By Michael Russo
Good evening or morning or whatever. I’m so hyped up, I figured I’d blog as I wait for the fourth overtime of this classic Dallas-San Jose Game 6.
I’ve watched every second, and the last three hours spent virtually every moment text messaging back and forth with a buddy of mine in Montreal, who’s clearly on the edge of his couch like me and probably waking up his new daughter.
For the record, we have a gentleman’s bet going: I have San Jose winning on a Patrick Marleau winner; he’s got Dallas winning on a Brad Richards winner.
If Dallas wins, I pick Brenden Morrow. If San Jose wins, he’s got Jeremy Roenick.
TSN’s putting on a heck of a telecast considering it can barely use any camera angles because the Dallas diehards have literally been standing for five hours so far.
Of course one big reason TSN’s shining is because of the tremendous job by play-by-play vet Chris Cuthbert and analyst Glenn Healy.
Cuthbert’s one of my favorites in the business. Man, he’s a pro. And Healy just said it best — This should be a lesson to the NHL (especially us scribes) who complain and complain for more goals. A 1-1 game can be just as exciting.
Goalies Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov have been beyond sensational. Turco has made a flurry of game-saving stops to this point — San Jose has controlled much of the play in OT — and Nabokov stone-cold robbed Brad Richards a couple hours ago with a miraculous glove save.
Mike Ribeiro’s rang the crossbar, Dallas survived a power play and players are still pounding each other into oblivion.
Check out the game sheet, especially the ice time, shots and hits. Look at Morrow’s line. Through 3 OT’s, he’s approaching 50 minutes and has 19 hits (and they’re legit, just ask Milan Michalek). Look at Brian Campbell’s ice time.
This is one heck of a game.
I can’t even imagine how many IV’s and power bars and banana’s are being consumed right now. And the equipment’s got to be slosh. You wouldn’t believe the energy these guys are expending.
OK, back to the fourth OT.
As you probably have guessed with the lack of blogs lately, I’m out of dodge taking some time off.
But I haven’t missed too many games and will try to keep Russo’s Rants pretty fresh.
Monday morning update: Well, I called it sorta. Brenden Morrow on the winner.
Man, what a series for Guy Carbonneau’s son-in-law, eh? Fitting that he had two goals disallowed in Game 5 — one bogus one in my opinion — and gets the series-clincher.
Hope you all checked out the game sheet. How about Morrow’s line? Fifty-one minutes, 19 hits, an NHL record.
Other notables: Mike Ribeiro, whom Nick Schultz once told me this season is the strongest little guy on his skates he’s ever run into. Ribeiro played 52:43, took 34 draws. Brad Richards took 38 draws. Sergei Zubov, playing in his fifth game since January, played 53:50.
Mike Modano only played 32:58.
How about Bloomington’s Toby Petersen? (see article on bottom) Here he is again. Two years ago with Edmonton, now with Dallas. I’ll tell you what, he only played 14:16, but every shift he was noticeable. Energy, hits and scoring chances.
For San Jose, its best defenseman was Christian Ehrhoff, which I only point out because I thought he rebounded last night from a terrible series.
Brian Campbell played a game-high 56:23, which was about three seconds too much. Unfortunately his penalty led to Morrow’s winner, but boy, Campbell also rebounded the last three games from a tough postseason. He was terrific.
Should be a good conference finals in both the East and West. I know I mentioned it the other day, but Pascal Dupuis continues to play great. He assisted on Marian Hossa’s series-clincher yesterday.
Hossa turned out to be a pretty good trade-deadline pickup, eh?
Oh, and lastly, this is unconfirmed by me but being told to me by a Vancouver reporter, but apparently Pavol Demitra was in Vancouver over the weekend being given a tour of the area by Canucks captain Markus Naslund.
As I’ve intimated here, the chances of the Wild even attempting to bring Demitra back is slim to none, and there’s a question whether he’d even want to return.
Demitra signing with Vancouver makes sense. His agent — or now, I guess, former agent — is Mike Gillis, the now-GM of the Canucks. Naslund is also now a former client of Gillis.
Both are unrestricted free agents, and you can bet Gillis may very well take care of his former clients. In fact, maybe Pavel Bure comes out of retirement and returns to Vancouver.
