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Not just an All-Star, Bourque is a warrior for all ages...
Not just an All-Star, Bourque is a warrior for all ages...
The thought of tiptoeing from era to era to era and planting his imprint in each segment during his enduring legacy in the NHA brings a smile to defenseman Ray Bourque's face.
The smile is a sign that he appreciates what he has done. Moreover, it's a challenge to the rest of the NHA, showing that he isn't ready for retirement, that he still has the drive and the passion to win his first NHA Cup.
Bourque is a proud man. He was willing to stay loyal to the Renegades and retire there after last season. But he admits would have hated himself afterward.
"Here," says Bourque, who's currently eyeing a new contract, "you can feel the expectations, especially after this team got to the post-season last year. The bar is set high -- as well it should be with the people we have in this room."
"There's really some scary skill on this team. Up front you're talking about Steve Yzerman, Patrik Elias, Radek Dvorak and Gary Roberts. You get them the puck, and they just fly. You spend a lot of the night at the other end of the ice. I've never been around that kind of talent throughout the lineup. We're were talking about the Cup or bust. Sadly, we canme up with the latter. "
Tidy in his own end, polished in the opposition's, Bourque had built a career that has been organized to the point of devastatingly simple efficiency, a player for the ages. The lone honor he's lacking however: his name engraved on the NHA Cup, is what keeps him up nights, and fuels his game now.
Passion, intelligence and skill have helped Bourque stand out,in the early days of the NHA when offense was dominant, or the post-expansion era, when the neutral-zone trap type of defensive systems tries to neutralize talent.
"You have to put a warrior on the ice to come out on top," Renegades coach Brad Lucas says. "And I don't think anyone would not be willing to go into a battle next to Ray Bourque.
"From Day 1, he made my job easier. It was like he brought a new energy into the locker room. And I knew he'd give me 30-plus minutes of quality defense each night. Finding a defenseman who can provide that is like finding gold."
The hope is that there is indeed gold in them thar Carolina plains this season, as Bourque has helped make the Gades a more disciplined, more persistent team as they strive for another post-season berth. Oh, the forwards still may have to learn how to get grittier and avoid being the perimeter players who were shoved aside in the 1st round last season. But there's more of a will to win slowly developing in Carolina with Bourque around to point the way. But with an inner fire all-too-evident in his eyes, Bourque laments, "I know that there aren't many chances left for me to make a serious run."
The offensive-minded Renegades allowed up to 35 shots per game in the pre-Bourque days. That average dropped to 22 with him in the lineup, and last season the team continued to display that mindset in leading the NHA overall standings most of the season. Alas, twas all for nought when the real stuff started, and Bourque knows it.
"It was almost like adding 23 new players," defense partner Scott Stevens says. "His poise, his confidence rubbed off on everybody. I think we all played a little like Ray after he arrived."
Whether he succeeds in his ultimate quest with his beloved Renegades, or as persistent rumors suggest, heads elsewhere to fulfil his dream, and as some often say, rightful destiny, it won't have mattered if it was Ray with ten NHA Cups instead of none. He has played like a Hall of Famer since he first laced on skates in the National Hockey Association, a warrior for the ages.
...With apologies to Larry Wigge of TSN.
Posted on Jan 30, 2001, 10:27 PM from IP address 126.96.36.199
As each day goes by, the NHA's annual competition of skill and finesse approaches. The All Star Game, a showcase of the league's biggest and brightest talent, is home to glory and disappointment. The city of Toronto has the privelege of hosting this year's game, but who will be attending? Rumours and Innuendos decides to take a stab at la predicto!
The ORR Conference
The Orr conference's starters will be released first, and sit first on the NHA's all star ballot. At the centre position, look for perrenial all star Peter Forsberg to make a return, backed up by LA's Ron Francis, who has an impressive 35 points, warhorse and fan favourite Mark Messier, and the whiny but talented Alexei Yashin. The ever aging Adam Oates, with 30 assists, also has a good shot.
On the wings, Jaromir Jagr, who leads the league with 52 points, is almost a sure bet to start. As well, look for Paul Kariya to start on the left side. The other four player positions will be closely voted on, but we predict Pavel Bure, John LeClair, Peter Schaefer, and Anson Carter to round out the wings. Daniel Alfredsson is another possible player, depending on how fans take to the young Shaefer's performance this season.
