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Original Issue

In the Crease

Once the Bruins and Paul Coffey, who was waived last week, agree
on a buyout of the $4.5 million Boston still owes him, look for
the Maple Leafs to pursue the 39-year-old defenseman. Toronto
could use him to quarterback its underachieving power play, which
was 13th in the NHL through Sunday....

Wing Pat Verbeek of Detroit, who's unhappy with his ice time,
recently met with general manager Ken Holland to ask for a
trade. Last week Holland faxed the league's other teams to make
them aware of Verbeek's availability....

Penguins forward Alexei Kovalev, long an enigma, is having a
career year (16 goals and 17 assists). The 27-year-old Kovalev
spent the summer with his father in Russia, working out and
shooting hundreds of lead-weighted pucks each day. One of the
knocks on Kovalev was his hesitancy to shoot, something he has
overcome this season....

When Senators second-year center Mike Fisher returns from his
bruised left shoulder, expect Ottawa to deal center Vaclav

Flames right wing Valeri Bure, who had only three goals through
Sunday after scoring 35 last season, has alienated teammates
with his laissez-faire attitude and was a healthy scratch twice
last week. (Both games, by the way, were Calgary victories.)
Bure would like to get traded to the Panthers so he could join
brother Pavel, but Flames general manager Craig Button is in no
rush to accommodate him....

Few defensemen have the strength and skating ability to
contain the Senators' 21-year-old Marian Hossa down low. At 6'1"
and 191 pounds, Hossa, who had 16 goals, is one of the league's
emerging stars and is being compared with a younger Jaromir

How popular is Mario Lemieux? After the news of his comeback
broke last Thursday, The Hockey Company, a Quebec-based outfit
that manufactures skates, equipment and jerseys, took orders for
more than 10,000 Lemieux sweaters.