Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cross-Checking around Nhl

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cross-Checking around Nhl

Article excerpt

Central Division

Count the Toronto Maple Leafs among the teams bidding for disgruntled Ottawa Senators center Alexei Yashin, who is demanding a trade. One report had the club offering $14 million, plus defenseman Drake Berehowksky and goaltender Eric Fichaud for Yashin, who is in the second year of a five-year, $4 million deal.

The Dallas Stars had high hopes for defenseman Richard Matvichuk, but he tore up his knee against the Oilers and may be lost for the season.

The Detroit Red Wings have long coveted Detroit native Kevin Hatcher, who could open the season playing for the International Hockey League Vipers. The Wings could deal unwanted defenseman Terry Carkner, unwanted goaltender Bob Essensa and one of their skilled forwards to get it done.

One guy the Washington Caps don't want is big-ticket center Steve Yzerman, since they've already invested in Joe Juneau and have Pat Peake coming along. On another front, delusional Red Wings ruffian Darren McCarty wants $1 million a year.

Chicago Blackhawks coach Darryl Sutter is trying to arouse left winger Patrick Poulin, who is supposed to bring some size and toughness to a line with Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte. Sutter has also been trying to pep up his No. 2 tandem of Bernie Nicholls and Joe Murphy. By the way, the Los Angeles Times was hyping a new Brett Hull trade rumor - him going to the Blackhawks as a sales tool for the new United Center.

Pacific Division

The Edmonton Oilers are pleasantly surprised by rookies David Oliver, a former Michigan star, and Ryan Smyth, the sixth overall choice in the 1994 draft. GM Glen Sather said Oliver reminds him of ex-Blue Joey Mullen.

Sather better hope this team breaks through this season, since the season-ticket base has dropped to 7,100.

The LA Kings felt confident enough in Rick Tocchet's condition to give him a new four-year, $8 million contract. Tocchet has made a strong recovery from offseason back surgery.

The San Jose Sharks will need a talent boost to get in the playoffs and rookie center Jeff Friesen has been shining with rookie winger Viktor Kozlov. Friesen, however, is still looking for a contract. …

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