Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lecavalier and Linden Receive NHL Foundation Player Award for Outstanding Community Service

$50,000 To Be Donated To Charities In Tampa Bay And British Columbia Areas
May 22, 2008, 12:42 PM EDT

NEW YORK (May 22, 2008) – The National Hockey League Foundation today announced that Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier and Vancouver Canucks center Trevor Linden are co-recipients of the 10th annual NHL Foundation Player Award in recognition of their commitment and service to charities in their communities. It is the first time that two players have been selected to receive the award. The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation on behalf of Lecavalier and $25,000 to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice on behalf of Linden. Both players will be honored at a special NHL Awards presentation on Wednesday, May 28 at 2:00 p.m., ET, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“We are honored to award both Vinny and Trevor with the 2008 NHL Foundation Player Award,” said Bernadette Mansur, Executive Director, NHL Foundation. “Their dedication to helping others is a great example of the commitment all our NHL players have in giving to their communities.”

In October 2007, Vincent Lecavalier announced a $3-million commitment to build The Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. Scheduled to open in 2009, theCenter will be one of the largest pediatric cancer centers in Florida, occupying half of the seventh floor in the new All Children’s Hospital. Its 26,500 square-feet will include 28 individual patient rooms with accommodations for parents to stay overnight with their child. Patients receiving life-saving blood or marrow transplants can also be cared for in these rooms. Playrooms will include an area specifically geared toward adolescent-aged patients. The entire Center is designed with a special HEPA-filtered positive pressure airflow system, allowing young patients whose immune systems may be suppressed due to chemotherapy the chance to move freely about the unit rather than being restricted to their rooms. More than half of the funds will be gifted through the Foundation by Lecavalier and Foundation legacy partners. The remaining dollars will be raised through the community and Foundation efforts such as Lecavalier's annual Texas Hold’Em Celebrity Poker Tournament, which has netted more than $250,000 in its first two years.

Drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1998, Lecavalier always has made community giving and charitable work a part of his career. He partnered with Kane's Furniture to create an on-ice performance initiative to benefit All Children’s Hospital. For every goal he scores at home, Lecavalier and Kane’s Furniture donate $1,000; for each assist, $300. Due to his on-ice success during the 2007-08 season, this year’s $32,000 contribution surpassed all previous years. To date, Lecavalier and Kane’s Furniture have donated more than $120,000 to All Children’s Hospital.

In 2003, Lecavalier created the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation, which was formed to stimulate the positive development of youth and families in the Tampa Bay, FL and Rimouski, QC communities through charitable outreach projects. In partnership with Kane’s Furniture and DEX Imaging, Inc. of Tampa, the foundation has contributed significantly to local children’s hospitals and charities through contributions and personal support.

“Even at a young age, my parents, Yvon and Christiane, always stressed to me the importance of helping others,” Lecavalier said. “Through the lessons they taught me I had the opportunity to learn so much about the important things in life, such as being a giving person. Since the day I became a member of the Tampa Bay community 10 years ago, I knew I wanted to find an important project to focus my energies on. The pediatric cancer center at All Children’s Hospital is that place, where special people are working tirelessly to have a life-changing impact on our community’s most precious commodity – the children. I am honored to share this recognition with Trevor, and I’m humbled by the opportunity I have to help make a difference for those in need.”

Trevor Linden has played the majority of his 20-year career with the Vancouver Canucks and continues to be regarded as a heroic and endearing leader to Canuck fans both on and off the ice. He has earned this respect by continually exhibiting commitment to his team and the community of British Columbia.

Since 2004, he has been the Honorary Chair of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer bike tours helping to raise more than $8 million for pediatric cancer care and research. Linden was a spokesperson for preventative cancer care campaign with the Canadian Cancer Society throughout BC focusing on the themes of “Eat Well, Be Active, and Use Sun Sense,” and will participate in a BC Cancer Foundation’s June 1st Westside Cycling Classic fundraiser for cancer research with Olympic Cycling medalist great Axel Merckx. He also is involved in the B.C. Sports Celebrities Festival to honor and raise funds for B.C. Special Olympians and created PSA’s and a print campaign for $1 million dollar BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Jeans Day fundraiser and the Superheroes Capital Campaign, a $200 million initiative that offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a legacy for BC’s children. He has lent his name to the Michael Cuccione Foundation’s Skate for a Cure for pediatric cancer research and the Terry Fox Family’s Fundraiser, all due to his personal motivation to make a difference for the children of British Columbia. Through his foundation, the Trevor Linden Foundation, and an annual golf tournament, he granted more than $650,000 to Canadian Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtimes, a camp for children and their families living with cancer located in Mission, B.C. Funds were used to construct a gymnasium for the children and it was named in his honor.

