The NHL : When Blues Sent Liut to Hartford, It Broke the Ice in Trade Activity

Until last week, trade activity in the National Hockey League this season had been dead.

But the St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers made a blockbuster deal last Friday. The Blues traded former All-Star goalie Mike Liut to the Whalers for goalie Greg Millen, center Mark Johnson and future considerations.

The future considerations will be either a player or a draft choice. Coach Jacques Demers of the Blues told a TV interviewer that he didn’t want to know what the future considerations involved were because it might affect the way he treats a player if that player is to be sent to Hartford next season.

Liut played his first game for the Whalers last Saturday, losing a 2-1 overtime decision to the Kings.

“Mike Liut was good tonight and he most often has been a top goalie,” King Coach Pat Quinn said. “He’s a premier player. For him to come up with that type of performance after being traded is amazing.”


Said King rookie goalie Bob Janecyk, speaking of Liut: “I think he’s a great goalie. I really look up to him. The guy played well against us. If he plays that way, Hartford is going to win some games.”

Why would the Blues get rid of Liut, who just four seasons ago was the runner-up to Wayne Gretzky for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the league’s most valuable player?

The answer is money.

Liut had the richest contract on the Blues, a reported $900,000 a season. The Blues, one of the most cost-conscious teams in the NHL, unloaded Liut’s big contract and acquired two players for less money then they were paying him. The Hartford Courant reported that Millen earns about $400,000 a season and Johnson about $250,000.

The hottest rumor in the NHL has Herb Brooks, recently fired as coach of the New York Rangers, heading to the Minnesota North Stars next season.

The Montreal Gazette reported that the North Stars will promote General Manager Lou Nanne to team president and interim Coach Glen Sonmor to assistant general manager, then will hire Brooks as head coach and general manager.

Brooks coached at the University of Minnesota before he guided the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1980. His family still lives in St. Paul, and Brooks returned to Minnesota after he was fired.

When the New Jersey Devils skate onto the ice at the Meadowlands Arena, they play Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” over the public-address system.

Springsteen lives in New Jersey, but he’s apparently not a hockey fan. When the team moved to New Jersey from Denver three years ago, they contacted Springsteen to sing the national anthem at their first home game. Springsteen turned down the offer.

Dave (Tiger) Williams is having trouble finding a job in the NHL. He was put on irrevocable waivers last weekend by the Detroit Red Wings.

Williams, traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Red Wings before the 1984-85 season, contacted the Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs, but neither team has responded.

If no team picks up Williams, he will be sent to the Red Wings’ minor-league team in Adirondack, N.Y. Williams has two years left on his contract, which is worth between $175,000 and $200,000.

NHL Notes The St. Louis Blues have given All-Star left wing Brian Sutter a four-year contract extension. Sutter would have entered his option year next season. . . . Most American teams in the NHL play the Canadian national anthem in addition to “The Star-Spangled Banner” only when they are playing a Canadian team. But when the Kings played the Buffalo Sabres at Buffalo last Sunday, they played both national anthems, apparently because Buffalo is on the Canadian border.