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Free LCS 1997-98
Reader Hockey Pool
head coach: Ron Wilson
roster: C - Adam Oates, Joe Juneau, Dale Hunter, Andrei Nikolishin, Michal Pivonka, Jan Bulis. LW - Jogi Svejkovsky, Andrew Brunette, Todd Krygier, Steve Konowalchuk, Jeff Toms, Mike Eagles, Chris Simon. RW - Peter Bondra, Richard Zednik, Craig Berube, Kelly Miller, Pat Peake. D - Phil Housley, Calle Johansson, Mark Tinordi, Sylvain Cote, Sergei Gonchar, Joe Reekie, Ken Klee, Brendan Witt. G - Olaf Kolzig, Bill Ranford, Stephane Beauregard.
injuries: Pat Peake, rw (torn ankle tendon, indefinite); Yogi Svejkovsky, lw (sprained ankle, 1-2 weeks); Joe Juneau, c (strained right knee ligaments, 1-2 weeks); Bill Ranford, g (strained hamstring, day-to-day); Chris Simon, lw (shoulder surgery, out for regular season); Brendan Witt, d (slight concussion, day-to-day).
transactions: Assigned Brad Church, lw, to Portland (AHL). Recalled Benoit Gratton, c, from Portland. Assigned Gratton to Portland. Recalled Andrew Brunette, lw, from Portland. Announced Chris Simon, lw, will have shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the regular season. Bill Ranford, g, placed on injured reserve. Received Stephane Beauregard, g, on loan from the Chicago Wolves (IHL).
Eastern Conference - Atlantic Division Team GP W L T PTS GF GA New Jersey 44 28 14 2 58 132 92 Philadelphia 44 25 11 8 58 134 97 Washington 46 21 17 8 50 128 122 Florida 46 15 21 10 40 117 131 NY Rangers 45 14 19 12 40 114 123 NY Islanders 45 15 25 5 35 112 132 Tampa Bay 44 9 27 8 26 78 135
12/18 Florida L 4-0 12/20 at Carolina W 2-1 12/23 New Jersey T 1-1 12/26 Pittsburgh L 4-1 12/27 Ottawa L 3-0 12/29 St. Louis W 4-2 01/01 Anaheim W 3-2 01/03 NY Rangers L 3-2 01/06 Toronto W 5-3 01/08 at NY Rangers W 5-3 01/09 Philadelphia W 4-1 01/11 at Detroit L 2-0
by Jason Sheehan, Washington Correspondent
Hunter Notches 1,000th Point in One Period
Washington Capitals captain Dale Hunter is the epitome of patience and durability. Playing with a grinding style that teammates love and the opposition hates for the past 18 seasons, Hunter has dressed for 1,309 games, racked up 3,408 penalty minutes, which ranks second only to Tiger Williams, and has never scored 30 goals in a season.
But for one night, Jan. 9th, versus the Philadelphia Flyers, Hunter was on a mission to score three points to earn his 1,000th career-point. For one night, he traded his plumber's belt for a style resembling the great one himself, Wayne Gretzky, who was recently voted the best hockey player of all-time by the rival publication of LCS: Guide To Hockey, The Hockey News.
Hunter took 1,308 hard-fought games to score 997 points. But in a short span of 18:21, Hunter became the 49th player in NHL history to score 1,000 points when right wing Craig Berube wristed a blistering shot over goaltender Garth Snow. Hunter's three assists led the Capitals past the Flyers at MCI Center, 4-1.
"It's a goal that was achievable, even though I'm not a 1,000-point man who takes 10 years -- it took me 18, that's all," said Hunter, 37, who is the only player in NHL history to score 300 goals and accumulate more than 3,000 penalty minutes. "It's one of those things where you work hard and get rewarded for it.
"But to do it with three points in one night, it's something I've never even dreamt about. I didn't even think it was feasible."
After Berube scored, Washington's bench emptied as each player wearing the blue, black and bronze raced toward Hunter to congratulate him in his moment of glory. Berube was the first Capital to congratulate Hunter.
"It's been great playing with Huntsy all this year and being a part of his 1,000th point is a big thrill for me, one that I'll remember for a long time," said Berube.
Hunter, though, would gladly trade a few of his 1,000 points in exchange for winning more games.
"It's a nice feeling to achieve something like this," said Hunter, who received a congratulatory gash over his left eye in the third period from Eric Lindros. "Myself, I'm not really judged by points and stuff. My kind of role, I'm more judged by wins and losses so it's a good feeling. And we won. That means everything."
Capitals coach Ron Wilson attributed Hunter's hard work and dedication to the game as reasons for obtaining the milestone.
