Around the league – Oct 22 2009

This past week Nick Lidstrom became only the 8th defenseman to register 1,000 points. The 53rd pick in the 1989 draft is quietly putting himself in the conversation of greatest defenseman ever.

Lidstrom doesn’t seem to get the fanfare he deserves. His game is so effective we sometimes overlook how good he has been. Only Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7) have more Norris Trophies than Lidstrom’s six, and Lidstrom might have seven if there wasn’t the lockout.

Lidstrom never put up spectacular numbers, his best season was 80 points in 2006, but his offensive numbers are solid, but his defensive play is top-notch. Lidstrom might be the best European player to ever play, and when his career is over he will be considered a top-five defender and maybe the best ever.

With his 1,000 point he joined an elite crew of scoring defenders, Ray Bourque (1,579), Paul Coffey (1,531), Al MacInnis (1,274), Phil Housley (1,232), Larry Murphy (1,216), Denis Potvin (1,052) and Brian Leetch (1,028).

Back in 1989 not many thought he would turn out this good, in fact he wasn’t even drafted as an 18-year-old in 1988, but instead he was taken as a 19-year-old. Here are the D-men who were taken before him in 1989.

  • Adam Bennett, 6th overall to Chicago, 69 games and eleven points.
  • Doug Zmolek, 7th overall to Minnesota, 467 games and 64 points.
  • Jason Herter, 8th overall to Vancouver, 1 games and one point.
  • Jason Marshall, 9th overall to St. Louis, 526 games and 67 points.
  • Kevin Haller, 14th overall to Buffalo, 642 games and 138 points.
  • Jason Soules, 15th overall to Edmonton, No games.
  • Jamie Heward, 16th overall to Pittsburgh, 394 games 124 points.
  • Steve Bancroft, 21st overall to Toronto, six games and one point.
  • Adam Foote, 22nd overall to Quebec, 1040 games and 291 points.
  • Dan Ratushny, 25th overall to Winnipeg, one game and one point.
  • Mike Speer, 27th overall to Chicago, No games.
  • Patrice Brisebois, 30th overall to Montreal, 1009 games and 420 points.
  • Rick Corriveau, 31st overall to St. Louis, No games.
  • Bob Boughner, 32nd overall to Detroit, 630 games and 72 points. (Even the Wings didn’t think Lidstrom was the best D-man available.)
  • Paul Laus, 37th overall to Pittsburgh, 530 games and 72 points.
  • Brent Thompson, 39th overall to LA, 121 games and 11 points.
  • Bob Kellogg, 48th overall to Chicago, No games.
  • Veli-Pekka Kautonen, 50th overall to Calgary, No games.

The Blackhawks took three defensemen ahead of Lidstrom that year, talk about a bad year for the Hawks scouting staff.

Nikolai Khabulin is now tied with Olaf Kolzig 21st overall with most career wins, 303. Three more wins and Khabibulin will pass Billy Smith (305) and be in the top 20. If he wins 37 games this season he will pass Sean Burke (324), Harry Lumley (330) and Gump Worsley (335), putting Khabibulin 17th overall. If he finishes his contract with the Oilers, and wins an average of 20 games the next three years he could crack the top ten.

Some other milestones or career rankings that should fall this year:

  • With two more goals Mike Modano will pass the Rocket, Maurice Richard with 545 career goals.
  • With one more OT goal, Patrik Elias becomes the career leader with 16. He is currently tied with Jaromir Jagr, Mats Sundin and Sergei Fedorov with 15.
  • Mark Recchi needs one more assist for 900 in his career. He will pass Bryan Trottier (901) at some point this season and move into 17th on the all-time assists list. And he needs three more GP, to become only the 13th player in NHL history to play 1,500 games.
  • With his 21 PIMs so far this year, Donald Brashear is now 15th all-time in PIMs with 2,582. He needs 203 more to catch Scott Stevens for 14th.
  • Paul Kariya needs 48 points for 1,000, while Alexia Kovalev needs 55.

