Why this piece at this time? Because Karlis Skrastins is about to break Tim Horton's record for most consecutive games played by a NHL defensemen (487 games).
Skrastins is a no-name defenseman that I have the highest respect for. I've always felt he was one of the NHL's best kept secrets, and probably remains so despite the current spotlight. Alan Maki of the Globe and Mail has a good write up on just who is the man known as Skratch.
James Mirtle has an interesting observation about the defenseman's record vs. Doug Jarvis' all time record of 964 consecutive games.
It's unreal how pronounced the difference between the overall record and that for defencemen. Playing on an NHL blueline is undoubtedly more of a physical grind than the role of a forward, but one would think that over time at least one defenceman would have managed to crack the Top 10.
The Buffalo Sabres will honour Phil Housley on Wednesday night. They won't be retiring his jersey per se, but will be inducting him into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame.
Here's a Phil Housley profile I wrote for SabresAlumni.com back in 2001.
More On Vernon
As I posted yesterday, Mike Vernon had his jersey #30 retired by the Calgary Flames. Today's newspaper clips include a Calgary Herald interview with Stan Smyl, the man who is forever intertwined in Vernon's hockey immortality.
I also enjoyed the Herald's One Kidd And Plenty Of Goats story looking back, through the eyes of long time Flames executive Al MacNeil, at all the other Flames goalies outside of Vernon and Miikka Kiprusoff.
Here's an excerpt.
"(Pat) Riggin was a guy who had the skills, but he just wasn't committed enough to the game. He was always down at the racetrack or off doing something else. Later, I thought the same of Trefilov. You look at his numbers in the minors, and you think 'This guy can't miss.' ''More
Well, he did. Miss, that is.
"After Riggin, we had Reggie (Lemelin). Good team guy. Good enough goalie. But not a great one. And the Oilers were loaded at that time, with Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Anderson. We needed great goaltending to beat the Oilers and he just couldn't seem to do that.''