NHL

BLUELINES: Mess deserves the 'C'

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  • Bryan Trottier's first challenge as a rookie coach will center around 's captaincy. Trots has yet to indicate whether he'll give Mess the C. Our suggestion: As long as Mark is playing, he deserves to be skipper.
  • By the way, the usually voluble Messier kept incommunicado from the Manhattan media for four months until his return to the Big Apple for training camp and his new Blueshirts' pact.
  • The on-again, off-again ' proposed new arena project is ON again. The city of Newark received an unexpected $165 million windfall from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Plus, YankeeNets already has pledged $125 million for the rink. Now they have to figure where the rest of the dough will come from before building begins. That is, IF it ever comes to pass. Some insiders still believe the will remain at the Meadowlands, perhaps in an arena of their own in East Rutherford. Right now, though, Newark is back in the lead.
  • GM Kevin Lowe's budget cutting in Edmonton moved another inch. He simply did not replace development coach Mark Lamb, now an assistant with the .
  • -watchers are wondering how come survived the summer in Buffalo after all his trade demands. There's got to be a buyer out there, n'est pas?
  • It's always gratifying to know that hockey people continue to remember 9-11 victims. A good example is the AHL's Manchester Monarchs. The club is sponsoring "The Ace Bailey Golf Classic" in memory of the ex-Bruins player and ' scout who died on United Flight 175. The event will be held Oct. 15 at the Manchester Country Club. Celebs attending will include Brad Park, Gerry Cheevers, Gord Kluzak and Dave Taylor.
  • Among the bigger surprises at any camp opening is , who organized the ' pre-camp workouts. He's looking to get into coaching. Right now, the only have Bob Carpenter backing up Pat Burns. Larry Robinson will be welcomed back by Burns if Robbie gets the urge.
  • Haven't the figured out that they really need back between the pipes?
  • Smart move by Ken Holland signing before training camp. Dave Lewis will be relying heavily on the rugged defender — and other young Wings — to play more now that is gone.
  • A lot of people are rooting for nice-guy to salvage his career in Atlanta now that he's free from Scott Bowman's doghouse.
  • For the ' sake, had better be as healthy as he claims. The captain says that his troublesome elbow is A-OK. Smitty must stay pain-free if the are to make the playoffs.
  • The good news from inside the ' room is that likes what he sees of Ken Hitchcock. "The guy knows how to win," says Johnny L.
  • After playing in Germany last season with the Frankfurt Lions, is back in North America attempting a comeback with Pittsburgh. Ditto Alexandre Daigle. If they both make the , Alex and Alex will benefit from playing with on a nightly basis.
  • How times change: Once an NHL enforcer, one-time Ranger Jay Caufield is now Super Mario's personal trainer.
  • rookie Alex Svitov's command of English is so bad the gifted 19-year old uses teammate Nik Alexeev as his interpreter.
  • One of the better, yet little-mentioned, off-season moves was Doug MacLean's signing of to a three-year deal.
  • We like Mike Smith's line about : "We believe Theo can help our team, and we can help Theo!" And he's right.
  • came away from his first one-on-one with Burns enthused about his new coach. The Czech likely will be moved to center in an effort to compensate for 's move to Manhattan. Those close to Elias tell us he'll be a lot more of a club spokesman than ever before.
  • One of the zaniest now-you-see-them, now-you-don't episodes took place this summer in Tallahassee. For two months, a club called The Tide was to play in a new Atlantic Coast League. But no lease was ever signed and the team folded before it even signed a player.
  • The rush is on at Bettman, Inc. to get safety net systems in place before the season opens. Two firms are promoting a fully automated single-truss system that raises and lowers the netting. One is the Toronto-based Innovative Arena Products, and the other is Athletica, Inc. of Minneapolis. Price is about $100,000. Staples Center, Air Canada Centre, United Center and Xcel Center already have the systems. Others, such as the , will use hand-operated machines.
  • How does the NHL help an NFL team come to life? Answer: When Bettman, Inc. rejected Bob McNair's bid to bring an NHL expansion team to Houston, McNair turned to the NFL, and that's how the Houston Texans were born.
  • Good Timing Dept.: Now that has signed a new pact with the , his English has improved enough for him to come out of the dressing room shadows and become a media darling commensurate with his talent.
  • One of the most intriguing hockey books of the new season is about a minor league enforcer. It's called GOON — The True Story Of An Unlikely Journey Into Minor League Hockey. Doug Smith is the player and Adam Frattasio the co-author. Smith is now a cop in Hanson, Mass.
  • Word out of Beantown is that desperately wants out and will not be in camp.
  • Mike Keenan, after watching Jay Bouwmeester and play defense: "I can see down the road one heckuva tandem."
  • Expect Andre Savard to take the first good offer for high-priced backup goalie .
  • Noteworthy accusation from : The ' left wing says most opponents avoided aiming for his broken ankle last season. "I got slashed hard one night against Colorado," he says. "I think it was . Got me right above the skate where it was already aching."
  • Player to Watch this year: . 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, Blackhawks, Red Wings, Oilers, Stars, Canadiens, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Penguins, Avalanche, Canucks, Ducks, Panthers, Jets, Blue Jackets, Kyle McLaren, Jason Woolley, Maxim Afinogenov, Jiri Fischer, Jason Smith, Ryan Smyth, Patrik Elias, Bobby Holik, John LeClair, Daniel Sedin

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