As the season continues to go down the drain at the pace of barrels over Niagara Falls, some players are trying to keep busy and in shape by playing the game they love.
Devils defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov is trying to gather Russian NHL players to compete in an exhibition series in Moscow in November, when the Russian Hockey Federation teams are on a two-week break. The proceeds would go to help youth hockey in Russia.
The series would feature:
The famous "KLM" line, but with a twist. Two of the three originals, Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov, would be joined by Valeri Kamensky of the Nordiques.
The reunion of another great Russian line: Sergei Fedorov centering wings Pavel Bure and Alexander Mogilny.
The reunion of former Devil teammates Alexei Kasatonov and Fetisov, who played together on defense but refused to talk with each other because of opposite political beliefs.
Tyrannical Viktor Tikanov is being considered as a coach. But Larionov said, "If Tikanov coaches, nobody will play."
Finding employment: Penguins center Shawn McEachern will play in Finland for Kiekko Espo. The captain of that team is Peter Ahola, who attended the Lightning training camp in 1993 before being sent to Calgary for cash.
Boston left wing Ted Donato will play in Finland for Turku Tuto. Word is Turku Tuto is trying to sign Teppo Numminen. How would you like to be the play-by-play announcer for that team?
Penguin defenseman Ulf Samuelsson found employment, but not in hockey. He went to work for an ad agency in Carnegie, Pa.
Why an ad agency? "I want a career in a field as vicious as hockey. Advertising seems to be a natural choice," Samuelsson said.
Some players are keeping busy at autograph sessions. Buffalo players Pat LaFontaine, Dale Hawerchuk, Doug Bodger and Craig Simpson recently conducted a session for which they received a small honorarium. The organizer's pitch to get the Sabres to do the session? "You won't be doing this for the money, but . . ."
Looking for employment: Call Buffalo goalie Jon Casey's home and the answering machine has this message, left by his wife, Brenda: "As you probably know, if you've been reading the papers, we are temporarily unemployed. So if you're calling about a possible job, please leave your name and number."
A piece of history: Parts of Chicago Stadium, which will be demolished next year, were auctioned off. The 1961 Stanley Cup banner sold for $15,500. A turnstile sold for $2,000. A black and red garbage can went for $500 and a washroom sign went for $600.
That's inflation: It will cost fans in St. Louis more to see Doug Evans play as a minor-leaguer with Peoria than it did when he played for the Blues.
Next Sunday, the Peoria Rivermen will play the first hockey game in St. Louis' new Kiel Center. Tickets will cost $14 to $26. When Evans played his last season for St. Louis (1989-90), tickets at St. Louis Arena cost $12 and $23.
Search for the Holy Grail: Actor Tim Robbins appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last week wearing an NHLPA hat. For a birthday present, Leno presented Robbins with a video of the Rangers' Stanley Cup victory.
Ooops. Robbins said it was the fourth one he's received. Robbins went on to tell Leno about his search for the Stanley Cup after his beloved Rangers beat the Canucks in Game 7 in June. He explained how he used his celebrity status to get past guards and find the Rangers' celebration party. He also brought along the picture of himself drinking from the Cup. All you could see was his body. "That is me," Robbins said. "Really."
Odds and ends: Just figuring that the average season-ticket base is 10,000 and the average ticket price is $30, the NHL's 26 teams are collecting interest on about $312-million. The Bruins are considering changing their uniforms and logo when they move into the new Shawmut Center in 1995. The new Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, which drew 500,000 people in its first year, is continuing to draw crowds throughout the lockout. "For the good of the game, we hope (the lockout) ends soon," said Chris Simpson, brother of Buffalo's Craig and marketing manager of the Hall. "Until then, we like to consider ourselves the only game in town." Three goalies is a crowd, so the Sharks, who have Arturs Irbe entrenched at No. 1, are trying to deal Jimmy Waite or Wade Flaherty.
Quotable: Bud Selig, baseball's acting commissioner, described NHL commissioner Gary Bettman like this: "He reminds me of me, but that's no blessing."
_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.