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Original Issue

In The Crease

Chances are good that the Canadiens' elite defenseman Vladimir
Malakhov will be wearing another team's sweater next season.
Malakhov, who can become an unrestricted free agent in July
2000, has already told Montreal management that negotiations for
a contract extension will begin at $4.5 million per season.
Malakhov compares himself to Red Wings defenseman Uwe Krupp, who
earns $4.1 million per....

Because of the huge escalation in salaries this decade, many NHL
teams are struggling financially, but these woes could have been
prevented. Here are two things to remember: First, commissioner
Gary Bettman waived the right to reopen the 1995 collective
bargaining agreement, which runs through the 2003-04 season, so
that the Players' Association would agree to participate in the
Nagano Olympics; second, the owners also rejected the
opportunity to reopen the agreement because they wanted to
maintain labor harmony, thereby increasing the value of
franchises in the short term and, thus, the fees paid by
expansion franchises, of which there would be four added by the
2000-01 season....

The best fourth line in the NHL belongs to the Hurricanes, with
center Kent Manderville and wings Kevin Dineen and Paul Ranheim.
The line has speed (Ranheim), grit (Dineen) and skill
(Manderville) and should be a useful weapon for Carolina in the
playoffs, when most teams rely more on their first three lines
than they do in the regular season....

The next time you see the Bruins, watch how many of their
players have the ability to beat a defender one-on-one coming
out of the corner in the offensive zone. This helps Boston draw
penalties (the Bruins are ninth in the league in power-play
success rate, at 16.7%), which could be a factor in the

The best-kept secret in the NHL is Blues forward Pavol Demitra.
Through Sunday he had one fewer game-winning goal (10) than the
Stars' Brett Hull, the man he replaced on St. Louis's top line
this season. The 24-year-old Demitra was acquired from the
Senators in November 1996 for defenseman Christer Olsson, who
now plays in Europe.