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Original Issue

In the Crease

Avalanche G.M. Pierre Lacroix doesn't make many personnel
mistakes, but he must be kicking himself for dealing goalie
Brent Johnson to the Blues for a mere third-round draft pick
three years ago. Johnson, a 23-year-old rookie this season, is
developing into a dominant netminder (14-2-0 with a
league-leading 1.58 goals-against average through Sunday) who's
pushing Roman Turek for the starting job in St. Louis....

The world under-17 tournament, which concluded last week in New
Glasgow, Nova Scotia, had NHL scouts drooling over the high
level of talent. At least eight players who skated in the
10-team tournament have the ability to be first-round choices in
the June 2002 NHL entry draft....

Lots of teams are talking to the Wild about acquiring physical
defenseman Sean O'Donnell, a 6'3" 230-pounder who would be among
the top four backliners on almost any club....

Another Minnesota defenseman may be on the move soon. With the
Avalanche's superb backliner Adam Foote sidelined for as many as
three months after suffering a separated right shoulder last
week, Colorado needs to add a defenseman so that 40-year-old
Raymond Bourque doesn't get worn down before the playoffs begin.
Don't be surprised if the Avalanche reacquires the Wild's steady
Curtis Leschyshyn, who played for Colorado's Stanley Cup-winning
team in 1996....

On a recent Bruins charter flight from Boston to Washington, the
cabin filled with smoke as the plane taxied on the runway. The
takeoff was aborted, and the Bruins were bused to another
airport in the city, where they hopped on a commercial flight....

The Sabres might want to reconsider their stance on not trading
restricted free-agent holdout Mike Peca, who has asked to be
dealt. Peca, who wants $4 million per season, has become
increasingly bitter toward Buffalo management, and all parties
would be well-served if he were moved.