With the NHL trading deadline just a couple of weeks away, realtors shouldn't be sitting by the phone awaiting a call from an NHL client.
Though several big names are still being bandied about, it's unlikely the usual deadline blockbuster will happen this year.
The two biggest names on the block going into this season were Tony Amonte and Bill Guerin. But Amonte has led the Hawks to the second-best record in the West with 77 points, while Guerin has the Bruins sitting in second in the East with 76 points. Guerin is in a tie for second with 33 goals, while Amonte has 23 goals and is tied for 18th in the points race with 55.
Boston's Jeremy Jacobs and Mike O'Connell, and Chicago's Bill Wirtz and Mike Smith are among the most disliked owner/general manager combos, but neither would do something so stupid as to trade one of their leading scorers while in the playoff stretch run, would they?
The most popular trade rumor involving Guerin has been a one-for-oneswap to Colorado for Connecticut native and former BU star Chris Drury. Avs general manager Pierre Lacroix has been the man at the deadline each of the past three seasons, acquiring Theo Fleury from Calgary in 1999, Ray Bourque from Boston in 2000 and Rob Blake from Los Angeles in 2001. Unfortunately for Colorado, any deadline deal this year is certain to cost them one of their top young forwards in Drury, Alex Tanguay, Radim Vrbata or Vaclav Nedorost.
Signs of a silent (or overpriced) trade market include the Devils and Stars bringing John Vanbiesbrouck and John MacLean back from retirement. Not too often in history have late-thirtysomethings joined a roster after the All-Star break and sparked the team on to Cup success. You can be certain both Colorado and Boston will place a few more calls pleading Ray Bourque to whip himself into shape for the playoffs.
Classless move by Canadian captain Mario Lemieux gritted his teeth and played with pain in a Penguins uniform for five months. The gold medal was clearly his goal, not a run at the Stanley Cup or success with the Penguins. And now fans in Pittsburgh are faced with a lost final six weeks of the regular season because of Lemieux's selfishness. Sure, Super Mario saved the franchise from relocation by purchasing it, but his desire to play in the Olympics despite being only 60 percent healthy cost the Pens the chance to develop some of their talented young players. It's no surprise Pittsburgh hasn't been able to get on a roll this season with its captain shuffling in and out of the lineup. Now in the remaining six weeks, the Pens will have a chance to watch Kris Beech, Milan Kraft, Aleksey Morozov and Toby Peterson get serious ice time and nurture their skills for next season and beyond.
Dropping like flies The expected rush of post-Olympic injuries began last week. In addition to Lemieux, St. Louis' Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight, Colorado's Blake, Dallas' Mike Modano, Toronto's Curtis Joseph and Detroit's Steve Yzerman all suffered injuries. Maybe this long list of dinged-up star players will help convince the NHL to extend the Olympic break in 2006 and tinker with the schedule to avoid packing 82 games into 12 fewer days.
N.Y. Rangers @ Chicago -- Thursday, 8:30 p.m. EST The Second City's lone crack at the Broadway Blues should be an entertaining matchup of Original Six teams. Both the Rangers and Hawks are 1-2 since the Olympic break, largely due to porous defense. New York has given up 12 goals and Chicago has allowed nine in those three games. The Hawks are 22-5-4 at the United Center while the Rangers are just 11-17-2 away from MSG.
Detroit @ St. Louis -- Saturday, 3 p.m. EST The Wings are running away with the Central Division, but the Blues still have a shot at catching the Blackhawks for second place, which likely would mean the home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. St. Louis is 20-8-1 at home this season, but one of the eight losses at the Savvis Center came to the Wings, a 5-2 defeat on Jan. 26 with Brett Hull netting a hat trick.
Detroit @ Buffalo -- Sunday, 3 p.m. EST Back-to-back road games always are tough, more so when there is a 585-mile flight thrown in there after the first one. The highlight of this Sunday afternoon tilt is the return of the Dominator to Buffalo for the first time since getting traded to Detroit last summer.
Plus: Simon Gagne Playing in the Olympics obviously helped this future superstar, as he put up six points in three games for the Flyers last week. Gagne's excellent showing for Team Canada was a major reason Joe Sakic won tournament MVP honors. And now Gagne looks poised to finish strongly for the Flyers.
