Could this be the start of a trend? Recently the Canadiens have
successfully used defenseman Craig Rivet as a forward on a
checking line. The minor leagues are filled with undersized
defensemen who can skate and who are skilled enough to play
forward. With the NHL's talent pool already shallow and with
more expansion on the way, there's a need for talented players.
Don't be surprised to find teams dipping into the minors and
using small but skilled defensemen up front....
Blackhawks center Jeff Shantz is tough. On March 14 he had three
teeth knocked out with a stick and never missed a shift. The
next day he had his ear sliced when he was hit from behind and
driven into the boards, and he missed only about seven minutes
getting sutured. Then four nights later Shantz tore his left
anterior cruciate ligament and skated off the ice without help.
He'll be out the rest of the season....
Two players who will be unrestricted free agents in July and
should be on every team's shopping list: forwards Scott Young of
the Mighty Ducks and Benoit Brunet of the Canadiens. Both are
strong defensively, can chip in offensively and have been
regulars on teams that have won the Stanley Cup. They might not
be big names, but they are players who help you win....
Injuries have crushed Anaheim this year, and general manager
Jack Ferreira may be the fall guy. He's a good hockey man with
an eye for finding talent, having selected wing Paul Kariya
fourth overall in the 1993 draft despite his diminutive size,
stolen wing Teemu Selanne in a trade for defenseman Oleg
Tverdovsky and center Chad Kilger, and made other good deals to
get useful players like defensemen Dmitri Mironov and David
Karpa and forward Travis Green. Says one Mighty Duck player
about the team's injuries this season, "We have had so many
players through here this year that there have been nights when
I would look at our roster and have to ask the trainer who some
of the guys were."
Pierre McGuire coached the Hartford Whalers in 1993-94.