Week In Review after games played on Saturday, November 25, 1989
Jim Fox Announces His Retirement
The knee problems that kept Jim Fox off the ice all of last season have forced his retirement. Fox made the announcement Saturday, early in his 10th season with the Kings, his only NHL team.
After surgery on both knees, after an entire season of working with therapists, after an all-out effort in training camp and in 11 games this season, Fox said: "I just wasn't able to do a lot of the things that I did before. I was digging, digging, digging. I was getting frustrated. Five or six times that I can think of defensemen were getting a piece of me when, in the past, that wouldn't happen. My game was stopping, starting, darting in out, using my quickness. I didn't have that."
Fox, who suffered an injured right knee in March of 1988, played in 11 of the team's first 22 games and had two goals and one assist. Both his goals were game-winning goals in each of the first two games of the season against the Leafs and the Oilers in from of his home crowd.
He asked to be put on waivers Monday, and he cleared waivers. "I wanted to see if there was any interest, and there wasn't," Fox said. "I guess everyone else could see it was time for me to retire, too."
Fox, who worked in community relations for the Kings last season while he was trying to rehabilitate his knees, has been offered a job in the Kings' front office.
Because it is a disabling injury that is forcing his retirement, he will also file a claim to collect $120,000 in disability insurance from Lloyd's of London.
Fox was acquired by the Kings with their second choice in the 1980 entry draft. He played in 578 games, getting 187 goals and 292 assists for 478 points.
Fox will pursue a front office role with the Kings
Sabres Trade Halkidis
The Buffalo Sabres today traded defenseman Bob Halkidis to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Dale DeGray. Both players will remain in the American Hockey League.
DeGray played 63 regular season games (six goals, 22 assists and 97 penalty minutes) and eight playoff games for the Kings last season. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is regarded as a strong defensive player with a heavy shot from the blue line. He is 26.
DeGray shoots right, something the Sabres have little of and could use on the power play.
Transaction – November 23-
To Los Angeles: Bob Halkidis and futures
To Buffalo: Dale DeGray and futures
League Will Probably Go West For Expansion
Although King owner Bruce McNall, a member of the NHL's expansion committee, has made it clear that he would like to see a couple of West Coast teams included when the league eventually expands--and that San Jose would be an especially nice place for one team--the Bay Area's hopes soared a few days ago when Barry Shenkarow, president of the Winnipeg Jets, seconded the motion.
Shenkarow, also a member of the expansion committee, was quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press as saying: "I think everyone has just about recognized that a team will be located in the Bay Area. . . . The general feeling around the league is that there is a bias toward getting two teams in the West."
San Jose is investing $100,000 in a public-relations effort involved in lobbying with the NHL and keeping San Jose's name out front as an expansion city. That's a small percentage of the $100 million the city is putting into its planned downtown arena.
San Jose backers are also soliciting ownership proposals, including one from former Hartford Whaler owner Howard Baldwin.
Calder Trophy Eligibility Standards
No decision was reached on how eligibility standards for the Calder Trophy might be changed, but the rookie-of-the-year award was debated at length Monday in a meeting of the league's general managers at Chicago.
Montreal's Serge Savard, a leader among those who think it is ludicrous to consider newcomers from European leagues "rookies" on the basis of their lack of NHL experience, reported: "The feeling is that we need much more discussion. The chance of changing anything this year is very difficult. It's just about impossible."
Calgary's Cliff Fletcher said it would be difficult to change the rules with the season "25% over," but then he wouldn't be in much of a hurry to change the rule to eliminate Sergei Makarov, the current leading candidate for the award despite his many years of experience with the Soviet Central Red Army team.
David Poile of Washington, chairman of the general managers' group, said: "It's an emotional issue. Hindsight is always 20-20, and maybe there should have been an amendment before this current wave of older players from Europe. But we can't turn back the clock."
Video Replays On The Horizon?
Another issue discussed by the general managers was the possible use of video replays to help officials. After much discussion on that subject, there was no consensus on what to recommend to the board of governors. Poile said: "We see what the NFL has done and we've been going over it for three or four years. We've not been able, through experimentation and discussion, to come up with something that can be done."
