It would be an understatement to say Bill Dineen has had a lifetime in hockey. He’s had several lifetimes in hockey. Some of them are named Kevin and Peter and Gord and Shawn and Jerry.
The Dineen family patriarch was today inducted into the American League Hall of Fame along with three others – three-time Calder Cup champion coach Al MacNeil, prolific scoring defenseman John Slaney and four-time Calder Cup goalie Bob Perreault.
The prospect world of professional hockey had never been further apart than last Saturday in Syracuse when one backup goalie looked across at the other backup goalie.
Riding the pine on the Norfolk Admirals bench that night was 20-year-old John Gibson, considered the best goaltending prospect in the game and the future starter for the Anaheim Ducks.
Backup stopper for the Syracuse Crunch was 46-year-old John Parks, a pharmaceutical sales rep and assistant coach for a local high school. On the spectrum of hockey prospects, 180 degrees isn’t enough to describe how far apart the two were.
“I looked over and knew that was Gibson,” Parks said after the game of his lifetime. “Imagine that. Me and him being backup goalies.”
Evander Kane got off to an awful start with the Winnipeg Jets this season. And this came a season after his numbers dipped, slightly, from his 2011-12 performance. By managing only seven goals and 14 points through his first 26 games this season, Kane was again regressing on paper and the fact the Jets were awful as well put the 22-year-old back in the crosshairs of misguided, trade-happy optimists.
The Jets have been in recovery mode under Paul Maurice, turning around a terrible start to go 6-1-0 under their new coach. But Kane’s turnaround happened well before Maurice arrived. Since December 1, Kane has played 16 games, scoring eight goals and 15 points – well above his career averages. Slumps happen to everyone – just ask Eric Staal – and Kane was snapping out of his.
But just as he was finding his legs, Kane has been forced to the sidelines until after the Olympic break with a hand infection.
Paul Maurice announces Evander Kane will be out of #nhljets lineup until after the Olympic break with infection in his hand
— Sara Orlesky (@saraorlesky) January 28, 2014
The initial injury was sustained in a Jan. 7 game against Tampa Bay. Kane cut his hand in this fight with Eric Brewer:
Poor Mike Gillis. The problem is obvious: his Canucks are 18-0-4 when they score three goals or more and 8-17-5 when they don’t (excluding the shootout).
They’ve managed to win three of their past seven games, despite scoring only eight goals in regulation/overtime. But they’re still just 3-6-2 in their past 11, with 18 goals scored, and sit in the NHL’s bottom third overall in goals per game.
Gillis tried to find offense without giving up anything, when he attempted to coax Vaclav Prospal, who will turn 39 Feb. 17, into a professional tryout with Vancouver’s American League affiliate in Utica.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference right now and have been succeeding for months without the services of the team’s best player, Steven Stamkos. One look at last night’s box score will give you an indication of how the Bolts are doing it.
Mark Wednesday, Feb. 12 down in your calendar because there’s a hockey game you won’t want to miss.
Mile One Centre in St. John’s, N.L., is the venue as the American League All-stars will be playing Sweden’s Farjestad out of Karlstad. It’s the first time a Swedish Hockey League team has competed in North America.
The timing is perfect, even if you’re strictly an NHL junkee. The NHL takes its 17-day Olympic break starting Feb. 9. Olympic action for Team Canada and Team USA doesn’t start until Feb. 13. (There are two Olympic games on Feb. 12 at noon, Eastern Standard Time, the Czechs versus Sweden, and Latvia versus Switzerland.)
Jonas Gustavsson made a beauty behind-the-back save against the New Jersey Devils Friday night in the Detroit Red Wings’ 3-1 win.
Brian Gibbons became the fifth Pittsburgh Penguin to score a goal in his first NHL game. He converted a Evgeni Malkin centering pass Monday night to open the scoring in the third period of a 3-1 win over Anaheim.
Name the other four Penguins to accomplish that feat and you could win a Kewpie doll.