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The Breakaway: All hail "AO"

by Shawn P. Roarke

* Alex Ovechkin already has two four-goal games this season and is the first to reach 40 goals and is sitting at 45 in 54 games. Is there a more exciting player to watch in the game today? CTN says no!

* Ovechkin is the first NHL player to score four-or-more goals in a game twice in one season since 1995-96, when both Peter Bondra and Mario Lemieux did it.

* This is the first season in which a player has scored 40 goals before the end of January since 1996-97. Pittsburgh’s Jaromir Jagr became the first to 40 on Jan. 14.

* It’s nice to see that the battle of Alberta has not lost any of its zing. Oliers goalie Mathieu Garon packs a pretty good punch, it seems, judging from the highlights.

Shawn P. Roarke
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* Speaking of punches, a couple of big boys were at it in Tuesday night’s game between Calgary and Phoenix. Jarome Iginla and Ed Jovanovski is a headline battle at any time.

* The Ottawa Senators’ dressing room can’t be a fun place right now. Aside from talent, perhaps GM Bryan Murray should look to acquire a proven diplomat at the trade deadline.

* The New York Rangers have had more ups and downs to their season than the Steel Dragon 2000, the world’s tallest and longest roller coaster, located at Hagashima Spaland in western Japan.

* Six hundred points in a career is nothing to sneeze at, but CTN thought Petr Sykora had won the Stanley Cup with the way he celebrated point No. 600, a goal against the Devils on Tuesday night.

* It’ll be interesting to see, by the way, if the hard-charging, confrontational style of Devils coach Brent Sutter continues to deliver results. The team has tuned out demanding coaches in the past.

* Ministry is on tour for a final time. Founder Al Jourgensen is a huge fan of the Chicago Blackhawks. And CTN is a huge fan of Ministry, a band that sent CTN down its musical path with the release of (Everyday is) Halloween back in the early ‘80s. If you have never seen Ministry live, catch them on this tour. If you have, you already know the drill.

* Congrats to Oshawa’s Brett MacLean on becoming the first OHL player to reach the 50-goal mark this season.

* Rangers prospect Bobby Sanguinetti set a Brampton Battalion franchise mark for goals by a defenseman when he scored No. 19 of the season Sunday, the first of two goals on the night. Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Rostislav Klesa previously held the record.


* Mike Knuble scored a natural hat trick in Saturday’s 3-0 win by the Flyers against Anaheim. It was Knuble’s first career hat trick. That’s kind of hard to believe considering the fact that Knuble has played 700-plus games and twice topped the 30-goal mark.

* Anybody ready to hand the Detroit Red Wings the Stanley Cup needs look no further than the heretofore unbeaten New England Patriots losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. You can bet Mike Babcock and his boys have already taken notice.

* Congrats to Harvard on reaching the Beanpot Final. It is the first time in a decade the Crimson have advanced past the first round. They will play Boston College in next Monday’s championship game.

* It’s nice to see Robbie Earl finally reach the Toronto Maple Leafs and make an impact. CTN has liked this kid since he joined the NTDP a few years back. He has amazing wheels.

* Good on David Brine, the undrafted Florida Panthers rookie who made his debut Saturday night. Brine parlayed his opportunity -- a spot in the reality show Making the Cut: Last Man Standing -- two years ago into the fulfillment of his lifelong dream.

* Who would have picked J.P. Dumont, Alexander Radulov and Jason Arnott as one of the best lines in the League this year? Not CTN. But, there is no denying that this unit is an elite goal-scoring trio.

* The Thrashers received some positive news with the negative MRI of Ilya Kovalchuk’s injured knee. The Thrashers could not afford to miss their dynamic superstar for a long period of time and he returned Tuesday with a goal in his first game back.

Jonathan Toews is skating again. Watch Jonathan Toews highlights

* Speaking of long-term injuries, Chicago rookie Jonathan Toews, out since Jan. 1 with a severe knee sprain, is skating again. He hopes to play as soon as next weekend. That will be a boon to the Blackhawks, for sure.

* Foppa update: CTN continues to update the status of everyone’s favorite Swede. It appears that Peter Forsberg is only interested in playing in the NHL. Everyone, it seems, is interested in his services, but Calgary, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Jose and Detroit have already been turned down by Forsberg, according to published reports.

* Jeff Hamilton’s stock continues to fall in Carolina. One of the feel-good stories after his hot start, Hamilton was scratched Tuesday by the injury-depleted Hurricanes, replaced in the lineup by a minor-league call-up.

* Congrats to Steve Valiquette on recording his first career shutout last Thursday for the Rangers. It’s always good to see perseverance rewarded. Valiquette is a genuine good guy that has waited a long time for his crowning moment.

* Florida’s Anthony Stewart is certainly racking up the frequent flyer miles. The youngster has been called up from Rochester (N.Y.) by the parent club eight times this season.

* A belated thank you from CTN to the band Mastadon for their hospitality and for being a pleasure to work with during All-Star Weekend in Atlanta. It’s clear these boys love their hockey.



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