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Original Issue

In The Crease

The NHL should be commended for recognizing that the game needs
fixing, but the proposed rule changes do not go far enough. The
issue of opening up the neutral zone was not addressed, nor was
the ever-present high-sticking. Too many players are using their
sticks as a weapon or as a defensive restraint, and they need to
be penalized.... The Coyotes are probably kicking themselves for
trading center Daniel Briere to the Sabres for forward Chris
Gratton last March. The 6'4", 225-pound Gratton was acquired for
his size, but he has not played a big-body game, and Phoenix is
starving for goals. Meanwhile, Briere, with 19 goals and 21
assists through Sunday, was sparking Buffalo's playoff charge.
The Coyotes are trying to unload Gratton (eight goals) but can't
get a nibble.... The two best penalty-killing tandems are the Red
Wings' Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper and the Islanders' Michael
Peca and Jason Blake. Detroit's duo had combined for seven
shorthanded goals this season, while Peca and Blake helped shut
down the Avalanche's potent power play in a 1-1 tie at Colorado
last week.