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CAT IN THE HELMET: When you spend six months traveling across North America, you have plenty of time to kill. Some play cards or listen to music. And, of course, many read.

Edmonton's Doug Weight was asked what his favorite reading material was.

"They say you like Dr. Seuss," a reporter said.

"Yeah, that's about my level," Weight said. "Seriously, I like fiction. I usually take a book on the road and read the first six or seven chapters, then put it away. On the next trip, I read the first six or seven chapters again. I've got some books I started eight years ago. I can't wait to see what the ending is when I finish my career."

THEY SAID IT: Vancouver's Mark Messier on how he knew he was feeling better from a recent concussion: "I got up to have my cereal and put the milk back in the fridge, not the stove."

SCRAMBLED: Speaking of breakfast, Phoenix's Jim Schoenfeld didn't know he was close to being the coach of the North American stars for this month's All-Star Game at the Ice Palace until he found out over his bacon and eggs.

"One of my kids told me about that at breakfast," Schoenfeld said, "and I said, "Thanks honey, but I think you're wrong. I think that's incorrect.' "

His child was right. But Schoenfeld lost the honor that night when Dallas beat Nashville and Phoenix lost to Los Angeles. That gave the Stars a better record and allowed the Stars' Ken Hitchcock to be named coach. Schoenfeld is an assistant.

_ Compiled by Tom Jones.