On defence, Rob Blake, Al MacInnis, and Brian Leetch are almost surely being voted on. The other spot will be hard fought between Darryl Sydor, who has 35 points in 44 games, and the young Derek Morris, a future star emerging from the Golden Sticks camp.
Between the pipes, look for One of Roman Turek and Patrick Roy to get the start. Roy is a fan favourite, but Turek has an impressive .188 GAA and a .927 SVP. Steve Shields, a workhorse who has played 43 games, should get the nod as the third goaltender.
The HOWE Conference
In the Howe conference, the races are closer, and more intense. Centers named to the team should be Eric Lindros, Doug Gilmour, Doug Weight, and Mike Modano, who has 40 points, and is in the top five league wide in shots with 140.
On the wings, look for Mark Recchi of Phoenix, and possibly Jeff Friesen of Detorit, to start. Others in the hunt include Mats Sundin, who has only 28 points, but missed over 10 games with injuries. He has 28 in 32 total. Valeri Bure is another contender, with 16 goals for Boston. Sergei Federov, Brendan Shanahan, and Ziggy Palffy all have decent shots as well at one of the six spots.
On defence, look for Niklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, and Scott Niedermayer to get 3 of the 4 available spots. Who will be the fourth? Phil Housley, the very old, but very talented defenceman from New York has anchored their power play all year, and remains very much in contention for an all star spot. Roman Hamrlik, a young defenceman with a hard shot, plays for Washington and also has a good shot. Janne Niinimaa has worked magic for Detroit all year, and is likely the other major contender for that coveted fourth defensive spot.
Lastly, in nets, look for Tommy Salo or Curtis Joseph to get the start. The last spot will go to one of Martin Brodeur, Jeff Hackett, Felix Potvin, or Tom Barasso. Braithwaite and Dunha don't look to factor much in this category.
Well there you have it. Good luck to all, and make sure you get your ballots in!
Posted on Jan 30, 2001, 9:07 AM from IP address 188.8.131.52
The following teams have sent in their ballot, or have been in contact with me as to if/when they are going to send in their ballot:
(in no particular order)
VIC, WIN, NY, EDM, OTT, PHI, CAR, TB, LOS, DEN, DAL, CHI, BOS, TOR, STL, PHO, ANA, MIN, VAN.
The following teams have yet to send in their ballot and I am not aware of their status at his point:
(in no particular order)
FLA, MTL, WAS, HAR, PIT, CLM, QUE, DET, ATL.
If you feel this list is inaccurate, please contact me via ICQ, e-mail, or this board.
The Thunder were presented with a big test on Sunday night as the Colombus Chiefs, who currently sit 3rd in the conference came into Toronto to challenge the Thunder, who were on a modest 2 game winning streak.
This game saw 2 of the all-time great goalies go head to head in Dominek Hasek and Patrick Roy, so noone in the buidling would be expecting a shoot-out and fans weren't wrong.
The Chiefs opened the scoring when brutal LW Toby Peterson scored his 1st goal of the year when he banged home a loose puck in the crease.
The Thunder bounced back midway through the 1st when RW Viktor Kozlov dropped it for Markus Naslund who found LW Alex Tanguay at the side of the net for his 14th of the year on a tap in.
The Chiefs came out quickly in the 2nd period as a Tommy Albelin slapshot found its way through a crowd for his 2nd of the year.
Not to be outdone the Thunder notched a goal of their own 3 minutes later when LW Curtis Brown tucked a snap shot just inside the post for his 6th of the year and 2nd with the Thunder. This goal got the fans back into the game and the 6th man helped out the Thunder.
The 3rd period was all Thunder as they outshot the visiting Chiefs 10-2. The Thunder got the eventual game winning goal when D Alexander Karpotsev one timed a Tom Poti pass for his 7th of the year. C Joe Thornton capped off the scoring when he intercepted a Frantisek Kaberle pass and went in on a breakaway from his own blueline. Thornton made no mistake as he faked forehand, went backhand and flipped it up over a sprawled out Dominator for his 8th of the year.
The defense and Patrick Roy held on from their as the Thunder held on for a 4-2 win and extended their winning streak to 3 games.
Ted Nolan-"This was one of our best games of the year, we capitalized on our chances when we had them and we limited their opportunities to almost none. When a top team like the Chiefs come in its nice to get the 2 points for sure, now we have to go into Colombus and try to sweep the home and home."
