Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cross-Checking the Nhl

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cross-Checking the Nhl

Article excerpt

Central Division

The Red Wings can't wait for Steve Yzerman's freturn from back surgery . . . so they can trade him. Keith Primeau will open the season at center behind Sergei Fedorov, and wouldn't the Wings love Scott Stevens? That $17 million deal the Blues helped get for Stevens must be driving Devils owner John McMullen nuts, and insiders say the club is in financial trouble.

Jets sniper Teemu Selanne is making a nice comeback from his Achilles' tendon injury. He scored at will during Winnipeg's foray to Finland . . . Now that the Stars have Mike Modano going to the net for goals, they want to add penalty killing to his package. With his speed and anticipation, he could score tons of short-handed goals.

Blackhawks left winger Michel Goulet, one of the game's greats, will apparently retire. He hasn't recovered from a severe concussion suffered last season and he flunked his team physical. . . . 'Hawks defenseman Gary Suter got $6.5 million over four years in his new deal. . . . Center Jeremy Roenick is angling for a new, eight-year deal.

Pacific Division

Bill Ranford's new deal in Edmonton is for one year and $3 million. He can be a free agent next summer and figures to cash in somewhere big. Why the Flyers or Kings didn't go after him this summer is a mystery.

The Kings hope to revive Rob Brown's career by putting him on a line with Wayne Gretzky. The Great One, minus 25 a season ago, could hit triple digits this season. . . . Enforcer Marty McSorley feels strong after offseason surgery to repair a torn abdominal wall.

That new deal for Kings defenseman Rob Blake was for $10 million over four years. That's at least $4 million more than the financially strapped team wanted to give. . . . Canucks defenseman Gerald Diduck, an unlikely playoff hero, could miss half the season while recovering from foot surgery.

The Sharks are looking for big improvements from winger Pat Falloon, who has two years and nearly $2 million remaining on his contract. He had played his way into the press box by the end of last season. . . . Goaltender Arturs Irbe is showing no ill effects from the hand injuries suffered when Rambo, his dog, attacked him this summer. …

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