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It's Cup time in the Motor City!
The Red Wings came to do two things win the Cup and chew bubble gum...well I guess they are all out of bubble gum!!!
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Let's not go to the videotape

Posted: Mon April 27, 1998

NHL Mailbag Sports Illustrated hockey writer Kostya Kennedy will answer your NHL questions through the Stanley Cup Finals. Click here to send a question.

Six series at 2-1, lots of one-goal and overtime games in the first week—having a good time hockey fans? One note: Whoever you root for, always remember to appreciate Boston's Raymond Bourque. At 37, this man is still one of the top four defensemen in hockey, as he has been for the past 19 years. I watched him play 45 minutes last Friday, and close to 50 on Sunday (both double overtime games against the Capitals). No one on either team—and this includes guys about half his age—played anything close to that much. Bourque's teammates, and the Capitals, are so awed by him they just shake their heads in silent wonder.

But you guys had other things on your minds, so ...

Is the NHL going to change the way it operates video replays? The Bruins got robbed of a good goal by a fraction of a skate length Sunday in Game 3, and should be up 2-1 on the Capitals. It seems to me to be a ridiculous rule; there is no way that goal should have ever been called back. If I was Pat Burns I would have strangled the referees myself.
—Mike Sinkewich, Portsmouth, N.H.

The big mistake here was referee Paul Devorski deciding to go to the video judge in the first place. That's why—while all the Bruins were celebrating and the crowd was throwing its beer cups in jubilation—Burns was standing on the Boston bench screaming at Devorski for even bringing the play into question. As Bruins GM Harry Sinden said after the game, "Devorski was afraid, afraid he'd missed something." The referees have been instructed not to go to the video judge if they can make the call on the ice. Devorski didn't have the guts to do that.

Even Caps coach Ron Wilson felt the Bruins' pain, and said he wants the league to re-visit the in-the-crease rule in the offseason. The powers-that-be definitely will, and I think the Board of Governors will recommend a change. The refs could still use video if they want (it does help show the illegal interference going on in the scrums in front of the net) but should only use it to determine whether or not a player interfered with the goaltender, not simply whether there was a toe of a skate in the crease. In this case, Tim Taylor clearly didn't interfere with Olaf Kolzig when the Bruins scored. The NHL tried to make this into a black-and-white issue (i.e., was there a skate in the crease or not?), but as is the rule is awful. It has to be amended.

What do you think of Bryan Marchment's hit on Joe Nieuwendyk in the first game of the Dallas-San Jose series? It may have looked clean, but we all know Mr. Marchment isn't exactly bawling his eyes out.
—James Elder, Calgary

The Sharks' Marchment plays without conscience. Every player in the league knows to keep his head up when Marchment is on the ice; if your head is down he'll lay into you. That hit didn't look dirty per se, but Marchment always gives that extra drive (in this case face first into the boards) with little incentive but to cause pain or injury. Nieuwendyk didn't like the hit, of course, but I'm sure Marchment only smiled maliciously to himself and didn't lose a moment's rest over what he'd done.

If you were Blues GM Larry Pleau, which of the team's big-time free agents would you go after? It would be really hard to keep Brett Hull, Geoff Courtnall, Al MacInnis and Steve Duchesne unless somebody took a pay cut to stay in St. Louis. And how much more life does the ageless wonder, Grant Fuhr, have left in those legs?
—Kevin Shockley, St. Louis

Fuhr is signed through the end of next year and he'll be the Blues' guy until then. With backup goalie Jamie McLennan's emergence, St. Louis will probably use Fuhr a little less often during the regular season next year. Based on the shape he's maintained this year (he got himself fit with trainer Bob Kersee over the summer), Fuhr should have another playoff run in him.

I'd go after MacInnis and Courtnall for sure. And Hull if they can get him for two years. Whether or not they go hard after Hull (who rejected a $5 million-plus contract offer in March) will depend on whether they land Penguins free agent Ron Francis, for whom Pleau is likely to make a strong bid.

Send a question to Kostya Kennedy, and check back Friday to read more of his responses.

Previous NHL Playoff Mailbags
April 16: Setting the stage for the scramble
April 21: Reasons to get upset
April 24: No Sabres insurance needed



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