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November 9, 2001

November 9, 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.

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Team of one-liners no laughing matter

The departure of free agent Alexander Mogilny last summer and the unwillingness to replace the veteran sniper transformed the New Jersey Devils into a one-line team. That was the Devils’ overwhelming concern as they struggled to get any offensive production from forwards other than the Patrik Elias-Jason Arnott-Petr Sykora line. In their first seven games, the Devils scored 20 goals, 13 of which were scored by the Arnott line. Excluding the four goals scored by defensemen, the Devils got a total of three goals from all their other forwards. “I’m a little bit concerned,” said coach Larry Robinson. “It’s not that this is a one-line team. I know that’s not true. It’s just that right now only one line is playing well, playing the way they are capable of playing.” The lack of offensive…

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Khabibulin rules Lightning crease

Asked why he wasn’t starting goaltender Kevin Weekes against the Kings Oct. 25, coach John Tortorella’s answer was simple and straight to the point. The organization, the coach said, is committed to getting Nikolai Khabibulin back to the elite level he enjoyed two seasons ago with the Coyotes. If that means giving him the bulk of the work, then that’s the way it will be. The question came up because Weekes had been spectacular in shutting out the Kings 1-0 Oct. 13 and had not played since. There was no questioning the decision after Khabibulin stopped 28 shots in a 3-0 win at the Ice Palace. That gave the Lightning four wins and a tie in its last nine games after opening with three straight defeats. Khabibulin’s first shutout of the season gave him…

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Preds rely on vets for heavy ice time

The broken hand suffered by defenseman Cale Hulse has created a troubling lack of depth along the Predators’ blueline. Every game so far, Nashville has gone with five defensemen who had fewer than 200 games of NHL experience at the start of the season. Among those who have been plugged are Marc Moro (15 games), Pavel Skrbek (nine) and 28-year-old Rich Brennan (39). Unwilling to rely on youngsters on special teams, coaches have turned to veterans Kimmo Timonen, Karlis Skrastins and Bill Houlder for heavy ice time. Hulse is second only to Houlder in terms of experience but second to none among that group in physical play. Without him, the Predators allowed 30 goals in the first 10 games, eight more than at the same time last season. In their first two seasons-without Hulse-the…

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Acquisition of Allison could take Kings higher

After of years of searching for a power forward to take them to the next level, the Los Angeles Kings think they found one in Jason Allison. Allison and left winger Mikko Eloranta were acquired from Boston Oct. 24. They didn’t come cheap. The former captain of the Bruins cost the Kings Jozef Stumpel and Glen Murray, not to mention $20.5 million over three years. (See pg. 16 for trade analysis.) But for a team hoping to build on last season’s playoff run that ended within a game of the Western Conference finals, Allison might have the tools to get them back there and beyond. “What is appealing about Jason and why he was probably our first choice is his combination of size, skill and ability as well as the fact he is…