Igor Larionov Soviet Allegations
A denial came from Yuri Koralev, a coach with the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation, responding to charges made by Igor Larionov in his book, "The Front Line Rebels," that Soviet players worked with laboratory officials to fix drug tests during the 1986 World Championships in Moscow by switching urine samples. Koralev said: "Everything was invented by Larionov."
According to Larionov's book, clean urine samples were hidden behind the toilets for the Soviet players to submit.
Larionov also wrote that before the world championship in Sweden in 1981, he refused an injection of "an unknown substance" and was not selected for the team. Helmut Balderis, now with the Minnesota North Stars, indicated during an interview in Toronto recently that many Soviet players were given injections.
But the Associated Press quoted Balderis as saying that the injection Larionov refused was glucose.
Trouble In Edmonton
With Edmonton under .500, rumors of a coaching change have surfaced. The word was that Glen Sather, the coach who led the Oilers to their four Stanley Cups but who was bumped upstairs after last season, would be making a comeback, replacing his former "co-coach," John Muckler. Not so, Sather said. He said Muckler is a good coach and will be the Oilers' man "for a long, long time."
Rough and Tumble Maple Leafs
Penalty minutes are down all over the league, but Toronto, which is among the league leaders both in brawls and in average penalty minutes (18.64) a game, seems to be going against the grain. While most teams are moving away from fighting and high-sticking--seven teams averaged more than 26.5 minutes last season--Toronto seems to have adopted the rough stuff as a strategy.
At least, that's the charge of Minnesota Coach Pierre Page, who is not happy with the three penalty-filled games his team has played against Toronto in the last two weeks. He was especially upset at the Maple Leafs' Rob Ramage, who hit Minnesota's Brian Bellows with a high stick during the third period of a game Sunday night.
Page also told the Globe and Mail that Toronto Coach Doug Carpenter was trying to psych out his players. "He was yelling and screaming at our players," Page said. "He was trying to get something going, and not too many coaches in the league will do that."
Some final words on Toronto's fracas with the Washington Capitals last month:
Toronto goalie Mark LaForest, on his fight with Washington center Dale Hunter: "He told me to take my mask off, and I obliged. So I hit him."
Viacheslav Fetisov of the Devils was so embarrassed by his poor showing in a line fight with the Maple Leafs that he asked teammate Jim Korn for some pugilistic tips. Fetisov said it wasn't that he never had a fight on skates in the Soviet Union, but it had been a while. He needed to brush up. "I haven't had a fight in 10 years, not since the world juniors and my first three years on the Soviet national team," Fetisov said. "I forgot some things. Now I remember them. . . . I'm mad at myself. I'm guilty of not being prepared (for the fight). It won't happen in the future. I reacted much too calmly."
Witnesses say he didn't react at all. He just let Toronto's Wendel Clark "smack him repeatedly." A picture that ran in the Toronto Sun showed Clark about to land a punch while Fetisov waits with a look of horror. Asked if he had seen the picture, Fetisov said: "I have it hanging over my bed."
The surprising Hartford Whalers are leading the NHL with 37 points. The Whalers didn't have 37 points last season until January 10th.. . . Paul Reinhart of the Vancouver Canucks will be out at least 10 days with a sprained ankle. Reinhart has 4 goals and 12 assists for the Canucks. . . . Pittsburgh Penguin Coach Gene Ubriaco: "You're paid to win. I understand that. Let's face it, anybody can get paid to lose." Speaking of slumps, the Quebec Nordiques had dropped nine in a row, a club record and also the longest losing streak in the league this season, before beating the St. Louis Blues on the 4th. Peter Stastny had his best game of the season, scoring the Game-Winning Goal. Joe Cirella said: "We weren't uptight, but you start getting worried about what's going on, particularly the young guys who have never experienced this before. The breaks were all going one way."
Hartford, Calgary, and Montreal all are creating some nice elbow-room in making a run to the postseason. Quebec, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Edmonton are digging themselves a deeper hole to climb out of their respective basements. The Whalers are amidst an improbable 14 game unbeaten streak, however, they face a difficult home and home series with the Sabres this week.
