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Original Issue

In the Crease

One of the better moves at the trade deadline was made by
Panthers general manager Bryan Murray, who obtained reliable
two-way center Mike Sillinger from the Lightning for center Ryan
Johnson and forward Dwayne Hay. Sillinger has given Florida
much-needed grit and a face-off specialist, something the team
sorely lacked....

Linesmen will tell you that they are getting hit with more pucks
than ever before. The reasons are 1) with expansion there are
more players, especially defensemen, lacking skill, and they
tend to panic and fire the puck along the boards without
looking, and 2) the glass along the half-boards in many of the
new arenas is much higher than in the old buildings, keeping
linesmen from grabbing the glass and hoisting themselves out of
harm's way....

Speaking of officials, the league must improve the travel
schedule for its referees. Last week, for example, Bill McCreary
worked three games on consecutive nights in New York, Atlanta
and Buffalo....

Credit Islanders general manager Mike Milbury with a smart
decision on 20-year-old rookie goaltending phenom Roberto
Luongo, who was sent to the minor leagues on March 1. Milbury
realized that his rebuilding team, which was 22-46-8-1 through
Sunday, was going to have a difficult final six weeks of the
season. Instead of keeping Luongo on the parent club and risking
having his confidence shattered, Milbury took the safe road with
his highly regarded prospect....

Last month Canadiens defenseman Eric Weinrich played three games
with a hairline fracture in his left foot without disclosing the
injury to anybody on the team, even Montreal's training staff.
On March 22, however, the bone became displaced, and he could no
longer bear weight on the foot, forcing him out of the lineup
for the rest of the season.