Ice girl of the week

This week I give the slow clap to a group of Blackhawks Ice girls. I know this is back-to-back weeks with a Chicago girl, but the picture above showcases the benefits of Ice Girls.

Random thoughts

The NFL has Mr. Irrelevant, a moniker given to the last pick in the NFL draft, but the NHL has no such thing. Patric Hornqvist was the last pick, 230th in 2005, but is off to a great start for the Predators with two goals and six points in seven games. He is only the 9th player who was taken with final pick, since 1979, to have played in the NHL.

  • 2002: Detroit took, Jonathon Ericsson 291st. Is hurt but should be a solid contributor.
  • 1997: Boston chose Jay Henderson 246th. Played 33 games.
  • 1994: NYR took Kim Johnsson 286th. Currently playing with the Wild, has played in 686 career games.
  • 1993: Pittsburgh took Hans Jonsson 286th and he played 242 games for the Pens.
  • 1988: Calgary chose Sergei Pryakhin 252nd. He played 46 games over three years.
  • 1987: Oilers took Igor Vyazmikin 252nd. He played four games for the Oil in 1991.
  • 1980: Philly took Andy Brickley 210th. He played 385 games and registered 222 points.
  • 1979: Edmonton took Blair Barnes 126th. He played one game for the L.A Kings.

I love a good fight and a good hit, but why does it seem every time we witness a bone-crushing hit the guy who dished out the hit gets jumped. Last night, Willie Mitchell crushed Jonathon Toews with a clean open-ice hit. Kris Versteeg wrestled with Mitchell right after and both got minors. Mitchell shouldn’t have to turtle, and he shouldn’t have to sit for two minutes because Versteeg got in his face.

Now that the Islanders won in a shoot out last night, the Leafs are the only winless team left and I’m happy for Brian Burke. His pompous attitude, short hypocrite memory and overall smug attitude make me cheer against the Leafs. I’d love nothing more than to see the Leafs finish dead last, win the lottery and watch Burke squirm as the Boston Bruins select Taylor Hall first overall.

In the summer many said Ryan Smyth had no chance to make the Olympic team, in fact Ryan Rishaug and I debated in at length, and I said you can’t rule him out. I never thought he’d produce like he is, but if he is in the top-twenty in scoring come December he will make the squad, because Steve Yzerman and crew know what to expect from Smyth. He is still the best in the league in front of the net, and never shies away from getting greasy.

Regular season NHL drafts that don’t allow reserve players are stupid. One major injury and your draft is over. Now that Marc Savard is out for six weeks, I’m done. Losing a draft due to an injury is bogus.

Leader through the week

Here are the top ten in pts, goals, assists and other stats.

Goals:

  • Nine: Alex Ovechkin
  • Seven: Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Marleau and Devon Setoguchi
  • Six: Dany Heatley, Ryan Smyth, Alex Semin, Ryan Malone, Marian Gaborik and Mike Richards

Assists:

  • Twelve: Joe Thornton (leads for the second straight week).
  • Nine: Nicklas Backstrom
  • Eight: Vinny Prospal, Anze Kopitar, Marty St.Louis and Henrik Sedin.
  • Seven: Ovechkin (no assists this week), Smyth, Rick Nash and Evgeni Malkin, Rene Bourque, Dan Boyle, Matt Carle, Erik Johnson and Jason Demers. Hands up anyone who has heard of Jason Demers before reading this? The rookie D-man for the Sharks has four assists in his last two games.

Points:

  • Sixteen: Ovechkin
  • Fourteen: Thornton
  • Thirteen: Smyth and Kopitar.
  • Twelve: ealtey, and Gaborik.
  • Eleven: Nash, Bourque, Malkin, Prospal, St.Louis, H. Sedin and Backstrom.

Plus/Minus:

  • +11: Nicklas Grossman
  • +9: Ladislav Smid, Brandon Dubinsky, Alex Goligoski, Stephane Robidas and Ovechkin.
  • +8: Scott Hannan, Henrik Tallinder, Jan Hejda and Curtis Glencross.
  • +7: Five players tied.

