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March 16, 2001

March 16, 2001

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.


Injuries to key players has Blues concerned about play down stretch

After being virtually unbeatable in the first half, the St. Louis Blues limped into the stretch drive with a multitude of injuries to key personnel. Captain Chris Pronger returned after missing 15 games recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and then suffered a broken left forearm Feb. 26; he will be out until the playoffs. Defenseman Al Maclnnis remained sidelined recovering from a serious injury to his left eye suffered Jan. 27. Right winger Pavol Demitra was still out with a skate cut and had played only four games since Dec. 29. Center Michal Handzus was recovering from abdominal surgery Jan. 15 and Tyson Nash was out with a torn ACL. STRETCH DRIVE ISSUES 1. Finding blueline help. With Pronger and Maclnnis out, the Blues desperately needed to acquire a top-flight defenseman to play 25…


Expansion Giants name first head coach

The Vancouver Giants had their man all along. Milan Dragicevic, 30, who had been scouting for the Western League expansion team that begins play in the fall, was named their first head coach Feb. 20. Dragicevic had left the Alberta Junior League’s Drayton Valley Thunder Aug. 18 to take over as coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. That arrangement came to an end, however, when Ron Toigo sold the Americans in order to purchase an expansion team in Vancouver. A former WHL defenseman, Dragicevic spent two seasons with the Thunder, taking them from an expansion club to Game 7 of last season’s league semifinal. He said the experience he gained in starting up the Thunder will help him in his new position. “In both instances, you’re trying to find common ground and establish a…


Shulmistra shines, Pothier super sub

Sometimes you have to be lucky to be good. This doesn’t describe the play of the International League’s hottest puckstopper in the third quarter of the season, but it does paint a picture of how Richard Shulmistra became a goalie for the Chicago Wolves. Shulmistra, under contract to the NHL’s Florida Panthers, was a hockey nomad in the first half of 2000-01, unable to find steady work anywhere. When the Wolves lost rookie Rick DiPietro to the New York Islanders in early January, Shulmistra became their stopgap measure…and before long, their No. 1 goalie. The 29-year-old Sudbury native went 12-4-0 after joining the Wolves and the team was within four points of a playoff spot as of Feb. 27. Shulmistra’s 1.64 goals-against average and .946 save percentage had plenty to do with it. TOP…


In Defense of Pavel Bure

Pavel Bure left the All-Star Game before it was over. With or without him, the goals were nonstop, just like the last flight of the day to South Florida, which was leaving about 30 minutes after the final buzzer. It was cutting it a lot closer than anybody in the contest was checking, so, after the second period, Bure slipped away. The Russian Rocket’s groin was a little tender and the Panthers are paying him $47.5 million over five years in legal tender, so he was excused by World coach Jacques Martin and not fined or reprimanded by the NHL. It looked tacky even if a lot of guys who were there in body for the entire game never really showed up; even though some invitees no more injured than Bure…