Elias Says ...

1/10/2007 - NHL NBA MLB + more

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


• Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn are two of 46 Hall of Fame players who appeared for only one team. The only other ones to do so playing the majority of their careers in the free-agent era are Kirby Puckett, Robin Yount, George Brett and Mike Schmidt.

Ripken, who appeared in 3,001 games for the Orioles, is one of four players to appear in at least 3,000 games for one team, along with Carl Yastrzemski (3,308), Hank Aaron (3,076) and Stan Musial (3,026).

• Ripken was moved from third base to shortstop by Earl Weaver on July 1, 1982. During his 14½ seasons as a shortstop, Ripken was by far the most productive player at that position in either league -- to the point that he redefined the position for the next generation of shortstops (Garciaparra, A-Rod, Tejada, etc.). Over that time Ripken hit 345 home runs and drove in 1,327 runs. No shortstop had even half as many home runs as Ripken over that time; Alan Trammell was next with 156. And Trammell, with 756 RBI, was the only shortstop with even half as many runs driven in as Ripken had over that span.

• Gwynn batted .300 in each of the last 19 seasons of his 20-year major league career. (He missed by the margin of two hits over 54 games in his rookie season of 1982.) The only player with a longer streak of .300 seasons was Ty Cobb with 23 (1906-1928).

Gwynn hit .350 or better in five straight seasons (1993 to 1997), one of six players to do that in major league history (minimum: 300 at-bats each year). The others: Hall-of-Famers Ty Cobb (11 straight 1909-1919); Willie Keeler (eight straight, 1894-1901); Rogers Hornsby (six straight, 1920-1925); Ed Delahanty (1893-1897); and Al Simmons (1927-1931).

• The Grizzlies scored 128 points against the Lakers, including 76 in the second half. That was the most points the Lakers allowed in a non-overtime game since they gave up 130 in Dallas in 1995, and it was the most second-half points they allowed since allowing 80 in 1989 to the Trail Blazers.

A team with Phil Jackson as head coach had allowed that many points in a regulation game only four previous times, most recently in Indiana in 1991, and it was the most second-half points ever against one of the Big Chief's teams.

The Grizzlies only attacked after scoring only 20 points in the first quarter. Their 128 points Tuesday were the most in a non-overtime game by a team that scored no more than 20 in the first frame since 1992, when the Pacers dropped 137 on the Hawks after scoring only 20 in the first period.

Jeff Foster continued to 'bound and astound on Tuesday, grabbing 17 rebounds in 31 minutes. Since moving into the starting lineup on Nov. 28, Foster is averaging 18.2 rebounds per 48 minutes; the only player who has played at least 500 minutes over that time and is even within two rebounds of Foster's average is the Knicks' David Lee (16.5 rebounds per 48 minutes since Nov. 28).

• The SuperSonics had a 10-point lead over the Suns on Tuesday but lost to Phoenix by 11. It's the eighth time this season that Seattle lost a game it led by at least 10 points; no other team has lost as many games this season after having a double-digit lead.

• The Kings lost to the Cavaliers at home 108-98 after Sacramento had a 17-point lead in the second half. Earlier this season the Kings lost at home to the Jazz after having a 21-point second-half lead. No other NBA team has lost two home games this season after having a lead of more than 15 points in the second half.

• With a Red Wings shootout victory over the Avalanche,
Dominik Hasek won his 50th game since turning 40 years old on Jan. 29, 2005. Only three other goaltenders had 50 wins in their forties, Jacques Plante (82 from 1969-1973) and Johnny Bower (59 from 1964-68).

Saku Koivu recorded his 500 career point on Tuesday, making him the sixth player born in Finland to have at least 500 points in the NHL, along with Jari Kurri, Teemu Selanne, Tomas Sandstrom, Esa Tikkanen and Teppo Numminen.

Koivu is the 22nd player to score at least 500 points for the Canadiens. That's by far the most players to do that for any NHL franchise. Other teams with at least 10 such players are the Blackhawks (13), Bruins (12), Flyers (12), Rangers (11), Red Wings (10) and Maple Leafs (10).

• The Coyotes, who defeated the Stars in Dallas on Tuesday, won all five games on their just completed road trip. Phoenix is only the eighth team in NHL history to win every game on a road trip of five or more games and the first to do it since the Red Wings (6-0-0 in 2002).

• The Islanders became the last NHL team to earn a point in calendar year 2007 with their 5-3 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. The Isles were 0-4-0 since Jan. 1 prior to the game. With the Islanders victory, the only NHL team that has yet to win a game in the new year is Florida (0-1-2).

The Islanders' win was their fifth straight over the Rangers, including all four meetings this season. It's the Islanders' longest winning streak over their local rival since they won five games in a row against the Rangers from January 1982 to October 1982.

Jaromir Jagr recorded his 39th and 40th assists of the season in a losing cause Tuesday. By reaching the 40-assist mark in the New York's 44th game, Jagr is the first Rangers player to reach 40 assists in that few games since Wayne Gretzky got there in 43 games in the 1996-97 season.

• Ottawa trailed the Bruins 2-0 through two periods but scored five unanswered goals in the third period to beat Boston 5-2. It was the first time in the Senators' 14 seasons in the NHL that they won a game by a three-goal (or greater) margin after trailing by at least two goals going into the third period. It was only the third time in the Bruins' 82 seasons that they lost a game by three goals or more after leading by at least two goals entering the third period. They previously did that in November 1960 at Detroit and April 1974 at Chicago.

Alexander Ovechkin scored a pair of goals for the Capitals in their 6-2 win over the Flyers. Ovechkin has scored at least one goal in each of his last seven games vs. Philadelphia (nine total goals), including six goals in four games against them this season. He's the first player to score a goal in seven consecutive games against the Flyers since Joe Mullen had a seven game streak from October 1991 to December 1992.

• Tampa Bay beat the Penguins in a shootout on Sunday in Pittsburgh and the Lightning completed a sweep of their home-and-home set with the Penguins with a 3-2 win at the St. Pete Times Forum on Tuesday. Tampa Bay has won its last 11 games against Pittsburgh, a streak which dates back to November 2003. The only other teams to win at least 11 consecutive games against the Penguins were the Panthers (12 in a row, 2002-06) and Flyers (11 straight, 1982-84).

• Columbus goaltender Fredrik Norrena did not stop any of the three shootout attempts he faced on Tuesday night, which enabled the Blues to defeat the Blue Jackets. In the two seasons since the shootout was instituted, only three other goaltenders faced at least three shootout attempts in one game and had them all result in goals: Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom against Dallas last Dec. 2, Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson last March 23 against Vancouver and Colorado's
Peter Budaj on Oct. 14, 2005 vs. Chicago (all were 0-for-3).