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Slap shots


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000

FOR THE RECORD: The Maple Leafs have a player named Don MacLean, and no, he can't sing, and no, he has no connection to the Don McLean who sang American Pie. "People bring it up all the time," the forward said. "It was a great song. The older I get and the more older the crowd I hang around with, I find more and more people make the connection."

MacLean is a great story, even without the name. He was acquired from the Kings last season in a nondescript minor-league deal for Craig Charron. The center was the top scorer at St. John's and then led the Leafs in the preseason with five goals and two assists.

Still, his handle is his claim to fame. The Sydney, Nova Scotia, native was not named for the singer. His father and grandfather are Donald MacLean. That didn't stop the Ottawa Sun from having some fun after MacLean scored two goals in a junior game in Hull, Quebec.

"Don MacLean drove his Chevy to the levee and this time it wasn't dry," the Sun wrote.

"I've had a friend analyze all the lyrics," MacLean said.

LAND OF STRANGE INJURIES: What kind of bad karma is going on in Toronto? Check out these injuries: Alyn McCauley (food poisoning via bad clams), Bryan Berard (blinded in right eye by stick), Shayne Corson (viral infection), Gerald Diduck (split elbow), Glenn Healy (cut a finger while fixing a set of vintage bagpipes, got several stitches) and Jimmy Waite (vertigo).

MIRROR, MIRROR: Thrashers tough guy Jeff Odgers has averaged 13 points and 204 penalty minutes in nine NHL seasons. And Odgers looks the part. His face is scarred from stitches, and his nose is a maze of bumps and left turns.

He looks so much like a hockey player, people approach him on the street and ask him if that is his profession.

"I get that a lot," he said. "And the older I get, now sometimes I get asked if I'm the coach. That's not very flattering. It must be the mustache or something."

CUP O' COFFEE: The excitement was at a fever pitch during the waiver draft, which basically offers up a bunch of no-names. How important is this exercise? Well, consider that just five players were chosen, including Jason Podollan, who was claimed by the Lightning from the Kings and was immediately assigned to Detroit of the IHL.

"They called me upstairs for it, and I got a cup of coffee, sat down, and it was over with," Coyotes coach Bob Francis said. "It wouldn't have lasted that long except Minnesota took a guy in the second round and we had to wait for everybody else to pass."

CUP O' FUN: When Thrashers defenseman Steve Staios was dealt to the Devils in June, he called his agent with one request. "I reminded him to make sure the spelling of my last name was correct when they engraved it on the cup," said Staios, who is back in Atlanta. "When you go through something like that, you have to keep your sense of humor."

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