Thursday, February 1, 2007

Random Thoughts

We're going to cover a few topics. The first is a follow-up to frustrated leading finisher Brendan Shanahan, who voiced his displeasure over the lack of respect team captain Jaromir Jagr gets. Here is what the 38 year-old future Hall of Famer who was an integral part of the game's restructure emphasizing obstruction/interference and hooking had to say courtesy of the Post's Larry Brooks' recap appropriately entitled Shanahan Snaps:

"I don't know what it is, if there's some sort of prejudice or what the deal is. I've never seen a superstar player treated with so much disrespect in this league as Jaromir Jagr. He gets mauled every game. Mats Sundin goes down in the first period and gets a penalty call. Jaromir Jagr carries players on his back all season long and doesn't get calls."
"He gets hit late, gets hit high, gets hooked on the hands. He doesn't complain. He just plays and plays and plays. The referees seem to have a different set of rules for him, not just tonight's (Dan Marouelli and Wes McCauley), but all season long. The NBA doesn't let Michael Jordan get grabbed around the waist when he goes up for a jump shot. I've been around a long time, I've played with a lot of superstars, and I've never seen anyone get treated with less respect than Jaromir."

"Not since [Slava] Fetisov came over from Russia have I seen a star player ignored like that, and I know why they were ignoring him. I don't know if it's because Jaromir has the puck all night and if they were to make the calls, they'd have to call five or six penalties a game that he draws."

"All I know is that there's a different set of rules when it comes to him."

What Shanahan is asserting is that there is a bias against No.68. Is there? Hard to say. Does he get hacked at times and slowed down by opposing players illegally? I'd tend to say yes. And it's because Jagr is so tough to defend in the corners. Unless he's being double or triple teamed the way the Devils execute it, there's no way he can be covered one-on-one.

I just don't like the fact that Shanny used this forum to complain after a tough game which the Rangers still should've won. How will this strong commentary affect future Ranger games which are officiated in a tight playoff race?

Is it really smart to take this tact? Obviously, Shanahan will receive a hefty fine for his choice words. I am just not sure whether it will benefit his club the remainder of the way as they attempt to qualify for a second consecutive postseason. We'll know soon enough.

Another hot topic was the interesting SI writer E.M. Swift's Top 10 All-Time Goalies. Here is how he ranked them:

10.Turk Broda-5 Cups, 2 Vezinas and a 1.98 GAA in the postseason
*9.Dominik Hasek- 1 Cup, 2 Harts, 6 Vezinas, Olympic Gold
8.George Hainsworth- 2 Cups, 1.91 career GAA, 94 shutouts, won first 3 Vezinas
7.Glenn Hall- 1 Cup, 7-time 1st Team All-Star, NHL record 502 straight games
*6.Martin Brodeur- 3 Cups, 2 Vezinas, Olympic Gold, 89 shutouts, 1.89 playoff GAA
5.Terry Sawchuk- 3 Cups, NHL record 104 shutouts, 447 career wins, 4 Vezinas
4.Patrick Roy- 4 Cups in 3 decades, 3 Vezinas, all-time in reg. wins (551), postseason wins (151) & postseason shutouts (23)
3.Jacques Plante- 6 Cups and 7 Vezinas, 1st ever goalie to wear facemask
2.Vladislav Tretiak- 3 Gold medals, 10 world championships, 1.78 GAA in 98 international games
1.Ken Dryden- 6 Cups, 5 Vezinas, Calder, 46 shutouts in just a 7+ year career

So what do we think? It's not a bad list. But you have to question whether some other great netminders could've made the cut. Tony Esposito, Bill Durnan, Clint Benedict, Johnny Bower, Bernie Parent and even Grant Fuhr come to mind.

Whenever putting together such an exclusive list, it's always subject to debate. Should Dryden be ranked No.1 even though he had such a short career? Would Hasek rank higher if he hadn't began his NHL career until the age of 25? And don't forget The Dominator was buried behind Ed Belfour in Chicago and didn't become a full-time starter until he was 28 after a trade with Buffalo, winning his first Vezina in 1993-94. It's amazing that the soon to be 43 year-old continues to be one of the NHL's best netminders backstopping the Red Wings near the top of the Western Conference. Here are Dom's career stats:

The Dominator

We'll never know how many more wins and shutouts he could've had.

As Devil great Martin Brodeur chases down Sawchuck and Roy into the record books, one has to wonder if he would've had company. Here are Brodeur's career numbers:

Martin Brodeur

There could be some potential exciting news for Penguin fans as they're said to be extremely close to completing a new arena deal for the franchise to stay in Pittsburgh. It could be announced very soon. Stay tuned!

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