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Duffer's Digest: Zeroes across the board

by Brian Duff
In honor of the upcoming Hall of Fame inductions and the Class of 2009, call this week's blog a tribute to one of the great goaltenders, with an even better nickname -- Hall of Famer Frank "Mr. Zero" Brimsek.

While Martin Brodeur still needs one more "zero" to match Terry Sawchuk's all-time shutout record of 103, there are plenty of interesting, illogical and perhaps irrelevant zeroes still in play as we move along in the season's second month.

0 - Wins for Vesa Toskala and J-S Giguere. Maybe they should be dealt for one another.
0 - The number of games Luca Sbisa will play for the Ducks the rest of this season, after being sent back to junior.
0 - Wins for Carolina in the last 10 games. Let's recap. 2006: Stanley Cup, 2007: No playoffs, 2008: No playoffs, 2009: Eastern Conference finalists, 2010: ? It makes zero sense.
0 - Goals for Slava Kozlov and Nik Antropov yet Atlanta sits above .500 without their captain, Ilya Kovalchuk.
0 - Minutes played by Avalanche netminders not named Craig Anderson through the teams' first 15 games, 11 of which were on the road.
0 - Losses of any kind by the Avalanche at home (5-0-0), the only team without a blemish.
0 - Right-handed shooting forwards for Dallas when Jere Lehtinen is not in the lineup.
0 - Goals for the two hardest shooters in the League – Zdeno Chara (healthy), and Sheldon Souray (injured).
0 - Percent chance the Sabres were going to send Tyler Myers back to junior.
0 - Losses for the Flyers when Blair Betts is in the lineup (5-0-0).
0 - Snipes by Martin Havlat in the last nine games, which translates into zero bang for the buck.
0 - Wins for Carey Price in Montreal, not that he needed to win the fans over.
0 - Hits delivered by Ilya Kovalchuk and Steven Reinprecht through a combined 22 games played.
0 - Tallies for David Legwand, who is tied for the team lead in one category -- cap hit.
0 - Career wins/good games for Henrik Lundqvist against Vancouver (now 0-3-0 with a GAA just under 5.00).
0 - Road losses by the Penguins and Devils after seven games.
0 - Reasons why Marc Andre Fleury shouldn't start for Canada at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, especially with Sidney Crosby there to back him up.
0 - Home wins for the Maple Leafs, preseason not included.
0 - Road wins for Carolina, preseason not included.
0 - Fighting majors in Winter Classics to date ... subject to change.
0 - Shots on goal by Georges Laraque, Wade Belak, Garnet Exelby and Darcy Hordichuk in a combined 37 games played.
0 - Hockey analysts who lauded/believed in the management/coaching changes made by the Colorado Avalanche.


Last week in this space, the topic was comebacks/blown leads. It was suggested that in roughly one out of every five games, a two-goal lead (or more) was bound to disappear.

I think we're on to something. Since then, eight more comebacks have taken place in a stretch of 44 games through Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, the topic was an alarming number of injuries through the first two and a half weeks. Incredibly, more than 40 more players have been felled, including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Spezza, Marian Gaborik, Eric Staal, Jonathan Toews, Simon Gagne, Danny Briere, Shea Weber, Paul Martin, Roberto Luongo and J-S Giguere.

Many have speculated, and I believe accurately so, as to the possible reasons behind this negative trend.

Size, strength and speed of the players seem the most logical. Factor in parity and desperation among 30 teams and it's a recipe for physical breakdown. What's most disconcerting is that these injuries have happened already, long before the schedule really begins to take its toll on players.

One Last Thing

A huge thank you to all who helped raise awareness, and much needed funds during Hockey Fights Cancer month. As we know, the fight never ends and the NHL Network is proud to be doing its part.

The bidding has started on our David Arrigo authentic goalie mask, signed by all of our NHL Network analysts. It is absolutely stunning. Thank you David for such a phenomenal job on short notice!

We invite and encourage all of you to get your bids in now at The auction closes Nov. 12.

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