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Slap shots


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000

PRONUNCIATION GUIDE: Forget the fast pace of the game, it is the influx of European players that has made broadcasting NHL contests tougher than ever. Just ask Mighty Ducks play-by-play man Bill Carroll.

"I did a game the other night between the Ducks and the Kings," he said. "There was a race for the puck between the Ducks' (Vitali) Vishnevski and the Kings' (Lubomir) Visnovsky. Then the puck went back to (Anaheim's) Oleg Tverdovsky."

Oilers play-by-play man Rod Phillips couldn't get the hang of pronouncing the name of Thrashers rookie Sergei Vyshedkevich (pronounced veesh-kay-vitch).

"Just when I had it down pat, he disappeared," Phillips said. "He got hurt. I'd called him everything under the sun, even veescabbage until then."

NAME THAT TUNE: Apparently, nobody could figure out what 1960s icon Judy Collins was singing when she took to the ice Thursday night in Toronto before a game with the Devils.

Collins was supposed to perform the Canadian national anthem. What came out was so indecipherable that 19,000 fans booed her as she walked back to her seat.

Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said players were loudly singing the correct words to help her out of the embarrassing situation.

"She's one of my favorite singers too," Quinn said.

LAST RITES: A recent Sabres charter flight to Chicago was forced to return to Buffalo because a loose door seal made correct cabin pressure difficult to maintain. In addition, the takeoff had been bumpy and strange noises were heard during the flight.

So it's no surprise the team was a bit uneasy when the door was declared fixed and the flight was ready to go.

Center Curtis Brown, a born-again Christian, sensed the trepidation.

"I guess I'd better make my rounds," Brown said.

The flight reached Chicago 45 minutes late.

SCHEDULING CONFLICTS: The Stars have a seven-day break between games -- seven days -- because Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast ice production has Reunion Arena booked.

League schedule-maker Steve Hatze Petros said the Stars could be playing on the road, but with World Wrestling Federation shows, NBA games and concerts, Dallas couldn't find a fit.

"And then you get a day-and-a-half off at Christmas. It's bogus," Stars left wing Brett Hull said. "It doesn't make any sense. Then again, what does?"

"I'd like to have one year where no one complains," Petros said. "I don't think I'll be around for that."

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