Bluelines: Stirling bringing ole time hockey to the Island
Sep 23, 2003
The Theo Fleury saga never stops. If you can believe this, a “Bring Back Theo” campaign is underway in Calgary. Our gal in Cal, Deb Elicksen, adds, “Media and fans are lobbying to return Theo to the Flames. It may be that well-wishers think they can help Fleury in his quest for sobriety by offering a familiar home. But no matter how much we love the guy, we can’t forget what happened in Chicago - and New York.”
Vince Lecavalier’s camp has been so good they’re talking superstar in Tampa Bay. “He’s taking it to another level,” says Jay Feaster. “He tasted success last year and wants more.” We expect Vinny to make noise in 2004; unless that bummer of a Spring playoff against New Jersey produces a negative hangover.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Lou Lamoriello commenting on the CBA: “I hope they’re talking right now behind the scenes. I hope Bill Daly and Ian Pulver are talking and bringing it back to Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow. That’s the only way to get it done.”
In case you hadn’t heard, playoff hero Mike Rupp took the Stanley Cup to an Ohio ice cream parlor and had a giant sundae made inside Lord Stanley’s mug. That has to be a sweet first for the Cup!
Responding to critics, Jeremy Jacobs protests that he’s not an absentee (Bruins) owner. JJ claims he usually can be found in a Fleet Center luxury box rather than downstairs. “I have to be in a place I can walk around. Otherwise, I’d go nuts,” Jacobs insists.
Darcy Regier is so serious about getting the best out of his young netminders that he upped Jim Corsi from part-timer to a full-time goalie-coach. In case you didn’t know, Corsi also authored The Hockey Goalie’s Handbook; the Authoritative Guide for Players and Coaches. We’ll know how “authoritative” it is after this season.
Pepsi vs. Coke - Who wins? In the AHL it’s Pepsi; named title sponsor of the 2004 AHL All-Star Classic slated for Grand Rapids, Michigan.
What Else Is New Dep’t. Peter Forsberg is wishy-washying it about his Colorado future. The 30-year-old wants to finish his career in Sweden. But when? The good news for Colorado is that he’s healthy. “It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way,” says Peter.
Starting November, forget about calling the Oilers home Skyreach. The company says it’s dropping out of sponsorship with the Oilers.
Asked the most annoying player he has ever played against, Scott Gomez laughs and says it’s Claude Lemieux. “And that was when he was my teammate,” chuckles Scotty. “Claude would get guys on the other team mad at him, but when they couldn’t catch up to him, they’d take it out on me!”
In the Can’t Wait Dep’t. Rangers top pick Hugh Jessiman is causing a buzz. For a large man he has extraordinary speed and a terrific attitude to go with it.
The Manhattan realtor, who had tipped us off in August that Mark Messier had put his Manhattan house up for sale now reports that The Captain has taken it off the market. Welcome back, Mess!
Marty Turco, John Madden, and Brendan Morrison will no doubt agree with a Sports Illustrated poll for “The Best College Sports Town.” SI ranks Ann Arbor, Michigan as number one.
Determined owner that he is, Mario Lemieux is displaying his umbrage over last-place predictions for his Penguins. “We’ll surprise a lot of people,” Mario asserts. Yessiree; especially if the Pens win more than 25 games!
So why is Igor Larionov making Scott Stevens look good? Because The Captain isn’t the oldest Devil anymore! Stevens is 39, while Igor is 42. “I’m strutting,” laughs SS.
Flames are producing a documentary on training camp from various angles including a rookie/on the bubble to other players’ perspectives. It’ll air on one of the sport networks.
If you’re wondering who wears the best threads among NHLers, check out the November issue of Men’s Journal magazine. Modeling athletic clothing are Ben Clymer, Alexei Kovalev, Donald Brashear and Sean Brown. We’ll put our money on Brown. As for Clymer, he doubts that he has a career as a model awaiting him. “No,” he explains, “look at me!”
The best goalie on the market right now has to be Sean Burke; that’s assuming that Michael Barnett wants to gamble on Brian Boucher and Zac Bierk. If we’re calling the shots, we’d keep Burke.
Worth following if you like medical melodramas is the Owen Nolan situation. A Toronto radio station recently made it seem as if Nolan’s chronically troubled back could be a big problem, but Owen and the Leafs disagree. Stay tuned!
The high-sticking epidemic continues to plague the NHL. Latest victim is Chad Kilger. The Habs forward took wood in his left eye from defensive prospect Francois Beauchemin. This one looked very serious until Kilger’s vision improved enough for him to be released from the hospital.
Expect a new, leaner Jason Spezza this season. The Ottawa prodigy dropped ten pounds working with a personal trainer and increased his foot speed. “I’ve even changed my diet.” He says he’s stocked the freezer in the house he bought with ostrich, buffalo and tuna steaks - all high in protein and low in fat.
Wouldn’t it be neat if Phil Sauve winds up as the starting Avalanche goaltender? Remember, Phillipe is the son of former NHL goalie-turned-agent Bob Sauve. The plan is for Phil to back up David Aebischer. But what happens if DA bombs; which is a good possibility!
Worst pick for a training camp this September has to be Wheeling, West Virginia choice of the Isles. Actually, it was ex-coach Peter Laviolette’s idea based on his minor league coaching experience there. Since the start of camp, players have beefed about the lousy ice; nor has the media been ga-ga about West Virginia as a destination.
Now It Can Be Told Dep’t. Steve Stirling reveals that he was an extra in the legendary flick, “Slap Shot.” The Isles’ coach’s face actually makes it to the screen for a few seconds. Stirling calls Paul Newman “an unbelievable guy.” Some Islanders are saying that about Stirling.
When is a virtually brand new arena not a brand new arena? Answer: When it’s Air Canada Centre, which - at the ripe, old age of four - already is undergoing renovations.
Andrew Raycroft could enable the Bruins to deal Steve Shields; that’s on the assumption that AR is A-OK alongside Felix Potvin. Next question: what can the Bs get for Shields?
Eugene Melnyk is looking to buy Maple Leaf Gardens. If the Senators’ owner succeeds, he’d likely put his St. Michael’s junior team there.
Fortunately not everyone has forgotten Gordie Howe. Doug Weight, for one, calls Mister Hockey his childhood hero. Wayne Gretzky is runner-up.
Eric Staal (Number Two overall) could be a keeper for Carolina the way he’s handled camp.
Said And Done Dep’t. Rick Dudley tells prospect Max Birbraer he’s got to get under the opponents’ skin. So, Birbraer infuriates Todd Gill so much that the vet jumps Birbraer during a stretching exercise!
Didja know that erstwhile hothead Ulf Samuelsson is running a restaurant-deli in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. One of his specialties is called “Jimmy D’s Skyscraper.” That couldn’t be named after Jimmy Devellano, could it?
Pierre Lacroix says he’s looking for a contract extension after this season. That, however, will hinge on how well his star-bloated team finishes - and especially how Paul Kariya fares.
Loveland, Colorado boasts the nation’s newest rink. Budweiser Events Center is home to the Central Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles.
Any moment now - if it hasn’t already happened - the NHL should be officially notifying the NHLPA that it’s time to launch serious talks.