It was another very good week for the New Jersey Devils, as they went 3-0-0 to claim first place in the competitive Patrick Division. The Devils have won 5 of their last 6 games, scoring 31 goals in the 5 victories. Vancouver, Boston, and the Islanders also put in 3-0-0 weeks.
On the other side, Los Angeles failed to get a point in 2 contests, and Minnesota and Quebec went 0-3-0. Edmonton had a disaster of a week, posting an 0-4-0 record. The Penguins posted a victory against the Capitals Saturday night, but nobody is certain if that will be enough to save Gene Ubriaco’s job behind the bench. The Penguins continue to have the least points in the NHL, a minus 26 goal differential, and they are slipping away in the Patrick Division.
Now on to the NHL’s league leaders through the eighth week of action.
Patrik Sundstrom continues to dominate, vaulting him into early Hart Trophy Conversation. In the Devils’ 3 wins this week, Sundstrom put up 3 goals and 5 assists this week as a sequel to his 10 point week. Sundstrom leads the league with 46 points, rolling toward his 1988-89 total of 69. Sundstrom’s career-high is 91 points in 1983-84 with Vancouver. Sundstrom has at least a point in all 23 of New Jersey’s games.
Patrik Sundstrom had 8 more points this week, leads the league with 46.
Patrik Sundstrom is starting to separate from the pack, as the Devils hope to in the Patrick Division
Paul Cavallini and Mike Lalor have been the most effective combo in the NHL. Cavallini was a +6 this week
Not surprising, as the Nordiques carry the worst goal differential in the NHL
PENALTY MINUTES LEADERS
FACEOFF PERCENTAGE LEADERS
POWERPLAY GOALS LEADERS
GAME-WINNING GOALS LEADERS
SHOTS ON GOAL
SAVE PERCENTAGE LEADERS
GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE LEADERS
In his limited opportunity this season, Bruce Hoffort has played with the best of the NHL, posting a 4-0-0 record
GOALIE RATING PERCENTAGE LEADERS
Don Beaupre has been a workhorse for the Capitals
Game of the Week:
Jets Mount Huge Comeback vs. Red Hot Blues
The Blues have been in control of nearly every game as of late. St. Louis skated into Winnipeg Arena on a 5 game winning streak, extending their Norris-Division best record to 13-7-0. The Jets had lost 5 of 7, slipping deeper into bottom dwellers of the Smythe Division.
The game started out as expected. The first period started with Gino Cavallini’s first goal of the season just 5 minutes into the game. Paul Cavallini, the NHL’s plus/minus leader added his fourth of the season with 3:11 left in the opening frame. Winnipeg only managed 5 shots on goal.
The second period was a close-copy of the first. The Jets, through 40 minutes only had 13 shots, getting frustrated by the Blues’ stingy defense, deep lines, and opportunistic scoring. Sergio Momesso scored a powerplay goal to put St. Louis ahead 3-0, and Adam Oates netted his 11th 1:43 later to up the lead into the second intermission to 4-0. It looked like the Blues were on their way to their 6th straight win.
With Dave Lowry sitting in the penalty box for the first 10 seconds of the 3rd period, The PP line of Fenton, Elynuik, and Hawerchuk took the faceoff and made a nifty passing play, culminating with Hawerchuk’s 9th goal 9 seconds into the period. Hopes for a comeback were tempered though when Paul MacLean tipped a Paul Cavallini shot at the 1:58 mark to reclaim the 4-goal lead 5-1.
Hawerchuk answered with his second of the game 48 seconds later though for his 10th of the season. The Blues, trying to settle the game down, may have gotten too complacent. Just before the midway marker of the 3rd, Randy Cunneyworth scored on a rebound to close the lead to 5-3.
Then, Tomas Steen put the game on his shoulders. 46 seconds apart, Steen scored his 15th and 16th of the season to tie the game at 5. Steen is well ahead of his expected pace of 18 goals for the season. The game was tied 5-5, the 10,632 fans who remained were on their feet, and there were still 6:03 on the clock.