"He works hard every day," said Wilson. "He gives it his all. He toughs out all the bumps and bruises. He hasn't missed any games this season or last season.
"This was a very meaningful 1,000th point," he continued. "It was a huge game against one of our biggest rivals. And that goal [he assisted on] was the one to put the Flyers away."
Hunter's feat gave Washington the distinction of being the only team in history to have three players score their 1,000th point in the same season. Center Adam Oates and defenseman Phil Housley scored their 1,000th points in October and November, respectively.
Simon Lost for the Season
According to Wilson, left wing Chris Simon is "irreplaceable," which is what gave the Capitals coach such discomfort upon learning that Simon opted for season-ending shoulder surgery at the advice of specialist Dr. James Tibone in Los Angeles.
Simon, who has had problems with his shoulder and back the past two seasons, aggravated his shoulder for the first time this season Dec. 4th in the MCI Center debut versus Florida. He returned to the lineup soon after, but was hurt again Dec. 20th at Carolina.
Simon, who went under the knife Jan. 13th, could return to the lineup if or when the Capitals make the playoffs.
"This is a very unfortunate situation, but (general manager) George McPhee, the coaching staff, and the organization have supported my decision to have the surgery," said Simon in a written statement. "I wish I could have played through the season, but my medical advisors believe that I couldn't continue to play at the NHL level in my current condition."
Simon, who was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche November 1996 for winger Keith Jones and a draft pick, has totaled 16 goals, 23 assists, 213 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating while in Washington. Simon's scoring totals in the 1997-98 campaign include seven goals and 10 assists.
Bondra and Kolzig Selected to 1998 World All-Star Team
For right wing Peter Bondra, making the All-Star game is an annual occurrence. The Capitals' goal-scoring leader will be appearing in his fourth All-Star Game in the past five years and currently reigns as the NHL's fastest man, an honor he earned last season at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition. He will defend his crown Jan. 17 in Vancouver.
Bondra has scored 27 goals this season, ranking him fourth in goal-scoring behind Philadelphia's John LeClair (33), Anaheim's Teemu Selanne (33), and Phoenix's Keith Tkachuk (28). Ten of his goals have been scored in the third period, which ranks third among league leaders.
Unlike Bondra, goaltender Olaf Kolzig has never appeared in the NHL's mid-season classic. In fact, he had spent his previous seven years in the Capitals organization as either a backup goaltender or in the AHL (American Hockey League).
Kolzig only had 14 career wins before the season began (14-36-8) and was mainly known as the goaltender responsible for reading "The Flunking of Joshua T. Bates," (www.audionet.com/sports/nhl/capitals/kolzig.ram), which was written by Susan Shreve.
Since Kolzig's voice began echoing the hallowed halls of the Internet, he earned the top spot in goal ahead of veteran Bill Ranford and has posted numbers that place him near the top of the league standings.
Kolzig's 2.37 goal-against-average places him in the top third of the league, ahead of the likes of Dominik Hasek (2.49), Mike Richter (2.58), John Vanbiesbrouck (2.76) and Curtis Joseph (2.84). Kolzig also ranks in the top third of the league with a save percentage of .916 and ranks fourth in wins with 19 -- five more than he had in his career before the season began.
Kolzig, though, is no stranger to international competition. He participated in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey with Germany and will play for the German National team at the Olympics next month in Nagano.
"We are pleased, for both Peter and Olie, that their abilities have been recognized," said McPhee. "It is particularly special for Olie, because of his ties to British Columbia."
This year's All-Star game features a new international format. Billed as "North America vs. The World," the game will match the best players from around the world versus the best North America has to offer. The game will be played Jan. 18 in Vancouver at 4 p.m.
Washington will unveil its new "alternate" jersey at the end of the month. The Capitol Building with crossed hockey sticks, which currently is the secondary logo, will be featured on the crest while the eagle will be moved to the shoulders. The jersey is predominately black and features bronze lettering. . .
Center Andrei Nikolishin, who suffered a torn ACL at the World Championships last April, dressed for his first game of the season Jan. 6th at MCI Center against Toronto. He is currently centering a line with Bondra and Jeff Toms. . .
Toms returned to the lineup Jan. 8th at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. . .
Washington's 5-3 win against the Rangers marked the first time since February 1996 that the Capitals won a game when trailing after the second period. The Rangers held a 3-2 lead during the second intermission. . .
Center Michal Pivonka and Jan Bulis have been benched for poor play. It's the first time Pivonka has been benched since joining the NHL in 1986. He has spent his entire career with the Capitals.
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