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OCTOBER 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 10


SPORTS

CURRENT SPORTS

ALSO THIS MONTH
The greatest athletes of the century from the rest of the world

RECENT SPORTS
Subway Series - interleague play spawns renewed rivalry in the Big Apple
College Football Preview - capsule peek from Air Force to Wisconsin

SPORTS ARCHIVE


MARC CIAMPA, a native of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada is the staff sports writer for Renaissance Online Magazine. A student at the University of Alberta, Ciampa is the public relations coordinator for the St. Albert Saints and writes a weekly article in the Edmonton Sun on junior hockey during the winter. During the summer he runs the official Calgary Cannons website.

 

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NHL SEASON PREVIEW
[ 1, 2, 3 ]

Eastern Conference

New Jersey Devils

Last Season - 47 wins, 24 losses, 11 ties (105 points: 1st Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: G Martin Brodeur, C Bobby Holik, D Scott Niedermayer, LW Brian Rolston, RW Petr Sykora, D Scott Stevens Going: LW Dave Andreychuk (Boston), C Bob Carpenter (Retired)
Calder Candidates: LW John Madden
Biggest Surprise: Watch for Rolston to emerge as a top-line player. He'll get plenty of opportunities to do so as he'll be a main staple on the first powerplay unit.
The Bottom Line: Since 1997, The Devils have always been consistently good in the regular season and consistently bad in the playoffs. Will this be the year they can do something about the latter?

Ottawa Senators

Last Season - 44 wins, 23 losses, 15 ties (103 points: 2nd Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: RW Daniel Alfredsson, RW Marian Hossa, D Wade Redden, G Ron Tugnutt
Coming: RW Kevin Dineen, G Patrick Lalime, RW Kevin Miller, C Rob Zamuner
Going: F Ted Donato (Anaheim), F Nelson Emerson (Atlanta), LW Andreas Johansson (Tampa Bay), D Lance Pitlick (Florida), G Damian Rhodes (Atlanta), C Alexei Yashin (holdout)
Calder Candidates: F Petr Schastlivy
Biggest Surprise: The Sens don't miss a beat, despite the absence of Yashin.
The Bottom Line: This is a solid, hard-working club that should come together despite Yashin's antics.

Florida Panthers

Last Season - 30 wins, 34 losses, 18 ties (78 points: 9th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: RW Pavel Bure, C Victor Kozlov, D Robert Svehla Coming: G Trevor Kidd, D Lance Pitlick
Going: D Gord Murphy (Atlanta), C Dino Ciccarelli (Retired), G Kirk McLean (Rangers)
Biggest Surprise: G Trevor Kidd will regain his form of two years ago and lead the Panthers to first place in the Southeast Division.
The Bottom Line: A full season with Bure will markedly improve the Panthers' chances. They'll win the weak Southeast division going away this year.

Boston Bruins

Last Season - 39 wins, 30 losses, 13 ties (91 points: 6th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: C Jason Allison, D Ray Bourque, RW Anson Carter, G Byron Dafoe, LW Sergei Samsonov
Coming: LW Dave Andreychuk
Going: RW Dmitri Kristich (Free Agent)
Calder Candidates: C Andre Savage
Biggest Surprise: C Joe Thornton will have a breakout season and finish second in team scoring, behind Allison.
The Bottom Line: This club could do so much better, but with no end in sight to Dafoe's holdout and the situation with Kristich, they'll probably be marginally better than they were last year.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Last Season - 45 wins, 30 losses, 7 ties (97 points: 4th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: LW Sergei Berezin, RW Mike Johnson, G Curtis Joseph, C Steve Sullivan, C Mats Sundin
Coming: RW Jonas Hoglund
Going: Yannic Tremblay (Atlanta)
Biggest Surprise: Fredrik Modin finally breaks out for the Leafs and starts scoring on a more consistent basis.
The Bottom Line: Last year was a dream season for the club. Look for them to level off somewhat this season and fall into the middle of the pack.

Buffalo Sabres

Last Season - 37 wins, 28 losses, 17 ties, (91 points: 7th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: G Dominik Hasek, C Michael Peca, LW Miroslav Satan, D Jason Wooley
Coming: D Doug Houda
Going: D Darryl Shannon Calder Candidates: RW Maxim Afinogenov, D Brian Campbell, C Domenic Pittis
Biggest Surprise: Hasek turns in a remarkably average season for his swan song.
The Bottom Line: The Sabres are only as good as Hasek. So, the question is how good will Hasek be? The answer is probably not good enough.

