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Pacific: Wilson moving up all-time wins list

by Doug Ward

Ron Wilson reached the milestone of 500 wins as an NHL coach Saturday when the Sharks beat Nashville, 4-3. Watch Ron Wilson's Sharks reach win #500
San Jose's Ron Wilson reached the milestone of 500 wins as an NHL coach Saturday when the Sharks beat Nashville, 4-3. The win landed Wilson in a tie for 10th on the all-time wins list with Toe Blake, one of hockey's most legendary names.

"It's hard for me to believe that Toe Blake had 500 wins and I have 500 wins," Wilson told the San Jose Mercury News.

As much as anything, Wilson is proud of the fact that, in the volatile world of coaching, he has been able to maintain a job behind an NHL bench for the past 15 years.

"I never thought I'd have 500 wins or even coach 1,000 games in this League," Wilson said. "It's pretty neat."

Wilson, one of just 13 men to coach 1,000 NHL games, will catch Pat Burns for ninth place with his next win. He is just five wins behind eighth-place Jacques Martin. To celebrate the 500-win milestone, Wilson said he would take his granddaughter to Disneyland.

The Sharks are off to a 3-1 start on their six-game homestand, and Saturday's win gave the Sharks 69 points, just four behind Dallas for the Pacific Division lead. The Sharks have four games in hand.

Doug Ward
Doug Ward reports on the Pacific Division every week throughout the 2007-08 regular season.

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Still a star in Minnesota -- Mike Modano began his career as a fresh-faced teenager with the Minnesota North Stars in 1989. Nineteen years and 522 goals later, the Minnesota Wild honored Modano, now 37 and still popular in the Twin Cities, for his contributions to hockey in the United States.

"It means a lot," Modano, a Livonia, Mich., native, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The North Stars are still talked about up here. I still get stuff from people in Minnesota and still keep in contact with some people here. They just love the game of hockey."

Modano is the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in NHL history, but these days he plays on a checking line. Modano has 15 goals and 24 assists this season.

Fuel injection -- When Scott Niedermayer ended his flirtation with retirement and rejoined the Ducks in December, the team went on a 12-2-2 run. Anaheim currently is getting a similar boost from the return of Teemu Selanne – reeling off four straight wins after losing six in a row since the sniper rejoined the team last week on Long Island. The 37-year-old Selanne picked up assists in each of his first two games back, helping the Ducks defeat the Islanders and Rangers.

The Ducks face the Avs on Tuesday in Colorado with a chance to salvage a .500 record during their stretch of eight consecutive road contests. "It started out looking like a pretty bad trip," defenseman Mathieu Schneider told the Los Angeles Times. "But we've turned it around."

Around the division -- Reports out of Canada suggest the Sharks and Senators had agreed on a deal that would have brought defenseman Wade Redden to San Jose, with Sharks defenseman Matt Carle going the other way. But Redden, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, nixed the deal. Redden is slated to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. … Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher resumed skating Saturday for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in December. Boucher still is a couple of weeks from returning to the lineup. … The Kings recalled much-maligned goaltender Dan Cloutier from Manchester of the AHL over the weekend, and Cloutier responded by leading the Kings to a 3-2 shootout win over Columbus. "I've waited a long time for this," Cloutier said. … Although the Coyotes remain in playoff contention, Phoenix GM Don Maloney says he will only make a deal before the Feb. 26 trade deadline if it can help the team in the long run. "We won't be going out and looking for any short-term rentals," he said. With so many teams still in contention, Maloney's sentiments might be common among general managers. … Anaheim's Samuel Pahlsson appeared in his first game since Dec. 22 Sunday at Detroit. Pahlsson had experienced persistent abdominal pain. … Ducks teammate Doug Weight was scheduled to undergo an MRI Monday to determine the extent of an upper-arm injury. … Kings defenseman Rob Blake has been the subject of trade talk for much of the year, with Ottawa and Colorado among the teams mentioned as possible destinations for Blake. The Ducks are the latest team to show interest, according to the Windsor Star.


Who's hot -- Jonathan Cheechoo and Joe Thornton of the Sharks each have four points (three goals, one assist) in their last two games. … Alexander Frolov of the Kings has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last four games. … Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere has gone 3-0-1 with a 0.74 goals-against average in his last four games. … Ryan Carter of Anaheim has three goals in two games, and Chris Kunitz has three points (one goal, two assists) in three games, and Mathieu Schneider has four points (two goals, two assists) in three games…Dallas goalie Marty Turco has won his last three starts while posting a 1.29 goals-against average and .955 save percentage.

Who's not -- Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf has two points in his last eight games. … Stu Barnes of the Stars is scoreless in six games. … The Kings' Jaroslav Modry has not scored in seven games. … Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is 0-1 with an .878 save percentage in has last two appearances.

The week ahead -- Anaheim will close a streak of eight straight games away from Honda Center on Tuesday at Colorado. The Ducks, who have won four consecutive games, can finish with a winning record for the extended road trip with a win over the Avs. A Friday showdown with Dallas awaits the Ducks when they return home. … Dallas began the week by taking its six-game winning streak into a Monday contest with Phoenix. They'll meet the Coyotes in the back-half of a home-and-home series Thursday in Phoenix, before a Friday showdown with the Ducks at Anaheim. … The Kings, a surprising 4-2-1 on their current eight-game road trip, conclude their march across America on Tuesday at St. Louis. They return to Staples Center ice for one game, hosting Calgary in a rare Friday home contest, before returning to the road to for a game at Phoenix on Saturday. With 51 points, Los Angeles is just one point away from catching Tampa Bay and climbing out of the NHL's basement. … The Coyotes, just four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, began the week by hoping to snap a three-game losing streak Monday at Dallas. Phoenix hosts the Stars on Thursday and the Kings on Saturday. San Jose wraps a six-game homestand by hosting Calgary (Tuesday) and Edmonton (Thursday). The Sharks are 3-1 thus far on the homestand.


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