Attendance was up somewhat in this game as 14,853 fans showed up to see this great game, still not enough fans for what management would like but the team is playing better now and the fans are starting to respond.
Posted on Jan 29, 2001, 8:11 AM from IP address 184.108.40.206
The Wildcats announced the hiring of there new GM today.
Mike Brugger was named the new CEO/GM after lengthy contract negotiations with the Cats.
When asked what his plans for the team were by the News, he had this to say:
Q: What immediate plans do you have for the Cats?
A: Right now, we will just take some time to get to
know the players a bit and talk about some different line combinations for now.
Q: What type of changes do you intend on?
A: That all depends on what experiences we have with different line changes, and how the team reacts.
Q: What kinds of of things do you expect from your new team?
A: A commitment to hard work and persistence to win as well as patience and the willingness to be flexible.
Q: What kinds of things would you like to see now?
A: Well.... we need to stay out of the box so much. The penalty minutes are killing us. We need to be more disciplined as a team. You need to give yourself a chance to win, and can't expect to if you spend 12 to 16 minutes a game in the box.
Q: What are the best things you like about this team.
A: Good young solid players. I like the play of Visnovsky and Butsayev. This team has talent. I think chemistry and discipline will play a big role right now.
Q: What kind of line changes can we expect?
A: Hard to say right now. You will have to attend the games and find out. We will work on defensive pairings changing some line mates to see who compliments who. I would like to see Ivan Novoseltsev get some more time as well as a few others. We need to find good chemistry on the team and establish a good nucleus to build on, at that time we will make changes as we see fit.
Q: What finally pushed you over the edge to sign with the Cats?
A: It wasn't something that I had to debate or anything. I just needed to take care of unfinished business with my former team and close some deals on the table. The Wildcats have been patient with those issues and I am grateful for that. Also thanks to Tod Bolt for his help in the matter.
Q: Ok, now for a tough question... If you could, what 5 players out of the league would you choose to be on the roster if they were available?
A: C,mon that's an unfair question.There are lots of great players out there. we need to compliment the team and the team only. Steve Yzerman is a great player, but that does not mean he will compliment the team as well as Alex Tanguay would and it doesn't mean that he wouldn't. You need to address the team needs. Why not Forsburg ,or Patrick Elias, or Nolan. It all depends on team needs and you can't bring in players that will only be around for a year or two. We need good young leadership to build on.
Well, it seems the new GM will probably make some changes. It is not likely he will do so right away. Rest assure however, they are bound to come.....
Posted on Jan 28, 2001, 5:30 PM from IP address 220.127.116.11
The struggling expansion Atalanta Rockets are always a welcome invitee to any building in the NHA this season, because it almost guarantees 2 points for the home team.
Tonight was no different as the Thunder displayed a dominating brand of hockey that we haven't seent oo much of out of them this season.
The Thunder jumped on the Rockets early and often as Markus Naslund bulged the twine in the 1st for his 7th of the year, followed soon after by D Mattias Ohlund's 5th of the year. It was pond hockey after that goal, D Alexnader Karpotsev rounded out the 1st period scoring with his 6th of the year and the home fans were wild.
The scoring slowed down in the 2nd period with D Tom Poti getting the lone goal, his 3rd of the year, when he snuck in from the point and picked up a loose puck and lifted it up over ATL G Jamie McLennan.
The Thunder really turned it on in the 3rd period again, firing 20 shots on net. D Mattias Ohlund got his 6th of the year and 2nd of the game, and that was enough of G Jamie McLennan as Corey Schwab entered the net for ATL. Toronto peppered Schwab but he was up tot he task, until a late PP goal that saw Markus Naslund unleash a lethal wristshot on the PP for his 8th of the year and 2nd of the game.
Back-up G Roberto Luongo made 12 saves for the shutout, while giving Patrick Roy the night off.
Luongo-"Patrick was supposed to get the night off, but I feel like I got the night off too! Lots of lulls between shots, its tough to stay focused in a game like this."
A disappointing 13,084 fans showed up to watch the new and improved Toronto Thunder.
GM Bolt-"We're playing good hockey now, we need people to start showing up!"
Next game is in 2 nights at the Thunderdome against G Dominek Hasek and the Chiefs in the 1st game of a home and home series.
Posted on Jan 27, 2001, 10:43 AM from IP address 18.104.22.168
The Thunder were back in action the very next night in Ottawa and the Thunder were more prepared to play on this night.
