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Free LCS 1997-98
Reader Hockey Pool
head coach: Ron Low
roster: C - Doug Weight, Todd Marchant, Boyd Devereaux, Tony Hrkac. LW - Dean McAmmond, Rem Murray, Valeri Zelepukin, Ryan Smyth, Mats Lindgren, Bill Huard, Mike Watt. RW - Bill Guerin, Mike Grier, Andrei Kovalenko, Kelly Buchberger, Georges Laraque. D - Bobby Dollas, Sean Brown, Greg deVries, Kevin Lowe, Roman Hamrlik, Boris Mironov, Craig Millar, Drake Berehowsky. G - Curtis Joseph, Bob Essensa.
injuries: Kevin Lowe, d (inner ear infection, placed on IR Oct 23, indefinite); Bill Huard, lw (suffered broken bone in left hand, placed on IR Nov 22, indefinite).
transactions: Traded Steve Kelly, c, Jason Bonsignore, f, and Bryan Marchment, d, to Tampa Bay for Roman Hamrlik, d; traded Bryan Muir, d, and Jason Arnott, c, to New Jersey for Bill Guerin, rw, and Valeri Zelepukin, rw; traded Drew Bannister, d, to Anaheim for Bobby Dollas, d; assigned Doug Friedman, lw, and Joe Hulbig, lw, to Hamilton (AHL).
Western Conference - Pacific Division Team GP W L T PTS GF GA Colorado 46 22 9 15 59 139 113 Los Angeles 44 17 19 8 42 122 125 Anaheim 46 15 23 8 38 107 137 San Jose 43 16 22 5 37 104 119 Edmonton 45 14 22 9 37 109 133 Calgary 47 12 25 10 34 117 142 Vancouver 45 12 25 8 32 122 156
12/17 Chicago T 0-0 12/20 Dallas L 2-1 12/22 at Montreal T 3-3 12/23 at Toronto L 5-4 12/27 Colorado L 5-1 12/30 Philadelphia L 3-1 01/02 Montreal L 5-3 01/04 Los Angeles L 3-2 01/07 Florida W 3-2 01/09 at Anaheim W 5-1 01/10 at Los Angeles W 4-3
by Simon D. Lewis, Edmonton Oilers
You just knew it had to happen. The Oilers were sucking like an artillery chest wound. The patient was critical. The only hope of survival was major surgery. The man with the steady hand, GM Glenn Sather, took hold his scalpel and, with four deft strokes brought the patient back from the brink of eternity.
Hang on a second. We're still talking ICU here. They haven't unhooked the tubes and there's still a 24-hour watch, but things are looking up.
So, about those four strokes...
The first cut involved excising Bryan Marchment, Jason Bonsignore and Steve Kelly from the organization in return for the offensive infusion of Roman Hamrlik from Tampa Bay.
Marchment was a steady and reliable regular who came to Edmonton in 1994 from Hartford as compensation for the Whalers' signing of Steve Rice. There's many a knee on the East Coast that's now in danger from his low checks. Kelly and Bonsignore had become expendable in Sather's quest for team health and wellness.
The second cut, as it turns out, was the deepest. The involved lancing the boil which was Jason Arnott, the little kid who couldn't, or wouldn't...or something. Arnott had become a festering sore on the body of the team. Five goals halfway through the season wasn't going to cut it. When you beat Jari Kurri's rookie scoring record with 33 goals you generate a heap of expectations. When you fail to fulfil them you hear about it. The Boo Birds were out after Arnott. The press was endlessly critical. The phone in radio shows used him as their favourite whipping boy. Arnott and the Oilers were ready for the move. Defender Bryan Muir drew the short straw and was sent along with Arnott to New Jersey.
What came back was a whacking dose of antibiotics in the form of Bill Guerin and Valeri Zelepukin. Looks like Jersey's Lou Lamoriello thought he was getting some value in Arnott. Maybe.
Glenn Sather pays attention to the details too. Two more delicate strokes were required. He knew he still needed a big stay-at-home defenceman, so he swapped Drew Bannister's youth and inexperience straight across with the Ducks for Bobby Dollas' age and wisdom. Remember, Sather has been watching Dollas for years with the Winnipeg Jets, so he knows exactly what he got.
The last move was classic Sather. The Dallas Stars had put 31-year-old journeyman Tony Hrkac on the waiver wire. Slats snapped up the former Hobey Baker winner.
You gotta love a plan when it works. The Oilers snapped off three straight wins against the Panthers, the Kings and the Ducks. This after blowing a three-goal, third period lead against the Habs on Jan. 2, failing to show up against Colorado and losing to the Leafs.
Guerin, Hamrlik, Zelepukin and Hrkac are all hitting the score sheet. The Oilers may have got another, unexpected extra player out of the deal; Andrei Kovalenko, now playing with Zelepukin and Rem Murray, is skating like he has a firecracker in his pants.
Maybe he didn't like Arnott too much. Maybe he likes it too much in Edmonton to let himself be the next trade item.
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