After Flyers owner Ed Snider and coach Roger Neilson publicly
ripped referee Terry Gregson for his penalty call on John
LeClair late in Game 6 of Philly's first-round series against
the Maple Leafs, the NHL really stood by its man. Not only did
it hand out large fines ($50,000 to Snider and $25,000 to
Neilson), but it also assigned Gregson to officiate Game 7 of
the Blues-Coyotes series two nights later. There's no bigger
compliment to a ref than to have him handle a deciding game....
The Red Wings made four deadline-day deals to improve their
chances at a third-straight Stanley Cup, and the least heralded
may make the biggest impact. With starting goalie Chris Osgood
out because of a sprained right knee, Bill Ranford, who was
acquired from the Lightning to back up Osgood, stopped 65 of 67
shots in two second-round victories over the Avalanche last
week. Ranford had already endeared himself to his teammates with
his excellent work habits in practice....
Has any team scouted Europe better than the Maple Leafs? Under
the guidance of Anders Hedberg, the team's former scout and
current director of player development, Toronto has plucked some
European gems late in the draft. In 1994 it used the 256th pick
to grab Russian wing Sergei Berezin, who led Toronto with 37
goals in 1998-99; in '95 the Leafs selected physical Russian
defenseman Daniil Markov 223rd; and in '96 they took promising
finesse blueliner Tomas Kaberle, a Czech, 204th....
Some of the things that doomed the Devils in their first-round
upset loss to the Penguins were poor line changes, an inability
to consistently win face-offs and a lack of intensity. Privately
some Pittsburgh players said their New Jersey counterparts were
tight and shrank from physical confrontations. Said one Penguin,
"We couldn't believe that they were falling down that easily
after we hit them."