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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 ]

Western Conference

Dallas Stars

Last Season - 51 wins, 19 losses, 12 ties (114 points: 1st Western Conference) Top Returnees: G Ed Belfour, D Derian Hatcher, RW Brett Hull, RW Jamie Langenbrunner, C Mike Modano, D Darryl Sydor, D Sergei Zubov Coming: D Jamie Pushor Going: F Jason Botterill (Atlanta), D Craig Ludwig (Retired), G Roman Turek (St. Louis), LW Pat Verbeek (Free Agent) Calder Candidates: RW Warren Luhning Biggest Surprise: Langenbrunner will emerge as one of the top forwards in the NHL as he approaches a 70-point season.
The Bottom Line: The defending Cup champs aren't as strong as they were last season, but they're still the class of the league. Look for Mike Modano and Co. to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.

Detroit Red Wings

Last Season - 43 wins, 32 losses, 7 ties (93 points: 3rd Western Conference) Top Returnees: D Chris Chelios, C Sergei Fedorov, D Niklas Lidstrom, C Steve Yzerman Coming: D Steve Duchesne, G Ken Wregget Going: LW Wendel Clark (Chicago), D Todd Gill (Phoenix), G Norm Maracle (Atlanta), G Bill Ranford (Edmonton), D Ulf Samuelsson (Atlanta) Biggest Surprise: Fedorov regains his form of previous years and becomes an elite NHL scorer again.
The Bottom Line: The Red Wings are getting older, certainly. But they are still a very good and talented hockey club. Their time is almost up, but count on them to make yet another run for the Cup this season.

Colorado Avalanche

Last Season - 44 wins, 28 losses, 10 ties (98 points: 2nd Western Conference) Top Returnees: LW Adam Deadmarsh, LW Chris Drury, C Peter Forsberg, RW Milan Hejduk, D Sandis Ozolinsh, G Patrick Roy, C Joe Sakic Going: G Craig Billington (Washington), RW Theo Fleury (Rangers), C Dale Hunter (Retired), LW Valeri Kamensky (Rangers), D Sylvain Lefebvre (Rangers) Calder Candidates: C Alex Tanguay Biggest Surprise: The Avalanche, who will be without Peter Forsberg until November due to shoulder surgery, play just as well without him as they do with him after he rejoins the club.
The Bottom Line: Even without Fleury, Kamensky and Lefebvre this is still a very talented hockey club. They're miles ahead of anyone else in their division, so they'll walk to the third seed.

San Jose Sharks

Last Season - 31 wins, 33 losses, 18 ties (80 points: 7th Western Conference) Top Returnees: C Vincent Damphousse, D Jeff Friesen, C Patrick Marleau, RW Owen Nolan, G Mike Vernon Coming: F Niklas Sundstrom Going: LW Shawn Burr (Lightning), C Steve Guolla (Lightning), F Bill Houlder (Lightning), D Andrei Zyuzin (Lightning) Biggest Surprise: Patrick Marleau will have a career year; as will Alexander Korolyuk.
The Bottom Line: The Sharks have been slowly assembling one of the more talented young crops of players in the entire league. Couple that with a very solid selection of veteran players, and you can see why it's no coincidence many people are predicting big things from the Sharks this year.

St. Louis Blues

Last Season - 37 wins, 32 losses, 13 ties (87 points: 5th Western Conference) Top Returnees: C Pavol Demitra, D Al MacInnis, D Chris Pronger, C Pierre Turgeon Coming: G Roman Turek Going: G Grant Fuhr (Calgary), F Terry Yake (Atlanta) Calder Candidates: C Jochen Hecht Biggest Surprise: Jochen Hecht will have a great season and will challenge for the Calder Trophy.
The Bottom Line: Roman Turek won't prove to be the answer and the Blues will struggle early on.

Los Angeles Kings

Last Season - 32 wins, 45 losses, 5 ties (69 points: 11th Western Conference) Top Returnees: D Rob Blake, G Stephane Fiset, LW Luc Robitaille, C Josef Stumpel Coming: C Zigmund Palffy, RW Bryan Smolinski Going: C Ray Ferraro (Atlanta), RW Josh Green (Islanders), C Olli Jokkinen (Islanders) Biggest Surprise: Josef Stumpel benefits from Palffy's arrival in a huge way and doubles last year's point total of 34.
The Bottom Line: Zigmund Palffy makes the Kings that much better - and just in time. With the club moving into the Staples Centre this year, they needed to fill the building in a big way. Winning will do that.

