In the Crease - Sports Illustrated Vault |
Publish date:

In the Crease

It's sad to see teams use fighting as a marketing tool. During
the Flyers-Thrashers game last Friday, Turner South flashed this
question on the TV screen for its nightly Internet poll: "Who do
you think won the [first-period] fight between Atlanta's Chris
Tamer and Philadelphia's Gino Odjick?" The two-year-old
Thrashers, who, despite being respectable in the standings and
playing an exciting style, have not been drawing as many fans as
they had hoped (through Sunday they were averaging 14,101 in
their 18,575-seat arena this season). But they should not have to
sell their product that way....

Fired Montreal coach Alain Vigneault may have sealed his fate on
Saturday when he started Eric Fichaud instead of Jose Theodore
in net against the potent Maple Leafs, a move that left many in
the Canadiens' organization scratching their heads. Fichaud, who
has failed at three stops in his six-year NHL career, allowed
three soft goals and took the heart out of Montreal before being
pulled for the more accomplished Theodore. Toronto went on to a
6-1 victory....

John Tortorella, who was let go from the Rangers' coaching staff
when Glen Sather took over as New York president last summer,
landed with Tampa Bay as an assistant and is doing a terrific
job. Tortorella has taken pressure off second-year head coach
Steve Ludzik by working with the team on such fundamentals as
defensive zone coverage, and the Lightning has responded with a
better than expected start (6-8-2-1)....

One reason Coyotes netminder Sean Burke has opened the season so
impressively (1.90 goals-against average) is the advice he has
gotten from goalie coach Benoit Allaire. Allaire, who coached
Montreal's goalies before moving to Phoenix in '97, has worked
with Burke on staying square to the shooter, which helps him
maintain his balance.