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March 21, 1997

March 21, 1997

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.

LEAGUES

Blazers loaded for repeat of Central League title

The Oklahoma City Blazers have broken their own Central League record for wins in a season and have the best goaltending tandem, top defenseman and most balanced scoring. But don’t tell Blazers’ coach Doug Sauter his team, close to clinching the regular season championship, is the favorite to win its second straight CHL playoff title. “There’s no way we have the CHL championship locked up,” Sauter said. “(Second place) Fort Worth has a better record against us and have been a thorn in our sides all season. Also we’re 0-1-1 against Huntsville. There are a lot of teams capable of beating us in the playoffs. It will be a tough road.” The Blazers had bettered records they set last season for most wins (47), points (98), road wins (20). And defenseman Hardy Sauter,…

FEATURES

Carey out to prove he’s no Net Defective with Bruins

Jim Carey once thought he would be bitter if he was traded, but acrimony toward the Washington Capitals is not something that comes easily. He’s too measured, too reflective to speak without thinking, and when the cast-aside 22-year-old goalie thinks about the deal that sent him to the Boston Bruins along with young forwards Jason Allison and Anson Carter, he can’t help but admit his former team did the right thing. “Look at the players,” Carey said the morning of his Bruins’ debut, March 3 in Toronto. “They get Adam Oates, who’s going to add a lot to that team. He’s their (top) scorer right now. And then you get Bill Ranford, so they’re not going to miss me, and then they get Rick Tocchet. They’re basically swapping goalie for goalie, and…

IN THIS ISSUE

No-maintenance approach has Vipers on top of league

The Detroit Vipers have taken GM Rick Dudley into familiar territory. His veteran-laden team vaulted to the top of the International League standings, reminding Dudley of one of his favorite former teams. “The only team that I can remember that was as disciplined as this group was that team I had in San Diego (in 1992-93),” Dudley said. The San Diego Gulls reeled off a league-record 132 points that year. After 63 games, including 12 straight wins, the Vipers had 93 points. They were on pace for 121. The Vipers had allowed just 2.43 goals per game, which, if they kept it ur>, would be the lowest since the 1956-57 Cincinnati Mohawks permitted just 1.88 goals a night. “We have guys on this team who play on both sides of the puck,” said Detroit…

NHL TEAMS

Quest for consistency continues with stability issue as backdrop

There are so many issues swirling around the Hartford Whalers. For every question about the on-ice product, there are a couple about off-ice happenings. As much as the players like to say the turmoil doesn’t affect them, there is a spot in the backs of their minds where they tuck away info about new arenas, ticket campaigns and the stability of this rocky ship. It hovers like a black cloud around Hartford’s playoff push. And that push? The inconsistent Whalers look like contenders on some nights, beating up on elite teams, then patsies the next, losing to second tier teams. Somewhere in the final six weeks of the season, they need to find that missing consistency or they’ll be out of the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Pivotal factors: 1. Goaltending. Sean…