Philadelphia Flyers

Last Season - 37 wins, 26 losses, 19 ties (93 points: 5th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: C Rod Brind'Amour, D Eric Desjardins, LW John LeClair, C Eric Lindros, RW Mark Recchi
Going: G Ron Hextall (Retired), F Jody Hull (Atlanta)
The Bottom Line: No surprises here. The Flyers did nothing this offseason and it'll show as they'll bow out in the early rounds of the playoffs as usual.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Last Season - 38 wins, 30 losses, 14 ties (90 points: 8th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: G Tom Barasso, RW Jaromir Jagr, C Martin Straka
Biggest Surprise: Alexei Morozov breaks through with a 50 point season - more than double what he had last year.
The Bottom Line: This is the same team that finished last season - no major losses are gains in terms of personnel. In that case, expect the team to finish basically where they finished last year.

New York Rangers

Last Season - 33 wins, 38 losses, 11 ties (77 points: 10th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: D Brian Leetch, C Petr Nedved, G Mike Richter Coming: RW Theo Fleury, LW Valeri Kamensky, D Sylvain Lefebvre, G Kirk McLean, D Stephane Quintal, RW Tim Taylor
Calder Candidates: RW Jan Hlavac, C Jamie Lundmark
Biggest Surprise: The Rangers end up not much better than they were last year, despite all the off-season acquisitions.
The Bottom Line: See "Biggest Surprise." This team still has many holes that are yet to be addressed.

Washington Capitals

Last Season - 31 wins, 45 losses, 6 ties (68 points: 12th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: RW Petr Bondra, G Olaf Kolzig, C Adam Oates Coming: G Craig Billington, F Ulf Dahlen, D Jamie Huscroft, F Joe Sacco
Biggest Surprise: Olaf Kolzig proves the 97-98 season was a fluke as he follows up a disappointing 98-99 campaign with yet another sub-par season.
The Bottom Line: This team isn't as bad as they were last year - but they're not as good as they were the year before either. If they can stay healthy they might make the playoffs, but when was the last time the Caps stayed healthy?

Montreal Canadiens

Last Season - 32 wins, 39 losses, 11 ties (75 points: 11th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: C Saku Koivu, LW Martin Rucinsky
Coming: C Trevor Linden
Going: D Brett Clark (Atlanta), RW Jonas Hoglund (Toronto), D Stephane Quintal (Rangers)
The Bottom Line: The Habs don't win the Stanley Cup within a seven year period (the last being 1993) for the first time in franchise history.

Carolina Hurricanes

Last Season - 34 wins, 30 losses, 18 ties (86 points: 3rd Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: C Ron Francis, G Arturs Irbe, RW Sami Kapanen, C Keith Primeau
Coming: G Eric Fichaud, G Mark Fitzpatrick Going: RW Kevin Dineen (Ottawa), G Trevor Kidd (Florida), F Ray Sheppard (Free Agent)
Calder Candidates: RW Shane Willis
Biggest Surprise: The team actually sells out a game this season - but just one.
The Bottom Line: Irbe comes back down to earth with a thud and brings the 'Canes with him.

New York Islanders

Last Season - 24 wins, 48 losses, 10 ties (58 points: 13th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: D Kenny Jonsson, G Felix Potvin Coming: C Olli Jokinen, RW Chris Ferraro, RW Josh Green, LW Tony HrkacGoing: C Trevor Linden (Montreal), C Zigmund Palffy (Los Angeles), RW Bryan Smolinski (Los Angeles)
Calder Candidates: F Jason Krog, D Branislav Mezei
Biggest Surprise: The team isn't as bad as everyone thinks they will be - but they're still pretty bad.
The Bottom Line: The Islanders have a solid young core of players - but the operative word is young. They'll be among the league's best in five or six years but for now they're going to take their lumps.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Last Season - 19 wins, 54 losses, 9 ties (47 points: 14th Eastern Conference)
Top Returnees: C Vincent Lecavalier, C Chris Gratton Coming: LW Shawn Burr, G Dan Cloutier, C Steve Guolla, F Bill Houlder, F Andreas Johansson, D Andrei Zyuzin
Going: G Corey Schwab (Atlanta), C Rob Zamuner (Ottawa)
Biggest Surprise: Vincent Lecavalier shows Lightning faithful why they drafted him as he leads the team in scoring.
The Bottom Line: The Lightning are still bad, but for once they won't finish last overall in the league.

Atlanta Thrashers

C: Patrik Stefan, Mike Stapleton, Ray Ferraro, Andreas Karlsson, Terry Yake
LW: Andrew Brunette, Matt Johnson, Jason Botterill, Johan Garpenlov, Sylvain Cloutier
RW: Jody Hull, Kelly Buchberger, Nelson Emerson, Steve Staois, Ed Ward
D: Chris Tamer, Gord Murphy, David Harlock, Darryl Shannon, Brett Clark, Yannick Tremblay
G: Damian Rhodes, Norm Maracle Calder
Candidates: Stefan
The Bottom Line: The Thrashers are years away from even contention. Expect them to challenge for some of the worst records this decade.

 

[ MORE: Western Conference ]

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