Throughout the 2007-08 season, Linden continued his charitable initiatives in the B.C. area by joining his team in many fundraising initiatives for the Canucks for Kids Fund. He attended the Dice & Ice Charity Gala in support of BC Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and was a key spokesperson for the Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon. He also participated in the Canucks SuperSkills competition which raised $120,000 for KidsSport BC and Ronald McDonald House of BC and the Jake Milford Canucks Charity Golf Invitational which benefitted both the B.C. Hockey Benevolent Association and the Canucks for Kids Fund. Through his support of these initiatives over the past 20 years Linden has helped the Canucks for Kids Fund raise more than $25 million in support of BC children’s charities.

Aside from donating his time and resources to raise money for charitable organizations, Linden also makes an active effort to visit children and families at Canuck Place, BC Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House of BC. The entire team joined him in November 2007 for a visit to BC Children’s Hospital, where they were able to meet young patients and their families. Linden is known to welcome children he has met during these visits to General Motors Place to visit after games with their parents and siblings.

“I am honored to receive this award and share it with Vincent, knowing that two charities will benefit from this National Hockey League initiative,” said Linden. “My profession has offered me the privilege and opportunity to give back to children, particularly those with cancer and life-limiting illnesses. My parents, Lane and Edna, instilled in my brothers and I the desire to help those around in need and I am grateful for that gift. My wife Cristina and I find joy in giving back to children and families of British Columbia as this is our community and the place we both live and work. The experiences of spending time and listening to the stories of children in need has had a profound impact on my life and taught me to keep my eyes open to those in need. These children have taught me the magic of living. The little things that we worry about in life seem very inconsequential when you know there are children struggling to live. I would like to thank the children of BC and feel very blessed to be recognized for assisting them in the obstacles they face.”

Throughout his career, Linden has often quietly and always consistently continued to embody the spirit of community in Vancouver. TELUS recently honored him with the TELUS Community Champion Award at the 42nd Annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year awards. The award is presented to the “athlete who through his/her involvement and achievement in sports and community has inspired others to get involved.”

In its 10th year, the NHL Foundation Player Award recognizes an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community. Past recipients honored for their charitable work were: Joe Sakic (2007); Marty Turco (2006); Jarome Iginla (2004); Darren McCarty (2003); Ron Francis (2002); Olaf Kolzig (2001); Adam Graves (2000); Rob Ray (1999); and Kelly Chase (1998).

The NHL Foundation judging panel consists of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman; NHL Senior Vice President, Communications and NHL Foundation Executive Director Bernadette Mansur and NHL Vice President of Community & Diversity Programming Kenneth Martin, Jr.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

US falls to Finland 3-2 in overtime

May 14, 2008

Associated Press

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP)—Sami Lepisto’s goal at 3:59 of overtime led Finland to a 3-2 victory over the United States on Wednesday night in the world hockey quarterfinals.

Lepisto took a pass from Saku Koivu at the point and fired the puck through a crowd and underneath U.S. goalie Robert Esche for the win. Finland advanced to play Russia in the semifinals Friday at Quebec City.

“It’s hard to lose like this, especially the way we played the third period,” U.S. coach John Tortorella said. “We lost a tied faceoff. Really, we won it, but we didn’t come up with the loose puck and it ends up going in the net.”

Tuomo Ruutu and Anssi Salmela also scored for Finland, which held a 2-0 lead with less than 5 minutes remaining in regulation.

The Americans rallied with goals by Phil Kessel and Drew Stafford 37 seconds apart to force overtime. The loss marked the seventh time in the last nine years the U.S. team failed to advance past the quarterfinals.

“It’s a disappointment,” U.S. forward Zach Parise said. “We didn’t quit. Then, all of a sudden, you’re packing your bags. It’s a tough one for us right now.”

Kessel broke Niklas Backstrom’s bid for a shutout with 4:16 left in the third when he redirected a point shot by Tim Gleaston into the top corner. Less than a minute later, Stafford broke down the wing short-handed and fired a shot far side on Backstrom.

Finland had a great opportunity to score the winner in the final three minutes when it went on a power play, including a two-man advantage for 17 seconds, but the Americans were able to kill it and send the game to overtime.

“When they scored their second goal, we came back stronger than we did the whole third period,” Koivu said. “You know, sometimes you get lucky. You get the bounce that you need. It feels good.”

