Thanks, almightychrissy! *cuddles*
San Jose's dynamite checking line owes chemistry to home cooking
By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
January 25, 2004
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Niko Dimitrakos moved into Todd Harvey's house two months ago, and now the rookie just won't leave. He eats Harvey's food, goofs around with Harvey's kids and frequently delays Harvey's arrival at the rink with his lollygagging.
It's all fine with Harvey, though: He and his family's young houseguest are playing together on a line with Wayne Primeau, and the San Jose Sharks have won five of six with big offensive contributions from their top checkers.
``I've been trying to kick him out for weeks,'' Harvey said with a grin. ``He's always coming home saying, 'What's for dinner?' Well, don't be shy about making yourself something. He seems to have some jump in his step. He must be eating pretty good.''
They haven't been together for long, but the three forwards have the teamwork and communication of veteran teammates. The trio has scored five goals in San Jose's last four games, including first-period goals by Primeau and Dimitrakos in a 4-0 rout of the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Their talents complement each other well. Primeau is a powerful, physical presence on the boards and in front of the net, while Harvey plays a pesky, grinding game made better by his speed.
Dimitrakos is fast, too -- and after a mercurial start to his NHL career, he has displayed a finishing touch that might make him a prolific scorer someday.
``They must be talking, because the chemistry they have on the ice is pretty amazing,'' coach Ron Wilson said. ``Who says it's the fourth line? It's the Primeau line.''
All three forwards have plenty to prove to their teammates. Primeau, the center, is playing his best hockey since arriving in a trade with Pittsburgh last season. Dimitrakos has recaptured much of the form he showed in 21 games with the Sharks last season, scoring three goals in his last eight games.
``I don't know what it is, but maybe it's because I'm living with Harvey,'' Dimitrakos said. ``Maybe it's in the cooking.''
Harvey, who had two assists against Minnesota, has bolstered a career that was in trouble just three months ago. He didn't win a roster spot during training camp, and he went unclaimed through waivers before being sent down to the Sharks' AHL affiliate in Cleveland.
That's where he began hanging out with Dimitrakos, who also began the season with the Barons. Harvey, with a wife and two children back in the Bay area, slept on an air mattress in Dimitrakos' apartment for three weeks.
Harvey was recalled by the Sharks on Nov. 18, and Dimitrakos followed him two days later. Harvey returned the housing favor -- and the teammates began to motivate each other as well.
``We came back with an attitude of, 'Let's just play and not worry about the other stuff,''' Harvey said. ``We were just ready to work hard and let everything else take care of itself, and right now, that's paying dividends for us.''
Dimitrakos might be making Harvey's life easier at the rink, but he still has a few lessons to learn on houseguest etiquette. Dimitrakos hadn't helped out with food costs or even paid any rent until Wilson threatened to call his mother back home in Massachusetts.
So last week, Dimitrakos sheepishly gave a rent check to Harvey's wife, Kim.
``I've got three kids -- it's like I've got a teenager now,'' Harvey said. ``He's getting me ready for the future. ... But he's a good kid. He really wants to play well, and he's got all the talent in the world.''
Oh yeah, watched the Sharks broadcast from last night. It wouldn't be complete without Drew/Randy flirting.
DREW: With Peter Forsberg, it's like you're a beautiful woman, but you've got ugly toes. (Note: This analogy actually did make sense.)
RANDY: I know what you mean.
DREW: I've seen your toes. Your toes are very attractive
RANDY: (Elvis-style) Thank you very much.