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January 25, 2002

January 25, 2002

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

Isles could face fight to end playoff streak

The New York Islanders obviously weren’t going to be as dominant as their lightning-quick 9-0-1-1 start indicated. But they also better not be as inconsistent as they were while playing sub-.500 hockey over the remainder of the season’s first half. The Isles won a grand total of 21 games in 2000-01 and had as many after 41-games this season. So who are we to quibble? But the stakes clearly have been raised since last year’s NHL-worst finish. The overhauled Isles (21-13-5-2 at midseason) figure to find themselves in a dogfight to make the playoffs for the first time since 1994 if they aren’t more consistent during the second half. A Shawn Bates, UN. Unsung import among slew of changes. A Mark Parrish, RW. Breakout season despite Olympic snub. Roberto who? A Michael Peca, C. The…

DEPARTMENTS

Insurance problems lead to work stoppage

Players from at least 18 East Coast League teams orchestrated a work stoppage stemming from a dispute between the players’ union and teams over health insurance coverage. The Jan. 7 walkout came in the wake of a union conference call Jan. 4, during which Professional Hockey Players’ Association executive director Larry Landon claimed that Mississippi and Dayton were two months behind on health insurance premiums. The one-day strike was organized by the PHPA player reps through a series of phone calls Jan. 6. In a written statement, Landon said the PHPA did not order or endorse the action. The league ordered affected teams to dock players for a day’s pay, rent and utilities. The current four-year collective bargaining agreement, which expires May 31,2003, contains no-strike and no-lockout clauses. John Gagnon, who owns Mississippi and Dayton,…

OVERTIME

THE Inaugural BROPH AWARDS 2001 2002

If you read The Hockey News from cover to cover, then you already know our choice for the NHL’s first-half MVP is Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy. But St. Patrick isn’t the only one deserving of recognition. Here are some more mid-season award winners…in my own unofficial, even unorthodox, categories: Dumb-and-Dumber Award Craig Berube, Calgary. Flame fighter earns a three-game suspension for his part in a Flames-Mighty Ducks’ brouhaha and then, in his first game back, crosschecks Blues’ Doug Weight in the face to earn another five-gamer. Ripped-off Award Craig Conroy, Calgary. Of all the players who were left off their country’s Olympic teams, none has a bigger beef than the Flames’ left winger. Conroy, an American, was in the top 10 in league scoring with 15 goals and 42 points in 43 games…

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Hawks’ great start surprises everyone

The Chicago Blackhawks’ scorching first half of the season has impressed and surprised even GM Mike Smith. “I thought we could be a little over .500 at the halfway point,” Smith said. “But we have formed a team and I think that’s probably the biggest accomplishment. Every night there are different guys making contributions. The team works every night and competes every night.” The emergence of the Hawks as a potential playoff threat in the Western Conference has forced Smith to change course for the rest of the season with regard to Tony Amonte. Smith said it’s likely the Hawks will keep Amonte and deal with his unrestricted free agency after the season. He would surely command a lot of attention on the free market. “The better the team and the better year we’re…