Red Wings set NHL history

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Red Wings set NHL history

From Comcast SportsNetDETROIT (AP) -- It didn't look like just another night for the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena when a fan hurled an octopus on the ice, an act usually reserved for a playoff game. And, It didn't sound like an ordinary matchup in the regular season when fans stood and chanted, "Let's go Red Wings!" during the final minutes and cheered wildly when the clock hit zero. In between, Detroit beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 Sunday night and equaled an NHL mark with its 20th straight win at home. "It felt like it was a little bit of a special game," said Johan Franzen, who scored his league-leading 10th game-winning goal early in the third period. The NHL-leading Red Wings have downplayed the streak, saying they're more focused on trying to keep their edge in the highly competitive Central Division and Western Conference. "We don't want to talk about it," defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We just want to keep it going." The league mark was set by the Boston Bruins during the 1929-30 season and matched by Philadelphia in 1976. "We definitely wanted to keep them from tying the record," Flyers winger Scott Hartnell said. "We're all disappointed about that." Detroit can break the record with a win Tuesday night over the Dallas Stars at Joe Louis Arena. "It's not too often you get a chance to do that," Red Wings goalie Joey MacDonald said. Philadelphia rookie Brayden Schenn had a career-high two goals, helping the Flyers take the first of two leads they couldn't keep against a team that hasn't lost at home since Nov. 3 against Calgary. MacDonald overcame shaky clearing attempts that led to two goals and finished with 26 saves. "What I liked was how he played after a mistake," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots for the Flyers. Bobrovsky's head was on a swivel in the opening minute of the third period when Henrik Zetterberg and Lidstrom made diagonal passes to set up Franzen in front of the net for his 22nd goal. "There's not much you can do about it when they're zinging it around like that," Hartnell said. "They picked us apart a few times out there and that was the difference." Lidstrom played in his 1,550th game, the most by an NHL player who spent his entire career with one team. He broke the mark set by former Red Wings great Alex Delvecchio. "He came down on Friday and congratulated me and we took a picture together," Lidstrom said. "That means a lot to me." Early on, Philadelphia took advantage of facing MacDonald instead of Jimmy Howard, who missed his fifth straight game with a broken right index finger. The Red Wings are hoping Howard will return Friday night at home against Nashville. MacDonald misplayed a puck behind the net to help Schenn score late in the first period and couldn't clear a rebound early in the second, setting up Schenn's second goal that put the Flyers ahead 2-1. Pavel Datsyuk tied it 2-all a few minutes later on a power-play goal from the left circle. MacDonald didn't have much of a chance to stop Maxime Talbot's go-ahead goal late in the second period. Talbot got behind Detroit's defense and flipped the puck past MacDonald. Zetterberg's one-timer a couple of minutes later tied the game at 3 entering the third, giving fans another boost for the final period. "It was a great atmosphere out there, it was like playing in the playoffs," Franzen said. "We have to thank them for giving us the extra energy that we needed." NOTES: The NBA's longest home winning streak in a season was set by Chicago with 37 straight victories during the 1995-96 season; the 1978 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1988 Boston Red Sox each won 24 straight at home for baseball's longest single-season home winning streaks since 1919 and the Miami Dolphins won 27 straight at home from 1971-74 in what has stood as the longest home winning streak in NFL history. ... Schenn, the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, was acquired by Philadelphia last summer from Los Angeles as part of the Mike Richards trade. ... Kronwall's goal was his 12th, topping his career high set last season. ... The Flyers have had four straight games without a power-play goal after scoring at least one in the previous six.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.