In the Red Wings' 3-2 victory over the Capitals last week,
center Sergei Fedorov (below) lost a key third-period defensive
draw that directly led to a Washington goal. For that Fedorov
was benched the rest of the game, a bold move by associate coach
Barry Smith, who is responsible for changing the forward lines.
Smith, who along with associate coach Dave Lewis is guiding
Detroit in the recuperating Scotty Bowman's absence, clearly
illustrated to everybody in hockey that he has the guts to lead
the Wings--or any other team....
The Panthers are thrilled with the development of rookie left
wing Mark Parrish. Last March, Florida general manager Bryan
Murray traded solid veteran center Tom Fitzgerald to the
Avalanche for the 21-year-old Parrish, who has outstanding speed
and hands. Credit Murray for listening to his top scouts, Mike
Abbamont and Paul Henry, and pulling the trigger....
After an uneventful rookie season Brett Clark has been a happy
surprise for the Canadiens. Over the summer Clark, a
seventh-round pick in 1996 who was Montreal's seventh defenseman
last season, worked out tirelessly and added seven pounds of
muscle while keeping his percentage of body fat at 7.7. In the
Canadiens' first three games Clark and defensive partner Dave
Manson were matched against Wayne Gretzky of the Rangers, Paul
Kariya and Teemu Selanne of the Ducks, and Peter Bondra of the
Capitals. Clark and Manson held those stars without a goal....
A reason for the Avalanche's horrible start (0-4-1 through
Sunday) is its not-so-special teams. Colorado's power play (two
goals in 28 chances) badly misses defensemen Sandis Ozolinsh, a
restricted free agent who's holding out; Uwe Krupp, who signed
as a free agent with Detroit; and Eric Messier, who is sidelined
until January with a broken elbow....
The Penguins' Tom Barrasso is one goalie who hasn't been
adversely affected by the extra two feet of space behind the
nets this season. He's a tremendous skater and puckhandler with
excellent passing skills. His presence still makes it difficult
for the opposition to forecheck Pittsburgh.
COLOR PHOTO: LOU CAPOZZOLA [Sergei Fedorov and opposing player in game]