SUN Hockey Pool

Rick Nash nets karma, goals

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

Back at the end of December, banged-up Rick Nash figured it would take about 10 games to start potting goals at his usual rapid rate again.

His ankle was still sore and he's been lugging around a knee brace, which always takes some time for big-league athletes to ignore.

Well, no one knows what his body's saying better than the Nifty One. He's around that 10-game mark this week and he just turfed the New York Rangers with a beauty third-period winner.

Heading into last night's game against Londoner Jason Williams and the Detroit Red Wings, Nash had 12 goals in 18 games, a pace that would have earned him 54 tallies in an injury-free season.

If you believe in karma, Nash loaded up on the stuff with the launch of Rick Bands in Columbus, with proceeds to fight pediatric cancer.

The Rick Bands come in red (dedication), blue (believe) and silver (character), and are just like Lance Armstrong's Live Strong bracelets.

The bands are $2 US each and if you're interested in ordering (minimum of $10 worth), you can e-mail cbjfoundation@BlueJackets. com or call the team at (614) 246-FANS.

Mighty Macs

Mt. Brydges native Cody McCormick scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday in Colorado's 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Over the past 10 years, the Avs have consistently fostered a comfortable atmosphere for young players, which could explain why McCormick looked off Joe Sakic on the two-on-one break and confidently went five-hole on Ed Belfour for the terrific tally.

"I would have liked to have passed it over, but it's just not in the tool box," he told the Denver Post. "It's good to score against Toronto."

McCormick grew up a Leafs fan and, on that night, caused some grief to the rest of the so-called "Leafs Nation."

Cody wasn't the biggest Mac of the week because Anaheim's Andy McDonald picked up three assists in a 4-3 loss to Boston this week. The Strathroy native is plus-13 this year.

All-star shuffle

The beauty of the minor leagues is that the better you play, the less likely you're going to stick around. Of course, that makes aspirin a key ingredient to relieve the headache of picking midseason minor pro all-star teams.

Corey Perry has been named a Canadian starter for the American Hockey League all-star game at the end of the month, but there he was this week, practising with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Ottawa's Rideau Canal with the big league club.

His old Knights teammate Scott Sheppard has been tabbed as a selection for the Central Hockey League all-star team, even though he hasn't played in that circuit for nearly two months, because of his recall to the AHL's Rochester Americans.

Joining Girardi

Londoner Bryan Rodney had been playing with his Memorial Cup buddy Dan Girardi for the ECHL's Charlotte Checkers before his pal got called up to Hartford of the AHL. Well, Rodney's back with his buddy now after the phone rang for him to run with the WolfPack recently. If Rodney and Girardi ever jump to the NHL, they would be among few defensive partners who have played together in the OHL, ECHL, AHL and the big leagues.

In the sticks

Former Knight Jay Legault was released by the ECHL's Columbia Inferno this week, leaving goalie Chris Houle and forward Mike Stathopoulos as the South Carolina team's remaining Forest City reps. Stathopoulos is third in team scoring with 29 points in 38 games but he's also minus-16, while Houle has two shutouts but a 9-16-4 record and 3.82 goals against average.


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