No-Name Blues Off To Hot Start
The St. Louis Blues have five players on their roster who were in the minors at this time last season, yet they’re off to a 10-2-2 start. Terry Yake, Pavol Demitra and Craig Conroy have emerged as the Blues’ top three centers with Pierre Turgeon and Darren Turcotte recovering from injuries. Virtual unknowns Scott Pellerin and Blair Atcheynum are also contributing.
“You can never forget where you came from,” Pellerin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’ve spent a lot of time in the minors. We’ve been on the buses.”
“Now, we fly in and fly out for games,” Conroy said. “They have great meals for us. It’s like Disneyland. It’s all first class, but we still remember what it was like. I saw the other day that Peter Zezel is playing in the minors. That scares you.
You have to keep doing what it is that got you here.”
Bruin for life
Boston defenseman Ray Bourque is in his 19th season with the Bruins, the longest tenure of a player with his original team in any of the four major sports.
Bourque entered the weekend having played 1,303 games for the Bruins, the third-most with one team. Alex Delvecchio played 1,549 games in 24 seasons with Detroit, and Stan Mikita played 1,394 games in 22 seasons with the Blackhawks.
Gone but not forgotten
Mike Vernon, the MVP in Detroit’s Stanley Cup triumph last June, returned to Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night in a San Jose uniform. He left with a 4-3 loss, but with many memories of what he had helped the Red Wings accomplish last season. The best sight was the Stanley Cup banner hanging from the rafters.
“That was nice to see,” Vernon said. “I liked that. It’s great to look up there and know I was part of that history. I have those memories to cherish for the rest of my life.”
Vernon received a rousing ovation when the Sharks’ lineup was introduced.
Right wing Teemu Selanne really misses his linemate, Paul Kariya, a holdout back in Vancouver missing a large chunk of the regular season while he fights with Disney over a new contract.
In Anaheim’s first seven games this season, Selanne had just one goal. But Selanne has learned to play without Kariya, getting nine goals in six games heading into the weekend.
Selanne realizes that without Kariya, he must play less of a finesse game.
“I try to do more of what they call the garbage work,” Selanne said.
The team has responded. The Ducks went over .500 last week with a 5-4-4 record. It took them 80 games (34-33-13) to get over .500 last season.
On the ice
At St. Louis, Chris Pronger broke a scoreless tie with 2:23 remaining and Grant Fuhr made 23 saves as the St. Louis Blues continued their home-ice domination with a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Zigmund Palffy scored twice and Kenny Jonsson added three assists as the New York Islanders beat the visiting Los Angeles Kings 4-2 for their third straight victory.
At Boston, Ted Donato, Jason Allison and Tim Taylor scored goals and Byron Dafoe made 22 saves as the Boston Bruins beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 for their first home victory since Oct. 2.
At Pittsburgh, Rob Brown scored with 1:08 left in overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a wild 7-6 win over the struggling Vancouver Canucks.
© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.