Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cross-Checking around the Nhl

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cross-Checking around the Nhl

Article excerpt

CENTRAL DIVISION

Though Blackhawks GM Bob Pulford denied interest in acquiring Wayne Gretzky from LA, he said the club is quite interested in adding more toughness on defense and the wing. "But so are a lot of other teams," he said. Goaltender Ed Belfour is 5-1-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average in his last nine starts and will get the bulk of the action down the stretch . . . It'll be interesting to see if Stars coach Ken Hitchcock can turn newcomer Darryl Sydor into a competent offensive defenseman. Sydor showed great promise in junior hockey, but lacked confidence as a King. He could become critical to the rebuilding effort in Dallas.

Goaltender Allan Bester returned to his day job with the Orlando Solar Bears after going 4-5-1 with 3.00 goals-against average filling in for injured Stars goaltenders Andy Moog and Darcy Wakaluk . . . Look for the Red Wings to step up their pitch to acquire monstrous Kings defenseman Marty McSorley. He is The Missing Link in their Stanley Cup bid . . . Ex-Senator Don Beaupre has been a flop in Toronto. His first three starts in goal have produced a 5.22 goals-against average.

PACIFIC DIVISION

Larry Robinson's fingerprints were all over the deal that brought Doug Zmolek and Shane Churla from Dallas for Sydor. He wants a big, strong team that can bang away with four lines and three defensive pairings. Zmolek and Churla both relish playing the body. The poor Kings have won just one game outside California since Nov. 7, when they won 1-0 at Kiel Center . . . Oilers center Jason Arnott's struggle continues; now he will be sidelined for a few weeks after undergoing minor knee surgery. In their first 10 games after the All-Star break, the Oilers averaged only 2.5 goals.

The Avalanche finally got scrappy center Mike Ricci back in the lineup; he has been battling back problems all season. Teammate Patrick Roy, five months after his 30th birthday, became the second-youngest goaltender to reach 300 victories when he won on Monday. Terry Sawchuk was two months beyond his 30th birthday when he hit 300. . . . The Canucks have entered the Wayne Gretzky sweepstakes, thanks to its wealthy Orca Bay ownership group. …

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