Don't be surprised to see former Devils coach and current
Canadiens consultant Jacques Lemaire behind a bench again next
season. At least one team has called Montreal to ask for
permission to talk to Lemaire, who won the Stanley Cup with New
Jersey in 1995....
Another coach in demand is Walt Kyle, who guides the Oilers'
farm team in Hamilton, Ont., and who may be heading to the NHL
next season. One possible landing spot for the 43-year-old Kyle:
Minnesota, where Doug Risebrough is the general manager of the
expansion Wild. Risebrough, the former vice president of hockey
operations in Edmonton, worked with Kyle in the Oilers'
organization for one year....
Late in the season NHL scouts flocked to games involving Niagara
University to watch 6-foot, 190-pound goaltender Greg Gardner,
who's an undrafted free agent and has already received several
firm offers from NHL teams. Either Columbus or Minnesota, the
two expansion clubs that will enter the league in 2000-01, is
likely to sign the 24-year-old Gardner. This year he set the
NCAA record for shutouts in a season (12) and has been compared
with the Maple Leafs' acrobatic Curtis Joseph. Because expansion
teams can't sign players until May 1, Gardner may have to wait
until next month before agreeing to a deal....
Coach Joel Quenneville, whose Blues had the best record in the
NHL through Sunday, says some of St. Louis's success can be
traced to underrated defenseman Marc Bergevin. Quenneville says
that the outgoing Bergevin, a practical joker, keeps practices
fun and Blues players loose in the clubhouse....
Recently Penguins wing Jaromir Jagr and Flames wing Valeri Bure
were furious with Sabres captain Mike Peca because of his
physical play. Jagr, in fact, said Peca was targeting European
players, but Jagr should remember that Peca, a top-notch
checking center who matches up against opponents' top lines, is
usually on the ice against European-born skaters because they
are often among the league's most skilled players.