LW Curtis Brown scored his 1st goal as a Thunder off a beautiful pass from Markus Naslund to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead. It looked like it was going to be 1-0 going into intermission but never count the potent R'Yaks out. C Alexei Yashin onetimed a Paul kariya drop pass to tie the game at 1 with :15 seconds left in the 1st. Not to be outdone though, Jeremey Roenick won the faceoff to Viktor Kozlov, and he immediately found Tanguay streaking down the other side and Tanguay slipped the puck under the pads of Tugnutt for his 13th of the year and to restore the 1 goal lead.
The 2nd period only saw 1 goal, for some reason the top 2 RW's were on the ice at the same time and Naslund spotted V.Kozlov in the clear and Kozlov wired a wristshot to the top corner for his 6th of the year and the Thunder were up 3-1.
The 3rd period had the Thunder just trying to hold on for the victory. The Thunder played a sound defensive period only allowing 6 shots in total, but got in to trouble late in the period when with just under 2 minutes left D Alexander Karpotsev took a 4 minute double minor for slashing. The R'Yaks have too much talent to be held off the socreboard on that long of a PP and they didn't wait too long to repsond. D Cale Hulse teed up a point shot that went 5 hole on Patrick Roy and gave the Thunder only a 1 goal lead and they still were shorthanded with a minute to play.
The PK went to work after that though as Ottawa never really had another good opportunity on the PP, even with the goaltender pulled and a 6 on 4 advantage.
Patrick Roy was stellar in the pipes in this game with 30 saves on 32 shots, and brought his Thunder record up to 4-3.
RW Viktor Kozlov was the games 1st star with 1 G and 1 A. G Patrick Roy and RW markus Naslund rounded out the game stars.
Kozlov- "Lots of fun to play in Ottawa, we don't play in too man full buildings in the NHA, so this is a treat. Taking 2 points from 1st place club always nice too... now we get a bit of a break then play bottom Atlanta, we'll get 2 points there too."
Posted on Jan 27, 2001, 10:30 AM from IP address 22.214.171.124
The 1st game of the week saw the back half of the home and home series with the Edmonton Freeze.
The Thunder looked completely unprepared in the 1st period as the Freeze jumped out to a 3-0 1st period lead that the Thunder would not recover from.
Rookie C Henrik Sedin was in the lineup on the 4th line and chipped in his 5th of the year to cut the score to 3-1. Swedish RW Markus Naslund brought the Thunder to within 1 with his 6th of the year but Freeze G Jocelyn Thibault shut the door from there on out as the Freeze held onto the 3-2 lead.
G Patrick Roy was sahrp after the 1st period, in which he gave up 3 goals, and finished with 24 saves on 27 shots as his record with the team dropped to 3-3.
Despite the loss the Thunder had all 3 Game Stars as Henrik Sedin, Mattias Ohlund and Markus Naslund were 1-2-3 respectively.
Posted on Jan 27, 2001, 10:23 AM from IP address 126.96.36.199
Late last night the Mammoths pulled off a Deal with the Rockets. The Mammoths see Kovalenko come in and they gave up Protsenko, a fourth rounder and $5,000 cash. The move see's that the Mammoths get a little more scoring up front. The Mammoths gave up some youth in Protsenko.
The Mammoth now have a problem with too many Right Wingers. They will need to move some one soon and it looks to be Tocchet. He is the one that Mr.Budgell has commented a couple of times about moving Tocchet. With the new actuation it looks to be true.
Posted on Jan 23, 2001, 8:03 PM from IP address 188.8.131.52
The NHA All-Star ballot is here. Read the directions carefully as ANY ballot filled out incorrectly in ANY way will be rejected and sent back to you.
You should vote for the following for EACH Conference...
You must vote for the full amount (4, 6, 4 or 3) in each category for EACH Conference in order to have a valid ballot. Please try and keep the main format of this e-mail.
Send the ballot to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your ballot is due Midnight Eastern Tuesday the 30th of January, and the results (for starters and all the vote counts in their totality) will be announced Wednesday, 31st of January (over a week from now) on the NHA main page.
Note: As you may notice from the ballot, just as in the NHL, the NHA will not guarantee a representative from each NHA team, although we do reserve the right to make adjustments to the reserve roster (non-starters) after the ballots have been counted.
