Hockey Night's Take 5
HNIC's senior online reporter Tim Wharnsby dishes out the latest news, buzz and inside information in the hockey world.
1. Robitaille had Smart start
In his induction speech at the Hockey Hall of Fame, Luc Robitaille thanked the late Alex Smart for believing in him. Smart was an Ottawa-based scout for the Los Angeles Kings who pestered general manager Rogie Vachon to take a chance on Robitaille in the ninth round of the 1984 NHL entry draft.
Smart, who passed away at age 76 in 2005, was quite a player himself. Born in Brandon, Man., he moved to Montreal to play for the Verdun Maple Leafs and Montreal Sr. Canadiens. Smart was promoted to the NHL's Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 14, 1943, and became the first NHLer to score a hat trick in his first game. Only two players have matched the rare feat since: Real Cloutier for the Quebec Nordiques 30 years ago and Fabian Brunnstrom last season. Smart only played eight games for the Canadiens that season and that was it for his time in the NHL. But he scored five times before moving back to senior hockey. He later helped the Ottawa Senators win the 1948-49 Allan Cup.
2. Giguere to force hand?
Interesting dilemma for Anaheim general manager Bob Murray with his goaltending tandem of Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller. The 27-year-old Hiller is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The 32-year-old Giguere is under contract until the end of next season with a $6-million salary and has a no-trade clause. To complicate matters, Giguere is close to returning to action after recovering from a groin injury and he told the Los Angeles News on Monday, "I'd rather retire than be a backup goalie."
3. Ovechkin skating, not talking
A few days after stating that he would be out four-to-five weeks with a strain near his left shoulder (he later said he was just joking), Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin now is hoping for a possible return to action in a week. He skated on Monday pain free and used his stick, although he only took a few light shots. When he took to the ice last week, he stopped using his stick midway through his skate. The Capitals have gone 2-1-0 in the three games without Ovechkin.
4. Triple Gold Club trivia question: How many can you name?
There are 22 members of the Triple Gold Club, players who have won Olympic gold, world championship gold and the Stanley Cup in a career. They will be honoured at the Vancouver Olympics in a ceremony at the Molson Canadian Hockey House on Feb. 22. How many of these players can you name? See the answers below.
5. Legace full circle
Netminder Manny Legace was selected in the eighth round by the Hartford Whalers, six months after he led Canada to world junior gold with a brilliant performance in 1993. But he never played for the Whalers-Hurricanes franchise before moving on after a lengthy stint in the minors. After stops with the Kings, Red Wings and Blues, now the 36-year-old Legace’s career comes full circle. He’s back with the Hurricanes to help out in the absence of Cam Ward, who will be out a month with a leg injury.
Question: Who are the 22 members of the Triple Gold Club?
Answer: Swedes Tomas Jonsson, Hakan Loob and Mats Naslund became the first three into the Triple Gold Club, when they won gold at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
The rest of the list, and the year they became a member:
Valeri Kamensky (Russia, 1996), Alexei Gusarov (Russia, 1996), Peter Forsberg (Sweden, 1996), Vyacheslav Fetisov (Russia, 1997), Igor Larionov (Russia, 1997), Alexander Mogilny (Russia, 2000), Vladimir Malakhov (Russia, 2000), Rob Blake (Canada, 2002), Joe Sakic (Canada, 2002), Brendan Shanahan (Canada, 2002), Scott Niedermayer (Canada, 2004), Jaromir Jagr (Czech Republic, 2005), Jiri Slegr (Czech Republic, 2005), Nicklas Lidstrom (Sweden, 2006), Fredrik Modin (Sweden, 2006), Chris Pronger (Canada, 2007), Niklas Kronwall (Sweden, 2008), Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden, 2008), Mikael Samuelsson (Sweden, 2008).