Work in Sports
Who'da thunk it?
'No goal' Daneyko outscores 'The Golden Brett'
Posted: Wednesday May 31, 2000 09:06 PM
By Mike Ulmer, SLAM! Sports
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Look, some things are pre-ordained.
If your first name is Blind, you know you are destined to play the blues. If your friends call you Knuckles, best take a pass on medical school.
If you're a goaltender and the guy you stop with the game on the line is named, oh, say, the Golden Brett, you're sitting pretty, baby. And if the guy who beats you is nicknamed "No Goal" Ken Daneyko, well, I think we all know how that ends.
New Jersey 7, Dallas 3. And those two distinct aromas drifting by are either the last of Ed Belfour's aura of invincibility going up in smoke or Martin Brodeur smelling like a rose.
You can't blame Belfour for all six goals he gave up last night, only about half, but the half-dozen pucks that went by him tied his career post-season high. Contrast that performance with Belfour's play in the Western Conference final against the Colorado Avalanche, who could not muster more than two goals per game on Belfour through seven games.
This is no knock on Daneyko, an honest, likable player who is not exactly known for his offensive forays.
The 36-year-old Daneyko had been the owner of a grand total of zero goals this season and has only five goals in 126 career playoff games. He launched a hard, low shot that skirted a couple of sticks before rattling around Belfour's pads like flubber off concrete before dropping from exhaustion in the back of the net.
The goal, just 2:52 into the second period, lifted the Devils to a 2-1 lead.
"What can I say?" Daneyko said, slightly embarrassed by the fuss. "It was nice to score but that's certainly not what got me in the league or what is going to keep me here."
At the game's midway point, Dallas gunner Mike Modano danced into the New Jersey end and ripped a shot that produced a serviceable rebound for Brett Hull. Hull, who has potted nine goals during this post-season, got wood on the shot but Brodeur snapped his catching glove in front of the puck.
"I was just able to react," said Brodeur, who was called upon to make saves only 18 times. "He shot it into my glove more than anything."
Twenty-seven seconds later, Petr Sykora slapped in the Devils' third goal and Belfour's night started heading south with alacrity.
"That's usually how it goes," said Devils coach Larry Robinson, who now has guided his team to four consecutive wins after throwing a Bobby Knight-like tantrum when the Devils fell behind the Philadelphia Flyers three games to one in the Eastern Conference final.
"One team goes down, has a great chance and the other teams turns around, comes back and scores at the other end. You see that quite a bit in hockey. No doubt, Marty made some huge and big-time saves for us," Robinson said.
Sykora's goal early in the third pushed the margin to 6-1, Belfour went to the bench and hotel security guards all over New Jersey went on red alert.
Belfour offered an explanation for his poor night.
"I was fighting a cold bug and I think some of the medication I am on right now maybe caused some misjudgment," Belfour said.
And when did he feel the medication was a problem?
"After they scored six goals," Belfour said. "I'll just try to get over it and be a lot better for the next game."
He'll have to be. Otherwise, Daneyko is in for a honkin' big raise.