USA Hockey is looking for another miracle. Expect that
organization to announce this week that Herb Brooks will coach
the 2002 Olympic team, with Craig Patrick and Larry Pleau serving
as the club's general manager and assistant general manager,
Two defensemen in need of a wake-up call: the Hurricanes' Sandis
Ozolinsh and the Blackhawks' Boris Mironov. In June, Ozolinsh
was acquired from the Avalanche to run Carolina's power play and
bring explosiveness to the back line, but he's been a bust. In
fact, Ozolinsh's plus-minus rating (-8) through Sunday was the
worst on the team. As for Mironov, who's also offense-minded, he
has played poorly (no goals, -8 rating), and his lack of passion
has some of his teammates questioning his desire....
On Nov. 15 the league's general managers will meet in Toronto
with two key issues on the agenda. The first concerns the way
players will be approached about representing their countries at
the world championships in April. The general managers want some
protocol established between the national federations and the
NHL clubs, because they don't want their players distracted
while teams are making playoff runs, as has happened in the
past. The second issue is poor ice conditions. Executives want
rules that would limit on-ice promotions to the first five
minutes between periods, which would give Zambonis 12 minutes to
resurface the ice and let it set....
Is tradition going the way of the hip-check? In Montreal and
Ottawa recently four players had hat tricks (including three for
the home teams), and only one hat was thrown onto the ice....
Don't be surprised if the Islanders become a team to be reckoned
with. Last week general manager Mike Milbury told coach Butch
Goring and his staff they were too soft on the players and had
to push the club harder in practice. The Islanders then went
3-0-1 and looked headed in the right direction.