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An old-school option for Thrashers?

By TOM JONES
Published January 29, 2006


The Atlanta Thrashers are looking for a certain type of player. They want a third-line guy. A veteran of good character and leadership. He must be good on faceoffs and play defense. Maybe he could chip in a goal or two, especially on the power play.

Gee, sounds like they could use Dave Andreychuk.

Wouldn't it be interesting if Atlanta general manager Don Waddell called Lightning GM Jay Feaster and asked for Andreychuk? The Lightning would love to dump Andreychuk's contract for next season, but would it really want Andreychuk going to a team that it is battling for a playoff spot?

Of course, it should be noted that the Thrashers could have had Andreychuk for nothing when the Lightning put him on waivers this month. This isn't going to happen, but it's an interesting thought, isn't it?

Instead, look for Atlanta to go after St. Louis' Mike Sillinger, Chicago's Jim Dowd or Boston's Travis Green.

TROUBLE IN TORONTO: Riding a seven-game losing streak into the weekend, the Maples Leafs are swirling with rumors that coach Pat Quinn will be fired and captain Mats Sundin will be traded. Don't look for either to happen this season.

Team chairman Larry Tanenbaum said, "Our coach has our full backing. We have tremendous confidence in Pat. We have complete faith in him. None of us in the organization are even focusing on that issue. Pat's track record here speaks for itself. He is an integral part of our championship vision."

As far as trading Sundin, GM John Ferguson said it's "not in the game plan."

BOW OR BOYLE?: Injuries on Team Canada's defense have made Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle a possible late addition to the Olympic team. He isn't the only consideration, however. Florida's Jay Bouwmeester also is in the mix and Panthers coach Jacques Martin is a Team Canada assistant.

"(Bouwmeester is) definitely a candidate," Martin said.

WEIGHT OF THE WORLD: St. Louis star Doug Weight has a no-trade clause, but he almost certainly will agree to be moved before the March9 deadline. Ottawa and Philadelphia have been mentioned as possibilities. Either would greatly improve Weight's chance of winning the Stanley Cup, but listening to the rumors every day is no fun.

"You can focus as much as you can on hockey, being professional and showing up, but rumors and rumors and rumors are floating around about everybody on our team, and it's hard not to have it enter your mind or wonder what's going to happen down the road," Weight said.

AT THE CROSS ROADS: Edmonton native and former Lightning defenseman Cory Cross saw his time with the Oilers end last week when he was traded to Pittsburgh. It was a sad end to a rough time for Cross, who was regularly booed in his hometown.

"I was hoping they wouldn't boo me, but when it happens so much, you're trying not to make any mistakes," Cross said. "When you do make some, somebody starts yelling at you, your whole confidence level goes down.

"I'm sure the fans will pick on somebody else. I feel sorry for the next guy who will have the fans on his case because it's not a fun environment when people are taking advantage of you."

DICEY ICE: The Panthers' rink in Sunrise is taking a beating from players around the league.

"The ice was terrible," Carolina's Erik Cole said. "The league should start giving out fines, that's how bad the ice is. Guys are going to get hurt."

SUPER MARIO: So much has been said and written about the retirement of Penguins great Mario Lemieux, but here's about the best and most authoritative comment you can get.

"Talentwise, he's up there with anybody. There was no one better than I played against anyway."

That comes from Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios, who broke into the NHL the season Lemieux did in 1984-85.

ICE CHIPS: This will make us all feel old: Wayne Gretzky turned 45 on Thursday. ... Because of a 10-game homestand and the Olympic break, the Coyotes will go from Jan. 27 to March6 without a road game. ... Recently retired Brett Hull is working as an ambassador for the Stars, but, surprisingly, has turned down broadcasting offers. "I'm just not ready to do that," Hull said. "I'm just trying to figure out what I'd like to do. It's a slow process." ... The Predators are hopeful center David Legwand, out since Dec. 8 with a knee injury, will return before the Feb. 13-27 Olympic break.

Information from the Toronto Star, Palm Beach Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Edmonton Journal, Raleigh News and Observer, Detroit News and Arizona Republic was used in this report.