?To Kevin Constantine, the workaholic, defensive-oriented coach who was fired by the Penguins last week and replaced by the more wide-open-minded Herb Brooks: a new coaching job in which he holds fewer team meetings and analyzes less videotape, and the players still listen to him.
?To general managers of cash-poor Canadian clubs: spots in the contestant's chair of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
?To NHL fans: a quick recovery leading to a final run of acrobatic goaltending by the Sabres' inimitable Dominik Hasek, who is sidelined indefinitely with a groin injury and who plans to retire after this season.
?To Panthers right wing Scott Mellanby, who recently killed a mouse in the Florida dressing room, four years after he had slain a rat in Miami Arena and inspired the infamous Rat Craze in which fans threw plastic rodents onto the ice: flute lessons from the Pied Piper of Hamlin.
?To goalies facing Blues defenseman Al MacInnis, who this season has injured Jocelyn Thibault of the Blackhawks (broken left ring finger) and Chris Osgood of the Red Wings (broken right hand) with his powerful slap shot: full-body armor.
?To Wayne Gretzky, whose holiday season will be uninterrupted by games for the first time in more than 30 years: peace, quiet and a sense of satisfaction.
?To Senators center Alexei Yashin, who has refused to play this season because he wants the final year of his contract renegotiated, exactly what he has given the Ottawa fans: nothing.
Seeing Is Believing
The NHL made the welcome announcement last week that it will employ two on-ice referees in all games next season. (This year about 60% of regular-season games are officiated by two refs.) No matter how many whistle-blowers the league sends out, however, instances of lousy judgment will still arise. Consider the work of referees Rob Schick and Mike Leggo late in the third period of a tie game between the Oilers and the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 8.
Edmonton wing Alex Selivanov was driving toward the New York net and a probable collision with Rangers goalie Mike Richter when he was cross-checked in the head by defenseman Mathieu Schneider. The reeling Selivanov crashed into Richter and then the goal post.