SUN Hockey Pool

No drought what Hale's goal is

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

Early this month, it was Wade Belak's turn to snap a long goal-scoring drought.

Earlier this week, Aaron Miller did the same.

Good news for them. Rough news for Calgary Flames defenceman David Hale.

Hale now has the distinction of the longest active goal-scoring drought among current NHLers.

Heading into last night's clash with the Dallas Stars, Hale had gone 178 games without a goal. And we're not talking games between goals -- that's his whole NHL career.

His next NHL goal will be his first big-league tally.

"I think the biggest problem with all this is when it happens, what am I gonna do?" he said. "Am I gonna scream like a little girl?

"I'll probably embarrass myself."

Belak, the former Flame now toiling for the Toronto Maple Leafs, recently snapped a 143-game drought that dated back to the 2003-04 season.

When Miller, of the Vancouver Canucks, beat New Jersey's Martin Brodeur with a point shot, it ended a string of 193 games without a goal that dated back to Nov. 27, 2003.

Unfortunately, it also means Hale has the dubious honour of playing the most consecutive games without a goal to his name. The 26-year-old has no ill regards for Belak or Miller.

"Not at all," said the always friendly Hale. "If I have any emotion for them, it's 'Good for them.' "

Of course, now it means he's on the clock.

But it's not like Hale -- the first-round draft choice of the New Jersey Devils acquired at the trade deadline last season -- has never scored. During minor-league stints, he's collected four goals in 62 AHL contests.

He also put together a couple of four-goal seasons while with the University of North Dakota.

And he's had chances over the years. A few shots have clanged off the post.

"Yeah, I've been close," he said. "I'd like to get one."

By the way, long waits between goals are nothing new to Flames defencemen.

Cory Sarich once went 150 games between goals, while Robyn Regehr had a 100-game drought and Rhett Warrener went 99 games.

Earlier this season, Anders Eriksson scissored an 89-game dry spell.

Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik went into last night's game against the New York Islanders with a 159-game drought, while Matt Walker of the St. Louis Blues is still looking for his first goal after 140 NHL games.

Hale, knowing eyes will be on him a little more, is doing his best not to pay attention to the situation.

"If I worry about it too much, it's gonna wear on me," he said. "It's not my main job."

The good news for Hale is he's getting ample opportunity to do his job, with Rhett Warrener on the shelf since late November due to a high-ankle sprain.


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