At 35 and injury-prone, Penguins All-Star defenseman Sergei Gonchar(below), who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, will meet resistance from G.M. Ray Shero if he seeks a contract longer than three years. With his younger stars—including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin—signed to extended deals, Shero is unafraid to bid adieu to players he feels are too costly, as when he let Marian Hossa walk in 2008.... If the Canucks make a trade by the March 3 deadline, it could include minor league goalie Cory Schneider, 23, currently stuck behind starter Roberto Luongo, who's signed through 2022. Many clubs covet Schneider, the reigning AHL goalie of the year, for his size (6'2"). In his last NHL start on Nov. 6 he made 45 saves in a 2--1 loss at Dallas.
DAVID E. KLUTHO