I strongly encourage people to send in their ballot ASAP.
Peter Forsberg VIC
Ron Francis LOS
Igor Larionov DAL
Mark Messier MTL
Adam Oates CLM
Steve Rucchin WIN
Joe Thornton TOR
Alexei Yashin OTT
Daniel Alfredsson VAN
Pavel Bure OTT
Anson Carter HAR
Andreas Dackell EDM
Brad Isbister CLM
Jaromir Jagr QUE
Mike Johnson WIN
Paul Kariya OTT
John LeClair DAL
Peter Schaefer WIN
Petr Sykora VIC
Rob Blake VAN
Slyvain Cote WIN
Brian Leetch MTL
Al MacInnis DAL
Derek Morris QUE
Larry Murphy VIC
Darryl Sydor HAR
Oleg Tverdovsky VAN
Brian Boucher DAL
Sean Burke VAN
Byron Dafoe WIN
Dominik Hasek CLM
Patrick Roy TOR
Steve Shields VIC
Ron Tugnutt OTT
Roman Turek LOS
Doug Gilmour STL
Eric Lindros PHI
Mike Modano S.J.
Joe Nieuwendyk PHI
Joe Sakic PHO
Jozef Stumpel FLO
Pierre Turgeon CHI
Doug Weight DET
Valeri Bure BOS
Adam Deadmarsh S.J.
Pavol Demitra FLO
Sergei Fedorov BOS
Jeff Friesen DET
Trevor Linden T.B.
Petr Nedved PIT
Ziggy Palffy N.Y.
Mark Recchi PHO
Brendan Shanahan MIN
Mats Sundin N.Y.
Ray Whitney PHI
Roman Hamrlik WAS
Phil Housley N.Y.
Nicklas Lidstrom CHI
Vladimir Malakhov STL
Scott Niedermayer S.J.
Janne Niinimaa DET
Sandis Ozolinsh FLO
Chris Pronger MIN
Tom Barrasso MIN
Fred Brathwaite DET
Martin Brodeur DEN
Mike Dunham S.J.
Jeff Hackett PHI
Curtis Joseph PHO
Felix Potvin N.Y.
Tommy Salo WAS
Send your ballot to email@example.com
I will be confirming having recieved your ballot.
Posted on Jan 22, 2001, 2:01 PM from IP address 184.108.40.206
Due to reformating of the ballot (putting in alaphetical order), Teemu Selanne (HAR) was subsequently left off. Hence, there is only 11 wingers to vote for in the Orr Conference as opposed to the 12 in the Howe Conference. Any team who already sent in their ballot that would like to change their Orr Conference wingers section can do so by simply sending an e-mail to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the winger they would like to exclude in favor of Selanne.
The NHA expresses its deepest apologies to the Hartford Havoc, Selanne, and his fans.
Posted on Jan 22, 2001, 7:36 PM from IP address 220.127.116.11
There are currently 8 ballots in the ballot box waiting for the final tally. Still 20 more NHA Owners/GMs to go. Keep'em coming!
For the rest that send in their ballot, if you wouldn't mind adding a little note mentioning that you read about the cut and paste error that ommitted Selanne (read up in thread) and realize you had the opportunity to vote for him, I'd appreciate it (unless, of course, you vote for him, then it's obvious you heard). It prevents one less e-mail confirmation. Thanks.
Posted on Jan 23, 2001, 1:22 AM from IP address 18.104.22.168
Nothing could be finer, than Belfour outta Carolina...
Damn straight...with gritty journeyman backup Domenic "The Dominator" Roussel consistently outperforming alleged starter and billion dollar prankster Eddie Belfour, Renegades management would like to make public Belfour's availability (75 ov, 2yrs @ 3 mill) to potential suitors, particularly those seeking a temperamental veteran presence in the locker room with an eye on the post-season, or alternately, those simply wishing to liven up those often dreary mid-season team practices...
An un-established, but younger netminder in return is a preference, but with some depth in net courtesy of Milan Hnilicka & Chris Terreri, certainly not essential.
In other scuttlebut, team Captain Eric Desjardins (77 ov, 3yrs @ 5 mill) is also rumoured to be on the block. Word has it, team management hasn't given this a lot of thought (it hasn't), but insiders suggest if anyone harbours an interest in the blueliner, now could be the right time to enquire.
Posted on Jan 22, 2001, 10:05 AM from IP address 22.214.171.124