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Gretzky screens view as Moog closes in on 300 wins

While Wayne Gretzky has been receiving most of the attention in his quest to break Gordie Howe's goal-scoring record, Andy Moog quietly is trying to become just the 10th goaltender in NHL history to win 300 games.

Moog's record over 14 seasons is 299-143-62 (with 18 shutouts) in 540 games played. Only Jacques Plante reached the 300-win mark quicker than Moog will. Plante reached the milestone in 526 games.

The second quickest is Tony Esposito, the Tampa Bay Lightning's director of hockey operations, who won his 300th game in his 598th game.

Moog, 34, will soon be in good company. Eight of the nine goalies to reach 300 victories are in the Hockey Hall of Fame: Terry Sawchuk (435 wins), Plante (434), Esposito (423), Glenn Hall (407), Gump Worsley (335), Harry Lumley (332), Billy Smith (305) and Turk Broda (302).

Rogie Vachon (now an executive with the Los Angeles Kings) is the only 300-game winner not in the Hall of Fame. He had 355 victories and .542 winning percentage, a percentage better than Worsley (.489) and Lumley (.505).

Moog, a native of Penticton, British Columbia, was taken in the sixth round of the 1980 entry draft by the Edmonton Oilers, where he teamed with Grant Fuhr to form one of the best-ever goaltending tandems. Moog left for Boston with three Stanley Cup championships. He helped lead the Bruins to the final twice. Now he's in Dallas, after a trade that sent Jon Casey to Boston.

There's a big difference trying to play goal for the wide-open, high-scoring Oilers in their heyday and for the defensive-minded Bruins and Stars.

"In Edmonton, I would get more work, but received more support," Moog said. "I felt confident we could get a goal if we needed it. Here, I feel very comfortable playing in a low-scoring game and knowing we can protect a 2-1 lead in the third period."

With seven more wins, Moog (20-15-5 this season) will move into eighth place all-time for victories. His winning percentage of .657 is better than all the goaltenders in the 300-win club.

"He's been so consistent over the years," said Fuhr, second on the active list with 282 victories.

Foreign flavor: There are 136 Europeans playing in the NHL. Most come from Russia (58 players competing on 21 NHL teams). Tampa Bay is one of the five teams that doesn't have a Russian.

Czech players are the second-largest group at 29. Two of the Lightning players are Czechs: defenseman Roman Hamrlik and left wing Petr Klima.

The rest of the European contingent: Sweden (22 players), Finland (11), Slovakia (6), Ukraine (4), Latvia (3, San Jose's Sandis Ozolinsh and Arturs Irbe and Winnipeg's Harijs Vitolinsh), France (1, St. Louis' Philippe Bozon), Germany (1, New York Islanders' Uwe Krupp) and Lithuania (1, Islanders' Darius Kasparaitis).

Forget the icing: Los Angeles coach Barry Melrose wants the NHL to use the international rule in which icing is called as soon as the puck crosses the end zone red line instead of waiting for a defensive player to touch the puck.

That would have prevented the injury to Dallas defenseman Mark Tinordi, who sustained a season-ending broken leg when Kings forward John Druce crashed into the boards behind Tinordi on an icing touch-up two weeks ago.

"Actually, I would love not to have icing at all," Melrose said. "It would make the game faster."

Stupid or smart?: The debate continues regarding shootouts.

"It's the stupidest idea I ever heard of," St. Louis' Brett Hull told New York Newsday. "That's not going to market the sport. Market the game. That doesn't mean change the game. Market the players. How about (Detroit center) Steve Yzerman? Who's ever heard of him (outside the NHL)? Use the players, not a gimmick."

Blues coach Bob Berry sees the appeal for the fans: "When we got off the plane in Newark Sunday, everybody was huddled around a TV, saying, "It's a shootout for a gold medal (Sweden vs. Canada).' It obviously generated a lot of excitement among people who were not hockey people."

Not the right man: The family of Duncan MacPherson was hoping that a man found in Austria with amnesia was Duncan. The 1984 first-round pick of the New York Islanders disappeared four years ago in the Austrian Alps. But former teammates Kim Issel and Emanuel Viveiros visited the man and said it wasn't Duncan. There were striking similarities. Both had surgery on the same knee, two teeth replaced and a scar over the right eye.

Injured: Quebec defenseman Adam Foote is through for the season after surgery on a herniated disc. The 22-year-old has been out since mid-January.

_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

Olympic update

Here is where some of the Olympic hockey players are:

Hartford Whalers _ Added Team USA defenseman Ted Crowley, Team Slovakia center Robert Petrovicky.

Montreal Canadiens _ Assigned Team Canada center Brian Savage and Team USA center Jim Campbell to Fredericton.

New Jersey Devils _ Assigned Team USA center Brian Rolston and goalie Mike Dunham to Albany.

New York Rangers _ Added Corey Hirsch, Team Canada goalie; signed Todd Marchant, Team USA center, and assigned him to Birmingham.

San Diego Gulls _ Signed defenseman Peter Laviolette, captain of the U.S. Olympic team, for the rest of the International Hockey League season.

St. Louis Blues _ Signed free-agent center Petr Nedved, Team Canada, to an offer sheet.

Toronto Maple Leafs _ Added Team USA right wing David Sacco, Team USA defenseman Matt Martin and Team Russia center Alexei Kudashov.