Kudos to the NHL for hiring Dave Smith, a former trainer for 14
years with the Rangers and the Panthers, to look after referees
and linesmen. Traditionally, on-ice officials have had their
injuries handled by one of the trainers at the game they were
working. Now, Smith will be the point man for diagnoses and
Why have the Maple Leafs, who were winless in their last six
games through Sunday, fallen on hard times? Besides the strained
right hamstring of sniper Sergei Berezin, who had missed eight
games, and the overuse of goalie Curtis Joseph, who had played
in 47 of 59 games, the Leafs' chemistry has been off since three
popular players--forwards Derek King and Kris King (no relation)
and defenseman Sylvain Cote--were traded or sent to the minors
since the beginning of the season....
The Thrashers may have the NHL's worst record (11-41-6-4), but
their ice is among the three best in the league. Players rave
about the playing surface at Philips Arena, where the ice
remains good deep into periods, keeping the puck from bouncing
and lowering the risk of injury....
Some teams looking to upgrade at the trade deadline have put a
premium on grit, so expect players such as Doug Gilmour of the
Blackhawks, Dixon Ward of the Sabres and Scott Walker of the
Predators to be avidly sought....
Two forwards who suffered horrific injuries this season, Magnus
Arvedson of the Senators and Trent McCleary of the Canadiens,
have resumed training. Arvedsson lost 20 pounds after having
three inches of his intestine removed following a collision with
an open bench door on Jan. 20; McCleary suffered a fractured
larynx while blocking a shot on Jan. 29 and will have a stent
removed from his throat this week....
Look for Hurricanes defenseman Sean Hill to get a big raise when
he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Hill, who
makes $750,000, is seeking at least $1.8 million per season, the
same amount teammate Curtis Leschysyn earns.