Oilers forward Bill Guerin (below), who led the NHL with 12
goals at week's end, is the perfect example of a talented player
who excels when the restraints of a rigid system are taken off.
The 28-year-old Guerin, who was acquired last season from the
Devils, never scored more than 29 goals in any of his five full
seasons with New Jersey, which played a defensive style
throughout his tenure....
Edmonton general manager Glen Sather, who stole Guerin from the
Devils, made another outstanding deal on June 16 when he pried
the rights to gifted forward Josef Beranek from the Penguins for
journeymen Bobby Dollas and Tony Hrkac. Sather then persuaded
the 29-year-old Beranek to leave the Czech Republic, where he'd
played in 1997-98, and return to the NHL. With center Doug
Weight sidelined for 10 weeks with a right knee injury, Beranek
had been outstanding, scoring six goals....
Two general managers you shouldn't invite to the same party:
Bobby Smith of the Coyotes and Pierre Lacroix of the Avalanche.
When Smith excused himself from a conference call among G.M.'s,
Lacroix made disparaging remarks about him and some of the
contracts he had negotiated. When Smith found out, he fired off
a letter to Lacroix questioning his integrity and then sent
copies to other G.M.'s....
Flyers general manager Bob Clarke must be scratching his head
about the lack of production from his three supposed young
stars, forwards Alexandre Daigle, Chris Gratton and Dainius
Zubrus, who had combined for only two goals at week's end.
Daigle, 23, needs to start concentrating on hockey and stop
complaining about his ice time; Gratton, 23, must be moved back
to his natural position, center; and Zubrus, 20, should be given
more ice time with skilled players and be allowed to get
creative with the puck.
COLOR PHOTO: BRIAN BAHR/ALLSPORT [Bill Guerin in game]