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March 27, 1998

March 27, 1998

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.

NHL TEAMS

‘Rotten’ home ice performance has Burns worried about stretch

The Boston Bruins discussed the possibility of first round home ice advantage in the playoffs after a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings March 10 on the road at Joe Louis Arena. It was easy to understand their optimism. That victory, Boston’s first against Detroit since New Year’s Eve, 1991, ended a nine-game losing streak at the hands of the powerful Wings, made the Bruins 4-1-2 since the Olympic break, and left them just one point behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference standings. Forty-eight hours later, after the first of four straight games at FleetCenter, their coach was wondering if the Bruins would make the playoffs at all. Calling a 5-2 loss March 12 to the Calgary Flames, “the worst game I’ve ever seen a Boston Bruins team play,”…

LEAGUES

Icebreakers finding the range in expansion season

When the Chesapeake Icebreakers opened the season 3-12-5, most East Coast League observers nodded and smiled knowingly, believing that was the fate expected of an expansion club under a rookie coach. No one is laughing these days, especially not after the Icebreakers won their 11th straight game March 10, a 6-0 romp over the Dayton Bombers. That gave Chesapeake a record of 28-9-3 over 40 games and left the Icebreakers one point out of second place in the Northeast Division. “I’m not looking at the streak so much as a game at a time,” said coach Chris Nilan. “In the early going, I wasn’t familiar with the players. We had two young goalies and defensemen who just couldn’t play. “But we were still in most of those games, losing a lot of shootouts.…

NHL TEAMS

Neilson in to right shin

For sheer bizarreness, there was only one way to top last year’s firing of a Stanley Cup finalist head coach: Release his successor after only 61 games despite a 32-20-9 record. People were scratching their heads when Terry Murray (now a scout) was let go last June, a scant six days after taking the Philadelphia Flyers to the final for the first time in a decade. They were shaking their heads again the morning of March 9 when the Flyers announced Wayne Cashman had been replaced by Roger Neilson. The kicker was Cashman will remain behind the bench as an assistant coach. Three coaches in nine months. President-GM Bob Clarke often expresses concern about maintaining a budget for players’ salaries, but right now he has close to $2 million tied up in coaches…

COLUMNISTS

Clarke’s mistakes simply too frequent

Does Bob Clarke have a master plan? Is he so secure in his combined role as president and GM of the Philadelphia Flyers’ that he knows none of his failed moves will come back to haunt him? From here, Clarke seems to be flying by the seat of his pants. That is apparently acceptable in a situation where he has complete autonomy and a seemingly limitless budget. But it simply doesn’t cut it when you’re supposed to be among the sport’s leaders guiding the game into the new millennium. And it sure makes you wonder exactly what he’d have to do wrong in Philadelphia before he’s held accountable. When the rest of the hockey world pointed to an obvious weakness in goal after the Flyers were humiliated in four straight games by the Detroit…