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Americans satisfied after goal judge gets fired

By Chris Johnston And Bill Beacon, THE CANADIAN PRESS

American coach John Tortorella thinks the IIHF did the right thing when it suspended the video judge who mistakenly allowed a goal that never went in.

The play happened on Sunday night when Finland's Ville Koistinen was credited for a third-period goal that the U.S. said went through the side of the net. It was reviewed by a judge in the Metro Centre and ruled a goal, even though replays supported the Americans' claim.

Finland went on to rally and beat the Americans 3-2. The IIHF acknowledged the mistake after the game and said the judge was out for the remainder of the tournament.

"Something like that shouldn't happen," Tortorella said Monday. "The person that is responsible should be out."

The American coach doesn't think his team deserved to win the game but felt bad for the players who had to see it decided like that.

The guy who was in net for the phantom goal didn't seem too upset a day later.

"That's a big goal to mess up on," said Robert Esche. "If it's a mistake, it's a mistake. We make a lot of them as players."

The IIHF has a team of goal judges that it uses at big events like this one. They each have access to four or five different angles of each goal, plus anything the TV broadcasters shoot.

IIHF President Rene Fasel declined comment.

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US wraps up qualifying round with 9-1 rout of Norway

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP)—New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky scored three goals and the Americans scored three times in each period to wrap up their qualifying round at the world hockey championships with a 9-1 win over Norway on Monday.

With the win, the U.S. locked up third place in Pool F. The Americans next play Wednesday against Finland, which lost to Canada 6-3 on Monday in a matchup of unbeaten teams.

“Now you’re going to get into the guts of the tournament, the elimination games. That’s when you find out about your club,” U.S. head coach John Tortorella said. “I think we have a good team and they’ll be ready to play.”

Shane Doan and Dany Heatley each scored twice for Canada, which also got goals from Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Sharp.

Also Monday, unbeaten Russia got first-period goals from Dmitry Kalinin, Alexander Ovechkin and Maxim Sushinsky in a 5-3 win over Switzerland in Quebec City. In late games Monday, it was Latvia-Germany at Halifax, and Belarus-Denmark at Quebec City.

The Americans scored a pair of goals 63 seconds apart midway through the first period. Dubinsky scored his first goal of the tournament, and Dustin Brown scored his fourth slightly more than a minute later.

Dubinsky added his second goal of the game on a rebound early in the second period, and completed his hat trick midway through the third on a shot from the right faceoff circle.

Brown had a second goal in the third period. Patrick Kane, Paul Martin, Zach Parise and Phil Kessel also scored for the U.S.

“It’s nice to get some guys confidence with scoring goals, getting points and making plays,” said Kane, who was a rookie for the Chicago Blackhawks this season.

“It’s going to help our team down the stretch here. But our next game is going to be a lot tougher, so we have to make sure we’re up for it.”

The U.S. lost 3-2 to Finland in a hard-fought game Sunday.

Norway’s only goal came during a two-man advantage in the second period when defenseman Mats Trygg blasted a shot high over the glove of American goaltender Robert Esche. He stopped 17 shots in his second straight start.

(Care of the Associated Press)

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

US loses lead, then cool in 3-2 loss to Finland

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP)—Mikko Koivu scored with less than four minutes remaining to give Finland a 3-2 come-from-behind win Sunday over the United States at the world hockey championships that was marred by a postgame brawl.

After Koivu scored with 3:50 left, the United States’ Adam Burish was ejected for butt-ending a Finland player.

As the final horn sounded to end the game, U.S. forward Dustin Brown drilled a Finnish defenseman into the boards with a hit to the head, touching off a melee that featured a fight between David Backes of the U.S. and Amsso Salmela of Finland.

The United States took a two-goal lead to the third after scoring twice in the second. But Finland (4-0) scored three times on 25 shots in the final frame.

Phil Kessel and Tom Gilbert scored for the United States in the second period for a 2-0 lead.

Teemu Selanne scored the tying goal on a cross-ice pass from Saku Koivu after Ville Koistinen put Finland on the board during a two-man advantage.

Koivu’s go-ahead goal came on a power-play and ensured that the United States (2-2) can finish no better than third in its group, though the U.S. has already qualified for the quarterfinals.

Finland is a point back of Canada atop the group.

In Quebec City, Andres Ambuhl and Sandy Jeannin scored early to help Switzerland beat Denmark 7-2, temporarily tying it with the Czech Republic for second in the group.

The Czech Republic played Sweden later Sunday.

