Here we go again. With coach Kevin Constantine making all the right moves, the pesky San Jose Sharks are heading back to Detroit.
The upstart Sharks bounced the heavily favored Red Wings from the NHL playoffs last season, and are hoping a pair of former Spokane Chiefs will continue to lead the way.
Pat Falloon and Ray Whitney, teammates on Spokane’s 1990-91 Memorial Cup championship club, keyed Friday’s victory over another former teammate, goalie Trevor Kidd, and the Calgary Flames.
Falloon, who had two goals and an assist against Calgary, expects Detroit to be looking for revenge this year.
“They have a great team,” he said. “They’ve made a few changes. They’re a better team than they were last year. To beat them, we’re going to have to be a better team than we were last year.”
This time, the teams meet in the second round, instead of the first. But nothing else appears to have changed. The Red Wings, the best team in the NHL during the abbreviated season, are favored again.
Yet the Sharks are still up to their old tricks.
They proved that with their 5-4 double-overtime victory at Calgary Friday night in the Western Conference quarterfinals. Whitney’s goal at 1 minute, 54 seconds of the second overtime was the game-winner.
“I watched some of that series on television,” Detroit captain Steve Yzerman said. “Time after time, Calgary would have them pinned in their own end. Then, there would be a turnover and the next thing you know San Jose gets one shot on net and scores.
“I thought, ‘Boy, have I seen that before.”’
Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal is today at Joe Louis Arena.
Jets ponder future
The fate of the beleaguered Winnipeg Jets has been bouncing around like a loose puck as loyal fans wait for someone to blow the whistle.
The Jets appeared ready to take off for the United States Friday, but their departure was again stalled by local residents bent on keeping the team in Winnipeg.
Jets owners said they were proceeding with the sale of the NHL franchise to a U.S. group. But Jets president Barry Shenkarow also received a late offer on Friday from a Winnipeg business group.
Fans who spent a frenetic week fund-raising to keep the team in town were baffled.
“They kept saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.“‘The confusion left the Jets fans
wondering if the team would stay in Winnipeg or be sold to Richard Burke and Stephen Gluckstern and move to Minneapolis.
Burke and Gluckstern scheduled a news conference for today at 1:15 p.m. in Minneapolis.
Keenan feeling blue
St. Louis Blues’ coach Mike Keenan ripped into NHL officiating after his team was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs with a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
Among other things, he criticized league vice president Brian Burke for suspending wing Glenn Anderson for Friday night’s Game 7 and referee Andy Van Hellemond for giving the Canucks a 5-on-3 advantage that led to Vancouver’s third goal late in the first period.
Burke suspended Anderson for injuring Canucks defenseman Dave Wotton with a high stick in Game 6, ruling the action was deliberate.
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