Periodic thoughts and musings from the desk of ...Ted Nolan

The first rule of the NHL is don't start a fight when your team is a few goals up because you don't want to wake up the opponents. The second rule of the NHL is never underestimate a Ted Nolan team.

Nolan can coach. Period. While he might not be a Mensa quality X-and-O guy, there is no coach who can whip his team into such a fine froth before a game and wring so much out of his talent. Nolan is a maestro at pushing the us-against-the-world button, probably squeezing out three or four wins a year on raw emotion alone. With the New York Islanders, destiny's doormats, he is in his element. By midseason he will have these guys believing they're in the French Foreign Legion. He might coax them back into the playoffs, especially if the Free Agent Line of Mike Comrie, Bill Guerin and Ruslan Fedotenko continues to sparkle...

The Buffalo Sabres had to endure questions all summer about how much they would miss star centers Chris Drury and Daniel Brière, free agents who bolted for the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers respectively. Watching the Sabres get torched for six goals in their home opener last Friday by the Islanders - Comrie, who signed a one-year-deal to see if he likes Long Island, had a pair of goals, a feat he would replicate in the Islanders' home opener on Saturday - it struck me that Buffalo didn't miss Drury and Brière as much as it missed Jim Schoenfeld and Jerry Korab...

Ask your father...

Sidney Crosby blocked a François Beauchemin shot with his right foot in the first period of the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-4 win over the travel-weary Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. You remember, of course, that Crosby played the last month of the season and the first round of the playoffs after breaking his left foot while blocking a shot last March. Crosby, who returned in the second period with additional padding on his skates, should be willing to do a lot of the dirty work, setting an example for the Penguins as the youngest captain in NHL history. But coach Michel Therrien should order Crosby to stay out of the line of fire. Doing the little things has its place in the NHL, but Crosby is capable of doing the really big things for a team on the rise. Think clutch, not crutches. He needs a note from his coach, not his doctor...

Madison Square Garden, which owns the Rangers and the NBA's Knicks, has filed an antitrust suit against the NHL in an effort to control their own website and new media, claiming the league has been "squandering opportunities" to maximize revenues. In others words, the Rangers are implying that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is a dolt. Given Anucha Browne Sanders' recent successful civil suit for sexual harassment against MSG and the sworn testimony that emerged from the unseemly courtroom spectacle, James Dolan, the Garden boss, is in no position to imply that anyone is dumb.

Now let's break into small groups for this discussion: In the ongoing Goodell-ization of the sports world, should NBA Commissioner David Stern or Bettman actually suspend Dolan for bringing their respective leagues into disrepute? Commissioners have suspended owners before; indeed, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is a two-time loser. Bowie Kuhn initially suspended him for two years in 1974 after the owner pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to Richard Nixon's 1972 reelection campaign. The ban was lifted after 15 months. Fay Vincent nailed The Boss with an indefinite suspension in July, 1990, after Steinbrenner paid small-time gambler Howie Spira $40,000 to dig up dirt on New York slugger Dave Winfield. The suspension ended in March, 1993...

Headline in the Toronto Sun last week: "Leafs: Wait ‘Til Next Year." This is, as Dr. Ruth might call it, premature speculation. As Toronto coach Paul Maurice slyly noted after the 0-2 Maple Leafs defeated Montreal, 4-3, in overtime in a spirited, albeit inelegant, game on Saturday between two teams that figure to be on the fringes of the playoff race, Ottawa lost, 6-0, to Toronto in the second game of the 2006-07 season and wound up doing all right. With goalie Vesa Toskala having his second capable outing - and playing well at home in front of finicky Leafs fans in his first regular-season start at the Air Canada Centre - the glut of questions about Toronto's goaltender rotation has abated. At least until Toskala allows the next soft goal. General manager John Ferguson Jr. wouldn't have swung the deal with San Jose if he'd thought Andrew Raycroft, who played in more than 70 games last season despite a save percentage below .900, could handle the bulk of the goaltending...

On the subject of goaltending, Ottawa's Martin Gerber could be making life interesting for Senators general manager Bryan Murray. Gerber made 35 saves in a mostly 2-0 rocking-chair shutout against the New York Rangers on Saturday, which should bolster his confidence after two competent if not overwhelming performances in season-opening home-and-home victories against Toronto. Presumptive No. 1 goaltender Ray Emery is still at least a week away after undergoing offseason wrist surgery. Emery, who played well in getting Ottawa to the Stanley Cup Final, has been erratic off the ice: a missed flight during the playoffs last season; an argument with an elderly driver this fall. Meanwhile, Gerber, at least until now, merely has been erratic on the ice. Emery just signed a three-year, $9.5 million contract extension and Gerber is in the second-year of his three-year, $11.1 million deal, a ticket that makes him extremely difficult to move. In the short term, having two able goalies gives coach John Paddock some flexibility. In the long-term, spending almost $7 million annually for goaltending that isn't named Roberto Luongo just doesn't make sense in the salary-capped NHL...

Former NHL player Andreas Johansson, who was married to a Swedish beauty queen, was once asked why hockey players seem to wind up with fabulous-looking women. His classic answer was: "Because we can." Add to the burgeoning list actress/singer Hilary Duff, who has been keeping company with the Islanders' Comrie. Of course, the Islanders are used to having female celebrities in their midst. Former captain Alexei Yashin's close friend was Carol Alt, the supermodel who graced the cover of the 1982 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

On Long Island, apparently this is known as a youth movement.


Remember to keep your posts clean. Profanity will get filtered, and offensive comments will be removed.

Start Your Own Blog

Start Now

Truth & Rumors


  1. 1
    Clippers, Warriors exchange barbs
  2. 2
    Time to penalize NHL's perennial losers?
  3. 3
    Report: Raiders to release Terrelle Pryor on Monday
  4. 4
    Will NFL owners blackball Donald Trump?
  5. 5
    Packers lovers have own dating site

SI Photos