THE OLYMPICS / WINTER GAMES AT ALBERTVILLE : NOTES

U.S. hockey defenseman Greg Brown, who suffered a concussion, broken nose, blackened eye and cut over his forehead when he was checked by Sweden's Mats Naslund Tuesday, is listed as probable for today's semifinal game against the Unified Team.

Brown skated on his own Wednesday and with the team Thursday at Courchevel, wearing a visor to protect his eyes. He has watched tapes of the check and said he carries no grudge against Naslund.

"That's just part of the game, part of hockey," he said. "The glass is very hard in Meribel. There's much more give in North America. That probably had a lot to do with the injury.

"I never had a concussion before, and my first one comes from Mats Naslund. You'd never think of him as the guy to do it. I was probably braced for a low check and he got me high. It did not look dirty to me from what I saw."

Canadian forward Eric Lindros, who hasn't wavered in his refusal to join the Quebec Nordiques, denied rumors that he would sign with the San Diego Gulls of the International Hockey League. Although the Nordiques retain his draft rights for two years unless they trade him, Lindros could sign with the Gulls because they're not affiliated with an NHL team.

"Fat chance, bad scoop!!!" he said in a message sent on the Olympic computer network.

One NHL general manager said that Ray LeBlanc, who leads Olympic goaltenders with a 96.13 save percentage and a 1.33 goals-against average, is unlikely to come close to that success should he be promoted to the NHL.

"Here, he doesn't have to deal with the crowds in front of the net that he'd have in the NHL, the tipping and screening and guys setting up in the slot," said the general manager, who requested that his name not be used. "He's playing well, sure, but I don't think he'd be able to do it in our league."

That assessment was disputed, however, by John Davidson, the former New York Ranger goalie who is now a TV hockey analyst.

"There's way more traffic in front of the net here than in the NHL because of the rule change," he said, referring to the NHL's policy of penalizing players who stand in the crease and obstruct the goalie's view. "The goalies here are on their butts a few times a game. They're getting lots of screens and crowds. . . .

"Maybe he's one of those guys that develops late. Whatever happens to him, this has got to be the thrill of his hockey life."

Davidson, who rated the caliber of play here as "above the top minors and below the NHL," said LeBlanc's strength is his positioning.

"He's a butterfly goalie, in control," Davidson said, meaning that LeBlanc favors a style in which he goes to his knees with his leg pads spread toward each post to cover as much of the net as possible. "Some butterfly goalies are all over the place, but he's in control. . . . He's always out before the shooter is shooting, which is good, and he has good feet."

Germany's protest of its quarterfinal shootout loss to Canada was rejected by officials of the International Ice Hockey Federation in a 17-1 vote of its directorate. The dissenting vote was Germany's.

Art Berglund, director of player personnel for USA Hockey, said the organization hopes to appoint the coach of the 1994 Olympic hockey team by June 1. He did not rule out a third tournament for current coach Dave Peterson.

"He's a coach and he's an employee of USA Hockey," Berglund said. "We've only in theory talked about the program we're going to have in the next year and a half, the tournaments we'll enter and how the kids will be selected."

U.S. defenseman Guy Gosselin, like many hockey players, is superstitious.

"I've worn the same socks since I've been here," he said. "I've sent them out to be laundered a couple times and if they didn't come back, I didn't wear any socks at all. But hey, don't say we're weird."

Gosselin is playing despite a dislocated left shoulder he suffered in the United States' victory over France.

"It popped out, but I popped it back in," he said. "You play in a tournament like this and you know you're going to play physical games every time out and things like this are going to happen."

Swedish center Peter Rydmark, the Kings' fifth pick in the 1989 draft, broke his right foot in his team's 3-1 loss to Czechoslovakia Wednesday. . . . Swedish Coach Conny Evensson blamed his team's offensive shortcomings for its elimination. Sweden scored 23 goals in six games. "The biggest minus with Swedish hockey is the lack of pure goal scorers," said Evensson, whose team was top-seeded here. . . . Soviet defensemen Vladimir Malakhov and Sergei Zubov have not been on the ice for a goal scored against their team.

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