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IN THE CREASE
Pierre McGuire
February 12, 2001
With the league beginning its break for the Olympics only two days before the start of next year's Winter Games in Salt Lake City, one of the most difficult challenges facing national teams will be overcoming the lack of practice time with their full rosters. One way for team selectors, such as Wayne Gretzky, who's choosing Canada's players, to solve this problem is to pick an entire line from one NHL team and a defensive pairing from another club and have them play in the Olympics as units. A perfect fit for Canada would be the Flyers' trio of center Keith Primeau and wings Simon Gagne and Mark Recchi. On defense Gretzky could tap Blues Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger....
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February 12, 2001

In The Crease

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With the league beginning its break for the Olympics only two days before the start of next year's Winter Games in Salt Lake City, one of the most difficult challenges facing national teams will be overcoming the lack of practice time with their full rosters. One way for team selectors, such as Wayne Gretzky, who's choosing Canada's players, to solve this problem is to pick an entire line from one NHL team and a defensive pairing from another club and have them play in the Olympics as units. A perfect fit for Canada would be the Flyers' trio of center Keith Primeau and wings Simon Gagne and Mark Recchi. On defense Gretzky could tap Blues Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger....

Wing Owen Nolan, the Sharks' best player, may have cost his team the Pacific Division with his cheap shot of Stars forward Grant Marshall last Thursday. Entering the All-Star break, San Jose was only three points ahead of Dallas, and without Nolan, who is expected to be suspended for at least 10 games, and center Vincent Damphousse, who will miss the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder, the Sharks will be hard-pressed to hold off the charging Stars....

Thrashers unrestricted free-agent-to-be Donald Audette, who is having a career-year (25 goals), rejected Atlanta's $2.5 million-per-year offer. If the two sides don't come to terms, look for the Thrashers to deal him....

The Stanley Cup-champion Devils have only seven players remaining from the team that won New Jersey's first crown, in 1995, while the Red Wings have 17 players left from their title-winning club of '97. This is a good example of how Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello has successfully turned over his roster, while his Detroit counterpart, Ken Holland, hasn't been as proactive....

The most underrated line in the league is the Capitals' trio of center Jeff Halpern and wings Ulf Dahlen and Steve Konowalchuk. There's not another unit that controls play along the boards as well as these guys.

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