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BLUELINES: Mess working hard on comeback

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  • You figure it out. If Doug Messier, Mark's father/agent, says that his son is working out "really hard," what does that tell you? Doug "assumes" a comeback for Mark. We figure it for a given. Word from Edmonton is that the were offering him less than $1 million plus a cut from Messier "farewell" merchandise.
  • How's this for an unusual agent's comment? After signing defenseman Paul Martin to a contract, rep Jeff Solomon, says, "Paul is not motivated by money!" The reason: With the exit of , , Olef Tverdovsky and , the ex-Golden Gopher ace has a shot at making the Champs' varsity.
  • Rick Dudley is on the lookout for a vet defenseman for his kiddy D-corps. Who do you think he'll pick among , , and ?
  • Who wouldn't want to be ? His five-year deal allows him to opt out either after years two or three. And he can thank his agent Pat Brisson for that. Brisson explains: "We said to ourselves, 'Why don't we have the option to see how the next CBA will be?' For Sergei to lock himself for another five years, we need the luxury of a free look."
  • The FleetCenter will host "Hockey's Greatest Skate for America's Bravest" on Sept. 28. Emceed by comedian Denis Leary, the game will benefit Leary's Firefighters Foundation.
  • With little fuss or fanfare, Victoria, British Columbia's venerable Memorial Arena has been razed. The building that housed professional teams (Cougars and briefly the ) is being replaced by a new Multiplex.
  • Herb Brooks was a master with the quip. Our favorite line of his was delivered two years ago at the Salt Lake Olympics. Somebody asked about the German coach conceding a round-robin game so that his club could face Herb's Team USA in the elimination round. Brooks' squelch was priceless: "Well, maybe that's why they lost World War II."
  • Wayne Gretzky is going against his personal philosophy by agreeing to play in an old-timers game, Nov. 22 in Edmonton. "I'm not a person who likes to take part in old-timers games," says Gretzky. "When you retire, you retire."
  • Interesting comment from on those who've had the biggest influence on his career: "Vladislav Tretiak as a goalie coach," says Hackett. "Craig Hartsburg when I had him as a coach in Chicago and Jimmy Roberts when I had him as a head coach in Springfield." By the way, Hackett is getting no guarantees from Ken Hitchcock that the starting job is his. could win it with a good camp.
  • The big question involving is how long his rehab will take now that it's learned the crushed pelvis wasn't the only injury suffered in his auto crash. He also fractured two vertebrae in his neck and later developed a blood clot in his lung.
  • Sounds from Beantown indicate that the may be serious about dealing for . Funny, but a report out of Vancouver has Cujo preferring four teams: , , and . Go figure.
  • Just when it seemed that every possible GM candidate had surfaced in Toronto, up pops ex-Leaf Lanny McDonald. Hockey Canada's leader Bob Nicholson also reportedly is getting serious consideration from Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie.
  • After a difficult summer, José Théodore will not be leaving Montreal any time soon. "He's not on the market," says Pierre Boivin, "he's still our No. 1 goaltender."
  • Having been offered nothing close to his $3.5 million of a year ago, is strongly considering retirement. Says Oates: "There's a couple of teams interested but the question is, at what number? What people don't understand is that I will be 41 and to go through the whole grind and risk your body, the number has to be right." Detroit could be a likely home if he does return, since is not signed.
  • Don't be surprised if 18-year-old Eric Staal gains a spot on the ' roster. The NHL's second-overall pick already has impressed Paul Maurice. "Things come natural to him that just don't come easy to a lot of guys," Maurice says.
  • One chap unhappy with some of the contents of Bruce McNall's new autobiography, "Fun While It Lasted," is former Oiles owner Peter Pocklington, a former friend of McNall's. Pocklington's biggest complaints come from alleged quotes that appear in the book regarding Wayne Gretzky. McNall, the former owner who was released from prison last year, also tells us he plans to return to hockey on the minor league level some time in the future. Plugging his book, McNall has gotten terrific ink; which means a paperback should be following.
  • Now that GM Mike O'Connell has made it clear he's interested in , what do you think Detroit GM Ken Holland will want in return? ? Why not?
  • Among the highlights of 's Stanley Cup visit was some time with Boston-based rock band Aerosmith. "The Cup is the only thing that's seen more parties than us," says lead singer Steven Tyler.
  • If that Cup visit was unusual, how about chief scout, David Conte, taking it to historic Nubble Lighthouse near his Maine home to observe the sunrise.
  • Fitted with a new, extra padded helmet, the oft-injured , of the , enters the season with no headaches nor lingering concussion problems.
  • Matthew Tkachuk, the four-year-old son of the ' , is already a terrific golfer, playing with Derek Sanderson and his two sons.
  • Not that NHLPA chief Bob Goodenow cares but Habs president Pierre Boivin says, "In the context of the current financial situation of the NHL and the fiscal contest that the face, the future of the club in the medium term is in peril! We lose money even if we nearly achieve optimal revenues."
  • Good to see old pal and former GM Dean Lombardi land on his feet as ' Western Conference pro scout. 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, Oilers, Kings, Stars, Canadiens, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Sharks, Blues, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Capitals, Ducks, Martin Lapointe, Sergei Fedorov, Jay Pandolfo, Keith Tkachuk, Curtis Joseph, Ken Klee, Robert Esche, Paul Martin

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