Goalie: NHL should try smaller posts and pads

Updated: February 9, 2004, 12:51 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Patrick Roy has been retired for less than a year, and he's already considered "legendary."

Fans voted Roy and former NHL greats Ray Bourque, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and Bobby Orr to the first NHL Legendary All-Star team.

The squad was announced Sunday in a ceremony during the first intermission of the All-Star Game. The ballot included all retired NHL players who were selected to seven or more NHL All-Star games. Fans were able to vote for two defensemen, a center, a left wing, a right wing and a goaltender.

"It's a tremendous honor," said Roy, an 11-time All-Star who retired after last season.

Added Bourque: "You look at this team and you look at the great players that have played in the NHL, and when the fans select you this way, I think there's no higher honor."

Bourque also said he would've liked to have played with some of the other players who were voted in before they retired.

"Would have been a dream come true if Bobby would have stuck around a few more years," he said.

"And Wayne Gretzky, I got to play with him in Canada Cups and got burnt many times against him, so it's nice being on his side again," he added with a laugh.

Consider the source?
Goaltenders have gotten better, so make it harder for them to stop shots.

That's the word from ... Patrick Roy?

"I think I'm not going to have a lot of friends after what I'm going to say. To evolve the game, I think you should have the goal post smaller to the outside and go back to the 10-inch pad," the former Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche goalie said. "That will give three inches on each shot for every shooter, and that's plenty for them."

Roy was asked what can be done to make hockey more exciting for fans.

"The position has changed. Now you have goaltenders going in corners, shooting the puck as well as forwards. They are very involved," he said.

Roy also thinks expansion has diluted the NHL.

"I think 16 teams was probably the best for this league. And if you take 10 teams out of there -- I know the [players' association] won't like what I'm saying -- but obviously, I mean, talent would be better on the ice, too," Roy said.

Stat sheet
A couple of old centers moved up the All-Star scoring charts Sunday. The New York Rangers' Mark Messier, 43, had a goal and an assist for the Eastern Conference to give him 20 career points in 15 All-Star games.

Messier is third behind Wayne Gretzky (25) and Mario Lemieux (23). Gordie Howe is fourth with 19.

Colorado's Joe Sakic, 34, the MVP with three goals, moved into fifth place with 18 career points in 11 games.

Sakic was typically humble when asked about his feat.

"Oh, I had no idea," he said. "I didn't think you kept stats."

Dwayne's world
The loudest cheers of the game came for hometown favorite Dwayne Roloson, who, along with Filip Kuba, represented the Minnesota Wild.

Roloson played the third period for the West and drew loud ovations for every save, although the crowd quieted down when Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a breakaway.

Roloson, a journeyman goaltender who revived his career with the Wild, finished with six saves on seven shots in his first All-Star appearance.

"I was a little nervous," he said.

Brooks tribute
Actor Kurt Russell took part in a pregame tribute to former hockey coach and St. Paul native Herb Brooks.

Brooks, best known for leading the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to a stunning victory over the Soviet Union, was killed last summer when his minivan rolled over on a local interstate highway.

Before the game, video of Brooks' coaching days with the Minnesota North Stars and the final seconds of the victory over the Soviets was shown on the scoreboard, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.

Russell, who plays Brooks in the new Disney movie "Miracle," told the crowd that no hockey celebration in Minnesota would be complete without honoring Brooks.

A familiar face
NHL veteran Phil Housley was honored with a video tribute during the game.

Housley, a 21-year veteran, retired last month. He had 1,232 points in 1,495 NHL games with Buffalo, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Calgary, New Jersey, Washington, Chicago and Toronto.

The crowd cheered loudly when the scoreboard showed him watching the game from his seat.

Overheard
Keeping with tradition at most All-Star games, no penalties were called and the referees weren't big on calling icing, either. The game lasted only 2:14. "I guess the guys were in a hurry to get out of here," Eastern Conference goalie Roberto Luongo said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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