New rules making goalie wins records obsolete

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

If you did the math back in the summer, you knew that the new rules would add up to several National Hockey League records.

None has had the impact of the shootout, which has helped put the Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres all on the cusp of 50 wins.

A netminder such as Marty Turco of the Stars now has a shot at Bernie Parent's record of 47 wins from the 1973-74 season.

Where ties once dotted the NHL landscape in the standings, the 'W' column has fattened considerably.

But should all this be framed by a field of asterisks to mark this season's radical change in points' policy?

There is no denying fans have warmed to the idea that one team will go home a guaranteed winner each night. But should the league officially recognize that it has meddled with tradition with the likes of shootouts and bonus points?

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly says not to strain your eyes looking for asterisks beside players feats in the 2006-07 NHL Guide and Record Book.

"Our league has never qualified individual records over our 90-year history, despite many significant changes in the rules and the way the game was played," Daly said in an e-mail. "(That's) including varying lengths of schedule and different rules for regular-season overtime."

There is no doubt Turco's cause has been helped by the Stars' 12 overtime wins, 11 by shootout. He is at 39 victories, needing just five to match the second-best mark, jointly held by Parent and Terry Sawchuk.

Turco has done his part in extra time, of course, but shootout specialist Jussi Jokinen has proved just as valuable in that situation.

Dallas, meanwhile, needs one road win for a team record 24th when they visit the Kings tonight. Ottawa needs four wins in its remaining 10 games for a record 53. Carolina is already four victories ahead of its best year in Hartford. Back-to-back shootout wins, both winners by Olli Jokinen, gave Florida a record-tying seven-game win streak before last night.

But Ottawa has now lost its past six shootouts -- after beating the Leafs 3-2 in the first two stages of the Battle Of Ontario back in October. The Senators haven't even scored in their past five shootout attempts.

"There are only 11 games left, so we'll survive," coach Bryan Murray said.

"They're not going to use (shootouts) in the playoffs, so we'll be okay."

REF GOES UNDERCOVER

Kerry Fraser's immaculate hair will have to be hidden under a helmet next year. The 54-year-old referee, the senior member of the league's officiating staff, will have to obey the rules and protect his famous lacquered lid.

"I may have to go down to the wood like Mess (Mark Messier)," joked Fraser, on maybe going bald to make the helmet fit.

"I'll still look better than Mick McGeough (who has also shunned headgear so far). Now, he's got a big head. Put a helmet on him and he'll look like Magilla Gorilla."

COYOTE SUITS UP, TWICE

Quite the NHL introduction for Bill Thomas last week. The scoring-starved Phoenix Coyotes signed the forward on Sunday, a day after he left the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Thomas completed the paperwork on Tuesday and, to celebrate, spent the afternoon at a local mall unloading a bit of his signing bonus on a new suit for the press box. He ambled into Glendale Arena a half hour before the game and was told by coach Wayne Gretzky that Dave Scatchard was ill and he would be taking his place.

"I was more shocked than nervous and I was just trying to get dressed on time," Thomas said.

Thomas and the Coyotes won 5-3.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Dwayne Roloson's future in Edmonton is tied to him reversing some one-goal decisions and getting the Oilers into the playoffs. If he fails, a strong off-season push will be made for Martin Biron or Andrew Raycroft. A Raycroft -Raffi Torres swap with Boston was considered before the deadline. While ex-Bruin Sergei Samsonov has been a hit in Edmonton, Mike Peca never has blossomed... Defenceman Wade Redden has left the Senators to be with his mother, Pat, who is seriously ill with brain cancer ... Fed up that Marian Gaborik, Wes Walz and Brian Rolston had scored 23 of the Wild's 31 goals since the Olympics, coach Jacques Lemaire said: "If I would be 20, maybe I would put on the skates and try to get one."... Since goalie Curtis Sanford suffered a torn MCL on March 13, the St. Louis Blues have reverted to old habits and dropped eight in a row before last night ... The Nashville Predators could use a pick-me-up from the visiting Blues tonight. After hitting 90 points, they've dropped three in a row and are in danger of losing fourth place and home ice in the West. That's disturbing, because the Preds are 27-7-1 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center this season and a game below .500 on the road.


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