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Slap shots


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000

SHARPER IMAGE: Back when he played for the Detroit Junior Red Wings, someone hung the nickname "Special Ed" on Ed Jovanovski.

Think it through.

Not surprisingly, the Canucks defenseman doesn't think much of the name that has followed him through six NHL seasons. "I'm not going to play Grade 1 games with people," he said. "As long as I know my teammates believe in me, that's all I care about."

Jovanovski's coaches, past and present, come to his defense.

"You can't play at this level if you don't have hockey smarts," Canucks assistant Jack McIlhargey said.

Said Blue Jackets general manager Doug MacLean, who coached Jovanovski with the Panthers: "I don't know where it came from and I don't know anyone who'd say it to his face. I just knew it was b------- and I didn't like it."

ANYTHING ELSE?: So, all Wild forward Maxim Sushinsky can do is score goals? Isn't that enough?

According to Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, Sushinsky "is not fast. He doesn't have a great shot or good speed. All he does is have a nose for the net, and he scores goals."

Asked to explain that backhanded compliment, Lemaire said, "He just hangs around the net and the puck ends up on his stick."

No one knows what Sushinsky, who had four goals in his first six games, thinks of his coach's opinion because he speaks no English. None. He obviously understands what Lemaire says to him in practice, right? "I'm starting to wonder," Lemaire said. "I draw little X's and O's on the board and then I put an S on one and I point and say, "That's Sushy.' But I don't know if he understands."

NICE RIDE: Some guys have all the luck. When the Senators' charter from Philadelphia arrived in Ottawa at midnight Tuesday, Alexei Yashin's girlfriend, model Carol Alt, was waiting for him at the entrance to the private terminal. Not only that, she had the Mercedes running with the heater on.

HE'S THE MAN: What's with Wild rookie left wing Marian Gaborik? He scored the first goal in team history, the first power play goal and the first game-winner. Isn't that enough to get him noticed?

Apparently not. Gaborik changed his number from 10 to 82 after Wednesday night's 6-5 victory over the Lightning in which he scored twice.

Gaborik said he changed because he was born in 1982. Asked if he would change back if he didn't score after a few games with his new number, Gaborik said, "No, a lot of guys wear 10."

MUSTARD AND KETCHUP: Columbus right wing Steve Heinze has decided to wear jersey No. 57 because as Heinze 57 he thinks he has a pretty good chance at an endorsement deal.

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