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Original Issue

In The Crease

The Flyers want a reliable right wing to play on their top line
with Eric Lindros and John LeClair, and they have their eyes on
reacquiring Tampa Bay's Mikael Renberg (below), whom they traded
before last season. Philadelphia is also interested in obtaining
the Lightning's Rob Zamuner, a superb checking center and
face-off specialist. The bait? Speedy forwards Alexandre Daigle
and Dainius Zubrus....

There are four young goaltender prospects who have the ability to
be outstanding NHLers in the near future: the Canadiens' Mathieu
Garon, the Islanders' Roberto Luongo, the Flames' Jean-Sebastien
Giguere and the Avalanche's Marc Denis. These players have more
in common than just their ability--all of them come from that
goaltenders' wellspring, Quebec....

Kudos to the NHL's new dean of discipline, Colin Campbell. So
far he's suspending those players who deserve it (Anaheim's
Ruslan Salei, for instance, who was put on the shelf for five
games for slew-footing the Coyotes' Daniel Briere in the
preseason) while not overreacting to some violent hits (such as
Lindros's vicious but clean check last week on the Senators'
Andreas Dackell). Campbell is a former NHL player and coach who
understands the difference between a foul and a nonfoul....

When Canadiens assistant general manager Phil Scheuer was the
league's schedule maker from 1978-79 to '94-95, he took into
account the fatigue that comes from playing too many games in a
short period of time. These days the schedule is made by a
computer, and the league is suffering as a consequence. For
example, there are too many situations in which teams play four
games in six nights, a workload that results in ragged play. The
fans--and players--deserve better....

One of the biggest challenges for a defenseman is to keep the
puck in the attacking zone while he's at the blue line. Doing so
is critical because if the defenseman tries to keep the puck in
and fails, an odd-man rush may develop. If the blueliner is
successful, a scoring chance can ensue. Here, in descending
order, are the NHL's best practitioners of this art: Larry
Murphy, Red Wings; Brian Leetch, Rangers; Steve Duchesne, Kings;
Ray Bourque, Bruins; and Wade Redden, Senators.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER [Mikael Renberg in game]