Elias Says ...

11/22/2006 - MLB NBA NHL Minnesota Twins + more

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

• Justin Morneau, who was named the American League's Most Valuable Player, batted .239 in 2005, and he was batting .235 through June 8 this past season. But from June 9 to the end of the season, Morneau led the majors in batting average (.364), and his total of 92 RBI during that time ranked second to Ryan Howard (96).

• Morneau is only the third player in the last 70 years to be named an MVP before being named to an All-Star team. The others were Kirk Gibson (1988), who was never an All-Star, and Terry Pendleton (1991).

• Morneau was the 10th MVP in the last 11 years who was born outside the United States, a group that includes one other Canadian: Larry Walker, the 1997 NL MVP. Two Canadians have won the Cy Young Award: Ferguson Jenkins (1971) and Eric Gagne (2003). There has been one Canadian-born Rookie of the Year: Jason Bay (2004).

• As a past MVP of a World Series and an All-Star Game (both in 2000), Derek Jeter, the runner-up to Morneau, just missed completing a rare "triple crown" of MVP awards. The only players to have won regular-season, World Series, and All-Star MVP awards are Frank Robinson (NL in 1961, AL in 1966, World Series in 1966, All-Star Game in 1971) and Brooks Robinson (AL in 1964, All-Star Game in 1966, World Series in 1970).

• Jaromir Jagr scored a pair of goals in the Rangers' 4-0 victory over the Hurricanes. That raised Jagr's career total to 602 goals, passing Jari Kurri for the most in NHL history by a European-born player. Besides Jagr and Kurri, the only player to hold that record during the expansion era was Stan Mikita, the record holder from 1967 until he was passed by Kurri in 1994.

• Henrik Lundqvist's shutout was the first by the Rangers over a defending Stanley Cup champion since a 3-0 victory over the Islanders in 1982. Eddie Mio was the winning goaltender in that game. The Rangers' streak of 81 games without a shutout against the defending champs was the fourth-longest in NHL history, but nowhere near as long as their own league record of 132 games from 1955-64.

• Petr Sykora did it again, writing his name in the "Elias Says" Record Book by scoring twice to rally the Oilers from a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 victory over the Flames. It was the third time in his career that Sykora scored twice in a 2-1 win after his team had fallen behind. No other NHL player, past or present, has done that three times. In fact, none of the top five goal scorers in NHL history -- Gretzky, Howe, Hull, Dionne, or Esposito -- did it even once!

• Carmelo Anthony missed a pair of free throws with 12 seconds to play, but the Nuggets held on for a 113-109 win over the Bulls. Anthony finished with 29 points, so the missed foul shots cost him a seventh consecutive 30-point game that would have broken the team-record streak that Alex English set in 1982 and which 'Melo tied on Saturday. In the last 50 times that Anthony has gone to the line for two shots in regular-season play, it was only the second time that he missed both.

• The Mavericks defeated the Wizards 107-80 for their seventh consecutive victory following an 0-4 start. That equals the NBA record for the longest winning streak immediately after starting a season 0-4 or worse. The record was set in 2001 by the 76ers, who won seven straight games after an 0-5 start.

• The Heat dropped to 4-6 with a 101-86 loss to the Hornets. Miami is only the sixth team in NBA history to compile a losing record over its first 10 games in defense of a league championship. The last team to do so was the Lakers, who, like the Heat, were missing Shaquille O'Neal when they posted a 3-7 start in 2002. (At that time, Shaq was recovering from offseason surgery on his right big toe.)

• The only starter to score in double figures for the Heat in their loss was Dwyane Wade (29). He also earned that distinction in Miami's record-setting 108-66 opening-night loss to the Bulls. The Heat had only two such games -- that is, with no more than one starter scoring in double-figures -- over the two previous seasons combined.

• With Allen Iverson sidelined following oral surgery, the 76ers fell to the Pistons 97-87. During Iverson's 11 seasons with the team, the Sixers have posted a 41-66 (.383) record in games that he has missed, scoring an average of 86.7 points per game. Philadelphia has a winning record in games that Iverson played (354-337), averaging 96.2 points.

• Prior to the Cavaliers' 97-94 win over the Grizzlies, LeBron James apologized for his actions that led to an ejection from Saturday's game against the Wizards. James promised that he'd never be charged with another technical foul. That will be a challenge even for LeBron. Only three active players have played as many as 500 games and never been hit with a "T": Adonal Foyle (595), Austin Croshere (547), and Kevin Ollie (504).

• Buried in Tuesday's agate was news of the Warriors' release of Dajuan Wagner. That might not seem like much of a story, considering that Wagner has played one NBA game over the last two seasons. But there was a moment in 2002 when it appeared that the sixth pick in the 2002 draft might be special. At the age of 19, Wagner averaged 19.4 points over his first 10 NBA games. That's more than two points per game higher than the average posted over the first 10 games by any other teenager in NBA history. The second- and third-highest marks were recorded by Carmelo Anthony (17.1 in 2003) and LeBron James (16.8 in 2003).