Loose Pucks Updated

By Ron Valerino

PLAYER OF THE WEEK….. Finally Alexei Kovalev may be reaching his
full potential. Despite enormous talent, Kovalev has never had a 40 goal
season. This year he appears to be on the verge of doing that with 10 goals
in 18 games. The difference from previous seasons is that the pass happy
Kovalev is finally shooting the puck. He ranks third in the NHL with 74
shots on goal and is tied for third in power-play points with 12.

BANGED UP….. The Pittsburgh Penguins are off to good start this year
but the injury bug has bit them and bit them hard. Defenseman Bob Boughner
broke his wrist and is out 6 to 8 weeks. Janne Laukkanen sprained his left
knee and may be out a month. Ian Moran had surgery to repair a broken
knuckle and will be out 3 weeks. The Pen’s D will get some help from
journeyman defenseman Jeff Norton who was signed this week.

CARELESS WITH THE STICK….. The 20 game suspension handed down to
Phoenix Coyotes left wing Brad May for his face slash of Columbus’s Steve
Heinz tells us that the league has finally enforced zero tolerance on
carelessness with the stick.

GOOD TRADE FOR BOTH TEAMS….. The Boston Bruins obtained Bill
Guerin who is tied for fourth on the NHL’s scoring list, and sent holdout
Anson Carter to the Edmonton Oilers. Carter had 22 goals in 59 games last
season. The Oilers get a player four years younger and earning less money,
while the Bruins pick up a physical player who fits coach Mike Keenan’s
emphasis on aggressive play. A good trade for both teams.

TIME TO MOVE ON…. The verbal jousting between Bob Clarke and Eric
Lindros starting up again this week. I don’t see how all this mudslinging
can be productive or make the situation better,” Lindros said. “The last
four years I’ve met with (Clarke) on any number of occasions to try and work
things out and I never once came out and criticized him. “I don’t know what
he’s got in store or what his goals are or whether he wants to help his
team. I made it clear when I turned down $8.5 million that I would not play
there again. It’s time to move on. It’s what is best for his organization
and my career.” Bob Clarke counters with “He was the one who walked out on
his team,” Clarke told the Edmonton Journal. “I don’t care if I talk to Eric
for the rest of my life – it won’t kill me. I don’t care if he ever plays
again. All he did was cause aggravation for our team. This unfortunately
will end up being a long soap opera which will probably last throughout the
NHL season.

HOLDOUTS….. There are boos and chants of ‘We want Arnott’ coming out of
New Jersey. In Buffalo the people seem to be behind management in the
Michael Peca contract dispute. A sign at the Buffalo/Dallas game may have
said it all …. “Go home Dallas and take Peca with you”.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW….. Tom Barrasso. I don’t know. I’m just thankful
everyday that he is no longer a Penguin.



Player            POS   Team               GP   G   A  PTS  PIM
Joe Gaul           C    Chicago NAHL       20   2   6    8   16
Bernie Chmiel      D    St. Louis NAHL     18   7   6   13   33
Bill Thomas        F    Cleveland NAHL     17   0   0    0    0
Carmin Posteraro   F    Capital NAHL       19   4   6   10    6
Pat Levendusky     F    Soo NAHL           16   2   5    7    4
Justin Depretis    F    Capital NAHL        2   0   0    0    0
Dave Gallagher     F    Texas NAHL         19   6   9   15    2
R.J. Umberger      F    Ohio State CCHA     8   3   3    6    4
Jason Crain        D    Ohio State CCHA     8   0   1    1    6
Keith Stanich      D    Wayne State CHA    11   0   4    4   16
Jim Abbott         F    New Hampshire HE   10   5   6   11   14
Tucker Veenis      D    Colgate ECAC        4   0   0    0    2
Jamie King         D    Mercyhurst MAAC     7   0   0    0    2
Cliff Loya         D    Maine HE            8   0   0    0    6
Lou Garritan       F    Billings AWHL      17   3   1    4   24
Ryan Malone        F    St. Cloud WCHA      5   1   4    5   12
JB Bittner         F    Sioux F Stampede   14  10  11   21   19
Rob Fried          F    Harvard ECAC        3   2   0    2    2

                                     GPI   AVG   W   L  SOL SO    SPCT 
Mike Betz          G    Ohio State          9   1.96  6  3   0   0   0.939
Mike Polidor       G    Air Force           2   1.00  1  0   0   0   0.938
Mark Scalley       G    Wheeling Nailers    1   3.02  0  1   0   0   0.893

** Anyone knowing of a Pittsburgh kid playing minor pro, college or Junior
A, send me an email with updates and I’ll include him in the stats **

Until next time …. STAY ONSIDES