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Original Issue

In The Crease

Expect the Thrashers to announce soon the signing of standout
goaltender prospect Kari Lehtonen (below), who was the team's No.
1 draft choice in 2002. Atlanta, which has a core of young talent
up front led by stars Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk, has to
improve in net to become a playoff team. Last season Lehtonen,
19, played for Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League and went
23-14-6 with a sparkling 1.98 goals-against average.... Outspoken
Rangers center Bobby Holik, who signed a five-year, $45 million
free-agent contract with New York last summer, was told at
season's end by general manager Glen Sather to show up for
training camp in better shape than he was last September and to
keep his views to himself next season. Holik, whose blunt
opinions sometimes made him unpopular in the dressing room when
he played with the Devils, turned off many of his new
teammates.... In round 3 of the playoffs the league must clamp
down on obstruction penalties again. After successfully keeping
obstruction to a minimum in round 1, referees allowed much more
clutching and grabbing in the second round, and many skilled
players were unnecessarily taken off their games.