This is weird, but never has an NHL team with a European captain won a Stanley Cup championship.
That could change this season since five of the eight captains remaining in the playoffs are from Europe, including those with both of the Canadian-based teams still in contention.
The Ottawa Senators’ Daniel Alfreddson and the Vancouver Canucks’ Markus Naslund are Swedes, as is Detroit’s Niklas Lidstrom, who’s completing his first season wearing the Red Wings’ C. Patrik Elias of the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers’ Jaromir Jagr are both Czechs.
• The Ducks quacked the whip on the Canucks in their series opener Wednesday night, producing a 5-1 loss and a dark and gloomy forecast for Vancouver.
Around the NHL, many predict this Ducks-Canucks thing will end in the minimum four games. The Canucks, however, dismiss such conjecture and suspect they’ll become a more formidable opponent once their injured players return. Two of their top four defencemen missed Wednesday’s tilt. Sami Salo (back) and Kevin Bieksa (virus) played well during Vancouver’s first-round series against Dallas and were conspicuous by their absences Wednesday.
Salo likely will resurface for Game 2 tonight; Bieksa’s illness is complicated as results of blood tests are being diagnosed.
• The Ducks versus the Canucks means the Niedermayers (Scott and Rob) versus the Sedins (Daniel and Henrik) — the first time in 21 years that two pairs of brothers have faced each other in a post-season series.
Peter Stastny were with the Quebec Nordiques in 1986 when they met Dave and
Wayne Babych of the Hartford Whalers.
• Toronto FC hasn’t exactly jumped off to a rip-roaring start in the MLS as the expansion team remains not only in search of its first victory, but also its first goal.
Toronto has been outscored 8-0 in three games — a league record for the most goals allowed before scoring one of its own.
• If you’re like me, an aging recreational athlete, it’d be worth your while to attend a special free clinic May 15 in Toronto.
It’ll feature Dr. Tim Rindlisbacher, a sports health specialist who’ll speak on non-surgical management of aches and pains. A pair of gastroenterologists, Dr. Jeffrey Baker and Dr. Lawrence Cohen, also will deliver some info. For details, log on to www.ClevelandClinicCanada.com.
• And remember when Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox captured the hearts of millions by pitching his team to victory in the post-season with a blood-soaked foot?