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Original Issue

In The Crease

Flames general manager Craig Button may be on the hot seat
because of Calgary's second-half collapse, but he should get
credit for stealing Hobey Baker-winning defenseman Jordan Leopold
from the Mighty Ducks. In September 2000 Button dealt enforcer
Andrei Nazarov and a second-round pick for Leopold, the
University of Minnesota blueliner who was Anaheim's first pick
(44th overall) in 1999. Scouts project Leopold to be a
puck-moving, top-four defenseman.... G.M.s around the league are
rethinking their position on automatic icing calls after the
Hurricanes' Glen Wesley crashed into the end boards in a footrace
with the Devils' Sergei Brylin last week and suffered a separated
right shoulder. In March the general managers ruled out automatic
icing when the puck crosses the goal line (the rule is used in
the Olympics, European leagues and college) because they like the
competitive nature of the chase.... After lackadaisical losses to
the Blues and the Avalanche last week, Predators coach Barry
Trotz ripped his players behind closed doors, trying to send a
message that halfhearted efforts won't be tolerated even though
Nashville is out of playoff contention. In the next game the
Predators visited the Blackhawks, who were 20 games over .500 on
home ice, and beat them 3-1.... Coyotes goaltender Sean Burke
will earn a $500,000 bonus if he's voted the league's MVP, but
that hasn't stopped Phoenix management from pushing him for the
award. Why? Owner Wayne Gretzky wants to create a good atmosphere
for his players and let others around the league know that the
Coyotes are first-class. When it opens its new arena next season
and gets additional revenue, Phoenix hopes to begin luring free
agents to the desert.