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BLUELINES: Fischler's weekly look around the rink

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Bluelines

  • Asked about Eric Lindros, Toronto neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Tator insists that there's "no such thing as a 'mild' concussion." A guest on the TV special Smart Hockey, Dr. Tator adds, "Every concussion takes its toll. Brain fibers are actually torn when you sustain a concussion."
  • Multi-concussion victim Pat LaFontaine talks about the return of Lindros: "If he's symptom-free, I can understand his comeback." Others are more dubious.
  • Expect the Islanders to seek toughness now that their most consistent fighter, Steve Webb, is out with a broken hand -- courtesy of a fight in Atlanta with Darcy Hordichuk.
  • Angry refs -- the latest being Blaine Angus -- already have cost the normally placid Mats Sundin a pair of unsportsmanlike penalties. Some say it's a function of a new, more aggressive Sundin in every way. He's now a Swedish Bobby Holik.
  • If Bill Guerin leaves Boston, he wouldn't mind Long Island as his next home. That from Billy's pals.
  • Responding to Mike Milbury's criticism that some refs hold grudges against certain teams, Andy Van Hellemond tells Newsday's Alan Hahn that that "couldn't be further from the truth." What else would you expect the refs' boss to say?
  • The NHL got a lucky break when a player heading for a taped interview game illegally got behind the wheel of a golf cart transporter and, during his trans-arena cruise, barely escaped running down two members of the opposition indulging in a pregame soccer-type practice. Had the pair been injured, there would have been an uproar from here to Bettman. Inc.
  • Apart from his tremendous production, Jarome Iginla also is impressing with his leadership, class and affability with the media.
  • If you're looking for a truly different, quality, hockey read, try Jay Atkinson's Ice Time -- A Tale of Fathers, Sons and Hometown Heroes, published by Crown.
  • Andre Roy wins the Riposte Of The Month Award for his comeback after Eric Cairns tried to sucker him into a fight. "I'm a two-way player now!" snapped Roy. By the way, he is.
  • We've heard lots of kudos over the years, but how about this from Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs on Ron Francis: "He's the most underrated player in the history of hockey." By the way, the previous "Most Underrated" was Dean Prentice.
  • Rick Dudley on his disinterest in Tony Amonte: "We will not be in the bidding for a $6 million or $7 million player at this time."
  • The transition from Ed Belfour to Marty Turco hardly is moving smoothly. The Eagle's raps at Ken Hitchcock ("If he wants to push the panic button¿") inspire memories of Brett Hull.
  • We hear from a reliable scout that Detroit is concerned about its defense generally and Chris Chelios in particular. Hence the Wings' search for another vet defender.
  • TV actor Cameron Bancroft, who plays in the Microsoft charity tourneys, tells us that Paul Kariya is his favorite NHLer but "Poor Paul can't do anything when they set up the center-ice trap against him." True, but the problem is that no one knows how to eradicate the trap.
  • Minnesota Wild coach and former Canadiens player Jacques Lemaire is still partially allergic to the Montreal media. On the morning of the Habs at St. Paul match, Lemaire skipped the morning skate, leaving 18 frustrated Canadiens media waiting. But he had spent an hour with them the previous night.
  • New Jersey's new governor, James McGreevey, says funding for a new Devils' arena in Newark should be on track by June.
  • Owner Ted Leonsis says he'd like his Caps to add a defenseman, but he's not into "multiple trades or mass firings" to revive the club.
  • The consensus among NHL coaches is that Red Wings coach Scott Bowman intimidates referees better than any of the other 29 bench bosses. One mentor says: "The best advantage Scotty has with the refs is on his fingers. Those Cup rings help him a lot when he's dealing with the zebras."
  • Do the Sharks want to trade Patrick Marleau as much as some East Coast media types think?
  • Rarely does a writer covering hockey admit a mistake in print. That's why we give credit to Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic. Boivin writes that she dumped on Coyotes' brass when they parted with Keith Tkachuk. Boivin now apologizes, noting, "While mourning the loss of superstars, we forgot how talented goalie Sean Burke really is, how hard wing Brad May works, and how efficiently a young team can play when it's hungry."
  • Rumor has Buffalo shopping Chris Gratton, this time to Calgary for Marc Savard.
  • An accurate prediction from Herb Brooks: "If the NHL went to Olympic size rinks tomorrow, half the defensemen in the NHL would have to retire."
  • With Kim Johnsson firmly ensconced as Philly's top blueliner, Eric Desjardins is said to be available.
  • Bad news for Caps media: Nate Ewell leaves the club's public relations team to handle hockey stats for NBC Olympic staff. Ewell was much admired by the D.C. press corps.
  • Expect the Lightning to change its logo and jersey next season.
  • Greg Gilbert on the two-ref system: "It seems like a tug-of-war between the two, with guys waving off other calls and looking at the other to see if there should be a call. The one constant is the standard answer: 'It's not my call.' " Known as "The Hockey Maven" in both local and national circles, Stan Fischler is one of the most outspoken authorities on the game of hockey. Fischler can be seen offering NHL analysis on "MSG SportsDesk" and on FOX Sports Net's "Regional Sports Report -- New York Edition." Fischler also provides studio interviews and pre- and post-game features and reports for both the Islanders and Devils on FSN. His columns appear regularly on MSGNetwork.com.
  • Tagged: Bruins, Sabres, Flames, Blackhawks, Red Wings, Hurricanes, Stars, Canadiens, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Senators, Flyers, Sharks, Blues, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Ducks, Wild, Bill Guerin, Marc Savard, Tony Amonte, Chris Chelios, Brett Hull, Marty Turco, Ed Belfour, Bobby Holik, Eric Cairns, Kim Johnsson, Andre Roy, Patrick Marleau, Keith Tkachuk, Mats Sundin, Sean Burke, Brad May, Paul Kariya

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