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The Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins went into the finals of their respective championship series looking to create a sweep for the organization.
A different type of sweep ultimately finished off the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Jason Krog, who followed up an American Hockey League Most Valuable Player effort in the regular season by taking the same award in the Calder Cup playoffs, led the way June 10 as the Chicago Wolves finished off the Penguins, 5-2, in Game Six of the finals.
Krog had his second playoff hat trick and added an assist to help the Wolves close out the best-of-seven series, four games to two.
Earlier, the parent Pittsburgh Penguins had also lost in six games when they fell short against the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup finals.
The two Penguins teams reaching the finals of the top two professional hockey leagues in North American represented the first time that feat had been accomplished since the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans did it in 1999.
Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton were trying to become the first to win both titles since the New Jersey Devils and Albany River Rats in 1995.
Krog broke a 2-2 tie 4:44 into the third period then completed his hat trick at 15:23.
During the regular season, Krog led the AHL in all three scoring categories with 39 goals, 73 assists and 112 points. He tied a league record for playoff assists with 26 and added 12 goals to again lead the league with 38 points in 24 playoff games.
The championship was the first for Krog, who played in the 2002 Calder Cup finals with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the 2003 Stanley Cup finals with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Chicago took a 2-0 lead before Luca Caputi and Mark Ardelan scored to rally the Penguins to a 2-2 tie heading into the third period.
Penguins rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski finished second in Calder Cup playoff points (28) and assists (four).
Tim Brent of the Penguins matched the point production of 2007 AHL MVP Darren Haydar of the Wolves. Each had 12 goals to tie Krog for the lead and has 27 points to share third place in scoring.
Several former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players were prominent in Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup finals effort against Detroit.
Maxime Talbot scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history when he connected with 34.3 seconds left in regulation in Game Five to avoid elimination and pave the way for Petr Sykora's triple overtime game-winner in the 4-3 victory.
Talbot's goal was the first since 1936 to be scored in the final minute by a team to avoid elimination from a Stanley Cup final.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Rob Scuderi, who played in Wilkes-Barre with Talbot, also made Sykora's game-winner possible. Fleury made 55 saves, including 13 in the first overtime when Detroit dominated and had a 13-2 shot advantage. Scuderi drew the penalty that set up the power play on which Sykora scored.
Ryan Whitney, Brooks Orpik and Scuderi, all prominent members of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defense in the past, were the three busiest players in the triple overtime game.
Whitney was on the ice for 50:46 of the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup finals history, the most time played in a final by anyone in the last six years.
Ryan Malone, who played briefly in Wilkes-Barre, was Pittsburgh's fourth-leading playoff scorer with six goals and 10 assists.
Tyler Kennedy, who played in Wilkes-Barre earlier this season, played in all 20 playoff games while Kristopher Letang played in 16.
Next week's local sports column will feature a recap of how former county athletes did in their spring college seasons.
Readers who know of a graduate of one of the six county high schools who is playing in college and has not been featured in College Corner so far this season can send information about the player, the college they attend and the sport they play to RobbyTR@aol.com. Information that can be confirmed with the various colleges will be included in next week's report.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript.
The Racing Reporter
Winless Drought Ends For Dale Jr., Brooklyn, MI – A gutsy call not to pit for fuel by his team allowed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to win Sunday’s Nextel Cup Lifelock 400 at Michigan.
Dale Earnhardt is all smiles after his Sunday win at Michigan.
Most of the leaders made their final fuel stop between laps 182 and 193, but Earnhardt’s team decided to keep him on the track and hope for a caution, and that’s exactly what happened.
Earnhardt gained the lead from Jamie McMurray on lap 196 of the 200-lap race. On the next lap, Sam Hornish spun. This set up a green/white/checkered finish. Right after the leaders received the white flag, signaling one to go, Michael Waltrip spun down onto the infield. This brought out the race’s final caution and ended the race.
Earnhardt was able to make it back to the finish under his own power, but ran out of fuel before he got to victory lane.
“We were close,” said Earnhardt. “We were going to stumble to the finish whether we had enough or not. That caution saved us. It came out just when we needed it.”
