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Original Issue

In The Crease

Credit Predators assistant G.M. Ray Shero for helping Nashville
swipe 26-year-old Czech rookie sensation Marek Zidlicky from the
Rangers last December. Shero told G.M. David Poile to have
Zidlicky, a defenseman whom Shero had scouted in Europe, included
in a bigger deal that involved former Predators goalie Mike
Dunham. New York relented, and now the 5'11", 185-pound Zidlicky,
who was drafted 176th in 2001, is the third-leading scorer among
NHL defensemen, with 18 points through Sunday.... With the
possibility of a lockout next fall--and the 2004-05 NHL season
being canceled--many players are asking their agents to line up
spots for them on European pro teams.... One of last summer's
better free-agent signings was the Blue Jackets' acquisition of
center Todd Marchant. The 10-year veteran, who had 12 points in
25 games, has been a strong influence on many of the team's young
players, including 19-year-old wing Rick Nash. With an NHL-high
18 goals, Nash has already surpassed his rookie total from last
year (17).