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December 16th issue


TORONTONIAN FUTILITY


Starting on the losing end of the spectrum, no one could predict the horror that the Maple Leafs are living through this season. A 2-25-6 record with 66 more games to go is not something to be proud of. There are some bright spots though. Mike Peca is leading the team with 10 goals and there is talk of trading 1st round draftee Patrick Marleau to the New York Islanders for Dan Plante. The main problem is that this team needs a decent defenseman or two (six would help). Gerald Diduck is the highest rated Leafs D-man at 61 overall. The Leafs need a change, whether it's trading a top forward for defense or firing head coach Mike Milbury, who is probably putting the Leafs up at a YMCA on road trips to motivate the players.

SMOKY MOUNTAIN HIGH CAROLINA


At the other end of the spectrum are the Colorado Avalanche and the Carolina Hurricanes. Unlike the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Hurricanes DO have flashy superstars, a temporary arena and are wanted by teenaged girls. Mats Sundin is once again taking a strong early lead as sniper with 33 goals in as many games. Peter Bondra is not far behind with 26 goals. 15 players have plus-minus ratings of +15 or above. But according to left winger Paul Ranheim, the former Hartford Whalers have to do well in Carolina because in their new homes, there is no precedent and winning is the best way to win/keep fans and winning a Stanley Cup in their 1st season in the New South will be the way to go, but teams like the Colorado Avalanche will surely beg to differ.

NOTES AND QUOTES WITH THE EDMONTON OILERS


Edmonton Oilers GM Ryan Schurman discussed his feelings on his team so far and offers the following statement...
"I am very impressed with the play of my team. Solid Goaltending, good defence, tremendous offense. Joe Sakic is doing alot for the Oilers again after his MVP and Conn Symthe-winning season last time around. Mark Messier is now coming on strong, and I don't want to make alot of changes to my team. But I am interested in getting rid of Jeff Brown and Stephane Richer. Although Mike Ridley is retiring at the end of this year, he is having another super year for the Oilers."

THE VIEW FROM THE VALLEY OF THE SUN


Phoenix Coyotes GM Brian Walsh had a few words for us...
"We're pleased with the production of most of our players, at 500, with the rebuilding stage going on there is no real source for complaint, but it could be better, The coach is not using the talent he has wisely and at the 30 Game mark that will probably cost him his job."

WHAT'S BREWIN' IN BOSTON?


Boston Bruins GM Robbie Morton had this to say...
"I am happy with my teams performance, the veterans have stepped up and made a contribution. Theodore (who has rookie status) has been the MVP this far but Vernon will return to the nets soon. Look for this team to upset some big teams in the playoffs."

ROOKIE WATCH


Who will become the 2nd rookie of the year in AAHL? Richard Zednik was last season playing for the Los Angeles Kings. Here are rookies that are in the running for the Calder Trophy. Although there appears to be no apparent runaway leader at this time, this will give a slight picture of which rookies are in the running. A full report on rookies will happen in the near future.
ATL- Yevgeny Shaldybin, D, 7-13-20 in 31 games, +11 +/-
BOS- Jose Theodore, G, 2.96 GAA in 13 games, .900 save pct.
CAR- Marty Reasoner, C, 7-12-19 in 13 games, +15 +/-
CMB- Sergei Fedotov, D, 6-17-23 in 33 games
MIN- Christer Olsson, D, 9-15-24 in 15 games
Robert Petrovicky, C, 14-10-24 in 15 games
Jamie Rivers, D, 5-14-19 in 33 games
Michal Sykora, D, 1-18-19 in 33 games
NSH- Steve Washburn, C, 13-13-26 in 33 games, 10 PP goals
NJD- Phillippe Audet, LW, 9-6-15 in 19 games
Daniel Briere, C, 7-11-18 in 32 games
Steve Staios, D, 1-13-14 in 16 games
NYR- Patrik Elias, RW, 11-13-24 in 33 games
OTT- Roberto Luongo, G, 3.91 GAA in 18 games, .890 save pct.
Sergei Samsonov, RW, 10-11-21 in 33 games
PHI- Mike Souza, LW, 16-14-30 in 33 games
PHX- Alexei Mozorov, RW, 15-12-27 in 28 games
Vladmimir Orszagh, RW, 11-9-20 in 28 games
PGH- Ed Patterson, RW, 10-7-17 in 32 games
Steve Shields, G, 3.93 GAA in 18 games
TOR- Daniel Cleary, LW, 6-15-21 in 33 games
Alyn McCauley, C, 9-11-20 in 33 games