Work in Sports
Stanley Cup Notebook
Carbonneau closing in on postseason mark
Posted: Friday June 02, 2000 01:34 AM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Dallas Stars forward Guy Carbonneau played in his 227th career playoff game Thursday night, tying New Jersey coach Larry Robinson for second overall in Stanley Cup history.
Mark Messier of Vancouver is the leader with 236 games, most of them with the Edmonton Oilers.
"Obviously you need to play a long time and be a lucky guy," Carbonneau said Thursday morning. "I have been lucky throughout my entire career to play with good teams, teams that did well in the playoffs."
Carbonneau, the oldest player in the NHL at 40, has played on three Stanley Cup
"I'm really happy," said Carbonneau, who admits to feeling old some mornings. "I have always said this is the best time of the season. Playoff time is everything you work for and fight for all year."
Hull's golden goals
Brett Hull has 21 game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs, just three behind leader Wayne Gretzky.
New Jersey's Claude Lemieux is third with 19.
Hull's two goals in the Stars' 2-1 win in Game 2 gave him 88 in his career, fifth best all time and just five behind Glenn Anderson. Hull has 11 goals in this year's tournament.
Ed Belfour is unbeatable after losing a game in the playoffs. The Stars goalie is 9-0 in his last nine games following a playoff loss.
Dallas is 11-1 in the playoffs when scoring the first goal. New Jersey is 4-5 after giving up the first goal.
Since the NHL implemented the best-of-seven format in the Stanley Cup finals in 1939, 19 clubs playing the first two games of the series on the road have gained a split. Only seven (36.8 percent) have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
The last five road teams to gain a split, Buffalo (99), Vancouver (94), Los Angeles (93), Minnesota (91) and Montreal (89) were unsuccessful in their title bids.
Hockey in June
When Devils coach Larry Robinson started playing in the NHL in the 1970s, the season was over by the time June rolled around.
"We thought it was long when we were playing in May, so it's definitely not the way most people would like it," Robinson said Thursday morning. "I know that speaking to a lot of fans that I have talked to, they say they find it hard sometimes watching games when it is the middle of June."
If the finals goes seven games, the last one would be played here on June 12.
"There is no way getting around it," Robinson said. "It's a long season and long playoffs. The nice thing about it is when you are playing in June, it means you have gone a long way."
Gomez family competition
There's competition in the Gomez family during the Stanley Cup.
Devils rookie center Scott Gomez only had to get tickets for his father, Carlos, for the opening two games of the finals in New Jersey.
Gomez's mother, Dalia, stayed in Alaska because his sister, Natalie, had school and a soccer tournament.
"She [Natalie] doesn't realize how big this is," Scott Gomez said of Natalie. "She's 12. She's the baby of the family. I guess she gets dibs on mom."
Dalia Gomez will make the trip to Dallas for Games 3 and 4.
However, if the best-of-seven series goes the distance, Scott Gomez may have to miss his sister's graduation from sixth grade.
"She's more mad that I'm not there than her not here," said Gomez, who is the leading candidate for NHL rookie of the year honors.
What a difference a year makes
Coach Ken Hitchcock said Dallas' run to the Stanley Cup championship last year was like a magical ride in which everything went right for the Stars.
They were the best team in the league most of the year and they got the big goals and big saves throughout the playoffs in winning the title.
"A lot of this year has been swimming upstream to be honest with you," Hitchcock said. "We had tough luck with injuries and we had some real battles trying to get out focus generated.
"But you know what, we are here and we are here because of a lot of character and a lot of pride in what we do. We are four wins away from reaching the goal again. I think the players haven't lost focus of that."