PP Goals:

  • Four: Mike Richards, Devon Setoguchi and Ryan Smyth
  • Three: Michael Del Zotto, Rich Peverley, Steven Stamkos, Andrew Brunette, Mikael Samuellson, Raffi Torres and Matt Stajan.

Hits:

  • 38: Ryan Callahan leads for second straight week.
  • 34: Dustin Brown
  • 32: J.F Jacques and Chris Neil
  • 30: Matt Cooke and Troy Brouwer
  • 29: Andrew Alberts, Cody Mcleod
  • 28: Ovechkin
  • 26: Five tied with 26

Shots:

  • 61: Ovechkin had 19 shots this week with four goals.
  • 41: Samuelsson had 20 shots this week, but only one goal.
  • 39: Gaborik
  • 37: Alex Burrows
  • 34: Malkin
  • 33: Eric Staal, Michael Cammalleri, Zach Parise, Dustin Brown and Setoguchi.

Final point(s)

Sidney Crosby, Jonathon Toews, Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner are two-for-two in shoot outs this year. They are the only players perfect with more than one opportunity.

Also, remember to sign-up for the three hockey drafts we’re running over at NationDrafts.com. Great prizes, gloating, and it’s all free!

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Niimaki, Riesen, Bosignore, Arnott, Leroux, Soberlak, Coffey and Lowe.

    Anyone know what those guys mean in terms of Gregor's post?

  • Librarian Mike

    While I still think it was a good idea for Smyth to move on, I'm really glad he's having some success with the Kings. That team is really starting to shape up into a solid group.

    Kopitar seems to have come from that alternate dimension where Hemsky 'makes the next move' into superstardom like they've been predicting for the last decade. When I was traveling in Spain, I ran into a couple from Slovenia. I asked them about whether Kopitar is a big deal there, and they said, "Are you kidding? He's GOD." I laughed my a$$ off.

  • Deans

    Call me a prude but I'm thankful that the Oilers dont have scantidly clad ice girls.

    The Mitchell hit was clean. I'm so tired of players taking offense and seeking retribution every time a player gets nailed with a clean hit. It's hockey.

    • Dan the Man

      Prude.

      The Mitchell hit was clean but I think it's ingrained in hockey players to stand up for team mates and I don't have a problem with someone going after Mitchell.
      Toews is the Hawks captain and one of their best players, I think it's fine to send the message that it's NOT OK to mess with our top guys and that we WILL stick up for one another.

      Now with that being said, will it discourage Mitchell from doing it again if he has the opportunity?

      Absolutely not

      If Mitchell does that to Hemsky on Sunday I think every Oiler fan would expect the closest Oiler to grab Mitchell and start feeding him

      • Dyckster

        yah… if no one takes him on then chicago is heartless as a team.. or perceived to be… the natural instinct of a hockey player is to react not to analyze if the hit was clean, or not,, if the pass was suicidal,, or not. They saw toews doing the bambi ballet and they reacted, its kind of the nature of the beast.

        Semenko was employed on a pretty good players line in this town for quite a while……. and his role was evidently clear. Would mitchell have done it….. perhaps…. but retribution would have been MUCH more concise… head down suicide pass or not.

      • Lofty

        There was no problem with the hit and nothing wrong with the the Hawks going after Mitchell. The problem is that the refs have to allow a player to defend themselves when they get mobbed after a clean hit like that.

        There should have been no penalty for Mitchell and a double minor for Versteeg. If Chicago is willing to be shorthanded for 4 minutes late in the third (and then proceed to loose the game) to protect they're player then all is fine on both ends. Mitchell helped his team and Chicago has a huge hole dig out of. I hate seeing a guy play clean and then get 2 minutes for recieving a few punches to the head when he gets jumped!

        • Victoria

          I agree, if the check is clean then he should not have to sit for 2 minutes for defending himself. As far as the ice girls go, I'm No Prude…bring them on. Goggles is OK but I would rather watch the brunette fly around the ice. Also I was at a game in Phoenix last year and I don't recall if they have ice girls but the girls that dance in the stands are worth the price of admission.

