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Original Issue

In The Crease

Don't be surprised if Oilers general manager Glen Sather ends up
running the Rangers next season in place of Neil Smith. Wayne
Gretzky, who retired from New York last April, has the ear of
Rangers majority owner Charles Dolan, and the Great One is a
staunch supporter of Sather, who coached him in Edmonton. Sather
has had difficulty working with the Oilers' unwieldy new 37-man
ownership group, while the Rangers were only 12-15-4-2 through
Sunday despite having spent nearly $70 million on free agents
last summer....

The Minnesota Wild, which enters the NHL next season, has
already sold 13,500 season tickets and leased all 64 luxury
suites at the New St. Paul Arena. The Wild isn't just marketing
itself in the Twin Cities but also in North and South Dakota,
northern Iowa, Wisconsin and Manitoba....

The best defenseman in the NHL this season? The Blues' Chris
Pronger, who has continued to be dominant at stopping the
opposition and has also picked up his offensive game (four goals
and 19 assists in 32 games)....

With hard-hitting defenseman Derian Hatcher sidelined six to
eight weeks with a lacerated right calf, the Stars may try to
acquire the Devils' physical backliner Lyle Odelein, who can be
a free agent in July and is on the block....

If the widespread perception that there are many more injuries
than usual in the NHL is true, then the league may want to
consider its grueling schedule. This week, for example, the Red
Wings were to play back-to-back games in Anaheim and San Jose on
Sunday and Monday, and then fly cross-country to Carolina to
play on Wednesday. Three games in four nights in three cities is
too much....

Why isn't Bernie Federko in the NHL Hall of Fame? In 14 seasons
with the Blues and the Red Wings, Federko had 1,130
regular-season points and 101 more in the postseason. There are
players enshrined in the hall whose production can't come close
to matching that.