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Slap Shots: Fashion sense
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
Published November 25, 2007
It is interesting that one of the main selling points of the new, sleeker sweaters supplied this season by Reebok, their resistance to moisture, turned out to be the reason for a revamp.
The company apparently is providing sweaters no longer treated with a chemical that caused water to bead on contact.
The original purpose was to reduce the weight of the sweaters by reducing moisture content. Instead, players said, sweat had nowhere to go and would collect in skates and gloves.
"Your skates, the wetter they get, the easier they break down," Lightning forward Chris Gratton said.
Reebok did not return a call seeking comment. But it is believed the company first sent out a solvent equipment managers used to wash away the chemical. The newest versions of the sweaters apparently are not treated.
The Play Dry fabric is supposed to provide ventilation to keep players cooler and drier.
"The look is great," Gratton said. "It's just getting them to function properly."
But not everyone was unhappy with the new sweaters.
"All the things everyone is saying, I didn't have them," Thrashers forward Eric Perrin said. "They're probably just picky."
This was supposed to be the season the Panthers became a contender.
Instead, Florida is 11-12-1, and last week, the Palm Beach Post reported about whispers that general manager/coach Jacques Martin or star Olli Jokinen - or both - could be gone if the Panthers don't make the playoffs.
The Panthers are the only team in the East not to have reached the playoffs since 1999-00. But more interesting in the Post's report, attributed to a well-placed NHL source, are the quotes.
"Jokinen has got to pick up his productivity and leadership and get this team to the playoffs," said the source, who the paper said deals with the Panthers on a regular basis. "And with an excellent draft next year, Jacques needs a playoff berth after giving Nashville his first- and second-round picks in the (Tomas Vokoun) trade."
Majority owner Alan Cohendenied the report.
"Jacques is a winner. Last year, he lost a third of his payroll in the first seven days of the season then came on and did very well," he said on injuries to Todd Bertuzzi, Joe Nieuwendyk and Ville Peltonen.
The source said communication between Martin and his players is a problem, pointing to the Islanders and Thrashers as teams that go the extra mile for their coaches.
"In this day and age, you've got to communicate," the source said. "The Islanders are a case in point where a guy (coach Ted Nolan) gets the most out of his players because they like him. Same now with Don Waddell in Atlanta."
Predators 31-year-old wing Radek Bonklooks like he has been through the ringer during what Senators fans would call a disappointing 12-year career. But the third overall pick in 1994 has been reborn in Nashville this season.
After scoring the winning goal Thursday against the Wings, Bonk leads the Predators with nine goals - despite playing primarily on a checking line with Jerred Smithson and Jed Ortmeyer.
Bonk's career highs of 25 goals and 70 points came in 2001-02, but he looks like a good bet to surpass those this season.
"Radek is a guy that buys into the team concept," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Whatever you ask him to do, he does. He doesn't ask questions. He just gets it done."
He said it
"It's still the best job in the world. I can't think of coaching in the NHL now and not being in Toronto. ... The media is so passionate, so opinionated and so sure of themselves, and (the fans) work a nine-hour (job) and expect to do mine on the side. I don't know how they get my e-mail, but I made a line-change recently and got an e-mail within two hours from someone who said, 'That's what I've been saying you should do.'"
- Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice on coaching in Toronto and the constant second-guessing that comes with the job, especially this season with the Leafs' inconsistent play
He said it, too
"It's silly. There is nothing wrong with Paul or any of our coaches. They have us prepared every game. Our practices are as good as they've ever been. The blame is 100 percent on us, the players. It has nothing to do with the coaches."
- Leafs outspoken defenseman Bryan McCabe on the idea of Maurice being on the hot seat; Toronto was 8-10-5 entering Saturday
Odds and ends
Blue Jackets goaltender Pascal Leclaire, the NHL's second star of October, had a .959 save percentage in his first nine outings. It was .880 in his next six before shutting out the Wild on Friday. ... The Oilers are 5-1 in shootouts this season, best in the league. But in their past 42 games dating to last season, they have just 10 wins overall, six in shootouts. That means only four times in that span has Edmonton won in regulation.