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Original Issue

In The Crease

Andy van Hellemond, the NHL's new director of officiating,
addressed the general managers at their meetings in Boca Raton,
Fla., two weeks ago and said that he wants referees to crack down
on slashing and obstruction and that interference between the
blue lines won't be tolerated....

It would be in the Oilers' best interest to sign center Doug
Weight to a long-term deal. Weight is eligible for arbitration
next summer and his numbers over the last five years compare
favorably with those of marquee players such as Mike Modano of
the Stars, Mats Sundin of the Leafs and Jeremy Roenick of the
Coyotes. The only difference is that this season Weight will
make $4.3 million, $700,000 less than Roenick, the lowest paid
of the aforementioned trio....

It's remarkable that defenseman Bryan McCabe of the Blackhawks
won a $2.15 million arbitration award last week. In five seasons
McCabe has been with three teams and hasn't played a postseason
game. The only way to explain the arbitrator's dubious decision
is that McCabe's side compared his numbers with those of Ed
Jovanovski, the hard-hitting Canucks defenseman whose
contributions don't always show up in statistics....

The contract of Devils forward Patrik Elias has made life
difficult for the current crop of restricted free agents.
Following a brief holdout last fall, Elias signed a three-year,
$2 million deal and, having finished the season with a
team-leading 35 goals and 37 assists in 72 games, seems well
underpaid. General managers around the league, however, are
pointing to his contract when negotiating deals with their free