They say timing is everything in sports. And if isnít timing, itís probably just dumb luck.
The Jacketsí could not have picked a better time to acquire goaltender Peter Sidorkiewicz. Game #11 of the 1994 campaign saw the Florida Panthers take our boys in blue into overtime to solve a 3-3 deadlock. Only fourteen seconds into the extra frame, star goalie Dominik Hasek was forced to exit with injury. Sidorkiewicz, in his first game with Columbus, came in cold and held the fort, enabling Doug Gilmour to score his second goal of the game, and third of the season to take the victory. Sidorkiewicz, who did not have to make any saves in his appearance, stated after the game, ďIt was just good to get out there and feel the ice. Iím hoping Dom is back soon, but Iím happy to be here, and willing to do whatís needed for this team to win.Ē
Hasek was listed as day-to-day.
The Jacketsí next stop on their six game road trip was to face the Maple Leafs. It was the first time since relocating to Columbus that the team had visited Toronto. The fans showed their appreciation for the team with a standing ovation during a video tribute to the teamís NFHL SMJ Memorial Cup final run of 1993. However, the love did not last for long, Daryl Evans and Pat LaFontaine helped the team jump out to a 2-1 lead by first intermission, and a goal from Todd Ewen made it 3-1 after two. The third period saw the Jacketsí put the game out of reach with 3 goals in the third, making for a decisive 6-1 victory. Peter Sidorkiewicz stopped eighteen of nineteen shots, and looked more than comfortable in the win.
The next game of the week saw the Jacketsí visit the expansion Tampa Bay Lightning. Three first period goals from Shawn Burr, Pat LaFontaine, and Doug Gilmour put the team ahead, and they never looked back. Peter Sidorkiewicz was solid again, leading the Jacketsí to a 5-3 victory. Additional goals were added by Dale Hawerchuk and Michael Galarneau.
Three more wins bring the Jacketsí record to 10-0-1. They are one of only two teams as yet undefeated in regulation, and lead the league with 21 points. Three teams share the second place spot with 16 points, and each have two games in hand over Columbus.
In his weekly interview, GM Blair said he could not be happier with the teamís performance. ďWeíre going strong and look to continue our dominance.Ē
Management has not been very active with transactions so far this year, but the addition of Peter Sidorkiewicz has paid huge dividends in his brief time with the club so far. Along with the Dominator, the Jacketsí may now have one of the best goaltending duos in the league.
The club also added unassigned journeymen Mickey Volcan and Mark Hardy to shore up the teamís blue line depth.
The Jacketsí travel next to Edmonton to take on the 6-3-0 Oilers. It is expected Dominik Hasek will be back in net after being out for the last three.
- 97.1 The Fan, Columbus