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Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:02 pm

Scott Cullen takes a look at the stories from November 29th through December 5th in the NHL, including Jean Beliveau, Daniel Alfredsson, All-Star voting and more. BELIVEAU DIES Hockey lost perhaps its premier statesman when 83-year-old Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau died this week. Beliveau came up as a supremely-touted prospect, who was making more money playing senior league hockey for the Quebec Aces before he embarked on his pro career with the Montreal Canadiens. Over the course of his career, he scored 1,219 points in 1,125 games and added 176 points in 162 playoff games, winning 10 Stanley Cups with the Habs. During his final season, as a 39-year-old in 1970-71, Beliveau led the Canadiens with 76 points in 70 games, then added 22 points in 20 playoff games on the way to the Stanley Cup. That illustrious career, on its own, was a remarkable achievement, worthy of recognition, but what stands out about Beliveau is that after he retired, he may have been held in even higher esteem for how he carried himself as a representative for the Canadiens. In a purely anecdotal sense, every one that Ive ever come across that met Monsieur Beliveau gushed about the experience. To hold that reputation for 40-plus years in retirement is quite remarkable and it explains why there were so many glowing tributes to Beliveau this week. TSN Hockeys Managing Editor Steve Dryden wrote A Final Farewell to My Idol; Mike Ulmer wrote that Beliveaus Success was Unequaled in NHL History; Teammate Ken Dryden wrote about how Beliveau was such a nice man and venerated Montreal sportswriter Red Fisher offered a great tribute. On video, Michael Farber discussed hockeys Most Universally Respected Player and Man and Keith Olbermann weighed in on Beliveaus class. ALFREDSSON RETIRES Daniel Alfredsson signed a one-day contract so that he could retire with the Ottawa Senators, the team for which he played from 1995-96 through 2012-13. There was an unfortunate turn of events, something about a new contract, that led to Alfredsson leaving Ottawa for Detroit last season, but the fences were mended and Alfredsson was honoured for his illustrious career. Now the question is whether or not Alfredssons career, which included 444 goals and 1,157 points in 1,246 games would warrant induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Through the peak years of his career, from 1999-2000 through 2009-2010, Alfredsson ranked third in the league in scoring (behind Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla), so his best years were at a very high level. Combine that with his international career, with Sweden, and his place as a face-of-the-franchise player for Ottawa and hes certainly worthy of discussion. ALL-STAR VOTING Second-year Buffalo Sabres centre Zemgus Girgensons is a surprise leader in voting for the NHL All-Star game. That may seem incongruous for a player with 14 points in 26 games, but hes reaping the rewards of national pride, getting mass support from his native Latvia. We can give Girgensons some credit, though. Its not like hes a fringe NHLer. He was the 14th pick in the 2012 Draft, has 10 points (6 G, 4 A) in his past 12 games and leads Sabres forwards in ice time with 18:27 per game. Maybe not quite All-Star calibre, but if he has a dedicated voting base, its going to be tough to knock Girgensons out of the starting lineup. Other leaders: Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, P.K. Subban, Duncan Keith and Carey Price. A NEW BLUE 42-year-old Martin Brodeur, a surefire lock Hall of Famer, who is the all-time leader in wins (688) and shutouts (124) played his first game for the St. Louis Blues Thursday, surrendering four goals on 24 shots at Nashville, after playing 1,259 games with the New Jersey Devils. The Blues, in a somewhat desperate position after the injury to Brian Elliott, turned to Brodeur, even though his game has clearly been in decline in recent seasons. What lingers over this decision is how much, ultimately, that Brodeur will play. If hes here, hes going to play, said head coach Ken Hitchcock. Hes not going to back up. If that playing time comes at the expense of Jake Allen, then Brodeurs results simply have to be better than they have been the past couple seasons. PHILLY PHADING The Philadelphia Flyers have one win in their past 11 games, winless in six, and the freefall has led to them leaving some high-priced talent in the press box. Defenceman Andrew MacDonald, in the first year of a six-year, $30-million contract, spent time as a healthy scratch and, more recently, it has been Vincent Lecavalier. Lecavalier, 34, has seen his game drop off significantly in the past couple seasons and is mired in a personal slump that has seen him score no goals and two assists in his last dozen games. Lecavalier has three more years remaining on his contract, at a cap hit of $4.5-million, and that appears to be, at best, difficult to move. There are rumours that he could retire before his contract is up, but the current reality is a tough one for Philadelphia. Theyre capped out with a team more likely for the lottery than a playoff spot. WATCH YOUR