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September 9, 2003

September 9, 2003

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

Pronger, Blues banking on D-man’s return to form

In summertime moves, the Blues subtracted considerable depth from the collection of scoring forwards and did little, if anything, to buttress the roster for those losses. Yet, it’s hard to ignore one addition: Chris Pronger. Should Pronger regain his form-not last season’s form, or even the season before, but his best-in-the-biz form-the Blues might survive their inert off-season. For the first time since the current management team arrived, they enter the season with a bona fide No. 1 goaltender in Chris Osgood. The Blues hope Osgood brings stability to the position and can channel his Detroit success. The Blues have not energized enthusiasm-inside or outside the rink—because cost-cutting is hard to sell, but with Jamal Mayers and Pronger returning there are flickers in the fans’ overtaxed optimism. PLAYERS TO WATCH 1. Chris Pronger,…

IN THIS ISSUE

Pens give Brochu another shot in AHL

Two years ago, goaltender Martin Brochu believed a permanent step up to the NHL was at hand. He had just backstopped the Saint John Flames to their only Calder Cup title and in the season before, he had won American League goalie-of-the-year and MVP honors while a member of the Portland Pirates. But an NHL job didn’t come to pass. Now, after two unfillfilling seasons which included time away from his wife and baby daughter while playing in Russia, Brochu is back after signing a deal with Pittsburgh in mid-August. “I don’t know if people have forgotten me,” said the 30-year-old Brochu. “I just need to bring my game back and show what I can do.” Although he’s shooting for a job alongside Sebastien Caron in Pittsburgh, Brochu will likely be teamed with 20-year-old…

DEPARTMENTS

Titan goalie Russo passes on Italian job

Adam Russo had a change of heart and has decided to return to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan for one more season. The 20-year-old goaltender signed a contract with an Italian pro team earlier in the summer. But a series of conversations with his agent, Bathurst GM Pierre Roux and Titan owner Leo-Guy Morrissette changed the all-star netminder’s mind at the last minute. “I think he has a good chance again to be one of the best goalies in the Canadian Hockey League,” Roux said. “He has done it before and I think he wants to have a strong finish in junior because that will help him get an opportunity in the pros next year.” Russo will start the season with the rebuilding Titan, but Roux said he will consider dealing him to a…

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Oirection-less Gaps facing grim prospects

The Washington Capitals are entering the 2003-04 season with a definite sense of trepidation. On the ice, the Caps have only two proven NHL blueliners on the roster; efforts to trade Jaromir Jagr or Robert Lang have been fruitless; and the Southeast Division is likely to be tougher than in the past. Off the ice, ticket sales are down, the novelty appears to have worn off for owner Ted Leonsis-who’s entering the final year of his five-year plan to bring a Stanley Cup to Washington-and fan frustration is percolating. The Capitals are hoping for an Herculean effort from goalie Olaf Kolzig this season. But considering he faced about 35 shots a game last year, protected by a much more experienced defense, Kolzig has his work cut out for him. PLAYERS TO WATCH 1. Jaromir…