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April 13, 2004

April 13, 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.

DEPARTMENTS

Baby Pens drawing big, aim for Cup

With 136 consecutive home sellouts at Wachovia Arena heading into April, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton continues to add to its own American League attendance record. “There’s no doubt that Wilkes-Barre is the Detroit of the AHL,” said blueliner Patrick Boileau. “Wilkes-Barre is the AHL’s version of Hockeytown.” Boileau, Wilkes-Barre’s captain, should know. He played 25 games for the NHL’s Red Wings last season. “If our building had 10,000 seats (instead of 8,143), we’d probably sell that out, too,” Boileau said. “These fans are amazing, packing the house every night. “It’s one thing to sell out weekend games, but they’re here every weeknight, too…it would be amazing to win a Calder Cup here for these fans.” That might not be such a far-fetched idea. Already talented, Wilkes-Barre is set to get even better when Pittsburgh wraps up its…

NHL TEAM REPORTS

Leafs staying hopeful Nolan able to return

If right winger Owen Nolan suits up for Toronto during this year’s playoffs, it will be a cause for celebration for several reasons. First, it will mean the Maple Leafs have back a valuable contributor and elite power forward. Secondly, it means they will have gone very deep into the playoffs. The Leafs and their fans thought the worst and with good reason when Nolan crumpled to the ice on an innocent looking hit on Bryan Smolinski in a game against Ottawa March 27. The team got good news when it was discovered Nolan would not need immediate surgery. He is to be evaluated again in mid-April and can’t be on skates until then. “He’s indefinite at this point,” said coach Pat Quinn March 29. “We’re not counting him out.” MASTERTON NOMINEE Joe Nieuwendyk, C.…

DEPARTMENTS

Spartans, Irish humbled by western rivals

The west was better. In four head-to-head NCAA Tournament matchups against teams from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, CCHA teams went 0-4. Notre Dame lost to Minnesota and Michigan State was shut out by Minnesota-Duluth. Add in Ohio State’s 1-0 OT loss to Wisconsin and Denver’s 3-2 win over Miami and the CCHA had a rough go. “Minnesota-Duluth played with more bite, more intensity, more stick strength everything you have to do at this time of year,” said Michigan State coach Rick Comley. “Those were areas we were deficient in. It’s not acceptable losing 5-0 in a national tournament. We’ve just got to learn from it.” In their first NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame squandered a 2-0 lead against the twotime defending national champions and lost 5-2. “We came up a little short,” said…

DEPARTMENTS

Black Bears make journey look familiar

The Maine Black Bears proved the prognosticators wrong by claiming their fourth Frozen Four berth in six seasons. Piclrpd m finish fourth in the Hockey East pre-season coaches’ poll, the Bears were expected to need a rebuilding phase. After all, they lost their top five scorers and top offensive and defensive defensemen from a year ago. The Bears received superb goaltending from all-Hockey East firstteamer Jimmy Howard and 19-win man Frank Doyle and that, combined with a defense-first attitude, enabled them to take the nation’s lowest goals-against average (1.60) to the Frozen Four. They received balanced scoring and won seven straight one-goal games, overcoming a 4-1 third period deficit to beat Harvard 5-4 in their first round NCAA Tournament game. “We knew we had a good freshman class, but we couldn’t rely on them to…