STEP Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will be out at least a couple weeks after suffering a foot injury at a Rise Against concert. Extra-curricular activities can intrude on a teams day-to-day and it appears that Crawford is the latest hockey player to knock himself out of action. Capitals right winger Tom Wilson broke his leg in the summer and Wild goaltender Josh Harding broke his foot, so its not like these off-ice injuries are unprecedented. With Crawford out, Antti Raanta and Scott Darling will man the net for the Blackhawks. Raanta has been excellent (.947 save percentage) in the four games that he has played this season. JETS DEFENCE GROUNDED With Tobias Enstrom already out, the Winnipeg Jets have also lost Zach Bogosian for a month and Grant Clitsome for a couple weeks, thinning their defence in short order. Desperate times call for desperate measure, so they have pushed Dustin Byfuglien back to the blueline to help out. Byfuglien shifted from defence to right wing last season, but he hasnt been especially productive up front this season, scoring 11 points (5 G, 6 A) in 26 games while primarily on the wing. If Byfuglien happens to be effective in this turn on the blueline, maybe the Jets would consider this move to be more than just a stopgap measure. STRANGE PRACTICE The Los Angeles Kings were fined $100,000 by the league for allowing suspended defenceman Slava Voynov to skate with the team during an optional practice. If it was indeed an accident, its a strange one, as it seemed out of place the moment it was reported. If it was the Kings thumbing their nose at the league, expressing frustration over the indefinite nature of the suspension, its strange timing because the league had alleviated the Kings salary cap situation by finally allowing Voynovs contract to be placed on Long-Term IR. Naturally, given the heightened awareness to domestic violence, anything surrounding Voynov wasnt going to sneak past anyone, so its hard to understand what exactly was happening here. OILERS HIT BOTTOM, AGAIN For as long as the Oilers winless streak continues -- and its up to 11 games -- there is the notion of impending doom around the Oilers, so there were lots of meetings following an overtime loss to Winnipeg Wednesday and trade rumours heated up, but there isnt an easy solution. Its hard to preach more patience, for a team that hasnt seen the playoffs since 2006 but, currently sitting in last, there just isnt an easy and immediate fix to their problems. Given that the playoffs are already out of reach, the Oilers really cant be facing any urgency to make moves. If a deal puts them in better position, long-term, then so be it, but there is no great incentive to get slightly better. RED WING RESURRECTED After two seasons marred by injury, it was getting to the point that no expectations could be placed on 31-year-old Red Wings forward Stephen Weiss. His contract, with a $4.9-million cap hit through 2018, seemed to be a millstone, one that could only be alleviated if Weiss was injured enough to be placed on the Long-Term Injured Reserve. With such low expectations on him, Weiss returned to the Detroit lineup on November 24, scoring a pair of goals. He has nine points (4 G, 5 A) in his past six games and is suddenly a contributor for Detroit. It may not last -- his percentages are sky-high -- but getting any kind of contribution from Weiss, even in a complementary role, is a major bonus for the Red Wings. Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected] Tony Jefferson Jersey .B. -- Canadas Rachel Homan had ideal preparation for the playoffs at the Ford World Curling Championships with a pair of hard-fought wins over tenacious opponents Thursday. Brent Urban Jersey . Colorado came up big against Chicago last spring, and repeated that performance Tuesday night. Varlamov stopped 36 shots and Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche in a 5-1 victory over the Blackhawks. http://www.officialbaltimoreravensfootb ... sey-womens . Ricciardo made it only halfway around the Jerez track before his RB10 rolled to a stop and began spouting smoke from the back. After team mechanics tended to the car, Ricciardo went back out for a mere two trips around the circuit before calling it quits. Nico Siragusa Jersey . The Mercedes duo of three-time Canadian Grand Prix champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg has won all six races to start the season, finishing one-two in the last five. Brandon Carr Jersey . -- Brendan Leipsic had two goals and an assist and Nicolas Petan extended his point streak to 11 games as the Portland Winterhawks slipped past the Red Deer Rebels 5-4 on Saturday in Western Hockey League action.ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has been taken off the field on a stretcher after injuring his left leg running out an infield single. Machados leg buckled when he reached the first-base bag in the seventh inning of Mondays game at Tampa Bay. Machaado was in obvious pain while being treated on the infield dirt near first by team trainers and stadium medical officials.dddddddddddd Baltimore manager Buck Showalter patted Machado several times near the shoulder before the stretcher was moved from the playing field. 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