  • I was going thru my old hockey cards a few weeks back. I came across a couple Nicklas Lidstrom rookie cards. …that's my story.

    Man…what a wasted youth. I should have invested those hard earned lawn mowing dollars into some internet start up IPO or something.

          • Victoria

            Aw, really? I can see if it was something else, but 'old perv' isn't something that is generally interpreted as a scathing indictment.

            But if clarity is necessary, maybe Gregor should add a blib to his posts about how he's not actually sexist when he constantly posts pictures of scantily clad women. Might save him from having to get defencive when people poke fun at him about it.

            Just sayin'…

          • Victoria

            I didn't think it was a bash on Gregor but maybe if you write a post here, you can put up the 18/44/13 photo and then we can call you sexist…"imagine a smiley face here"

          • Victoria

            I didn't think it was a bash on Gregor but maybe if you write a post here, you can put up the 18/44/13 photo and then we can call you sexist…"imagine a smiley face here"

          • Jason Gregor

            I didn't think it was a bash on Gregor but maybe if you write a post here, you can put up the 18/44/13 photo and then we can call you sexist…"imagine a smiley face here"

          • Victoria

            It's interesting you mention that picture because look at how many guys here got offended at having to look at that.

            Hmmm, dudes don't want to look at pictures of naked dudes, I wonder how that works for women…

          • Jason Gregor

            If you could find some Ice Boys we'd put up a pic for equal opportunity…

            And the Ice Women aren't naked…they all have bracelets on, not to mention other articles…

        • Jason Gregor

          Show me where my response to you said anything scathing…I made a reference that I wasn't old..

          My response to other guy had nothing to do with your post…

          Maybe you need to read closer when I respond directly to you… I didn't think old perv was that bad. Much different than even a remote reference that I like underage girls. Sorry no humour in that in any sense.

          • Victoria

            Say what? I didn't even read your response to the other guy.

            The lack of humour thing was referring to you taking the jab I took at you about being an old perv seriously. I didn't literally mean that you're some sort of 60 year old man who sits in his car staring at highschool girls or something.

          • Jason Gregor

            YEs, and my response wasn't defensive…I said I wasn't old nor a perv…had I put a LOL at the end would that have made it better. I said I admire hot women…what is wrong with that…I'm guessing you admire hot men…no difference. Not my fault the league didn't hire Ice Boys. You'd have to take that arguement up with Gary and the boys….

            My point is my response was no different than yours…either way…I'm good.

          • Victoria

            Sorry dude, but that was totally a defensive response. You trying to justify that picture, still, proves that.

            Besides which, that comment about admiring the opposite sex is a load. Admiring attractive men is one thing but if I were to start blogging on here and posting pictures of scantily clad men on a good portion of my blog, you would honestly not be bothered at having to look at it all the time? Gimme a break.

          • Jason Gregor

            Did I say you had to look?

            And yes, one picture a week is all the time isn't it. Stop being overdramatic.

            I love how showing a picture of a women means a guy is sexist. Give me a break. North Americans we are way too anal about nudity.

            My mother just recieved her doctorate and has held many upper echelon jobs in a patriarchal society, so please give me a break with your assumption that I'm sexist because we post a picture of Ice girls.

          • Victoria

            You didn't answer my question, Gregor. Would looking at pictures of near naked dudes not bother you?

            And yeah, actually I do have to look when it's the first thing one see on this site when they open the page. So, what… am I not suppose to read about the Oilers if I don't want to see that? Am I not suppose to watch hockey games now, either?

            If I'm overdramatic then I'll ask you to take a gander at the responses when that picture of Moreau, Souray and Cogs was posted on this site.

            Plus, this isn't about nudity and you know that. Being comfortable with nudity is an important part peoples sexuality and artistic culture. What you're defending, however, is objectification. There is no purpose to a female dressing like they do in the picture you posted other then to have guys drool over them.

            Congrats to your mother, btw. I'm sure she's a very intelligent women who got where she is today by not exploiting herself.

