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Penguins in the Sun

Penguin_2 Saw the Penguins today in Sunrise, waddling like they do out there on the ice.

Like the way Pittsburgh attacks its practice; not a lot of fooling around, almost no noise. Very businesslike.

And Sidney Crosby looked downright human out there when it don't count. Sid the Kid was throwing pucks everywhere but in the net. Sure he's saving the good stuff for when it counts.

Unlike me. I love hitting the cover off the ball on the range, then shanking everything from my driver to my 9 iron once I tee it up for real.

Caddyshack Going to be interesting if Ty "Bet you have a lot of nice ties, Ty" Conklin comes back to earth or continues his impersonation of an All-Star caliber goalie. Seriously, Ty is 7-0 since coming back from the minors and has led the Penguins to six straight wins.

And how does Ty Conklin measure himself to other goalies? By height.

-- Speaking of caddies, the Carolina 49ers grabbed Sergei Samsonov off waivers from Chicago. The Caroliners have to be hoping the Samsonov deal works out as well as Atlanta snaring Mark Recchi off the wire just a few weeks ago. Unwanted by these Penguins, Recchi has been tearing it up for the Thrash.

Rokford Samsonov was similarly unwanted by the Blackhawks, or anyone else until the FakeCanes picked him up today. Sammy had four assists in 23 games with the Hawks, then went through waivers and ended up playing for the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

OK, that last Rockford mention is obviously a goof. Samsonov isn't playing for the team from A League of Their Own.

Rockford No, Samsonov, upon clearing waivers, was sent to the Rockford Files of the American Hockey League.

Here's more on Sammy from our friends in Raleigh, N.C., at the News and Observer. I wonder if they have Cheerwine vending machines at the N&O. If they don't, they should. G Loves Cheerwine...

-- Some Panthers news out of practice today. D Branislav Mezei didn't practice and will be replaced by Jim Rockford and his gold Firebird. Or Martin Lojek. Figure out which one yourself.

-- New lines for tonight! Yep, JM switching things around. You can read about it in my daily Panther report brought to you by the Letter D and The Miami Herald right here reading is good for you

-- A pretty large media contingent met the Panthers today, which means the South Florida public is really hungry for hockey news, or the Dolphins season has come to a close. Thinking it's a little of both, but a lot of the latter.

Anyway, we got Tomas Vokoun going and he gave us some more gold. While he didn't back off his statement that players need to be accountable, and if they aren't, the Panthers will find players who are. Vokoun added changes should be made to the attitudes of players here and not necessarily to the roster. Will have more once I go through the tape.

-- Also, don't know if you've heard, but the Penguins have a pretty good player in their stead. Youngster named Crosby. I know he hasn't done anything, but I think he's going to be a star in this league someday. Anywho, wrote about this unknown from Moosejaw, Nova Scotia today in your Miami Herald. If you'd like to peruse it, you can do so here Sid is still just a Kid. Who happens to be an OK hockey player

Chelios -- Speaking of youngsters, congrats to Detroit's Chris Chelios, who becomes the second oldest player in NHL hisory tonight. Cheli is 45 years old, but it's the 348 days that puts him past Moe Roberts. According to a press release the NHL sent me, Big Bad Moe was "a former NHL goaltender serving on the Chicago Blackhawks' training staff who came out of retirement to play one period in relief of Blackhawks starter Harry Lumley in a game against the Red Wings on Nov. 25, 1951.''

The NHL also tells us that Chelios is three years and four days older than the NHL's next-oldest player, teammate Dominik Hasek, who turns 43 on Jan. 29. AND, Cheli is one year and 94 days older than his 44-year-old coach, Mike Babcock.

Chelios has a ways to go to become the oldest player in NHL history. That honor goes to Mr. Hockey, Wayne Gretzky. Just kidding. Gordie Howe, the great Red Wing, was 52 when he last suited up for the Hartford Whalers back in 1980.

-- Speaking of the Wings, three Detroiters voted onto starting lineup for the upcoming All-Star Game. The trio: Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Also, congrats to old pal Roberto Luongo for also being voted onto that team.

Here are the starting All-Star lineups. See you in the 'ATL':

EAST: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey; Andrei Markov, Montreal; Zdeno Chara, Boston; Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh; Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay; Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa.

WEST: Roberto Luongo, Vancouver; Lidstrom, Detroit; Dion Phaneuf, Calgary; Zetterberg, Detroit; Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit; Jarome Iginla, Calgary.

-- The Panthers didn't fare very well in the voting, and that's not surprising. The Panthers didn't really push any of their three players on the ballots like other teams do, and it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway.

Recount_2 Vokoun finished dead last in goalie voting, getting 28,000 votes (4,000 less than Washington's Olaf Kolzig), with captain Olli Jokinen finishing fourth from last (under two write-in candidates) in forward voting with 26K votes. Jay Bouwmeester fared the best of the three, getting 140,058 votes to finish seventh among d-men.

Sorry folks, no recount needed.

-- And those emailing me telling me I screwed up (which I do a lot) regarding Sidney Crosby not winning the Calder Trophy as a rookie in 2005-06. It really did go to Alexander Ovechkin (who is pretty good too I must add).