2001 Stanley Cup Finals
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Stanley Cup Notebook

Blake won't discuss free agency until after the season

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Posted: Tuesday May 29, 2001 8:13 PM
Updated: Tuesday May 29, 2001 9:22 PM
  Rob Blake Rob Blake is focusing his attention on the Stanley Cup, not his impending free agency. Brian Bahr/Allsport

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado defenseman Rob Blake, who becomes a free agent after this season, was noncommittal when asked Tuesday morning about remaining with the Avalanche.

"Any time you can be put into a winning atmosphere, a winning team, it's fun," he said. "Winning is fun, and going out and playing every day and having an opportunity to win, it's exciting. It's definitely something I think any player in the league wants."

Asked if it would take something special for him to go elsewhere, Blake said, "I don't know. I'm not too concerned about that. These guys have been real good. The day the season's over we'll go in and we'll sit down. But take care of business on the ice and we'll be fine."

Blake is happy to be playing with goaltender Patrick Roy, who beat him and the Los Angeles Kings in the 1993 finals when Roy was with Montreal.

"You think in the back of your mind that it takes an unbelievable shot to beat him, an unbelievable play to beat him," Blake said. "If he sees it, nine out of 10 times he's going to stop it or 10 out of 10. He has that ability."

Entering Game 2 on Tuesday night, Roy had a shutout streak in the finals of 213 minutes, 12 seconds, the second-longest streak in finals history. Roy also is 9-0 in the finals since Game 1 of the 1993 championship series.

Game 2 history

Teams winning Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals have gone on to win the championship in 25 of the past 29 seasons.

Last year, the New Jersey Devils became the first club since the 1989 Calgary Flames to win the Cup after losing Game 2.

Since the best-of-seven format began in 1939, 46 of 62 clubs (74 percent) winning Game 2 have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.

Teams that have won Game 1 -- as the Colorado Avalanche did on Saturday night -- have won the championship 79 percent of the time.

No respect

Pre-game notes listed one of the two referees for Tuesday night's Game 2 as Bill Creary. His real name is Bill McCreary.

And New Jersey coach Larry Robinson momentarily forget the name of his opponent.

"To me there is more to the Colorado Rockies -- I mean, Avalanche -- than one person," Robinson said.

Robinson could be excused for his misstatement. He was a standout defenseman in the NHL for 20 seasons and played against the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies were in Denver for six seasons before moving to New Jersey and becoming the Devils in 1982.

That ol' Devil trap

The Avalanche spent most of Tuesday morning's skatearound working at breaking New Jersey's neutral zone trap.

"Their trap is good because of their goalie [Martin Brodeur]," defenseman Adam Foote said. "He plays the puck so well that they are able to take away space in the neutral zone. And then their other people get turnovers in your end by having everyone coming up in the high slot."

Milan Hejduk, who plays on Colorado's top line with Joe Sakic and Alex Tanguay, said space will be reduced in Game 2.

"You don't get much space against that team anyway," he said. "They plan on making it tougher on our top line. We have to play better against their top line."

Sakic and Dave Reid skipped the optional skatearound.

Mixing lines

The Devils, who lost Randy McKay when he broke his left hand in Game 1, made some line changes for Game 2. Scott Gomez will skate with Bobby Holik and Bob Corkum, who is filling McKay's spot. Normally, Gomez is with Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Nemchinov.

"These aren't drastic changes," Gomez said Tuesday morning. "We've mixed our lines up before. I've played with Bobby before. I can make the transition. I'll be able to skate around freely and roam like I always have."

Hall of Fame awards

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced that Calgary-based writer Eric Duhatschek is the 2001 recipient of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for distinguished hockey journalism.

Mike Lange, long-time voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his work as an NHL broadcaster.

Duhatschek and Lange will receive their awards as part of the 2001 Induction Weekend/Celebration festivities in November. The Toronto-based Hall of Fame will announce its inductees for this year on June 14.

Duhatschek started covering the Calgary Flames in the late 1970s and worked for many years at the Calgary Herald. He left recently to join the Globe and Mail, where he is currently the paper's Internet NHL columnist.

Lange has broadcast Penguins games for 26 seasons.


 
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