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BLUELINES: Luongo on the move?

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  • The trading of has left an opening in net for the struggling . One possible replacement could be , whom Florida might be willing to trade to land Kyle McLaren. Kyle left a strong impression on Mike Keenan when Iron Mike was coaching in Boston. McLaren would fit nicely on the , who are in desperate need of some toughness.
  • Phil Esposito has whispered some of the stories that will be in his upcoming autobio, Bolts and Nuts. Based on those tales, we can assure you it will be the decade's hottest hockey hardcover. Espo is not pulling any punches with ghostwriter Peter Golenbock, a non-hockey type.
  • A coach from below the Mason-Dixon Line complains to us privately that some referees have developed "rabbit ears" — doling out unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for minor chirping. "It's become an ego thing with some of them," says the coach. "Don't they realize that hockey is an emotional game?"
  • Among the many topics now confronting the , one of the most discussed is 's role from here through the homestretch. His Captain's C won't be removed but his position as top decision-maker among the players may have to be altered along with his ice time. The transition to younger stars won't be easy but — as we noted in October — it will be necessary. How well Mess handles his new role — assuming it happens — will be interesting.
  • The and Taco Bell are running a promotion, awarding fans with 35-cent tacos when the team scores five goals. St. Louis reached the mark in 11 of 40 games
  • Ex-Coyote Mike Sullivan is coaching the AHL and eyeing an NHL job. Although he retired as a player last year, Sullivan has been considered coaching material. According to Bobby Francis, "It's just a matter of time until Mike evolves into an NHL coach. He has all the credentials to be a head coach in our league."
  • tells us this about his development: "When you have a guy like Rollie (Melanson, goaltending coach) and Jeff (Hackett) to help you out — although you're only maybe 25 years old — you can play like you're 30."
  • Here's what one NHL insider says about the ' future: "Take away and and you have no team."
  • The thought that smaller goalie equipment would result in higher scores is disputed by NHL netminder-turned-broadcaster Daryl Reaugh. "It wouldn't help," Reaugh tells us, "because goalies are now the best coached of all the players and they're also the best athletes." Perhaps, but Ken Holland — himself a former goalie — will tell you that goalie-equipment-abuses have gotten out of hand.
  • Bob Goodenow has been told to knock off his propaganda claim that he hasn't received a 2004 CBA opening offer from Gary Bettman. He has. Instead of stalling, Goodenow should be moving talks along the road to first base. If Bob doesn't know it already, Goodenow should realize precisely how NHL owners are thinking. The governors' mind-set goes like this: "Nothing could be worse for us than not fixing the CBA." Ownership believes it would be better off getting out of hockey than suffering the losses they've incurred under the current CBA.
  • Wayne Gretzky's kid brother, Brent, keeps plugging along. At last look, BG was still playing for Port Huron's Beacons of the United Hockey League. Brent tallied 11 points (6g, 5a) in eight games after coming off the IR.
  • The AHL expects its constantly improving All-Star Classic to reach 40 million homes.
  • Any team still interested in contacting Scotty Bowman should think twice and keep in mind what the Hall of Famer keeps saying: "I'm perfectly happy doing what I'm doing."
  • To some, Detroit's Steve Avery comes across as a wise guy. So it's no surprise that his idol, even now, is . "Brett," says Avery, "is the head wise guy on the . In fact, he is the dean of all wise guys."
  • Alain Vigneault struck out in his attempt to land an NHL coaching job, but he is back behind the bench. The former Habs mentor is handling the Montreal Rocket in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The team, incidentally, is expected to move out of Montreal after this season. It will mark yet another failed attempt at Major Junior hockey in the big city. 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, Red Wings, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Penguins, Blues, Lightning, Panthers, Kyle McLaren, Brett Hull, Roberto Luongo, John Grahame

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