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March 9, 2004

March 9, 2004

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.


Sad-sack Saskatoon wishing it were over

Can Saskatoon Blades GM Brent McEwen describe what his struggling team is going through? “There isn’t enough space in The Hockey News,” McEwen lamented. The Blades’ misfortunes were reflected by a 26-game winless streak and a 6-44-11-1 record. “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” McEwen said. “It’s real difficult for everybody. We’ve gone through one coach (Kevin Dickie). That was a very difficult situation, and it hasn’t really picked up one bit.” Dickie was fired Oct. 27, when Saskatoon was 3-10-3-0. The Blades proceeded to go 334-8-1 under replacement Jamie Reeve. “We thought we’d be a competitive team, so it was unforeseen,” said McEwen, whose team won 40 games last season. “That probably makes it that much worse.” The Hockey News predicted the Blades to finish a middle-ofthe-pack 11th in the 20-team WHL.…


Quenneville pays price for Blues’ ongoing futility

The winningest and longest-serving coach in St. Louis Blues history is exactly that history. Displeased with recurring pedestrian performances of the team and only seven wins in 26 games, GM Larry Pleau fired Joel Quenneville Feb. 24. Quenneville was the NHL’s coach of the year in 1999-2000. “I think when you go through times like we’ve been through, you have to make a decision along the way and I just felt it wasn’t going to change,” Pleau said. “I didn’t think it was going to get back on track.” Pleau promoted assistant coach Mike Kitchen and rewarded him with a contract through the 2005-06 season. Most players said the blame was misplaced on Quenneville. “Sometimes its unwarranted and not right,” said Chris Pronger. “Obviously it sends a message (management) means business and it’s up…


Concussions: Next steps?

BIG HURT Eric Lindros is one of five Rangers to suffer a concussion this season The headline in the notes section of a newspaper read, ’Lindros Cleared to Begin Rehab.’ Several paragraphs later, we’re told Jeremy Roenick says his concussion symptoms are beginning to subside. In another daily, a columnist quotes Lou Lamoriello, who’s confident Scott Stevens will return this season. All in all, it’s a good news day from the concussion front, an area of medicine where answers can be harder to come by than a Hurricanes’ power play goal. For its part, the NHL has done a decent job of addressing the head injury conundrum. As of this year, all arenas have flexible glass systems; the implementation of soft-cap elbow pads is underway and all players must comply by next season; many players…


Andreychuk still motoring, winning helps ease pain

Captain Dave Andreychuk said this season has been one of his “tougher years” in terms of aches and pains. “I wouldn’t say it’s anything serious,” Andreychuk said. “It’s just a combination of one thing after another and that’s what makes a difference. I don’t feel 100 per cent every r game and it’s tough at times.” Still, Andreychuk, 40 years old and in his 22nd season, played all of Tampa Bay’s first 62 games, averaging 16:59 of ice time with 14 goals. He also ranks 10th in the league, winning 56.9 per cent of his faceoffs. Andreychuk said he will decide on retirement during the off-season. “I guess when you’re younger you feel like you can bounce back a little quicker,” he said. “I’ve struggled with it, but I still enjoy the game…