BLUELINES: No quick sale in Buffalo

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Although Tom Golisano is talking big about putting a group together to buy the , it appears that no sale will take place until late in the season. One bid — we hear that it's from Mark Hammister — has been made, but at a low price. Golisano's sincerity about the is still in question. "I wouldn't have gone this far if I wasn't serious (about an NHL club)," says the New York gubernatorial candidate. He also points out that if his bid wins, Golisano would not be a majority partner.
  • The newly formed Agents Association — Board of Directors include Lew Gross, Bob Murray, Don Meehan, Jeff Solomon, Steve Bartlett — is soliciting members. Some reps are listening carefully to the pitch. Others are distancing themselves from the AA. They skeptically regard it as a "Fifth Column," as one agent puts it. Another agent believes that the AA is designed to undermine Bob Goodenow and his NHLPA. The union boss recently convened with the new group. There's a feeling among some reps that Goodenow is trying to knock down agents' commissions.
  • goalie 's evolution as a first-stringer is being questioned by a rival GM who wonders whether the 19-year old is being thrust into pressure situations too quickly.
  • Kid Rock — the rock-rap star — threw a private concert for the last summer, but the Detroit native is no longer Motown's musical icon. 's hard-hitting cover band, Grinder, may now hold the title.
  • There appears to be no question who's skippering the ' ship in 's absence: It's Nik Lidstrom.
  • San Jose's Vince Damphousse on becoming the 71st player to score 400 goals and the 44th-leading scorer in NHL history: "I've had to be durable and avoid injuries. I still feel I have a lot of years left because it's fun for me now."
  • Interesting scouting observation on Detroit prospects and : "If Datsyuk can stickhandle in a phone booth, then Zetterberg is pure smoke through a keyhole."
  • The hurry-up faceoff is quietly being mentioned by NHL people as the most-dramatic-yet-subtle of league changes this year. claims that high-minute guys like himself don't have a chance to catch a breath. Speaking of Ohlund, some Vancouver media types — and, we're told, as well — rate Ohlund over as the ' top defenseman.
  • Vancouver Sun's Ian MacIntyre on 's long climb to stardom: "As a work in progress, Marleau has taken longer than the Sistine Chapel."
  • The Habs insist they're not trading . So, expect him to be dealt momentarily.
  • Marty McSorley says the two coaches whose brains "he picked apart" to learn about head-coaching are Dave Tippett and John Van Boxmeer.
  • An unauthorized biography is being penned by Sunday New York Times Magazine staffer Jeff Klein. It's due next fall from a Canadian publisher.
  • , acquired by the Habs in a midsummer trade with the , was a healthy scratch this past weekend. His response: "The best way to get a player out of a slump is by giving him more ice time, not less."
  • One GM who should know tells us that 's goalie pads are "three times as big as they were when he broke into the NHL. And if you don't believe it, check the photos of Roy then and now." Once Bettman, Inc. finishes with its rules crusade, expect a more intense examination of illegal equipment. "(The equipment size) has gotten completely out of hand," a GM argues. We agree. To that point, Florida goalie 's leg pads were recently called to attention on a television broadcast. His response: "They're legal, I promise."
  • Some big money folks in Baltimore are thinking about building an NHL-sized arena, but they'd better consult Ed Snider and Ted Leonsis first. There's no way the nor would allow an invasion into their respective territories.
  • Names to think about for the 2003 draft: Centers Rane Carnegie, Nathan Horton and Patrick O'Sullivan, all three of whom play in the OHL. Also watch goaltender and Long Island product Eddie Neville try to follow in the footsteps of Eric Nystrom, Mike Komisarek and Chris Higgins as the next player from the Island to be a top draft pick.
  • Meanwhile, Komisarek is being asked by the to play the same aggressive way he did at Michigan. The Long Island product — protege of NHLer Gerry Hart — is with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
  • One GM's off-the-record analysis of ref-enforcement: "There've been too many marginal calls. And in the case of some players, their old habits are dying hard." Maybe that's why has become the first star to publicly criticize the obstruction crackdown. "I don't think the refs understand the rules," says The Golden One. "The rules were meant to stop obstruction between the blue lines, and they don't even call that. It's terrible." The thing with Hull — as an observer — is that he's often right. Inconsistency remains the bugaboo of the new enforcement policy. Until it's ironed out, skill players have a legit gripe.
  • Toronto gets AHL hockey next year when the move out of Hamilton and into Canada's Queen City.
  • Is there a hotter minor league franchise than Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which has 7,500 season ticket-holders in an 8,143-seat rink?
  • Adrienne MacLean, wife of ex-NHLer and current assistant coach , has returned to competitive golf after a five-year sabbatical to raise their two sons. Proving she's still got it, Adrienne was just named Player of the Year by the Women's Metro Golf Association. Adrienne says, "I dedicated the season to my father, who is severely ill. Every time I showed him a new trophy, it seemed to pick up his spirits."
  • Mark Hardy is becoming the Dave Tippett of 2002-2003; meaning that he's being mentioned as head coaching material in the future. 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: Sabres, Red Wings, Oilers, Stars, Canadiens, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Avalanche, Sharks, Canucks, Capitals, Panthers, Darren McCarty, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Patrick Marleau, Ed Jovanovski, Mattias Ohlund, Dan Cloutier, Roberto Luongo, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg

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