Sunday Snippets

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

Should the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes fail to make the playoffs, they can blame shootouts as the reason why.

They are the worst shootout team in hockey.

As of yesterday, they were 1-for-17 in attempts, 0-for-5, as a team.

Meanwhile, Erik Christensen of Pittsburgh has scored eight shootout goals.

That's more than nine other NHL teams.

HASEK NUMBER

Weird as he is and weird as he plays, Dominik Hasek is statistically the greatest goaltender of all time.

He won the Stanley Cup in 2002, had a 2.17 goals-against average over the season in Detroit.

In his next full season, three years later, he had a 2.09 average in Ottawa.

Now, at age 42, he has a 2.12 average in Detroit.

All of which is mystifying.

THIS AND THAT

I confess. I have read some of my colleagues' emails. Can I now have the Ted Saskin punishment? Please send me home on leave at full salary. Come to think of it, please please me on leave at Ted's salary ... True story: Vincent Damphousse made a stirring defence of NHLPA boss Saskin at a player agents' meeting last year and was asked aloud by agent Ritch Winter if he worked for the PA or planned to do in the future? Damphousse answered an emphatic no. A few months later, Damphousse was hired by the PA at serious money for what essentially has been part-time work ... Now that Alexei Kovalev is complaining of vertigo and other assorted issues, do the Montreal Canadiens have to change their goal scoring arena music from the U2 hit? Or does Kovalev score so infrequently it's not inappropriate to play Vertigo for someone who apparently suffers from it ... Eight years as a Leaf and I'm still not certain how much English Tomas Kaberle understands, or whether he pretends not to understand when he chooses it fits his circumstances.

HEAR AND THERE

If and when the Pete Rose story is made into a movie, can Jon Lovitz play the part of Pete? Then, when asked about his betting on baseball he can answer: "Yeah, I bet on the Reds with my wife, Morgan Fairchild, whom I've seen naked. Yeah, that's the ticket." ... If I'm looking for a boss for the NHLPA, my first phone call is to Paul Beeston, who has negotiated collective bargaining agreements on behalf of baseball and is the dynamic personality and rallying force the PA needs at this time .... Why would the Toronto Argonauts want Joey Harrington to play quarterback? Why would anyone? ... How come Leafs GM John Ferguson's $12 million pair of defencemen, Bryan McCabe and Pavel Kubina, couldn't hold up against the pocket change forwards from the Washington Capitals on Friday night? ... Sports Illustrated magazine, by the way, lists McCabe as the second most overrated player in the NHL, just behind Alexei Yashin.

SCENE AND HEARD

It looks so odd, considering the history: But this will be the first time in 12 NBA seasons the Toronto Raptors will finish first in theirs or any division ... In the NCAA basketball tournament, Oral Roberts didn't have a prayer ... And to think, we used to laugh at the Rough Riders-Roughriders thing: In the hoops tournament, the Wildcats defeated the Wildcats and the Cardinals defeated the Cardinal ... One more NCAA note: Winthrop defeated Notre Dame. No word on how Mortimer did ... My favourite pitching name has a bad wing: J.J. Putz of the Seattle Mariners ... Truth in numbers: Ten running backs who led their NFLteams in rushing last year have either retired, been released, traded or changed teams in the off-season ... A hot finish could make Teemu Selanne the oldest 50-goal scorer in NHL history. Selanne turns 37 in July. Johnny Bucyk scored 50 at age 35 for Boston in 1971.

AND ANOTHER THING

Quietly, and without attention, Chris Gratton is about to become the youngest player to reach the 1,000-game mark as an NHL player. Maybe Gratton, 31, didn't become the great player some expected him to be. But his durability remains unquestioned: Over 13 seasons, he missed fewer than 20 games ... Sammy Sosa, 12 home runs and as many injections short of 600 home runs, has made the opening day roster of the Texas Rangers ... Ohio State may be ranked No.1 in college basketball but not in the classroom where only 10% of basketball players have earned degrees in recent years ... A belated happy 70th birthday to Harry Neale, who remains a cherished storyteller.


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