind the net and flip the puck over the tangle of bodies in front.

Detroit had penalty trouble of their own early in the second period: over a minute and a half of five-on-three penalty time as a result of overlapping calls to Igor Larionov and Kris Draper. In spite of strong play by Yzerman, Nick Lidstrom, and Chris Chelios, Sean Hill was able to put the puck past Hasek. Hill’s wrist shot from the left wing side deflected off the stick of Yzerman and into Hasek’s net.

The Grind Line regained the lead for the Red Wings with 9:21 left in the second. Darren McCarty passed the puck from the right corner out to Kirk Maltby at the top of the right faceoff circle, and Maltby sent off a fast wrist shot past two Hurricane defenders and over Irbe’s right shoulder for the goal.

Unfortunately for Detroit, the Hurricanes tied the game back up with under a minute left in the period. A sloppy Detroit line change and a sharp pass by Ward gave Jeff O’Neill a breakaway chance. Hasek did get some of the shot, but the puck managed to roll underneath him and into the net.

Both teams played hard in the third period, especially near the end when overtime was looming, but neither team was able to score, and the game went to the extra period. Less than a minute in, O’Neill made the Red Wings hurt again. He stopped Freddy Olausson‘s shot around the boards back behind the net and sent it out front, where Hurricanes captain Ron Francis was in position to tap it in for the win.

Shots on net were almost even?the Hurricanes had a slight edge, twenty-six to twenty-five. Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals will be Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.


This is Carolina’s first win at the Joe since moving to Carolina from Hartford in 1997?. No European goaltender has ever yet won the Stanley Cup. This year, with Czech Dominik Hasek and Latvian Arturs Irbe in the nets, it’s guaranteed. And that is the only guarantee you will get in this Stanley Cup Final.