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In the Crease

The rash of face and eye injuries in recent seasons has led a
number of young NHL players to experiment with visors at the
world championships, which started last week in Cologne, Germany.
Among those using the added protection are Brad Isbister, Patrick
Marleau, Kyle McLaren, Derek Morris, Ryan Smythe and Joe
Thornton, all of whom are under 25 years old....

One of the main reasons Mario Lemieux's chronic sore back has
not bothered him in the last couple of months has been his new
exercise regimen. In February, on the recommendation of former
Canadiens trainer Gaetan Lefebvre, Lemieux visited Biotonix, a
Montreal-based company that does computer analyses of a client's
posture. The analysis showed that Lemieux has a postural
deviation, so Biotonix gave him an exercise program to
strengthen and stretch his back muscles....

Many scouts think that the Panthers have the top prospect
playing outside the NHL: 6'1", 190-pound Kristian Huselius, a
scoring winger who was drafted in the second round in 1997 and
who played in Sweden this season, producing 32 goals in 49

The Thrashers, who have the No. 1 pick in the June draft, are
listening to offers for their choice. General manager Don
Waddell would want a top goaltender as part of any deal....

Capitals star center Adam Oates had a good excuse for his subpar
showing (no points) in Washington's opening-round loss to the
Penguins: He was playing with an injury to his knee and ankle....

Rookie referee Kevin Pollock is getting rave reviews for his work
in the postseason. Along with Paul Devorski, Pollock worked Game
1 of the Avalanche-Kings series, in which two penalties were
called correctly and fearlessly in overtime. (Jaroslav Modry's
game-winning goal for Los Angeles came on a power play.) Look for
Pollock to call games in the next round.