Publish date:

In The Crease

The Kings' prospects are good, thanks to their scouting staff,
led by director of amateur scouting Al Murray and director of
player personnel Bill O'Flaherty. At the world junior
championship in the Czech Republic, which ended last Friday,
three Los Angeles draftees, all forwards, earned high marks from
rival scouts: Mike Cammalleri of Canada, Alexander Frolov of
Russia and Jens Karlsson of Sweden....Speaking of the world
junior tournament, one player who stood out the wrong way was
Russia's Alexander Svitov, who was the Lightning's first pick
(third overall) in last June's draft. The 6'3", 198-pound Svitov
appalled scouts with his conduct. He spit in the face of
Canada's Brian Sutherby during a game on Dec. 29, and a day
later he repeatedly sucker punched Switzerland's Beat Forster
while Forster was being held by two of Svitov's teammates. Off
the ice Svitov started a less-than-playful snowball fight with
members of the Canadian team outside the arena and was seen in
the lobby of his team's hotel well past curfew one morning....
Two Panthers have seen their fortunes take a positive turn with
Mike Keenan at the helm: forwards Peter Worrell and Olli
Jokinen. The 6'6", 235-pound Worrell, who was brought to tears
after hearing harsh criticism during a meeting with Keenan's
predecessor, Duane Sutter, in November, has reasserted himself
physically, while Jokinen, a bust who was the third selection in
the 1997 draft, has begun fulfilling his promise, scoring three
goals and five assists over a recent six-game span. Meanwhile,
Florida defenseman Lance Pitlick is being showcased and may be
dealt soon....Some NHL coaches are starting to complain that
despite the two-referee system, obstruction is again creeping
into the game. Many think that the more talented players aren't
getting a chance to show their skills.