Sorry to see you go, Joe

Hockey hounds were certainly saddened to hear that Joe Nieuwendyk, a willing signer who was always pleasant to fans, retired from the Florida Panthers earlier this week as the result of chronic back problems.

Just how good was Nieuwendyk? Let's see. Not only did he put up 1,126 points, including 564 goals, over 1,257 games, but he's also just one of nine players ever to win Stanley Cups with three different teams (Calgary - 1988-89, Dallas - 1998-99 and New Jersey - 2002-03). He also won the 1999 Conn Smythe Trophy.

To me, those numbers and honors deserve a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Thankfully, I've had Nieuwendyk sign three pucks -- Calgary (shown above), Dallas and New Jersey. Hopefully, the Panthers will find a place for him in their organization so, from a purely selfish standpoint, I can add signed Panthers and Maple Leafs pucks to the collection.

A run on hats

Vinny Lecavalier's natural hat trick, which gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead in its eventual 8-0 drubbing of division rival Atlanta last night, should erase the sting of seeing Sabres hats litter the St. Pete Times Forum ice after Buffalo's Daniel Briere notched a hat trick this past Tuesday.

Lecavalier's three goals were part of a career-high five-point game. Marty St. Louis also had a career-high five points, including four assists, and beleaguered goaltender Marc Denis recorded his first shutout for the Lightning.

Hopefully, the Bolts will have some more in the tank Saturday night when we watch them play the mighty Anaheim Ducks. I'll bring an extra Lightning hat, just in case they do.

These kids are great

I don't know about you, but I'll be settled into my recliner Monday night when Pittsburgh meets Washington on Versus, marking the first nationally televised matchup between Penguins' Sidney Crosby and the Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin.

Both players will be wearing microphones during the game, Versus says. Ovechkin will also serve as a translator for Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin during an interview on Versus.

Goalies don't have a choice

News that St. Louis goalie Manny Legace was knocked out cold after taking a puck in the mask during practice Thursday only reinforces my efforts to convince my 5-year-old goalie-wannabe that playing defense is safer, far less expensive and will keep my gray hair to a minimum.

More fun and games

Unscramble the following letters to reveal the names of five NHL players:

1.) Ahntna Thsecpa
2.) Narbnde Ahansahn
3.) Broilum Vyhsokvsin
4.) Catperi Genobrre
5.) Kiscaln Tdmliosr

And, in a different twist to the team quiz, match the following to their developmental leagues:

1.) St. John's Fog Devils
2.) Alpena Icediggers
3.) Chilliwack Bruins
4.) Cedar Rapids Roughriders
5.) Saginaw Spirit

A.) United States Hockey League
B.) Western Hockey League
C.) Ontario Hockey League
D.) Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
E.) North American Hockey League

As always, readers can participate by leaving their answers in a comment. No sign-up is necessary.

Correct answers for both will appear next week

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see here...

1. Nathan Paetsch (This last name took me a while!)
2. Brendan Shanahan
3. Lubomir Vishnovsky
4. Patrice Bergeron
5. Nicklas Lidstrom

1. D
2. E
3. B
4. A
5. C (Current home of my former middle school soccer teammate, Tyler Haskins)

By the way, I've started writing for a sports blogging site (which can be found in my profile) and my play-by-play name has been changed from "The Enforcer" to "The Schwab" (thanks to my trivia prowess, shown off on our last roadtrip).

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Jaci said...

#4 in the players one is Patrice Bergeron. ;)

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Jaci said...

Players again, #5 is Nicklas Lidstrom, #2 Brendan Shanahan. I know the first name of #1 is Nathan, but that's all I have.

11:03 PM  

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