Thursday, June 5, 2008

Red Wings' Mikael Samuelsson hoists Stanley Cup, joins elusive Triple Gold Club

Detroit Red Wings right wing Mikael Samuelsson capped off a strong playoff performance by assisting on Valtteri Filppula's second period goal in last night's Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, bringing the Cup back to Hockeytown for the 4th time in the last 11 years. Samuelsson scored 5 goals, added 8 assists and was +8 during Detroit'z run, including a two-goal performance in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against his former team. "Sammy" also had a two-goal game in Game 4 of Detroit's series-clinching win over Colorado. Samuelsson played on a line with Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula throughout the playoffs and was a significant part of the team's second power-play unit, which was lauded earlier in the finals by head coach Mike Babcock. With last night's win, Mikael joined the elite Triple Gold Club.

Triple Gold Club expands to 22
Zetterberg, Kronwall and Samuelsson do it in only two years.


PITTSBURGH – With Detroit’s Stanley Cup victory, the Triple Gold Club expanded with three new members – Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, and Mikael Samuelsson. The three Swedes were the fastest of the 22 players to complete the triple (Olympic gold, World Championship gold, and Stanley Cup).

The three out of a total of seven Swedish players on the 2008 Red Wings’ Stanley Cup team built their Triple Gold Club platform just two years ago. In 2006, they were part of Sweden’s Tre Kronor when it became the first team in hockey history to win the Olympic gold (Turin) and the World Championship (Riga) in the same year. They are now the first players who have achieved their Triple Gold Club merits entirely in the 21st century.

Zetterberg, Kronwall, and Samuelsson were among the eight Swedish players that year who were on both the Olympic as well as on the World Championship team. As a result, the Swedish Triple Gold Club contingent is now nine players strong.

By comparison, Soviet and Russian stalwart defenceman Vyacheslav Fetisov had to wait 19 years between his first title (1978 World Championship) and the year he finally reached the triple, in 1997 after winning his first of two Stanley Cups with Detroit.

Other examples: It took Jaromir Jagr 14 years, Joe Sakic 12 and Nicklas Lidstrom 15 years to win all three titles.

The Triple Gold Club now consists of nine Swedish players, six Russians, five Canadians and two Czechs. Out of the 22 players, 12 are forwards and 10 are defenceman. The club still has yet to welcome its first goaltender.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

D Anssi Salmela signs with New Jersey

The New Jersey Devils made news last Friday by signing undrafted free agent defenseman Anssi Salmela to a one year entry-level contract. The 23-year old blueliner most recently played for Team Finland in the 2008 IIHF World Championships, where he logged 15.23 minutes per game and finished with a +3 rating. Salmela also made a splash by fighting current St. Louis Blues forward David Backes at the end of Finland's May 11th game against the US. Salmela drew interest from several NHL clubs after a strong 2007-08 season in which he led all SM-Liiga defensemen in goals (16) and played for the National Team. Anssi, known for having an edge to his game, should figure to compete in 2008-09 for one of the top six spots in New Jersey's lineup.