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Original Issue

In The Crease

During the Olympic break the NHL's referees and linesmen--other
than Dennis LaRue, Bill McCreary and Stephen Walkom, who will be
working at the Salt Lake City Games--will attend training sessions
run by Andy Van Hellemond, the league's director of officiating.
One area the officials will work on is breaking up fights.
Recently several players have been punched out and suffered
injuries while officials tried to separate the fighters....
Speaking of fighting, NHL vice president Colin Campbell deserves
credit for not suspending the Lightning's Gord Dwyer after he
sucker punched the Panthers' Brad Ference in a game last week.
Having seen on tape that Ference made the initial contact with
Dwyer by bumping him an instant before the punch, Campbell
rightly reasoned that Dwyer's retaliation--which drew a
double-minor--was not severe enough to warrant supplemental
punishment. In another incident the week before, Campbell banned
Rangers defenseman Dale Purinton for three games for skating
after and then punching the Islanders' Jason Blake. Blake had
done nothing to antagonize Purinton, who is known for his
brawling.... Last Friday against the Predators, the Capitals'
Jaromir Jagr was penalized in overtime for using an illegal
stick. (Nashville assistants Paul Gardner and Brent Peterson had
noticed the larger-than-legal curve in warmups.) The Predators
waited until the extra session to alert the refs, because they
figured they couldn't lose: With the match being
out-of-conference, even if Nashville was wrong about Jagr's stick
and it cost the team a two-minute penalty, a loss wouldn't hurt
the Predators in the standings. The game ended 3-3.