Minus: Ed Belfour You'd think the gold medal would've mellowed Crazy Eddie a tiny bit, but the trashed visiting dressing room in Vancouver is evidence to the contrary. Marty Turco is playing brilliantly and Belfour looks like he may be second fiddle for the remainder of the season in Big D. If he's not dealt at the deadline, that is.
Plus: Jason Allison Allison scored seven points in the Kings' first two games after the Olympic break and now has 49 points in 52 games this season, a point-per-game average of .942 that puts him not far off the pace off scoring leader Jarome Iginla's 1.115 points per game.
Minus: Joe Thornton Perhaps he was bitter about not being on Canada's gold-medal roster, but Thornton's violent cross-check of Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour on Thursday night was uncalled for and deserving of his three-game suspension. It's not a surprise to see goon Bryan Marchment's name on the suspension list again, but we expect more out of a rising young star like Thornton.
"While I am very disappointed that I can't be in the lineup, I am satisfied that we have identified the problem with my hip. The doctors have told me that this period of rest and rehabilitation is necessary so that I can make a full recovery and get back in the lineup next season."
-- Penguins captain and owner Mario Lemieux, announcing he will miss the rest of the 2001-02 season.
"I'm not getting a fair shake out there. I'm not going to change for anybody. If I do, I might as well be a healthy scratch and watch the game on TV."
-- Rangers left wing Theo Fleury on a perceived bias against him by NHL officials.
The long list of injuries to players who took part in the Salt Lake City Games will have a drastic effect on fantasy leagues. Dave Wallace breaks down the plight of the wounded warriors in his latest Puck Amok column.
After a disappointing Olympics, Eric Lindros returned to the NHL schedule with a vengeance. Lindros scored a hat trick against his former team as the Rangers beat the Flyers 6-5 on Thursday. Lindros also scored a goal in a 4-3 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday.
The Rangers face the Flames at home on Monday night before hitting the road for a three-game trip against Minnesota, Chicago and Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Follow Lindros' progress this season here in the Head Games section of the Glance every week.
Last week's topic: Which player is most likely to get dealt before the March 19 trade deadline?
Washington's Adam Oates. Pierre Lacroix won't pass up the chance to get this great passer to
fill in for Peter Forsberg for the stretch run. Charles, Mount Vernon, N.Y.
New York Rangers' Mike Richter. The Rangers aren't going to do anything in the playoffs, so either Brent Johnson or Fred Braithwaite can be in goal until Dan Blackburn is ready. If St. Louis hopes to go anywhere in the playoffs, they'll need a proven goalie, something Detroit and Colorado have. Joe Hewitt, Philadelphia
Pittsburgh's Darius Kasparaitis is definetly going to go. The Penguins won't be able to
re-sign him. He is a solid defenseman, and would be a key addition to any blue line.
Derek Roopchan, Toronto
I think that the most obvious choice would be Eddie Belfour to Toronto, since Curtis Joseph looks like he will be out for the year. But I am hoping the New Jersey's Bobby Holik and Jason Arnott get traded to the Hawks for Tony Amonte and Mikael Nylander. Mujahid Mustafa, Chicago
Montreal's Jeff Hackett. He proved himself in Chicago that he can handle the workload and
the pressure, which he's not getting in Montreal right now. Plus Montreal is always interested in dumping salary. Brett Ramsey, Hamiota, Manitoba
San Jose's Teemu Selanne. He can get in his Porsche and drive to New York. Franklin Udell Livingston, San Francisco
Anaheim's Paul Kariya. The Ducks are going nowhere fast, and he makes $10 million a
season. I think Kariya will go to the Rangers. Glen Sather would give up his first born to put Kariya on a line next to Eric Lindros. Bryan McGouran, Toronto
Future considerations will be dealt numerous times! Jeff Hurney, Vancouver
This week's topic: Which team is most likely to make a late-season push to sneak into the playoffs?
Jon A. Dolezar covers the NHL for CNNSI.com. "Week at a Glance" appears each Monday during the season.