One reason the Flames traded hard-nosed defenseman Todd Simpson
to the Panthers last week for feisty forward Bill Lindsay is
that Calgary management felt Simpson had not played with his
usual aggressiveness since suffering a concussion in March....

The league crackdown on the size of goaltenders' gloves (reduced
from up to 50 inches in circumference with no restriction on
length, to 48 inches in circumference and 19 inches in length)
may have an undesired effect. Netminders are concerned that the
shorter gloves will not protect them from wrist injuries as well
as the larger ones did....

Expect 19-year-old Red Wings rookie Jiri Fischer to be an impact
player in a couple of years. The 6'5", 210-pound defenseman has
impressed coach Scotty Bowman with his crisp outlet passes and a
booming shot from the point that's usually on target.Bowman has
the luxury of bringing Fischer along slowly because the Wings
are so deep on the back line since the tandem of Mathieu
Dandenault and Aaron Ward has meshed so well....

The wisest goaltending pickup during the off-season may have
been the Senators' trade for Patrick Lalime, whom the Mighty
Ducks gave up with defenseman Anti-Jussi Niemi, for forward Ted
Donato. With the knee injury to Ottawa's No. 1 netminder, Ron
Tugnutt, Lalime will have to carry the Senators. In their season
opener last Saturday he stopped 17 shots and shut out the

Second-year player Brendan Morrison, a Devils restricted
free-agent holdout, made a poor decision by missing training
camp and now has no leverage with Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey's
no-nonsense general manager....

Don't be surprised if Blues' wing Scott Young has an outstanding
year. He is finally pain-free after playing with an injured
wrist last season.