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Old 11-18-2006, 12:44 PM   #471
Bronx33
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http://torontosun.com/Sports/Hockey/...04690-sun.html

Jody shelley talking smack about a midget that has more heart then he will ever have and also a little tidbit about the jackets coaching situaition.

If you're an unrestricted free agent next summer and looking to get away from it all, Dallas might be the place for you.

Eric Lindros and Mike Ribeiro, who became Stars this season after playing in Toronto and Montreal respectively, are finding that the only thing that might not be bigger in Texas is the spotlight.

"There's less pressure and there's less stress," Ribeiro said.

"We're just here to play. I'm happy to move on. I had great times in Montreal, played for my dream team growing up there, but I think it's time for me to start a new life."

Lindros played in only 33 games for the Maple Leafs last year because of injuries but had 22 points. His new coach, Dave Tippett, has taken a shine to him.





"It's not that we sold him on a slower pace of life, it's maybe less of a fishbowl," Tippett said. "Philadelphia and the (New York) Rangers and Toronto were all situations where ... everything was magnified. The fact he doesn't feel like he has to hide anywhere is a good thing for him."

Through 17 games, Lindros was tied for the team lead with 12 points. Opponents have taken note.

"He was their best player and he looks like a totally different player," the New York Islanders' Jason Blake said after the Isles beat the Stars 3-0 on Wednesday night.

One who might not be long for Dallas is defenceman Jon Klemm, who led the team with 161 blocked shots last season. He has been a healthy scratch for the majority of games and at $950,000 US, would be a bargain for some teams. It's known the Leafs have sniffed around Klemm, but for now, are happy with their defence corps.

DEVILS REDUX

The Leafs will play host to the New Jersey Devils tonight in the first meeting between the teams since Oct. 12, when Toronto had a 6-3 lead entering the third and wound up losing 7-6 in a shootout.

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is on the league's competition committee and reports the group is glad such things can happen in the NHL now.

"It shows the new system is working, that comebacks are more probable," Brodeur said before the Devils took on the Ottawa Senators last night. "Now you can come back and maybe sneak a point in a shootout. It's not going to happen every game, but in the odd game it happens and that is the beauty of the new NHL for the fans.

"(They) would go to bed with (their team holding) a 2-0 lead and now they get up and say, 'They lost?' With eight minutes to go and a 2-0 lead, you never know."

In the match on Oct. 12, the Leafs held onto that three-goal bulge until 61/2 minutes into the third, when Brian Gionta kicked off a natural hat trick. John Madden got the shootout winner.

"From what I remember, they just sat back," Brodeur said. "We just took it to them."

JUST LIKE LEAFS AND HABS

The NHL is intent on creating rivalries, darn it all, and appears to be getting one with the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Central Division foes squared off on Wednesday, meet today and again on Monday.

"There's always big hits, lots of fights and close games when we play," Predators forward Scott Hartnell said.

Blue Jackets enforcer Jody Shelley happened to hear the name of the Predators' Jordin Tootoo mentioned in the dressing room recently.

"Tootoo?" Shelley said. "Who wants to talk about that midget?"

When asked if that was on the record, Shelley said: "Sure. Why not? Let's get it rolling a little bit."

AROUND THE RINKS

Blue Jackets majority owner John McConnell instructed general manager Doug MacLean to fire coach Gerard Gallant this week and now wants a big name behind the bench. It is expected Ken Hitchcock will be interviewed next week. The question is, how much longer will MacLean last if the losing drags on? ... Message to all NHL personnel: Listen to what your colleague, Blues GM Larry Pleau, has to say about hiding injuries. "What do you think of the two-tiered league now? You know, the upper and lower bodies," Pleau said. "If a guy misses even one game in regular season, we should be telling people why. What's the big deal? I don't get it." ... You can take the boy out of Canada, etc: While his club was watching NFL games on Sunday in the dressing room after practice, Los Angeles Kings coach Marc Crawford had the TV in his office tuned to the CFL East final between the Argos and Montreal Alouettes.
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