Publish date:

In the Crease

Wayne Gretzky's 10% stake in developer Steve Ellman's purchase
of the Coyotes is the best thing that could have happened to the
NHL. Gretzky's involvement will likely help the team get a
much-needed new arena built in Phoenix and will spare the league
the black eye it would have gotten had the franchise, which
relocated from Winnipeg to Phoenix in July 1996, been sold and
moved to Portland, as had been discussed....

The most improved referee in the league this season is Dan
Marouelli. Coaches around the NHL praise his consistency, his
calmness during games and his ability to communicate with

Though he is often overlooked, Devils forward Sergei Brylin has
a vastly underrated set of skills and is one of the smartest
players in the league. Brylin is also excellent at creating
offense off the forecheck....

Center Keith Primeau's inconsistency hurt the Flyers badly
during the conference finals against the Devils. In the first
three games he was nearly unbeatable on face-offs, but he seemed
exhausted in the last four matches. The New Jersey coaching
staff, especially head man Larry Robinson, should get credit.
Robinson made sure that he had different face-off men taking
draws against Primeau, which eventually helped tire him out. The
Devils also tried to wear down Primeau by hitting him as much as

If you watch the U.S. Open from June 15 to 18 you might notice a
familiar face carrying the scoring standard up the 18th fairway
with the final twosome in the tournament. Red Wings coach Scotty
Bowman has accepted an invitation to do those honors this year.