(Care of the Associated Press)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Halpern needs knee surgery

By Brant James, Times Staff Writer

Published Wednesday, May 7, 2008 10:59 PM


Lightning center Jeff Halpern knows what a torn anterior cruciate ligament feels like. He suffered a complete tear of his left ACL in 2002, requiring surgery that cost him half a season. That's why the 32-year-old was apparently so concerned when he was helped off the ice with an injured right knee in Team USA's 5-4 loss to Canada on Tuesday in the IIHF World Championships at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

He was more right than he knew, and it could cost him at least the first month of the 2008-09 NHL season. Halpern was diagnosed by Capitals team physician Benjamin Shaffer on Wednesday with a complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament, and at least partially torn medial collateral ligament and a small tear to the lateral meniscus. According to a team release, Shaffer and the Lightning medical staff have recommended that Halpern wait 4-6 weeks for trauma from the MCL injury to settle before surgically reconstructing the ACL. Rehabilitation is expected to take 5-6 months, which would eliminate his preseason and the first month of the regular season.

Agent Mike Liut said Halpern was "pretty low, but he's been down this road before. He knows what he has to do." That includes, he said, hopefully accelerating the timetable for surgery if the knee cooperates. Liut considers Shaffer's timetable "outer markers" for recovery.

Shaffer performed the surgery on Halpern's left knee when he was member of that team. Halpern played 48 games in 2001-02, the season in which he was injured, but returned for a full season the next year.

"It's a tough one, but Jeff will work hard and rehab this," Liut said. "The unfortunate thing is he played so well for Tampa. You try to play these international competitions, and they're a lot of fun, and the U.S. had a great team, but something like this can happen."

Halpern came to the Lightning as an extra piece in the trade deadline deal that sent Brad Richards to the Stars, but he soon became a most valuable addition. He helped rejuvenate the second line, scoring 10 goals (18 points) in 19 games, and linemate Michel Ouellet had nine in the same span.

Coach John Tortorella, who is also guiding Team USA, had extolled Halpern's attributes before he arrived in Tampa, saying he was the team's best offensive and defensive center much of the time. The coach saw an expanded role for Halpern in 2008-09, saying he "couldn't be more excited about the prospect of where's he going to fit in our lineup next year."


© 2008 • All Rights Reserved • St. Petersburg Times

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Canada, Russia win at hockey world championships

By The Associated Press

Dany Heatley scored the winning goal with 46.8 seconds remaining to lift Canada to a 5-4 victory Tuesday over the United States at the world hockey championships.

It was Heatley’s second goal of the game in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Brent Burns, Jonathan Toews and Derek Roy also scored for the Canadians (3-0).

Zach Parise, Patrick O’Sullivan, Dustin Brown and Jason Pominville scored for the Americans (2-1).

Earlier in Quebec City, Washington Capitals teammates Alex Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov each scored a goal, helping Russia defeat Denmark 4-1.

Maxim Afinogenov and Konstantin Gorovikov also scored for Russia and Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers had two assists in the game at Quebec City. Russia improved to 3-0 in the preliminary round.

Kim Staal scored for Denmark (1-2). The Russians peppered Danish goaltender Patrick Galbraith with 43 shots. Mikhail Biryukov made 19 saves for Russia.

In the other game in Quebec City, Sweden played France. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Slovenia met Latvia.

Fedorov, who assisted on Ovechkin’s goal, scored on a tipped point shot on a power play in the second period. It was Fedorov’s first world championship goal since 1990, when he last played in the tournament for the Soviet Union.

The Danes have just two players with American Hockey League experience. Morten Madsen, a Minnesota Wild draft pick, and Jannik Hansen, a Vancouver Canucks prospect.

The Russians started Biryukov in goal after Alexander Eremenko injured his knee Sunday in a 5-4 overtime win over the Czech Republic. San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov will join the Russian team.

Canada was fortunate to find itself up 2-0 Tuesday against the U.S. after getting outplayed in the opening 20 minutes.

Burns scored on one of Canada’s first chances. The puck came out to him at the point and he moved to the centre of the ice before snapping a shot through heavy traffic and by goalie Tim Thomas at 8:26.

Heatley made it 2-0 by scoring with 10.8 seconds to play in the first period. He knocked in a rebound from in-close.

Canada looked as if it might make it a rout when Toews scored 18 seconds into the second period.

But Parise and O’Sullivan scored 2:17 apart to cut the lead to 3-2.

O’Sullivan’s goal came at 3:09 on a breakaway.

The Canadians were able extend their lead to 4-2 on a goal by Roy at 3:29 of the third period. He slammed a pass by Shane Doan past Craig Anderson, who replaced Thomas after the second intermission.

