Most scouts say that 6'2", 185-pound center Jason Spezza of the
Mississauga IceDogs in the Ontario Hockey League is the top
draft-eligible player in junior hockey, but don't be surprised
if center Stephen Weiss beats him out as the No. 1 pick in the
June NHL draft. The 6-foot, 160-pound Weiss, who plays for the
Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, is a creative genius with the puck,
and he leads the league in scoring (17 goals and 17 assists in
17 games through Sunday) and plus-minus (+17)....
Red Wings forward Brendan Shanahan, who signed a four-year, $26
million contract extension last season, had only four goals at
week's end, and Detroit insiders say he isn't competing as hard
as he should....
After the Islanders embarrassed the Panthers 3-0 in Florida on
Nov. 1, Panthers general manager Bryan Murray was so upset that
he wanted to tear into his players in the dressing room
following the game. He decided to hold his tongue after he was
told by trainer Stan Wong that many Panthers were fighting a
virus and had shown lots of heart merely by playing....
Flames wing Valeri Bure, who enjoyed a career year last season
with 35 goals, had only one goal in Calgary's first 14 games.
His agent, Serge Levin, uses the excuse that Bure is pressing
because his contract runs out after this season....
The Blues are one of the few teams with depth on the blue line.
In fact, with Marc Bergevin and Todd Reirden set to return to
the lineup following long absences because of injuries, look for
St. Louis to deal one of its defensemen. With rookies Alex
Khavanov and Bryce Salvador playing so well, Bergevin, a 16-year
veteran, may be the odd man out....
Flyers wing Mark Recchi, who played with pneumonia two seasons
ago, is taking his time returning from a concussion sustained in
the first week of the season. Recchi still suffers from nausea
when working out on a stationary bike.