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Slap shots


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000

MEMBERS ONLY: Two years ago, Joaquin Gage, now a backup goalie for the Oilers, but then a member of the East Coast Hockey League's Augusta (Ga.) Lynx, tried to get into Augusta National to buy some golf shirts. Security stopped Gage and his buddies at the gate.

"I didn't realize how tough it was to get in," Gage said. "But when some guy comes out and says "stop' and he's got his hand on his hip where his gun is, it's like, "Whoa, I guess we can't go in the pro shop.'

"We told him who we were and he says, "It doesn't really matter.' "

BUMP AND RUN: Atlanta's Ray Ferraro sported a black eye and a sore neck after being leveled Thursday night by Edmonton's Mike Grier. He also kept his sense of humor.

"There were two factors," Ferraro said. "I had my head down and he weighs about 50 pounds more than me. He went over me like a speed bump."

After the game, Ferraro went to the Oilers training staff and asked about Grier, "Is he okay?"

Ferraro said Grier is one of the game's best hitters.

"When I went down on the ice and players were milling around, I looked up at Mike and said, "Geez, Mike, good hit.' And it was. No elbow. Just flattened me."

NO SAFE HAVEN: It's dangerous enough during games, the last thing a player needs is to get hurt during practice. So imagine how Wild forward Darby Hendrickson felt when he was hurt after practice.

As players were milling about on Monday, Andy Sutton accidentally hit Hendrickson in the face with a slap shot.

"I didn't even see it coming," Hendrickson said. "I thought I got hit by a sniper or something."

Hendrickson needed six stitches on the inside and outside of his mouth. But his jaw was intact and his teeth remained. Still, it was soft food only for awhile.

"Rice and salmon," Hendrickson said. "And no jaw breakers."

CHALK TALK: When Edmonton's Georges Laraque was in a car/motorcycle accident recently (cyclist at fault, his BMW had minor damage), the headline in an Edmonton paper read "Georges LaWreck."

"I didn't want to explain to 20 guys what happened, so I got up to the board in the dressing room the next morning and diagrammed exactly what went on," Laraque said. "I guess that was our pregame scouting report."

END POINT: The Stars' 6-2 loss to the Canucks on Wednesday ended Dallas' five-game win streak and was the first time the Stars allowed six goals in 130 games.

"You don't point fingers," Stars captain Derian Hatcher said. "You don't lose 6-2 because of one or two guys. It was a team effort out there, or should I say lack of it."

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