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The Breakaway: Welcome back, Ty!

by Shawn P. Roarke

*CTN was checking out Tuesday night’s game between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and in between the unpleasantries, noticed that Ty Conklin was on the Pittsburgh bench, and eventually in the game. Good for Conklin, who, in CTN’s opinion, deserves another shot at the NHL.

*Albany River Rat goalie Michael Leighton already has a franchise-record five shutouts this season. You’re telling CTN that there isn’t a NHL job out there for this guy? C’mon!

*That was quite a little bomb Manny Legace dropped on his coach the other day, wasn’t it? Seems Legace told the media, before anyone on his team, that he will likely need off-season knee surgery. And we wonder why coaches always look so stressed.

*Is there a more underrated coach in the NHL than Detroit’s Mike Babcock? All this man does is win; both in Detroit and in Anaheim. Just as importantly, he gets the fact that hockey is in the entertainment business and gives his time freely to furthering the NHL brand.

*Speaking of quiet, has any player in the League reached the 30-point plateau more quietly than Anze Kopitar in Los Angeles? CTN was crucified last year by King fans for selling the Kopitar kid short, but not this season. Kopitar may be the best player in the League that gets no recognition.

*At the other end of the spectrum is Vinny Lecavalier in Tampa Bay. Both his coach and GM have come out this week and said Lecavalier is the best player in the League right now. Certainly a bold statement, but one that CTN cannot debate in good conscience.

*Regular readers to CTN know that CTN is all about the English. CTN loves the people, the food and the sports. But CTN has to give a thumbs-down to the Brits who invaded Vegas this past weekend to support boxer Ricky Hatton in his bout against Floyd Mayweather. Sure, they were loud and they were loyal to their man; but did they need to boo throughout the Star Spangled Banner? The answer, my friends, is NO! CTN expected better from his British compatriots.

*Led Zeppelin played the O2 in London this week and CTN missed it, despite best intentions. Yet, CTN’s vast network of informants reported back that the show was a masterpiece beyond all expectations. Here’s hoping the boys, with John Bonham’s son, Jason (now 41, yikes!), on drums, play at least one show in the States. Maybe CTN will pull a Spicoli and see what it would cost to rent Zeppelin for CTN’s 40th b’day bash this fall.

*How much fun was Jordin Tootoo’s “Gordie Howe hat trick” Saturday against the Ducks. Tootoo opened the scoring in the first period; then fought Joe DiPenta less than six minutes later. Midway through the second period, he assisted on the game-winning goal. Oh yeah, he played just 3:45 in the entire game. Now, that is economical use of your playing time.

*Roberto Luongo in goal, Nicklas Lidstrom and Dion Phaneuf on the points and Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Jarome Iginla up front. CTN would pay to see that starting six, which just happens to be what the West’s starting lineup will look like next month in Atlanta for the All-Star Game.

*CTN’s public service announcement of the week: It’s a mere 75 days to the trading deadline. Get you potential trades in order.


*Well, it turns out that Atlanta was the first team willing to roll the dice on Mark Recchi, who was waived by Pittsburgh last week. Claiming Recchi was a smart move by the Thrashers. He will help this club as it battles to reach the playoffs for a second straight year.

*Steve Stamkos, one of the youngest players at Team Canada’s World Junior Championships Selection Camp, is having a strong camp and has a legitimate shot of bouncing a more veteran player off the team.

*CTN wonders if Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Anthony Smith will make any more guarantees this year. His last one – that the Steelers would beat the Patriots – sure didn’t work out so well. Smith certainly has a long way to go before he reaches Mark Messier territory.

*Speaking of the Patriots, it sure was surprising to see this week that it appears the Jets had their own video-spying ring set up against the Patriots last year. CTN is shocked and dismayed. Not!

*Two NHL GMs – Detroit’s Ken Holland and Nashville’s David Poile – were handed new titles this week. Congrats to both on the well-earned accolades.


*Sheldon Souray is back in the Edmonton lineup. Welcome back, Sheldon. Your team missed you, but survived as well as can be expected. CTN expects the Oilers to start to creep up the Western Conference standings.

*Sure, it hurts a lot right for Bryan Little after the Thrashers bit the bullet and sent the prized prospect to the minors. But in the long run, the demotion will be good for Little.

*It seems some dastardly deviant without a soul has released the names of the 50 finalists for the upcoming season of American Idol. Oh, the humanity! What ever will we do?

*So, the NHL is testing out the heated skate blades developed by Therma Blade. These revolutionary blades are supposed to reduce skating drag and make players noticeably better. This may well prove to be the case, but CTN needs more help than this to improve his woefully poor skating stride. Can someone get on that revolution, please!


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