The Baltimore Skipjacks' professional hockey record for consecutive wins was broken by the Peoria Rivermen of the International Hockey League this season. But does Peoria's record deserve an asterisk?
Two of the Rivermen's 18 consecutive wins came in shootouts, a rule that wasn't in effect in the American Hockey League when the Skipjacks won 16 straight in February-March 1985. Without the shootout rule, those two wins would have been ties.
"Each team gets a point [in the standings] for the tie," said Shelly Porter of the IHL office. "Also, the team that wins the shootout gets another point. We consider it a win. And we list Peoria with an 18-game winning streak."
But an AHL official who did not want to be named said: "I can sympathize with Baltimore. We didn't have a shootout the year the Skipjacks set the record, and morally I think you have to consider Baltimore still holding the streak. But the entire thing is up to the league involved, and if the IHL considers it a record, we have to go along with it.
"I'd rather not get involved in a stone-throwing match with the IHL right now, considering that our relationship isn't that good anyway with them moving a team into our area [in Albany, N.Y.]. So, I think we'll just have to go along with it."
A spokesman for the National Hockey League said records are controlled by "each individual league. We don't list any records other than NHL records. It's just like baseball. The Baltimore Orioles of the International League may have records that surpass those of the Orioles of the major leagues. But they aren't listed together. They are listed according to league."
* The only member of the Washington Capitals in Saturday's 42nd NHL All-Star Game at Chicago Stadium will be defenseman Kevin Hatcher, who was selected for the Wales Conference team coached by Mike Milbury of the Boston Bruins.
This will be Hatcher's second straight trip to the All-Star Game. Saturday's game will be telecast by NBC (channels 2 and 4).
"I'm honored that I was selected," said Hatcher. "Last year, I was picked when Rod Langway and Scott Stevens were injured. But I feel I deserve it this year, and I'm really looking forward to playing with all the greats in the NHL."
Stevens, of the St. Louis Blues, will be a member of the Campbell Conference team. Another former Capital in the All-Star Game is defenseman Garry Galley of Boston.
* Goalie Murray Bannerman, a former Skipjack, and center Lou Angotti, former Skipjacks coach, will be members of the Campbell Conference team in the Oldtimers All-Star Game on Friday at Chicago Stadium. This game will be carried locally by Home Team Sports.
* With the NHL past the halfway point in the season, Marcel Pelletier, who played in the NHL as a goalie for the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks and is a scout for the Bruins, has seen every team in the league. He makes these selections for the top performers so far:
Coach -- Paul Holmgren, Philadelphia Flyers. "He has done a great job keeping the Flyers close [in the Patrick Division race] with so many injuries."
Goalie -- Mike Richter, New York Rangers. "I've never seen him play a bad game. He controls the game, and he isn't always flopping on the ice. Right behind Richter is Chris Terreri of the New Jersey Devils. He is getting better and better."
Defensemen -- Brian Leetch, Rangers. "He can do everything. He's mobile, carries the puck well, makes great passes and knows how to play defense. Ray Bourque of the Bruins is the best at his position. He has a great shot from the point and plays solid defense. Another defenseman I have to mention is Bruce Driver of New Jersey. He's a good, steady hockey player."
Right wing -- "It's a tossup between Cam Neely of Boston and Brett Hull of the St. Louis Blues. Neely can change a game completely. Not only does he score, but he goes into the corners and gets the puck. Hull is a great goal scorer, and he is at his best when his team needs a lift. Also, you have to mention Rick Tocchet of Philadelphia. He's a complete player."
Center -- Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings. "He is the best in the game today. He is in the same class with great ones [players], like Jean Beliveau, Syl Apps, Milt Schmidt and Bobby Orr. You also have to mention Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings and Mark Messier of the Edmonton Oilers, but Gretzky is in a class by himself,with Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux out with back problems."
Left wing -- Luc Robitaille, Kings. "He's playing in the shadow of Gretzky, but he's a good one. He would be a star for anyone he played for. Another impressive player is Kirk Muller of New Jersey. He gives you a solid effort every shift."