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March 22, 1996

March 22, 1996

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.


Expect Gretzky’s buddies to be dealt for future help

While no one except Los Angeles Kings’ governor Bob Sandertnan will utter the words “youth movement,” it is no secret the organization is embracing that route. The Kings will likely be one of the busiest teams at the trading deadline and when the dust clears, expect them to be younger and bigger. Pivotal factors: 1. Byron Dafoe’s consistency. Dafoe, who went nearly two months between victories, has to be able to carry the ball. It appears as though the Kings will turn to him during the stretch run even if Kelly Hrudey is not traded. 2. Coaching. Larry Robinson’s motivational abilities will be put to the test. 3. Health. Another injury to a key player would be devastating. Hardware hopefuls: Vitali Yachmenev, Calder. Needs: They could use a mobile defenseman and a playmaking center. Available:…


Buzak making up for lost time

When the American League season began, goalie Mike Buzak was basically a well-paid doorman for the Worcester IceCats. He opened the door on the bench and watched rookie Eric Fichaud play. And play. And play. Buzak, a rookie out of Michigan State, only had spot duty, playing on the road and in the middle game of a three-game weekend. A month into the season he had appeared in two games and his goals-against average was over 5.00. But ever since Fichaud’s inevitable promotion to the NHL’s New York Islanders in late January, Buzak is an every-day goalie and is the AHL’s turn-around player of the year. A seventh-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues in 1993, Buzak climbed to fourth in the AHL with a 2.79 GAA and 90.8 save percentage. “I knew Fich…


Popular Breakout tour gears up for big Year

Look out Tampa Bay-the NHL is gearing up to rock and roll your world. NHL Breakout ’96, a street hockey festival designed to promote the sport of hockey, kicks off at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay March 23-24. More than 100 teams of all skill levels are registered to compete in tournaments throughout the weekend. Tampa Bay is the first stop on the second annual tour that will hit 16 cities. The successful Breakout ’95, which met a growing demand for off-ice hockey, attracted about 125,000 people and the NHL hopes this year’s event will draw some 300,000. “If I heard it once last year, I heard it 100 times-this is a really cool major-tournament-slash-tailgate-party,” said Mary Pat Clarke, the NHL’s director of corporate communications, who oversees most of the events. ‘There’s a real attitude to…


Leaf at head of class

We have a changing of the school guard. Upper Deck is still on the honor roll, but it won’t go home this term with the best report card in the class. That honor belongs to Donruss this year and that should be a lesson to the rest of you. It didn’t do anything spectacular, it simply did all things well enough to merit a high average. Most importantly, it didn’t let its studies slip in any one subject and consequently, its overall marks didn’t suffer. The marks are in for Series I and there are a few surprises. Upper Deck, which finished first last year, dropped from B+ to B-and down to fourth. Not much has changed with Upper Deck in terms of quality, but its bad collation really brought it down. Card…