Friday, January 27, 2012

Gutter Snipes and Suns face off this weekend

Will Brian Leetch be here?

It was only a rumor this week, like many similar rumors that percolate through the Sun Valley hockey community when filmmaker/goalie Bobby Farrelly brings his East Coast Gutter Snipes to town.

But will hockey fans in Sun Valley really get to see former National Hockey League star Brian Leetch up close and personal when the Suns and Gutter Snipes face off today, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Skating Center?

Stranger things have happened with Farrelly's Snipes teams, which have boasted NHL players like Igor "The Professor" Larionov in the past. Larionov was a three-time Stanley Cup winner and 2008 Hockey Hall of Famer.

Leetch, of course, is one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history, a two-time Norris Trophy award winner for being judged the league's top blueliner. Leetch, 43, a 6-0, 185-pound left shot from Cheshire, Ct., played 18 NHL seasons and 1,205 games from 1987-2006.

Most notably, he was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the Stanley Cup's Most Valuable player during the memorable New York Rangers run to the title in 1994—indeed, the last American-born skater to win the prestigious Conn Smythe before Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas last season.

Leetch played for the Rangers, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. He was voted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Toronto-based Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. He played prep hockey at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut and was an All-American at Boston College before going pro.

Whether or not Leetch makes it, the Snipes-Suns series should be a good one.

Rhode Islander Farrelly has a home north of Ketchum and has capably played goal for the Snipes in the past. The two teams have met 12 times and the series is tied 6-6.

There have been 161 goals scored in the 12 games for an average of 13.4 goals per game. Scoring by team is almost dead even. The Snipes have scored 82 goals, Suns 79.

Benefit for this weekend's series is the Atkinson Park Penguins program. A group of Penguins will skate during an intermission Saturday.

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