ALSO ON SLAM!
HOCKEY NOTEMonday, December 15, 1:39 AM
(UPDATING WITH MORE QUOTES) *Coyotes RW Mike Gartner scores 700th career goal* -------------------------------------------------- The National Hockey League's 700 Club expanded to five tonight when Phoenix Coyotes right wing Mike Gartner reached the historic goal milestone against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. With his goal against Chris Osgood at 9:19 of the first period, Gartner joined Wayne Gretzky of the New York Rangers (871) and former stars Gordie Howe (801), Marcel Dionne (731) and Phil Esposito (717) as the elite NHL players to reach 700 career goals. Craig Janney had the puck in the right faceoff circle and found Gartner at the right doorstep with a cross-slot pass. Gartner desposited the puck into the top right corner of the net, beating Osgood for his fourth goal of the season. "Obviously, I'm very happy to reach the milestone," said Gartner, who became the first player to score his 700th goal on home ice. "It's been hovering there for a while. I'm very happy about it. I could sense over the last couple of games that they were going to be there to see it. I really wanted to do it at home. It just made it that much sweeter." "Keith Tkachuk made a good play keeping the puck in the zone," he added. "We had a good rotation and Dids (Diduck) was able to come down and pinch to keep the puck in and Craig, as he does so well, got behind the net and saw me pop into a hole, and just threw it to that hole, and shot at the net. I think Keith was screening and it happened to go into the net." Gartner added his 701st career goal with 4:44 to play, lifting the Coyotes into a 3-3 tie with Detroit. The 38-year-old Gartner has been through an up-and-down season, and was playing in just his 19th game. He missed a chunk of the campaign with a torn left medial collateral ligament suffered November 2nd in the 13th game of the season. "I'm sure I'll probably enjoy it more the day when I retire and have time to reflect because really, you're only good as your last game," Gartner added. "You can't rest on all your past accomplishments." After a stint on the sidelines, the Coyotes waived Gartner, but no team opted to pick him up. He went back to Phoenix and has responded with goals in back-to-back games, his fifth and sixth since returning to the lineup. Gartner had been one of hockey's most durable players, having not missed a game since the 1994-95 season. The seven-time All-Star had 32 goals and 31 assists last season, his 18th in the NHL. He was off to a slow start this year, picking up just two goals and four assists in 13 games before the injury. Until the lockout-shortened campaign of 1994-95, Gartner scored at least 33 goals every season since entering the league in 1979-80, reaching the 30-goal mark all but once in his career.