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IN THE CREASE
Pierre McGuire
February 09, 1998
The kings, who have missed the playoffs four consecutive years, are back in contention for the postseason. Here are three reasons for their revival. 1) Coach Larry Robinson has gotten rid of the casual atmosphere. Players can no longer bring friends and fans into the dressing room. 2) New general manager Dave Taylor, who played 17 years for the Kings, has made all the right moves. His best may be the signing of 34-year-old free agent Garry Galley, who has accepted his role as the fifth defenseman and acted as a bridge between the veterans and the young players. 3) For years the Kings' unusually grueling travel schedule allowed limited time for practices. With the entire league's schedule compressed because of the Olympics, the rest of the teams are now having these difficulties too. L.A., however, is used to it. In fact, the worst of the Kings' road trips is behind them, and with only one East Coast trip remaining, their schedule is favorable down the stretch....
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February 09, 1998

In The Crease

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The kings, who have missed the playoffs four consecutive years, are back in contention for the postseason. Here are three reasons for their revival. 1) Coach Larry Robinson has gotten rid of the casual atmosphere. Players can no longer bring friends and fans into the dressing room. 2) New general manager Dave Taylor, who played 17 years for the Kings, has made all the right moves. His best may be the signing of 34-year-old free agent Garry Galley, who has accepted his role as the fifth defenseman and acted as a bridge between the veterans and the young players. 3) For years the Kings' unusually grueling travel schedule allowed limited time for practices. With the entire league's schedule compressed because of the Olympics, the rest of the teams are now having these difficulties too. L.A., however, is used to it. In fact, the worst of the Kings' road trips is behind them, and with only one East Coast trip remaining, their schedule is favorable down the stretch....

Next time you go to the post office, look for Glen Sather's picture on the wall. The Oilers' general manager should be on the Most Wanted list for his recent trades. He stole defenseman Roman Hamrlik from the Lightning. Since that deal the previously struggling Oilers had gone 7-5-1 through Sunday....

Teams are always looking for ways to get their players to bond. Long road trips, during which teammates are forced to live and eat together, are one way. It makes you wonder why the Hurricanes came home for a day in the midst of a six-game road trip last month, especially since they had just acquired two more new players, goalie Kirk McLean and forward Martin Gelinas....

Here are five forwards whom you may not be familiar with, but any coach would love to have: Rene Corbet, Avalanche; Steve Konowalchuk, Capitals; Bill Lindsay, Panthers; Kirk Maltby, Red Wings; and Shjon Podein, Flyers. These players are valued because they never coast through a shift, understand their role, are willing to sacrifice for the team and, most important, are extremely versatile....

The league's best-kept rookie secret is 19-year-old Calgary defenseman Derek Morris, who was a first-round draft choice in 1996. He has tremendous instincts with the puck and outstanding poise reading the rush. No wonder he's getting tons of ice time.

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