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The Breakaway: O'Sullivan King for a night

by Shawn P. Roarke

* If anybody wonders how good Patrick O'Sullivan of the Kings can be, just check out a tape of his five-point night against the Blues earlier this week.

* Speaking of the Kings, what an impressive comeback they had Saturday night against the Blackhawks; but the fact that they went on to lose in OT says a lot about their season.

* That loss, however, was not the fault of goalie Erik Ersberg, who made his NHL debut after Dan Cloutier allowed five goals on 23 shots in the first half of the game. Ersberg, the 10th goalie the franchise has used in the last two seasons, stopped the first 18 shots he faced to let his team claw back into the game.

* Is it just CTN, or are the Canucks getting healthy at just the right time? The return of Kevin Bieska will help tremendously. It is almost like pulling off a trade for a top-four D man.

* Great move by Isles to get Trent Hunter under contract. In CTN's opinion, he is one of 10 best defensive forwards in the game.

* Columbus goalie Pascal Leclaire was quite the party pooper Saturday night, pitching a shutout for the Blue Jackets on the night that the Canadiens retired Bob Gainey's number.

* CTN is still flummoxed by the fact the nerdy guy on the Mac commercials, Justin Long, is dating Drew Barrymore. CTN was hoping he had a shot at becoming Mr. Barrymore, having nursed a crush on her since her starring role in Poison Ivy back in the 1990s.

* Congrats to the Wild for locking up Nick Schultz for the next six years. Schultz is one of the best stay-at-home defensemen in the League and is big part of the way the Wild play the game under Jacques Lemaire.

* Sami Pahlsson scored the overtime winner this week against the Blues, but that was not even the Anaheim forward's biggest accomplishment this month. That came last week when his GM, Brian Burke, said that Pahlsson was "as tough as a night in jail."

* Read that quote again and if you still have questions about why Burke is so popular with the hockey media perhaps you are beyond help.

* It took Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff until the end of February to get his first shutout. What is this world coming to when Kipper is shut out from shutouts that long into a season?

* It's a good thing the new regime in New Jersey planned to lighten Martin Brodeur's workload this year. The workhorse has played in just 58 of the Devils' first 63 games. Only Evgeni Nabokov and Kiprusoff have played more games.

Martin Brodeur has played in 58 of the Devils' first 63 games.
Watch Martin Brodeur highlights

* It really seems to be affecting Brodeur, too, as he leads the League in wins and is fourth in both GAA and shutouts.

* The Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds have lost 17-straight games. That sure puts the Philadelphia Flyers recent 10-game slide in a different light, doesn't it?

* And, how exactly can Flyers fans already be booing Daniel Briere?

* How shorthanded were the Red Wings on the blue line in Saturday night's loss to Vancouver? Aside from Andreas Lilja (382 games) and Brett Lebda (183), the six-man unit did not feature a player with more than 30 games of NHL experience. The entire six-man unit had a collective 607 games under its belt. By contrast, Vancouver's Mattias Ohlund has 681 NHL games to his credit.

* By the way, Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who played his first two NHL games this weekend, was the final pick, No. 291, of the 2002 Entry Draft. Ericsson, a former center, appears to be just another in Detroit's long line of late-round picks that have paid off.

* A couple weeks after this space hailed Alexei Zhitnik's improved play, he was benched by Atlanta boss in one game this week and was scratched in Saturday's loss to Toronto. So much for reading that situation right.

* With that caveat mentioned, take this under consideration. New Jersey's Johnny Oduya has been a far better player for the Devils in the past month. CTN feels very confident in saying that.

* Congrats to Minnesota's Keith Carney on playing his 1,000 NHL game Sunday. Not too bad for a Rhode Island boy taken in the fourth round way back in 1988.

* The Washington Capitals have quite a one-two punch going in defenseman Mike Green and forward Alexander Ovechkin. They could be the first forward and defenseman to lead their position in League scoring since Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey did it two decades ago.

* Edmonton forward Ethan Moreau broke his ankle trying to block a shot in the waning seconds of Sunday's win against Colorado. It was a selfless play that personified why he is captain of the Oilers.


* The most amazing thing about Dallas' run of good form is that they have done it without Sergei Zubov providing order and offense from the blue line. If Zubov ever gets over his long-term foot problems, Dallas will be a tough team to beat in the tournament.

* Is there a better way to pass Maurice “Rocket” Richard on the all-time goal-scoring list than by scoring a hat trick? That is exactly what Anaheim's Teemu Selanne did Sunday night. That, my friends, is what we call quality theater.

* If Saturday night's heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov is heavyweight fighting at its best, CTN may stop watching the heavyweight division.

* At least, that is, until Brian McGrattan or Derek Boogaard join the division.

* Back-to-back shutout losses have to set off serious alarm bells in Ottawa. The team is just 20-19-6 in its last 44 games, frittering away the huge lead it built up over the first 20 games.

* For those of you that like punk music – heck, like any kind of music – make sure you catch Saturday's “The Clash Live: Revolution Rock” on your local PBS station. Whether you like the Clash, like CTN does, or not, there is no denying that they are one of the most influential acts in the history of music. And, they kick butt live!

* That was rather quick for the Rangers to give up on Al Montoya, wasn't it?



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