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BLUELINES: Madden gives props to Pandolfo

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  • One of the NHL's neatest "Odd Couples" is the -Jay Pandolfo duet. In college, Madden (Michigan) shut down Pandolfo (Boston University) in the 1996 Frozen Four. "We joke about it now," says Madden. "Jay tells me: 'You shut me down that game and you've been shutting me down ever since — only now you're playing WITH me!' " Give Madden credit for recognizing his linemate's contribution to John's nomination for the Selke Trophy. "I wouldn't be getting recognition like that if Jay weren't on my line," Madden admits.
  • Scotty Bowman continues to be a major conversation piece at the Cup finals. One tipster tells us the coach "is waiting for a call from the ." But it apparently hasn't happened yet, and may never happen.
  • With New Jersey in the finals, Larry Robinson won't talk to any suitors until after the Cup-winning game. The also may have an interest in Robbie. Having had a taste of head coaching in the past, Robinson now is said to be thirsting for more.
  • tells us that this team has "the best bunch of guys I've ever been associated with."
  • Now it can be told: played at 60 percent when he returned for the Anaheim series. He couldn¿t keep up when the play went end-to-end, and was back in rehab four days after the were eliminated.
  • Now that is walking away from the game, expect the Avs to pursue — a free agent this summer — rather than turn the reins over to Roy's backup .
  • Philadelphia, Toronto and Dallas are early favorites to bid for free-agent-to-be .
  • The upcoming season will be ' final go-round (at $6 million).
  • Vancouver is in the market for a second-line center this off-season and Tampa's (unrestricted free agent) might be a good fit in the price range.
  • The may trade down from the No. 1 overall pick as they did last year. Expect them to try to get Carolina (No. 2) and Pittsburgh (No. 3) into a bidding war. Both are reportedly hot for goalie-stud Marc-Andre Fleury.
  • Anaheim's is helping younger players, such as Stan Chistov. Stevie tells Stan, "You might play a hundred years in this league and never get this far. Avoid distractions. Leave everything on the ice. Cherish the opportunity."
  • National TV ratings may be down for the NHL, but don't blame Minnesota. Game 1, vs. Ducks, had 24% of Minneapolis-St. Paul watching the game. That number equates to 52% of all TVs on at the time.
  • The unauthorized biography is close to being completed by New York Times Magazine editor Jeff Klein. It'll hit the stands next fall.
  • Neither nor are sure-thing returnees to Ottawa next season. Soon-to-be unrestricted free agents, each has appeal on the market. We know a few Sens media folks who'd be tickled if Smolinski disappeared. With the notable exception of Smolinski, the won media points for their availability and conviviality, individually and collectively.
  • The Boston buzz is that Charlie Jacobs — owner Jeremy's son — wants to offer a ticket next season for under $20.
  • Reports suggest that still may remain a Red Wing, at four years and $40 million.
  • came up short in his attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open, shooting an 80 in a Texas qualifying event. "The hole's bigger in hockey," says The Golden Brett. Former Blackhawk-turned-broadcaster, Dale Tallon, did get through the first qualifying test at the Open. Tallon is head pro at Highland Park Golf Club near Chicago. Few realize that Dale helped develop the Celebrity Golf Tour.
  • on J.S. Giguere: "Nine times out of ten you go in a locker room and talk to a certain guy, and you can go, 'Oh, that's the goalie right there.' But with Jiggy, he thinks he's a power forward or something. He's certainly not like a prototypical goalie."
  • The are enthused about prospect Greg Campbell — who played for Canada in the World Juniors. He's the son of NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell.
  • One of our favorites, Eddie Olczyk, has thrown his hat in the ring for the head coaching vacancy. Nashville assistant Brent Peterson is considered a top candidate.
  • Should Peterson move north, might end up as his replacement. Gilchrist did headset work from the press box late last year when he wasn¿t dressing.
  • The NHL capped off its "Year of the Fan" campaign by naming Roger Farina winner of the 7th Man Award. An fan, currently serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq, Farina was the first fan to wear an (new third) jersey in a combat zone. Farina now becomes NHL commish-for-a-day.
  • The Habs signed 2002 first-rounder and Long Island-native Chris Higgins to a contract. He's another prodigy taught by former Islander Gerry Hart.
  • The AHL raised more than $2 million for charitable causes, including the Ace Bailey Children's Fund.
  • The named Jim Leahy V.P. of sales and marketing. Leahy had been president of the Lowell Lock Monsters and helped the club to record attendance during his two seasons there.
  • Marion Gaborik will undergo sports hernia surgery for the second time in two years, according to the Star-Tribune. Gaborik, who missed the 's 2001 regular-season opener after the first surgery, is expected to be ready for training camp.
  • , on the other hand, will not have to undergo surgery for what was initially diagnosed as a sports hernia. "There's no surgery needed, which is a good thing," Iginla tells the Calgary Sun. "I've been going to physical therapy the last couple of weeks and it's getting a lot better." Doctors say the injury was likely a result of Iginla overcompensating for groin and hip problems, which plagued him most of the season.
  • coach Mike Babcock claims that he attended McGill University because his mother is French-Canadian. In a sense, he admits, it was a mistake. "That's the school," Mike explains, "where French kids go to learn how to speak English."
  • Ivan Hlinka sure gets around. He left Pittsburgh's coaching spot to work the bench in Russia (Omsk). Now he's joining Petr Svoboda, the agent who reps and . Hlinka will work out of the Czech Republic.
  • Wonder whether Mike Milbury would take back — at a reduced rate, of course? The Polish Prince hasn't even gained a spot on the Hamilton lineup for the Calder Cup Finals against Houston. Milbury's actions continue to cast some doubt about Peter Laviolette's return as head coach. 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 and on FSN. His columns appear regularly on MSGNetwork.com.
  • Tagged: Bruins, Sabres, Red Wings, Kings, Stars, Canadiens, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Senators, Penguins, Avalanche, Lightning, Canucks, Capitals, Ducks, Panthers, Predators, Wild, Bill Guerin, Sergei Fedorov, Bryan Smolinski, Derian Hatcher, Jay Pandolfo, John Madden, Robert Lang, Pavel Kubina, Vinny Prospal, David Aebischer

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