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IN THE CREASE
Pierre McGuire
May 18, 1998
Two players who have made a huge impact for the Senators, trailing 2-0 at week's end in their second-round series against the Capitals, are defenseman Lance Pitlick and forward Bruce Gardiner. Pitlick was signed as a free agent after the Flyers released him in 1994, and Gardiner was signed in June of that year when the Blues, the team mat drafted him, didn't offer him a contract. Both players have smarts and character. If small-market teams are to compete with the NHL's big spenders, they need good scouts who can snatch gems like Pitlick and Gardiner....
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May 18, 1998

In The Crease

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Two players who have made a huge impact for the Senators, trailing 2-0 at week's end in their second-round series against the Capitals, are defenseman Lance Pitlick and forward Bruce Gardiner. Pitlick was signed as a free agent after the Flyers released him in 1994, and Gardiner was signed in June of that year when the Blues, the team mat drafted him, didn't offer him a contract. Both players have smarts and character. If small-market teams are to compete with the NHL's big spenders, they need good scouts who can snatch gems like Pitlick and Gardiner....

It looks as if the Rangers will be doling out big bucks again for free agents. Coach John Muckler has been scouting games during the playoffs, especially matches featuring potential unrestricted free agents like Penguins center Ron Francis (left), Sharks forward John MacLean, Blues defense-man Al MacInnis and Red Wings blueliner Dmitri Mironov. New York's priorities are to add a righthanded shooting defenseman for the power play ( MacInnis or Mironov would fill that need) and a strong second-line center ( Francis would fit in there)....

Avalanche coach Marc Crawford may be the fall guy in the wake of Colorado's first-round loss to the underdog Oilers. Possible replacements? Canadiens assistant coach Dave King or Bob Hartley, coach of the Avalanche's Hershey, Pa., farm team....

If you like battles, watch the matchup between Saku Koivu and Michael Peca in the Canadiens-Sabres series. They re about the same size, skate equally well and love to compete. This may be one of the most vicious battles in the playoffs.

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