For Guy Lafleur, his last NHL All-Star game will always be his most memorable.
“It was probably more a thrill for me than for the young players,” the veteran said after last Saturday’s NHL showcase game at Chicago Stadium. “They’ve got great careers ahead of them.”
Lafleur was a late addition to the Wales team, picked under the new “seniors” category.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Lafleur of the seniors category. “A lot of guys would be very happy to play in an All-Star Game near the end of their careers.”
Comparing Saturday’s game with previous All-Star games that he has played in, Lafleur said:
“I think I enjoyed it more. I don’t remember my first one that well, back in 1975 or 1976, but there is a lot more offense now. The guys are a lot faster and bigger and are better skaters today.”
Lafleur, a Hall of Famer playing with the Quebec Nordiques, will retire at the end of this season.
Reflecting on the Wales Conference’s 11-5 loss to the Campbell in the All-Star game, New Jersey’s John MacLean quipped:
“They won today -- but we took the Skills Competition yesterday. I guess we’re money players.”
The NHL gave out $75,000 in prize money for various skills competitions the Friday night before Saturday’s All-Star Game at Chicago Stadium.
Right winger Mats Sundin of the Quebec Nordiques has impressed most NHL observers with his offensive abilities, but that’s not half the story, says Sundin’s center, Joe Sakic.
“The real surprise is the way he handles the rough stuff,” says Sakic. “All the Swedes shy away from that.
“They hate it. He is just the opposite. He is in there all the time dishing it out, and he can take it without letting it get to him. He is not scared of anyone. He can’t be intimidated.”
Borje Salming carries a card in his wallet saying that when he dies, his heart, liver and kidneys can be donated to those who need them.
“To me it is natural to come forward if I can help someone,” says Salming, who returned to his native Sweden last summer after 17 seasons in the NHL, 16 with Toronto.
Before organ donation cards became available in pharmacies throughout Sweden, Salming told his family he wanted his organs donated when he died.
“I think it is important to decide. It must be so much easier for your relatives to know, if something happens. I am not walking around thinking about my death, but if I decide now how I want things, maybe I can help someone.”
Chicago Blackhawk president Bob Pulford has joined Los Angeles Kings owner Bruce McNall in calling for an all-Canadian Smythe Division composed of Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver beginning in the 1992-93 season.
“To play Los Angeles in a division with all-Canadian clubs is unfair,” says Pulford. “Bruce McNall doesn’t want to be there either. They want to be with us in the Norris or at least the Patrick.”
McNall wants Los Angeles and newly admitted San Jose in the Norris along with Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and Minnesota.
Pittsburgh’s All-Star winger Mark Recchi (25 goals and 50 assists for 75 points in his first 49 games) is the best bargain in the league this season at $105,000. But the Penguins will probably have to open the safe if they want to keep him.
Recchi will be a Type 1 free agent after this season, which means Pittsburgh doesn’t have the right of first refusal if Recchi gets other offers. Agent Rick Curran said he is confident that three to five teams will tender offers if his client doesn’t sign.
Recchi has indicated that he would like to stay in Pittsburgh, if at all possible.
“Maybe I should wait until July 1 and see what happens,” he said.
Even though Brett Hull has been the runaway leader in goals so far this season, Blues coach Brian Sutter insists: “The feeling I have is I haven’t seen him get hot yet.”
Told about Sutter’s comment, Hull responded:
“I don’t know how to comment on that without looking like an idiot.”
After recently playing in his first game of the season after summer knee surgery, St. Louis center Rick Meagher took a kidding from teammates. When he put his jersey on, many of them jokingly started sneezing.
“From all the dust and cobwebs,” Meagher explained.