            PS. I never actually called you sexist, so stop accusing me of saying things I didn't.

          • Victoria

            "But if clarity is necessary, maybe Gregor should add a blib to his posts about how he's not actually sexist when he constantly posts pictures of scantily clad women." This is what you said about JG. I thought you called him a sexist. And hey, if you want to wear cloths that cover you up, thats ok. but to see woman in an ice girl costume is nice to look at. After all isn't that why woman wear make up and colour their hair and wear sexy clothing…so men will look at them? What's the difference. Lighten up a bit, you seem wound a bit tight today. It's all in jest….

          • Jason Gregor

            In case you didn't notice I was the one who first posted the picture of Moreau, Cogliano and Souray.

            It didn't bother me. I joked with the guys about and interviewed them talking about it. I also wrote that this pic would benefit the ladies. Why wouldn't it? I'm secure enough that I can respect a guy for having nice abs.

            As for the responses of some "homophobes", I could care less if some guy gets freaked out by a guy with a good body. I'm not that guy.

            I posted a pic for the ladies with that, and the Ice Girls or the week is part of the AROUND THE LEAGUE segment…normally it is a link, and those who don't want to look won't have to click on it.

          • Hemmertime

            Keep up with the Ice Girls pics, I love them. Besides the fact that the girls perform (?) in front of 18,000 people live – a lot of them children and are thus deemed socially acceptable, it's playing the odds: I think the majority of ON readers are men, and most of those men like beautiful women.

            And if the women didnt want to be objectified they wouldnt take a job wearing bikinis on ice. If I got free tickets to every game and you paid me, hell I'd wear that outfit.

  • Dyckster

    Ogden Bro Jr.

    Seriously dude, I don't. I've considered every possible scenario and it still looks like she's wearing 2 left skates. Enlighten me, what did I miss? The only thing I can think of is the girl to her right has HER left skate in between the brunette's skates (what I'd give to be that skate, nice view…)

    AND, how bloody dumb is this conversation anyway? Intriguing, but dumb.

    • I'm a Scientist!

      Yeah, it is the other girls skate. It is a bit hard to tell, but the girl in the fronts leg goes at an angle with the shovel handle…

      I like girls. Not enough girls in The Lab, so thank you Gregor.

      • Dyckster

        No matter, the brunette is SMOKIN. She looks a little dirty (in a good way) too.

        Oh, as far as the hit goes good hit but someone had to go after Mitchell. Dan the Man hit it dead on, if that was Hemsky, Gagne, or whoever on the receiving end of a similar hit we'd be pissed if no one went after the culprit.

        @Deans honestly, if an Oiler was staggering around centre ice and no one came to his rescue, what would you think?

  • Jason Gregor

    I dont see how 80 points in the regular season, for a d-man, isnt spectacular… or is that simply 'really f'n good'…

    and gregor, take no disrespect.. those ice girls are hot… and not 16…

  • Oil on Tap

    As for the ice-girls above, what do you prefer, the sleek black pants over figure skates or the sleek black pants clumsily tucked into regular hockey skates like the girl on the right? I gotta go with the Tacks.

  • 1- There's no nudity here. Not even "near nudity" by today's standards.

    2- How many pics of Ice Girls have we seen amongst all the image content on here. I'd be willing to bet you could count the entire lot on one hand.

    3- Guys like women. Beautiful women even more. This is a hockey website predominantly (I'd bet 99%) visited by guys. I for one am OK with the occasional sight of beautiful girls on skates. I bet a poll would confirm that most other guys here are of the same thought.

    4- Its a free society. If you don't like what's here, I'm sure there are other places you'll find that are less offensive to your very exclusive tastes.

    5- We have a woman writer here. Her name is Amber and she does a great job. Haven't heard her whining about the odd Ice Girl pic. Yet.

  • Hemmertime

    I like the Blonde on the right.

    Jason, I saw Tatum Stanowich (Tator Sandwich)the other day. Kinda funny. She hasn't changed a bit. I was leaving Rexall around 5:30ish on Monday. Had work to do there, in the BC Booth.