His win ended a 76-race winless streak that dated back to May 6, 2006 at Richmond.
The remaining top-10 finishers: 2. Kasey Kahne, 3. Matt Kenseth, 4. Brian Vickers, 5. Tony Stewart, 6. Jimmie Johnson, 7. Carl Edwards, 8. David Ragan, 9. Elliott Sadler, 10. Jamie McMurray.
Top 10 Chase Contenders after 15 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-2213, 2. Burton-2181, 3. Earnhardt-2129, 4. Edwards-2007, 5. Johnson-1959, 6. Hamlin-1926, 7. Kahne-1889, 8. Biffle-1884, 9. J. Gordon-1826, 10. Harvick-1817.
Top 10 Nationwide Series leaders after 16 of 35: 1. Bowyer-2336, 2. B. Keselowski-2166, 3. Reutimann-2161, 4. Edwards-2111, 5. Kyle Busch-2093, 6. Ragan-2041, 7. Bliss-2041, 8. M. Wallace-1944, 9. Stremme-1916, 10. Leffler-1834.
Top 10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders after 10 of 25: 1. Benson-1422, 2. Bodine-1407, 3. Hornaday-1401, 4. Crafton-1375, 5. Crawford-1361, 6. Skinner-1349, 7. McCumbee-1314, 8. Sprague-1304, 9. Cook-1303, 10. Darnell-1270.
NASCAR Says No More Complaints – NASCAR has moved to limit negative complaints about the new car and other racing-related matters.
NASCAR president Mike Helton held a mandatory meeting last Friday and told all drivers and car owners that he was tired of hearing negative complaints about the new generation car, problems with race tracks, and other things.
Apparently driver complaints reached a critical point with the powers-that-be after the Pocono race.
“He (Helton) felt it has become a negative environment and reminded them to think about the fans and what they are facing with the rising costs of gas, and other hardships brought on by the economy,” said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter.
This was Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s perspective.
“I was pretty critical,” he said. “Overly critical at times. The only reason that drivers are like that is we feel like our best avenue is through the media because it’s very effective.”
If NASCAR does succeed in stifling driver’s comments when they feel like something is wrong, they will have succeeded in taking away what little freedom drivers still have.
What do you think? Give us your opinion. E-mail comments to: email@example.com. Mail them to The Racing Reporter, P. O. Box 160711, Mobile, AL 36616. If we use your comments we’ll send you an 8X10 of your favorite driver.
Richard Childress Racing - Success doesn’t keep Richard Childress from maintaining control over his three-car racing team. Despite other personal and business interests, his daily routine includes hours of hands-on supervision in Welcome, North Carolina at the Richard Childress Racing shop, which now has 16 buildings.
Childress' life as an American sportsman and entrepreneur is about self-made success, associations with greatness, the finer things in life and the fine line between life and death.
His lifestyle in Davidson County, NC, has been made possible by his dogged persistence, shrewd investment and ability to produce winning race cars.
At the track, Childress is one of the most accessible car owners in the business. He’s ready to talk about his race teams, NASCAR, or his next hunting adventure. You name it, and Childress will give you his comments. He hasn’t lost his desire to communicate openly and honestly about his teams.
It was Dale Earnhardt, Sr. that really put him on the road to success. But before teaming up with Earnhardt, Childress himself was a driver.
He made his first NASCAR start in 1969 at Talladega. His company, Richard Childress Racing (RCR), was formed in 1972. At the start of the 1976 season Childress drove the team’s famed No. 3 for the first time.
After 285 starts, he turned the wheel over to Dale Earnhardt at Michigan in 1981, after Earnhardt brought his sponsor, Wrangler, with him.
“The money that Wrangler was paying to sponsor my car for the final 10 races of 1981 was the most money I had ever seen,” Childress said in Frank Vernon’s book, “The Intimidator,” in 1991. “When it was over, I was in debt $150,000. I was in worse shape than I was to start with.”
Earnhardt had six top-10 finishes in those 11 races, but Childress advised him to leave, to go to another bigger team.
