Floyd is a Worldstar!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

KARLSTAD, Sweden -- Floyd Whitney came close to playing goal in an NHL game once. "It was against the Washington Capitals," he said. "Billy Ranford got hurt and Kevin Lowe called me down from the stands and had me sit in the Oilers dressing room with all my equipment on as a backup. He didn't want to embarrass the NHL by actually having me sit on the bench."

But last night, at age 51, the grey-haired Edmonton cop played goal for a team of NHLers featuring the likes of Mats Sundin, Sergei Fedorov, Rob Blake and Brendan Shanahan. Got a shutout, too.

OK, it was for two minutes and three second. But, hey, there hasn't been a story like this since Gordie Howe played with his two sons in the World Hockey Association.

Sure, maybe Gordie, Mark and Marty managed to play together a little longer than two minutes. But how many saves did Gordie ever make? Floyd made two!

Ray Whitney, the Oilers stick boy back when they were winning Stanley Cups with Gretzky and the gang, is his son.

"I was a little nervous for him," said Ray, who scored the only goal for the Worldstars - a team that had already embarrassed the NHL by losing 6-1 with 39-year-old Dominik Hasek unable to stop a Swedish meatball - when Floyd got the call.

"But then dad made that first save and he settled right down," said Ray.

Ray said there was only one moment when he was concerned for the old man. "I could see him thinking about going into the corner for a puck. But then ... no way."

Swedish television kept the camera on Floyd at the end of the game and flashed up his totals - Shots: 2. Saves: 2. Save percentage: 1000%. "I've gotta get me a copy of that," said Floyd.

The elder Whitney was invited on the tour to be the practice goalie. Problem is, the team hasn't had time (or inclination) for practices. Players spent another six hours travelling to get from Bern to Karlstad yesterday and still haven't had time to take a team picture.

"I was told before we caught the plane this morning in Switzerland," said Floyd of getting into the lineup. "Marty Brodeur ... said he wanted to sit in the stands."

Hasek has had the misfortune of going all the way in the two games on this tour that turned out to be actual games. He gave up five against the Russians when they loaded the squad with all their top young stars in Moscow.

"I wanted for Floyd to come in with the score 6-1 for us," said Hasek. "But I'm still glad he was able to play.''

"I thought Dominik played well," said coach Marty McSorley. "His save-to-excellent-scoring-chance-ratio was actually pretty good ... but he was no Floyd Whitney."

Brodeur, who was instrumental in putting this tour together, said it was the only positive they had.

"Floyd was awesome. For him to live that kind of experience, after being around all those great Oilers all those years and Ray playing on this team, is something he'll remember for the rest of his life."

Floyd said he was just happy to skate during the introductions and hear them announce: "From the Edmonton Oilers ... Flooooyyyd Whitney!"

Floyd now has his own Worldstars jersey, with No. 2 on the back, to remind him of his two minutes and two saves.

Maybe somebody in the crowd of 6,037 might have been thinking, 'Gee, they got rid of Tommy Salo for that old geezer?'

"Ah, it was Floyd's fault. I didn't think he played well enough for us to win," laughed Shanahan.

In seriousness, Shanahan said they ran into a team that played the game straight.

"That team has been sitting at home practising for a week," he said of the club that played without Mike Comrie, Zdeno Chara and Sheldon Souray.

The weary Worldstars, playing their sixth game in eight nights, are almost too pooped to party at this point. They were bored to death by the disciplined fourth-place Swedish league squad that was missing not only all three NHL imports but two Swedish national team players, a Finland national team player and an injured player.

They will all be able to tell their grandchildren that they beat these guys. But they won't be able to say they beat Floyd Whitney.


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