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April 18, 1986

April 18, 1986

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

Columnists

Demers Should Be Named Coach Of Year

Who’s the NHL coach of the year? For weeks, my temptation was to go with either, (a) Mike Keenan for sustaining the Flyers through the Pelle Lindbergh tragedy and beyond. Or, (b) Lome Henning, who managed to turn the North Stars’ nuthouse into a productive playoff collective. Or, (c) the oft-overlooked Michel Bergeron For keeping Les Nordiques atop the toughest division of all, the Adams, under extremely tough conditions. Rather than submit to temptation, I am bypassing Keenan, Henning and Bergeron in favor of Jacques Demers. What Jacques Demers has done with the St. Louis Blues over the past three seasons transcends the amazing. Right down to the final week this year he has had his team contending for first place. That’s reason enough. “This is the toughest year of coaching I’ve ever had,”…

NHL

Canadiens Need Big Effort By Record-Setting Naslund

MONTREAL—There is one mark in the record book that Wayne Gretzky will never get. At least. Mats Naslund hopes so. Naslund set a record for most assists by a left winger in a National Hockey League season in game No. 80. “This one I didn’t have plans for,” said Naslund, who finished the season with a career-high 43 goals, NHL-record 67 assists and a club-high 110 points (for a left winger). “It came up on the flight to Buffalo that I had a chance to beat it. I didn’t really know about this record. It’s fun to have. I know Gretzky won’t beat it because he is going to still play center. I’d like to keep it for a couple of years.” Somehow, the Canadiens managed to finish second in the Adams Division despite winning…

IN THIS ISSUE

MICRON JUNIOR PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

ONTARIO LEAGUE Mike Maurice has not been a prolific scorer for the Kingston Canadians over the past two years but since the 1986 playoffs began things have changed drastically. The Canadians’ center collected 15 points, eight of them goals, to spark Kingston to a six-game playoff triumph over Oshawa and win the nod as OHL Player of the Week. Maurice scored only 17 times last season and had but 25 goals this year. WESTERN LEAGUE Rob Brown cut a wide swath through the Western League this season as scoring champion and he’s carried his personal momentum into the playoffs. The 17-year-old center of the Kamloops Blazers picked up 13 scoring points in the first three games of the playoffs against Seattle to win the nod as WHL Player of the Week. Brown, who led the league with…

NHL

Goalies Share Only One Trait-Excellence

LONG ISLAND—There were two major reasons why the Islanders gained the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 12th consecutive year. Their names are Bill Smith and Kelly Hrudey. Both goalies played extremely well down the stretch. Smith entered the final week of the regular season with a 4-1-1 record for six starts. During the same period, Hrudey was 4-2-1 for seven outings and was second only to Philadelphia’s Bob Froese in save percentage. The Islanders relied almost exclusively on Smith in past playoffs, and he usually came through for them, especially while they were winning four Stanley Cups from 1980 through 1983. He holds goaltender playoff records for most games played (130), most minutes played (7,577) and most victories (88). Hrudey, on the other hand, lacks playoff experience. He got his playoff baptism last spring,…