Earnhardt did leave and it wasn’t until 1984 that the pair signed a new 10-year deal. The Childress plan was to put a fearless driver into an unbreakable car.
The plan worked. With legendary Dale Earnhardt at the wheel, Childress earned six Cup championships, before Earnhardt died after hitting the wall at Daytona in 2001.
Now, with Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and rookie Clint Bowyer, Childress is back in the hunt for NASCAR glory, and he has plans to add a fourth Cup team in 2009.
Childress lives for the outdoors. His passions, beyond racing, include hunting and fishing. He also relishes getting away to his 700-acre Montana ranch, where he'll typically fly-fish and ride horses, often taking friends or rewarding employees with a taste of the outdoors.
Closer to home, he enjoys inspecting the grapes that he produces wine from and Black Angus cattle that graze on his North Carolina estate.
“If I wasn't in the racing business, I'd be involved in something where I could be outside all day,” Childress told a USA Today reporter in 2006. “Call me an outdoorsman. I like to hunt and fish, but I'm also a huge conservationist.”
Childress is as much about preserving wildlife as he is for placing moose, elk and trout on the walls of the Richard Childress Racing Museum, which houses much of his North American trophy collection in addition to significant cars of Earnhardt and others.
“I like to give back by helping organizations that I know are making a difference in our hunting heritage and conservation of our wetlands. I want my grandsons, someday, to hear the elk's bugle again in North Carolina. Keeping our youth involved in the conservation of our wildlife and outdoors, I think that's important,” he said.
The world could use a few more people like Childress.
Next Week: Petty Enterprises; The End of an Era
The Nationwide Series and Craftsman Trucks are at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, WI. The Nextel Cup teams will have their first road course race of the season at Sonoma, CA.
Friday, June 20: Craftsman Trucks Milwaukee 200, 8:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, June 21: Nationwide Series AT&T 250, 8 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, June 22: Nextel Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350, 3:30 p.m. TV: TNT.
Racing Trivia Question: Which team does Elliott Sadler drive for?
Last Week’s Question: Where is Robby Gordon’s hometown? Answer: It is Bellflower, California.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Red Cross, Susquehanna Co. Chapter, held its seventh annual golf tournament on Saturday, June 7 at the Montrose Country Club. The tournament was very successful, thanks to the generosity of area businesses who donated prizes and money to sponsor signs, and all the players, businesses, and volunteers who contributed, participated, and made this another great year.
The proceeds will be used locally to support disaster services, which include single family fires, armed forces emergency services, and health and safety in Susquehanna County.
Prize winners at the tournament are as follows.
Special Contest Winners: Closest to the Pin, 2nd shot, Men – Kevin Donovan; Closest to the Pin, 2nd shot, Women – Ann Lewis; Longest Drive Women over 50 – Samantha Weaver; Longest Drive Women under 50 – Graham Brunner; Longest Drive Men over 50 – Karl Kail; Longest Drive Men under 50 – Brian Harmon; Longest Putt made, Women – Candy Graham; Longest Putt made, Men – Dan Regan; Closest to the Pin, Women – Susie Clapps; Closest to the Pin, Men – Larry Kelly.
Men's Division: 1st Place 59 – Joe Gilhool, Dan Regan, Dan Ricci, Brian Harmon. 2nd Place60 – Jason Legg, Tom Kerylovicz, Brian Baker, Todd Legg. 3rd Place61 – Tom Pascoe, Joseph Speicher, Stu Kaufmann, Charlie Aliano.
Women's Division: 1st Place66 – Kathy Wheaton, Nancy Larson, Carol Rogers, Nancy Blaisure. 2nd Place67 – Ann Lewis, Cindy Kerr, Susie Clapps, Michele Tidick. 3rd Place68 – Diane Dean, Sue Dean, Judy Krupinski, Debbie Loomis.
Mixed Division: 1st Place 65 – Karl Kail, Laura Kail, Dick Blaisure, Candy Graham. 2nd Place74 – Duane Jerauld, Jane Jerauld, Tom Norville, Sharon Norville. 3rd Place76 – Mike Kowalewski, Michelle Kowalewski, Marci Kowalewski, Dave Kowalewski.
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