Brown and Pominville scored 36 seconds apart on the power play to erase that lead.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Kessel scores three as USA tops Slovenia

Halifax, Nova Scotia (Sports Network) - Phil Kessel notched a hat trick as Team USA rolled to a 5-1 win over Slovenia in the preliminary round of the 2008 World Hockey Championships.

Patrick Kane and David Booth also lit the lamp for the Americans, who got an 11-save performance from Tim Thomas. Thomas has allowed one goal in two games thus far.

Anze Kopitar, Slovenia's lone NHL player, notched his country's lone goal. Robert Kristan stopped 32 shots in defeat.

In the earlier contest in Halifax, Dany Heatley posted a goal and three assists, as Canada steamrolled Latvia, 7-0. Columbus captain Rick Nash tallied twice, while fellow Blue Jacket teammate Pascal Leclaire stopped 30 shots to earn the shutout.

Both teams are 2-0 in the tournament and will square off on Tuesday.

Earlier in Quebec City, Alexei Morozov scored the overtime winner, as Russia topped the Czech Republic, 5-4. In other action, Denmark eased past Italy, 6-2.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kane, Heatley shine as U.S., Canada win world openers

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and Tim Thomas made 24 saves to help the United States beat Latvia 4-0 on Friday night in the Americans' opening preliminary round game in the world championship.

Kane, the 19-year-old star who had 72 points in 82 games for Chicago this season, assisted on Dustin Brown's first-period goal, then added a goal midway through the second. Kane took the puck near Latvia's blue line, skated in and fired a snap shot past goalie Edgars Masalskis. Kane also set up Zach Parise's third-period goal.

Patrick O'Sullivan also scored, and Paul Martin had three assists.

American forward Lee Stempniak was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down on a breakaway shortly after Kane's goal. Stempniak couldn't beat Masalskis, who closed his pads to stop a shot. Masalskis made 45 saves.

The Americans will return to action Sunday night against Slovenia.

In the other Group B opener in Halifax, Dany Heatley had three goals and an assist in defending champion Canada's 5-1 victory over Slovenia.

Heatley has 23 goals in the world championships, the most by a Canadian player. The Ottawa Senators star broke the mark of 21 set by Marcel Dionne.

Dan Hamhuis and Martin St. Louis also scored for Canada. Cam Ward made 21 saves, allowing only Anze Kopitar's goal on a 5-on-3 power play.

The Canadians had a 65-22 shots advantage.

In Group D play in Quebec City, the Czech Republic beat Denmark 5-2, and Russia routed Italy 7-1.

The tournament is being played in Canada for the first time.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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The Tampa Bay Lightning at World Championships

2008 IIHF World Championships
Halifax, Nova Scotia & Quebec City
Erin Chenderlin | TBL.com correspondent
May 1, 2008, 2:13 PM EDT

When the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Men's World Championship tournament gets underway Friday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Lightning fans will see familiar faces both on the ice and behind the bench.

As the preliminary rosters are finalized, Tampa Bay has five players and five staff members representing four different countries. Most notably, all five staff members and Lightning center Jeff Halpern will sport the red, white and blue as they represent Team USA. Right wing Martin St. Louis will play for his native Canada, left wing Jussi Jokinen and goaltender Karri Ramo will represent Finland and defenseman Filip Kuba will play for the Czech Republic. Left wing Evgeny Artyukhin, who played for the Lightning in 2005-06 and with whom the team is currently negotiating, was on a preliminary roster for Russia but didn’t make the cut.

Halpern , from Potomac, MD, was named captain of Team USA on Monday and will lead a solid offensive group filled with young superstars such as Patrick Kane, from Chicago, and New Jersey's Zach Parise. Despite the poor tournament history for the U.S., the team seems to be stronger than ever and ready to vie for a medal. In the team's only pre-tournament exhibition match, they handed Sweden a 5-1 defeat.

"I like our team," Halpern told USA Today. "I think anything less than a gold would be a disappointment."

Leading Team USA from behind the bench is Lightning head coach John Tortorella. He is being assisted by Lightning assistant coach, Mike Sullivan. Nigel Kirwan, Tampa Bay's video coach, Ray Thill, Lightning equipment manager and Tom Mulligan, head athletic trainer, are all on the supporting staff for Team USA.

The tournament begins May 2 with the gold-medal game being played May 18. In a notable match-up, Team USA plays Team Canada Tuesday, May 6 at 3:30 p.m. The game will air on TSN. All tournament games can be seen on WCSN.com.

Check back for updates on Lightning players and staff as the tournament progresses.

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