Hale's first goal pumps up ex-teammates

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The long-awaited Hale-storm finally happened in Columbus.

The effects were felt all the way in Vancouver.

Word that former Calgary Flames defenceman David Hale scored his first NHL goal Wednesday night spread like wildfire in the Calgary dressing room yesterday morning, and his former teammates couldn't have been happier.

"We were all so pumped when we saw his name go across on the ticker," said Flames left winger Eric Nystrom. "(David) Moss and I sent him a message right away. I'm sure he'll say he went coast-to-coast.

"The floodgates will now open for him."

Hale, an affable and humble defenceman, scored in his 231st NHL game in helping the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Blue Jackets 3-2. It's the longest start to an NHL career without a goal.

Hale was acquired by Calgary at the trade deadline in the 2006-07 season. After last season, he signed as a free-agent with the Coyotes.

Still, his former teammates were keeping tabs on the well-liked defenceman.

"We weren't sure how long Haler was going to go," said defenceman Cory Sarich, who once had a 150-game drought. "I was getting nervous because he was starting to track down Ken Daneyko.

"I'm glad to see he got one when he did."

Daneyko, the long-time New Jersey Devils blueliner, holds the NHL record for longest goal-scoring drought in history at 256 games.

"I'm hoping (Hale) feels awesome. He's a good guy. I'm happy for him," said Craig Conroy. "That's a long time. We joked with him a bit last year, but you don't want to say too much. It must have weighed on him.

"He's got a good shot. I'm surprised he doesn't have more. He jumps into the play and gets involved. He was just snake bit for 230 games."


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