NHL

BLUELINES: Plenty of possibilities in Boston

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  • Should Boston's goalie committee (Steve Shields, , , Tim Thomas) fail, Mike O'Connell will have to deal for a netminder. But who? , perhaps. Then again, O'Connell might wise up and re-sign Dafoe. Word out of Boston is that O'Connell will re-assess McLaren 10 games into the season. "I'm just going to wait and see how we look and what we need. At the 10-game mark, I think we'll probably have a better idea how our team shapes up."
  • Before moved to Manhattan, he was — according to — "my closest friend on the team." But, adds Gomer of Bobby H, "He does think he's the smartest man in the world."
  • The word from Chicago is that DOES expect back playing for Chicago in the not-too-distant future.
  • Gary Valk suffered — then smiled — through some of the most interesting 24 hours of his life recently. The 11-year vet was released last Tuesday by Chicago and quickly re-signed with the Hawks on Wednesday when Fleury was suspended. Valk, a solid checking-line forward, will help soften the blow of injuries to and .
  • The acquisition looks like a no-brainer in favor of Calgary to us. But one NHL source says there's been a "red flag" up on Drury in Denver since last season. The buzz is that Colorado tried to deal Chris at last March's trade deadline and failed. So what's the rap on Drury? The worst thing we've heard is that he can be moody. Then again, you can say that about anybody. As for , the word from Calgary is that his on-ice decision-making is sub-par.
  • With , ' replacement, untested and out with a concussion, the may need to look outside the organization for help on the blueline. Look for to be the odd man out. His contentious history with management may finally get him what he's asked for — a trade.
  • It seems that the Porsche has become the car of choice for many NHLers who've made it. , just awarded an "A" for the first time, has one. got one last summer. And Doug MacLean tells us that when he drove home to the Maritimes for vacation, he thought he had the only Porsche in New Brunswick. An exception is , who recently settled for a $140,000 Mercedes. To which Don Waddell laughs, "Our first NHL year — in the parking lot we had a lot of Fords and Chevys."
  • Some numbers to contemplate: The payroll will be about $30 million, $8 million below last season's NHL average. Meanwhile, the claimed a $20 million loss last year.
  • Surprise of the Canadian broadcast business is that — after considerable fuss and fanfare about her arrival — Linda Freeman resigned as host of TSN's highly-touted NHL telecast two days before the season's start. Vet anchor James Duthie replaced her.
  • A thought making the media rounds is that Don Cherry failed to sufficiently support his partner, Ron MacLean, in the latter's contractual war with the CBC, eventually won by The Ronald. But when we talked to a CBC producer about it, she told us that Grapes did as much as he had to up until the new deal was hammered out.
  • Texas continues to be a minor league hockey hotbed. Hidalgo — in the Rio Grande Valley — is the newest addition to the Central League. CHL president Rick Kozuback expects the club to open its new arena next October.
  • spent the last month trying to patch wounds with teammates because of damage inflicted by his playoff outburst last spring. The goalie's alibi is the language barrier. "It was different from what I meant and what it means in Europe. It was important to explain to the team what I meant," says Cechmanek, who had a heart-to-heart with captain on the first day of camp to clear the air. ' goalie coach Reggie Lemelin claims that Roman's improved English will help his dialogue with teammates. "In the past," says Lemelin, "it was grunts and facial expressions, trying to read his body language."
  • Eddie Mio exited the agent business to run the ' minor league development program. In case you've forgotten, Mio, in 1988, was Wayne Gretzky's best man at The Great One's wedding to Janet Jones.
  • The latest we hear about NHL teams for sale is that the number rounds out at eight. Although the desire may be muffled in some cases, the list of available clubs includes Buffalo, Dallas, Anaheim, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Pittsburgh and Nashville.
  • We hear that the Sherry Bassin group is the least likely to buy the . The ' sale could be helped by the fact that the franchise's lease is said to be one of the best in the NHL.
  • Little-known facts about : Scariest shooter to face — . Players he wishes he faced — Mike Bossy and Guy Lafleur. Players he's glad he faced — Wayne Gretzky and .
  • Word is may be out of the ' lineup longer than expected, due to his surgically repaired wrist not healing as planned. Pronger is rehabbing from last postseason's knee injury, but the wrist injury is from the previous season.
  • Some are talking as if Joe Louis Arena is going to be a country club without Scott Bowman around, but they can forget that notion. One source close to Dave Lewis points out that he is as confident a person as anyone in sports, and no Red Wing will take advantage of him and get away with it. We agree.
  • One NHL player with good insights is betting that winds up in Vancouver. We disagree.
  • The thinking in Montreal is that if the Habs are failing by mid-season, Larry Robinson will step in as head coach.
  • Neat move by Mike Barnett when his played an exhibition in Oklahoma City. Joe Burton, 35, a 10-year Central Hockey League vet, was given a shot to skate for Phoenix in one game. "It was nice to have a guy like Joe get a chance to play for us, as a bit of a reward for all the years he's put into the game; even if it's just for one night." Speaking of Phoenix, Barnett's eyes will be keenly focused on , who's earning $9 million over three years. There wasn't a keener disappointment in the league after the ex-Hab was dealt to Phoenix. "There were a lot of unknowns," explains Savage. "A lot of things were on my mind that really bothered me; things I didn't think would bother me like they did."
  • The ECHL's Cincy Cyclones enjoyed a successful preseason European tour, including a victory over Italian Super League champion Milan, 5-4.
  • Job-hunting vets include and . 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: Bryan Berard, Bruins, Flames, Red Wings, Stars, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Penguins, Capitals, Jets, Jiri Fischer, Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla, Bryan Berard

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