Edmonton Oilers

Last Season - 33 wins, 37 losses, 12 ties (78 points: 8th Western Conference) Top Returnees: G Tommy Salo Coming: F Eric Houde, G Bill Ranford, RW Esa Tikkanen Going: RW Kelly Buchberger (Atlanta), G Bob Essensa (Phoenix), RW Bill Guerin (holdout), D Roman Hamrlik (holdout), G Steve Passmore (Chicago) Calder Candidates: F Paul Comrie Biggest Surprise: Comrie wasn't even supposed to make the club, but has had an outstanding camp and just might find himself on one of the top two lines to start this season.
The Bottom Line: Oilers, because of lengthy contractual holdouts from Bill Guerin, Roman Hamrlik and possibly Mike Grier, will find themselves embroiled in a lengthy battle for the playoffs yet again.

Calgary Flames

Last Season - 30 wins, 40 losses, 12 ties (72 points: 9th Western Conference) Top Returnees: RW Valeri Bure, D Phil Housley, RW Jarome Iginla, D Derek Morris, LW Cory Stillman Coming: G Grant Fuhr, C Marc Savard Going: G Ken Wregget, C Andrew Cassels Calder Candidates: LW Steve Begin, C Travis Brigley, RW Rico Fata, D Toni Lydman, LW Oleg Saprykin, C Daniel Tkaczuk Biggest Surprise: Savard will lead the Flames in scoring, posting upwards of 60 points - possibly even 70 The Bottom Line: If the club can get off to a fast start despite an abundance of rookies, they will improve just enough to squeek into the postseason. Expect big things in the future from this club.

Phoenix Coyotes

Last Season - 39 wins, 31 losses, 12 ties (90 points: 4th Western Conference) Top Returnees: D Teppo Numminen, C Jeremy Roenick, LW Keith Tkachuk Coming: G Bob Essensa, D Todd Gill, F Travis Green Going: G Nikolai Khabibulin (holdout), C Robert Reichel (Europe), F Mike Stapleton (Atlanta), D Oleg Tverdosky (Anaheim) Calder Candidates: C Tavis Hansen Biggest Surprise: Daniel Briere will have his breakthrough season. Expect him to get between 40 and 50 points. The Bottom Line: With no Khabibulin and no Reichel, the Coyotes will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs - and probably won't.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks

Last Season - 35 wins, 34 losses, 13 ties (83 points: 6th Western Conference) Top Returnees: G Guy Hebert, LW Paul Kariya, C Steve Rucchin, RW Teemu Selanne Coming: F Ted Donato, D Oleg Tverdosky Going: F Travis Green (Phoenix), D Jamie Pushor (Dallas) Biggest Surprise: Oleg Tverdosky will rebound from last year's horrid 25-point season. He should double that feeding Kariya and Selanne all season.
The Bottom Line: The Ducks will continue to slip in and out of mediocrity - a virtual tradition since the acquisition of Selanne.

Chicago Blackhawks

Last Season - 29 wins, 41 losses, 12 ties (70 points: 10th Western Conference) Top Returnees: RW Tony Amonte, C Doug Gilmour Coming: LW Wendel Clark, D Bryan McCabe, G Steve Passmore Going: G Mark Fitzpatrick (Carolina) Biggest Surprise: Zhamnov was not very good last year, scoring 20 goals. This season he will approach 30.
The Bottom Line: Despite finishing up strong last season, the 'Hawks roll out yet another disappointing year.

Vancouver Canucks

Last Season - 23 wins, 47 losses, 12 ties (58 points: 13th Western Conference) Top Returnees: C Mark Messier, RW Alexander Mogilny, RW Markus Naslund, D Mattias Ohlund, G Garth Snow Coming: D Doug Bodger, C Andrew Cassels, LW Steve Kariya Going: D Bryan McCabe (Chicago) Calder Candidates: Kariya, D Zenith Komarniski Biggest Surprise: Steve Kariya has the potential to score 50 points this season and quite possibly do what his brother couldn't - win the Calder Trophy. The Bottom Line: Unfortunately for the Canucks that's about as bright as it's going to get for the club this year. The club will be hanging on for dear life and hoping the Sedins can take them places next season.

Nashville Predators

Last Season - 28 wins, 47 losses, 7 ties (63 points: 12th Western Conference) Top Returnees: G Mike Dunham, RW Sergei Krivokrasov, C Cliff Ronning Coming: G Corey Hirsch Going: F Andrew Brunette (Atlanta), G Eric Fichaud (Carolina), F Denny Lambert (Atlanta) Calder Candidates: C David Legwand, C Randy Robitaille Biggest Surprise: Look for big things from Ville Peltonen. Last Season in 14 games he had 10 points. He should get 50 this year on a regular shift.
The Bottom Line: The team, despite playing outstanding hockey and staying in the playoff hunt last season until the last few months, takes a step backwards this season and finishes near the bottom of the pack. The fact is, this is still an expansion team.

 

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