NHL

BLUELINES: Rangers-Isles rivalry heats up

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  • Not that the Mike Milbury-Glen Sather fire needs any more gasoline tossed on it, but the signing of Gord Clark as pro scout does just that. Clark split with Mad Mike last spring after six years as Isles' assistant GM.
  • Those who know Sherry Bassin says this about his group's bid for the : A) If Bassin succeeds, he'll bring Ted Nolan in as coach; B) Darcy Regier has five years left on his pact, is respected and should be retained; C) If Bassin doesn't want Regier, it will be tough to dislodge him.
  • We're told that Gary Bettman already has approached Bob Goodenow about starting CBA talks, but the NHLPA boss indicates no interest in doing so.
  • Some NHL managerial types believe a grassroots movement among the players for Goodenow to get a deal could tone down his militancy. "But," one official tells us, "make no mistake, Bob is in control." Goodenow considers himself a disciple of Don Fehr and — insiders say — talks with him often.
  • A prevalent view on the John Rigas' tragedy is that the owner actually may not have had any idea about the shenanigans going on behind his back until it was too late.
  • A major ' question will be 's ice time. Does he still want to be the go-to guy? (Mistake!) Or will he be willing to be a supporting actor, a la , who does it so well in Detroit?
  • Don't be surprised if does a reprise and misses a MAJOR portion of the season.
  • Overheard from an NHL GM: "Just because you build a new arena, it doesn't necessarily mean you sell those luxury boxes."
  • If you're wondering what Scott Bowman will be doing for his fat Detroit paycheck this year, the answer is, "He'll contribute in any way possible."
  • Bill Barber's hire means that John Tortorella had better get the on track before all the autumn leaves turn ... or else.
  • The Caps are the first team in pro sports to offer an interactive CD ticket. Full-season and weekend-plan ticket-holders will receive the interactive ticket, containing team highlights, stats, player biographies, schedules and arena info.
  • The feeling in several NHL circles is that the must move . We disagree. He could thrive in a non-obstruction league.
  • Talk about a hands-on commish, Gary Bettman will spend parts of 2002-2003 meeting privately with season ticket-holders. He wants input from the shareholders.
  • Wayne Gretzky's take on steroid non-use in the NHL is interesting. "Steroids," says The Great One, "wouldn't help a player shoot any harder or skate any faster. Taking muscle-building enhancers would diminish your abilities on the ice." Makes sense — if the player happens to be Gretzky. But tells the Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman that he's "heard of a handful of (minor league) guys that do it."
  • The good-news-bad-news scenario in Tampa Bay goes like this. GOOD: A 12-year, $30 million deal for naming rights has been worked out by the St. Petersburg Times and ownership; BAD: A recent report discloses that the club lost $18 million last year.
  • looms as the missing link on 's line. He spent part of his summer in Switzerland training with Yashin. "We worked on a lot of things together," says Kvasha, "like getting my shot off quicker from the slot." Oleg's production will be pivotal until 's return, which may not be until after the new year.
  • Most interesting comeback attempts are in Detroit and Tampa Bay. , one of the NHL's best-ever penalty-killers, is taking aim for the at age 38. If Brownie still has the wheels, he'll make it. Meanwhile, Kevin Hodson, who hasn't played an NHL game since February 2000, hopes to back up Nik Khabibulin.
  • Best positional battle in camp will be at Lake Placid, where attempts to dislodge as the Isles' No. 2 goalie. Bet on the latter — unless the kid stands on his head.
  • A one-time goalie who was thrust in too soon during the desperate days in Nassau — Eric Fichaud — is hoping to find his game in Montreal, behind . At 26, the lad may just be ready for good goaltending.
  • How about this for growth: The East Coast League is 15 years old and now has 27 teams in 14 states. By 2004, it expects to have 40 clubs, including one in Anchorage. By that time the East Coast name will have to be changed. Any suggestions?
  • Max Birbraer, the only Israeli in pro hockey, is at the ' camp. The right wing figures to wind up in Albany. Max's family emigrated from the former Soviet Union. 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, Canadiens, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Avalanche, Lightning, Coyotes, Steve Yzerman, Jose Theodore, Alexei Yashin, Garth Snow, Rick DiPietro, Petr Nedved, Michael Peca

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