The third period ended without any more goals, but overtime would be over in a blink. St. Loui could not handle the puck off the faceoff and the puck bounded over to Dale Hawerchuk’s stick. Hawerchuk shot the puck from the top of the circle through traffic and beat Greg Millen for the hat trick and overtime winner, touching off a wild celebration for the Jets.
Fight of the week:
The Sabres, who have been struggling, fell behind 1-0 early at home against the Rangers. Buffalo, who has been one of the more disciplined teams to date, unleashed young enforcer Rob Ray. Ray, who participated in many tussles in the AHL with Rochester found a willing combatant in Rudy Poeschek. Both players had a good showing, landing some telling blows. All in all, the fight, Rob Ray’s 1st in the NHL ended in a draw. The game, however didn’t, as the Rangers convincingly won 4-1. Ray ended up fighting in Buffalo’s following game versus the Nordiques, gaining a convincing victory against J. M. Routhier.
Rob Ray mixes it up with Mallette vs the Rangers Wednesday night
MOLSON 3 STAR POINTS LEADERS
3 Stars of the Week:
Sundstrom has become the talk of the NHL
1. Patrik Sundstrom – New Jersey
2. Tomas Steen – Winnipeg
3. Brian Sutter – New York Islanders
The top 3 stars in the NHL this week each notched 8 points. Sundstrom scored 3 goals and 5 assists to lead the red hot Devils to extend his NHL-leading point total to 46. Tomas Steen scored 6 goals and had 2 assists, including 2 goals in the Jets’ wild comeback against the Blues. Brian Sutter also had 6 goals and 2 assists as the Islanders had a 3-0-0 week. Sutter capped his week’s performance with a hat trick Saturday night to help lead the Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the Oilers. These 3 stars benefited from Mike Liut and the Whalers playing a light 2-game schedule this week. Liut allowed 2 total goals in Hartford’s 2 victories.
TEAM PP% RANKINGS
TEAM SH RANKINGS
TEAM GOAL DIFFERENTIAL
This Week In the News
November 20th – Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Robin Yount wins AL MVP Award
It wasn't as close as the 1947 vote when Joe DiMaggio nudged Ted Williams by 1 point in a duel of the titans. It wasn't as close as the 1981 vote when Rollie Fingers won by 11 over Rickey Henderson. And it wasn't even as close as the 1987 vote when George Bell led Alan Trammell by 21 points.
But it was close enough, a free-for-all with no dominant candidate and almost a photo finish with six players receiving votes for first place. And the winner was Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers, who was elected the most valuable player in the American League yesterday over Ruben Sierra of the Texas Rangers. Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles and Bell of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Like Mark Davis of the San Diego Padres, who won the Cy Young Award as the National League's best pitcher last week, Yount showed a fine sense of timing: Like Davis, he filed for free agency just before winning his league's top performance award. He has spent his entire career of 16 years with the Brewers, but they will have to considerably raise his salary of $1.150 million to keep him. However, the owner of the team, Bud Selig, personally negotiates Yount's contract and is not likely to lose his star by default. The Brewers finished fourth in the American League East.
Yount was vacationing in Hawaii when his election was announced, but he said by telephone:
''It's always nice to be recognized, but I want everyone to realize this award is also for my teammates, the organization and the great fans of Wisconsin.''
''We're delighted,'' Selig said. ''He gives 100 percent on and off the field, and success has not changed him.'' 6 Get First-Place Votes The voting was this close: Yount received 8 votes for first place, Sierra and Ripken got 6 apiece, Bell got 4, Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics got 3 and Carney Lansford of the A's, who finished 17th in total points, got 1 vote for first place. But Yount was the only player in the league who was mentioned on all 28 ballots, two cast by baseball writers from each of the 14 cities in the league.
Yount, who is 34 years old, won his award by scoring 256 points. Sierra came next with 228, then Ripken with 216, Bell with 205 and Eckersley with 116.
Yount did not lead the league in any offensive category. But he did hit .318 with 21 home runs and knocked in 103 runs. Sierra hit .306 with 29 home runs and drove in 119 runs. Ripken hit .257 with 21 home runs and batted in 93 runs.
This is the second time that Yount has been named the most valuable player in the league. He has also won the award at two positions. He was the shortstop when he won it in 1982, and he was the center fielder this year.
