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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Not that anyone noticed, because not only is it the NHL, and not only is it a regular season NHL game, and not only is a team from Canada (the Canucks) playing, but the game ended after midnight ET, which means nobody saw it...but a guy named David Oliver scored the eventual winning goal for the Dallas Stars in their game in Vancouver last night.

Admit it. You'd never heard of David Oliver. It's ok, neither had I...or anyone else at ESPN last night. Even the first wire story ran his name as Darren Oliver. Darren Oliver is a pitcher with a career ERA over 5. But anyway...

The guy was an NCAA hockey stud. 205 points in 152 games for Michigan in the early '90s. After his college days, he played four seasons in the NHL. And then his career path regressed.

Seems Oliver hadn't scored an NHL goal since December 11, 1999, which would be four years, a month, and 8 days ago. Back then he played for the Coyotes. Since that day, Oliver has played in just 21 NHL games. What has he been doing with his time? Well, he's scored goals, they just weren't on the relatively big stage of the NHL. Oliver scored 14 goals in the 2000-01 season for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the now-defunct IHL. He spent '01-02 playing in the German Elite League for the Munich Barons, for whom he scored 20 goals. He's been in the AHL the past two seasons, scoring a total of 16 goals for the Utah Grizzlies. And now, he finally gets his name back in an NHL goals column.

I bet he would have loved to tell you about his goal last night, but he might have had some trouble choking out the words. Turns out that in the celebration following Oliver's goal, he took a shot to the throat, which forced him to leave the game after the second period. He was taken to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing.

The injury didn't seem too serious, fortunately. On the positive side, ain't hockey great? Every night you'll see at least one breathtaking goal...

Cornell hockey side note: There's a guy named David Oliver who's a teammate of Travis Bell '03 on the CHL's Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. Different David Oliver, although you never know what random hockey league these David Olivers will turn up in these days.


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