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In The Crease

Last week the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation was prepared to send
a delegation to Detroit to try to coax the Red Wings' Scotty
Bowman into coaching the country's team during the Salt Lake City
Olympics next year. The mission was called off when Bowman, who
has dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship, told Latvian representatives
he wasn't interested in the job...

The Oilers have been thrilled with the development of
21-year-old defenseman Eric Brewer, a 6'3" 220-pounder who was
obtained in a deal with the Islanders last summer. Don't be
surprised if 6'6", 215-pound Alexei Semenov, who was drafted by
Edmonton in the second round in 1999 and is starring for the
Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario (Junior) Hockey League, joins
Brewer on the back line next season. Scouts say the hard-hitting
Semenov is a can't-miss prospect...

Blues coaches are raving about the dedication of newly acquired
left wing Keith Tkachuk. They say he's usually the first to
arrive in the dressing room and the last to leave after games
and practices...

Don't underestimate the importance of injured center Daymond
Langkow to the Flyers' postseason chances. Many people in the
Philadelphia organization say that Langkow, who suffered two
broken feet on Feb. 25 and is sidelined indefinitely, is
indispensable because he contributes offensively (51 points in
67 games), kills penalties and plays outstanding defense. The
Flyers, who were 40-22-10-2 through Sunday, have gone 7-5 in his

When Hurricanes assistant captain Glen Wesley was out of the
lineup with an injury recently, Carolina made 25-year-old center
Jeff O'Neill an assistant captain. After two losses, in which
O'Neill played poorly, coach Paul Maurice took the A from him,
saying that he wasn't mature enough to handle it. In the
following game O'Neill scored two goals.