Turco's career postseason record is 8--14, yet Dallas gave him a four-year,
$22.8 million contract extension based on his 137-62-26 record and 2.08
goals-against average over the past five years. (That's also a reflection of
the dearth of experienced goaltending in the league.) This fall, however, the
Stars are giving three netminders whom they drafted in 2000, '01 and '02--Dan
Ellis, Mike Smith and Tobias Stephan, respectively--a shot at winning a job in
the NHL, whether it's as Turco's backup, as his replacement or as the go-to
goalie in the playoffs. "Last year the NHL finals proved a young guy can
make an impact," says Tippett, referring to Carolina rookie Cam Ward, who
appeared in 28 regular-season games then backstopped the Hurricanes to the Cup.
"We want one of these guys to push Marty."
42-35-5, 10th in West
G.M. Dean Lombardi, coach Marc Crawford, D Rob Blake, G Dan Cloutier
KEY LOSSES G.M.
Dave Taylor, D Joseph Corvo, C Pavol Demitra, C Jeremy Roenick
When he took over
as G.M. of the Sharks before the 1996--97 season, Dean Lombardi needed just
three years to turn them into a playoff threat, but he'll be lucky to get that
much time to transform the long-suffering Kings. L.A.'s pattern of starting the
season strong before falling out of playoff contention, plus the emergence of
SoCal rival Anaheim as a Stanley Cup front-runner, has created a sense of
urgency. That's why Lombardi made wholesale changes, bringing in former
Cup-winning coach Marc Crawford; Dan Cloutier, who will be the Kings' No. 1
goalie; and former Norris Trophy winner Rob Blake.
probably not going to score a ton of goals, but if we can limit the
opposition's chances, that will be a key," says center Craig Conroy.
"We don't have the superstars on offense that other teams have." That's
why some hockey fans hop onto the Santa Ana Freeway and head south.
38-39-5, 12th in West
KEY ADDITIONS D
Nick Boynton, D Ed Jovanovski, RW Georges Laraque, C Jeremy Roenick