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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fans take measure of McSorley by his stick

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NEWARK, N.J. -- There's been lots of talk about the illegal stick call that Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers ordered up during the 1993 Stanley Cup final that caught Los Angeles Kings blue-liner Marty McSorley with a bad blade.

The Habs scored on the ensuing power play to tie the game and then got the winner in overtime that night and McSorley has since worn goat horns in the minds of Kings fans.

This week McSorley has been peddling a story about the Habs inspecting the Kings' stick rack when no one was looking. Maybe, but the bottom line was McSorley got caught.

Players that used illegal sticks in that era, and there were usually a handful on both teams on the ice, got rid of them late in a game and switched to a legal blade.

McSorley's teammate Luc Robitaille, according to the Habs, did just that but McSorley didn't, so the Habs pounced. In a close game -- up by a goal -- McSorley made a mistake. End of story.

Don't expect Devils coach Pete DeBoer to call for a measurement anytime soon.

DeBoer does remember the last time he called for a measurement. It was several years ago when he was coaching the Kitchener Rangers in an OHL playoff series against the London Knights.

"Mike Richards would remember it, he was my captain. We (faced London's) Corey Perry. We had all been together with the world junior team. I had found, probably a little unethically, that (Perry's) stick was illegal, at Christmas.

"I had Richie call Corey for an illegal stick. We actually got it. Didn't score on the five-on-three. I think London scored short-handed and we lost the series. It backfired. Yeah, it's a funny story. You know what, they changed the rule to make the bigger curves more legal since. You have to have a boomerang basically now in order to be called for that. So it's not even an option."

ROAD RECORD: Kings coach Darryl Sutter isn't focusing on the fact the Kings are 9-0 on the road in these playoffs.

"I'm aware of it every time you bring it up. Other than that, it's not that important," said Sutter. "Heck, you know what, we've been here four or five days. Jesus, we would have rather played yesterday and went home, right?"

GAME ONE WINNERS: Since the NHL introduced the best-of-seven format in 1939, teams winning Game 1 of the Cup final have gone on to win the championship in 55 of 72 seasons. The Game 1 loser, however, has gone on to win the series in two of the past three years (2009 Pittsburgh, 2011 Boston).

MARTY MILESTONE: Devils goalie Martin Brodeur appeared in his 200th career playoff game Wednesday, becoming the 20th player in NHL history, and just the second goaltender (Patrick Roy, 247), to reach the 200-game mark.

LOTS OF FREE HOCKEY: There have been 24 overtime games in this playoff season, which is third all-time behind the 28 played in 1993 and the 26 in 2001.

FINALLY A WIN: The Kings earned their first overtime win in a final on Wednesday. Against Montreal in 1993, the Kings lost three games in overtime: Game 2 (Eric Desjardins), Game 3 (John LeClair) and Game 4 (John LeClair.)

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2012 C3

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