Makeshift teams combine for 29 goals
BARRIE, Ontario -- The latest alternative to the NHL began Friday night -- with alternative being the operative word.
With the NHL's lockout entering its second day, some players turned to the Original Stars Hockey League, a six-team, four-on-four operation set up by an Ontario businessman.
Two makeshift teams dubbed "Toronto" and "Detroit" combined for 29 goals in front of 2,176 at a 4,500-seat arena about 50 miles from Toronto.
Spectators spent anywhere from $34 to $60 to see "Toronto" beat "Detroit" 16-13. Dan Cloutier stopped 42 of 55 shots for the win.
It's certainly not where Cloutier and the other locked-out NHL players wanted to be Friday night. But, given their circumstances, they'll play anywhere now. They've gone from the big league to a beer league.
"We're all disappointed with the situation," Cloutier said. "I'd much rather be in training camp in Vancouver and playing for my team. Hopefully, we'll get this settled earlier than later."
Till then, he'll don an OSHL sweater.
The game hardly resembles the NHL. Body checking is not allowed and line changes are made only on the fly. Penalties result in penalty shots rather than a man sitting in a penalty box, and exhibition shootouts follow each 17-minute period.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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