The Sabres have defensive tandem Dmitri Kalinin and Alexei
Zhitnik to thank for being in the playoff hunt. Zhitnik is
logging more ice time than any other Sabre, and he and Kalinin
are almost always matched against the opposition's best forwards.
In a two-game sweep of the Rangers last week the duo was critical
in shutting down Jaromir Jagr and holding New York scoreless on
the power play.... Capitals G.M. George McPhee so respects goalie
Olaf Kolzig that he told Kolzig he'd only be traded to a team
with a solid chance to win the Stanley Cup. That's one reason
Kolzig isn't in net for the Rangers now.... The Red Wings had
hoped to have promising 20-year-old forward Igor Grigorenko in
the lineup when the season began, but he was seriously injured in
an auto accident in his native Russia in May and underwent
surgery for broken bones in his left leg. He's been skating with
his Russian club team, and shortly he'll have the rod in his leg
removed. Though he still needs minor surgery on his right big
toe, the Wings expect Grigorenko to begin practicing with them
this spring.