Congratulations to Patrick Roy on his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday night. Roy, who’ll forever be part of the Â‘greatest goalie of all-time’ debate, was joined by 1960s star Dick Duff and builders Harley Hotchkiss and the late Herb Brooks.
Roy, of course, was a shoo-in selection for the Hall, given his four Stanley Cups, three Conn Smythes and record-high 551 wins. Beyond the numbers, though, is where Roy was king. He was the most intimidating and determined netminder of his generation and always placed winning above any individual honors. Roy was a fearless leader who bred confidence in his teammates. Simply put, if you played on Roy’s team, you believed you could win. And more often than not, you did.
While Roy’s legacy will stand the test of time, his record win total most likely will not. Ed Belfour is in second place with 460 wins through Nov. 14, but it doesn’t appear the 41-year-old Florida Panthers backup will reel off another 100 wins before retiring. Phoenix’s Curtis Joseph could move into fourth all-time by the end of the season; the 39-year-old has 431 wins, six behind Jacques Plante and 16 back of Terry Sawchuk.
But the stopper to watch is New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, an annual 30-plus-win machine who has 457 career victories and is only 34 years old. Considering Brodeur signed a six-year deal back in January, he should end up closer to 651 career wins.
Hit the road
Five teams were struggling away from home through mid-November, but none worse than the Florida Panthers. The Cats, who will be without power forward Todd Bertuzzi (back) until at least mid-December, had but one victory in 10 attempts as visitors (1-6-3). Boston (1-4-1 on the road), St. Louis (1-5-1), Phoenix (1-6-0) and Philadelphia (1-7-0) also couldn’t wait for some home cookin’.
Ottawa’s power outage
The Ottawa Senators’ season Â– through 17 games Â– in a nutshell: The Sens are 27th in the NHL in power play efficiency (11.1 per cent) with 11 power play goals on 99 chances. Meanwhile, they’ve given up a league-high seven shorthanded goals, meaning their power play is a paltry plus-4. Philadelphia is next worst with nine power play goals on 97 chances (for a league-low 9.3 per-cent efficiency) and four shorthanded goals against for a mere plus-5. Meanwhile, San Jose is first in the NHL on the power play at 24-for-104 (23.1 per-cent efficiency). And the Sharks have yet to surrender a shorthanded tally for a dominant plus-24 on the power play (through 19 games). In other words, San Jose has been about a-goal-a-game better than Ottawa on the power play.
East Coast goals
It’s not exactly Biggie Smalls vs. Tupac Shakur, but the East-West battle for the scoring race currently favors those closest to the Atlantic Ocean. The highest-scoring player in the Western Conference is a San Jose center, but not the Shark-shooter everyone expected. Patrick Marleau, with 21 points in 19 games, is tied for 14th place in NHL scoring. Every player ahead of him skates for an Eastern Conference team. In fact, only four West players made the top 25 in NHL scoring: Marleau (t-14th), fellow Sharks Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek (t-17th) and Edmonton sniper Petr Sykora (t-21st).
West Coast goalies
All of this sort speaks to the fact that nine of the 10 lowest goals-against averages belong to netminders on Western teams. Montreal’s Cristobal Huet ruined the West’s quest for a perfect 10-for-10 by finishing ninth with a 2.48 GAA.
New Jersey checking winger Jay Pandolfo is always available to kill penalties because he’s never the Devil in the penalty box. Pandolfo, who usually plays with another defensive specialist in John Madden, hadn’t been whistled for a minor penalty through 17 games this season. Last year, he didn’t see the inside of the sin bin until Game No. 46 on Jan. 17.