If Demitra thought Jacques Lemaire was defensive, wait til Alain Vigneault gets hold of him — if Vigneault is back.
Obviously, nothing can come of this until July 1.
I don’t see Demitra being so highly-sought that the Canucks would try to acquire his rights prior to free agency, like Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell last June by Philly.
P.S., two years ago, the Strib sent me to cover the Edmonton-Carolina Stanley Cup Finals. Here’s a feature I wrote on Petersen during that series. It ran June 16, 2006. Just an fyi, I noticed it had to be trimmed in the paper, so I’m posting the original unedited article from my laptop files.
PETERSEN USED TO OVERCOMING ODDS
By Michael Russo
EDMONTON, ALBERTA – If the Oilers rally to win the Stanley Cup for the sixth time in franchise history, Bloomington’s Toby Petersen likely won’t get his name on the prize.
NHL rules state a player must dress in 41 regular-season games or at least one game in the Finals to be engraved.
But that disappointment is the furthest thing on the former Jefferson High star’s mind.
After spending the past four years bouncing around the minors, the fast, skilled forward is back on the NHL radar map after playing two games in the conference finals against Anaheim.
Petersen, 27, played all season with Iowa in the American Hockey League, scoring 73 points in 79 games, and was called up to provide depth and practice with the team in May.
When injuries thinned the Oilers last month, coach Craig MacTavish tossed the forward into the lineup, and he didn’t disappoint. He scored the first goal in a 5-4 win over Anaheim in Game 4.
“It was unbelievable,” Petersen said. “I never ever, ever expected to get into a game when I came here May 1. But I was thrilled to get the opportunity, and that goal was one of the biggest things I’ve done in my career.”
Drafted in the ninth round by Pittsburgh in 1998, Petersen played 91 games from 2000-02 before getting bounced out of a job.
“I was in the minors a little longer than I thought I’d be,” Petersen said. “The last four years I was wondering if I would ever get a shot again. It was just a little adversity.”
Adversity is nothing new to Petersen. Besides overcoming two severely broken legs while playing at Colorado College, Petersen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was five years old.
To eliminate insulin injections, he wears an insulin pump 24 hours a day. It attaches to his abdomen or hip, and he plays with it.
“All my memories are being diabetic,” he said. “I don’t want to say there’s any bright side to getting it that young, but it’s all I know. I don’t remember what it’s like to not be diabetic.”
As a child, Petersen met former Vikings quarterback Wade Wilson, who is also diabetic. He looked up to Wilson, realizing there was nothing he couldn’t accomplish athletically.
Today, Petersen tries to be a role model to diabetic children. He and his wife, Alexa, who is seven months pregnant, volunteer at children’s hospitals and Petersen returns letters from diabetic children.
“Every player gets quite a few letters,” Petersen said. “But the ones that really strike me as the most important because they’re so important to the kids are the ones where they write in and say they’re diabetic.
“They ask lots of questions, and I just try to give them a little hope that they can do anything. Those letters mean a lot to me.”
Four years ago, Petersen returned a letter to Bill Taleen, a school teacher in Minneapolis. Taleen’s son, Gavin, now 8, has juvenile diabetes. Petersen wrote Gavin a letter and enclosed an autograph picture.
“Gavin even brought it to school the other day for show and tell,” Taleen said. “I just wanted my son to know that he could do anything, that he could be active or an athlete. And that’s exactly what Toby told him. It’s been a struggle sometimes for Gavin, but Toby’s been an inspiration.
“Gavin plays youth hockey, and that letter will be on his wall for a long time.”
Hurricanes forward Matt Cullen, a Minnesota native, feels this latest opportunity for Petersen will help earn him a full-time NHL job in the future.
Cullen’s brothers, Mark and Joe, played with Petersen in college, and Matt got to know Petersen when he stayed with his family while attending the Gophers’ Model Camp as a teenager.
“I think the new rules will help a guy like Toby,” Cullen said. “I watched that game he scored in last round, and I was really impressed. He’s good with the puck, makes a lot of things happen offensively and he’s really quick. In the new NHL, there’s a premium on skilled guys who can skate.”