November 23rd – Kirby Puckett Signs Record $3,000,000 Contract
Baseball, continuing to experience a renewed salary escalation that began last off season, gained its first $3 million-a-year player yesterday, when Kirby Puckett and the Minnesota Twins agreed on a three-year, $9 million contract.
With such free agents as Rickey Henderson and Mark Langston currently negotiating with clubs, Puckett could quickly lose his status as the highest-paid player in baseball history. The center fielder, however, will always be known as the sport's first $3 million man.
''Right now he's the highest-paid player in baseball and deservedly so when you consider what he's done,'' Andy MacPhail, the Twins' general manager, said by telephone from Minneapolis. ''Besides what he has accomplished in his career, he is so much a part of our community. He is the Twins. He's truly remarkable. There's no way I could see us playing without him.'' Led League in Hitting
Puckett, 28 years old, won the American League batting championship with a .339 average this year, the fourth year in his six seasons in the major leagues that he hit better than .300. Last year he batted .356. He also has driven in an average of 95 runs per season in the last five years.
In his previous major league seasons, Puckett earned $50,000, $130,000, $265,000, $465,000, $1.21 million and $2.05 million. His new contract calls for salaries of $2.2 million, $2.5 million and $2.8 million. He also will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus in three $500,000 payments - now, Dec. 15, 1990, and one year after that.
The contract also has bonus provisions of $200,000 if he is named the league's most valuable player, $100,000 if he places second or third in the voting and $25,000 if he wins the Gold Glove award, which he is expected to do this year for the fourth consecutive year. Furthermore, he can designate three teams to which he cannot be traded.
Previously, the most lucrative contract was the three-year, $8.9 million extension Bret Saberhagen agreed to with Kansas City last Friday. The Twins signed Frank Viola last April to a three-year contract averaging $2,633,333, the same deal Orel Hershiser had accepted from Los Angeles two months earlier. Pitchers' Market
Until Puckett, the players gaining the heftiest financial packages the past year had been pitchers. Roger Clemens of Boston, at $2.5 million a year, and Mark Gubicza of Kansas City, at $2,466,667, placed just behind Saberhagen, Hershiser and Viola.
''They had a goal to be the first one to reach the $3 million level,'' MacPhail said of his negotiations with Puckett's agent, Ron Shapiro.
Shapiro confirmed that assessment. Initially, he said from his office in Baltimore, Puckett seriously considered the possibility of signing only a one-year contract and becoming a free agent after next season.
''But after our discussions,'' Shapiro said, ''it was clear that Kirby wanted to continue his relationship with the Twins. And while we wondered what might be out there, once we reached this level, we felt it was the thing to do. It was important to Kirby, after studying the situation, to reach this level.''
''Hopefully, this will open up other avenues for other people,'' Puckett told reporters in Minneapolis. ''You've got a couple guys in the free-agent market now, Rickey Henderson and Mark Langston, and there's going to be some owners who really open up to them and maybe get them some more than I've gotten. But I'm not going to look over my shoulder. What I've gotten, I'm happy with it.'' Long Negotiations
MacPhail and Shapiro began discussing a multiyear contract last winter and talked about it briefly early in the season. A year ago, the Twins likely could have signed Puckett to a $6.9 million contract taking him through the 1991 season, which would have been only one year past the time when he could have been a free agent.
They resumed talking in September and finally reached agreement on the money Tuesday evening and on the contract language yesterday morning.
''We watched the price go up since we started talking before last season,'' MacPhail said.
Shapiro said they had been prepared to break off negotiations as they had done early in the season, but ''last evening they said, 'Let's do it.' ''
Before the Puckett contract, Henderson had been given a strong chance to reach the $3 million plateau. Richie Bry, his agent, said yesterday Puckett's deal will not affect their negotiations.
''Rickey's first choice is Oakland,'' Bry said from his office in St. Louis. ''We gave Oakland a proposal and intend to give them an opportunity, within reason, to meet the proposal. Puckett's contract doesn't change our position.''
“Girl You Know It’s True” by Milli Vanilli hits #1 on the Billboard 200 Chart