"Both of them love the workload," Flyers coach Mike Keenan said yesterday. "Both of them excel when they work that much."
Fuhr has a 3.17 goals-against average and a save percentage of .893. Hextall is at 3.20 and .894. Last summer, they were the two goalies Keenan chose for the Canada Cup competition. Fuhr, the six-year veteran, did all the playing, while, Hextall, coming off a monster rookie season, did all the watching - just a few months after they opposed each other in a bitter best- of-seven war for the Stanley Cup.
Hextall said yesterday that he never resented Fuhr's Canada Cup stature, and he said Fuhr's bad off-ice image was outdated.
"We became pretty good friends," Hextall said. "He was irresponsible a couple of years ago, but he's changed."
Sather once was quoted as questioning Fuhr's intelligence in a Sports Illustrated article. That has become a big part of Fuhr's image. Hextall said
Fuhr "isn't dumb," but affects an attitude of nonchalance that sometimes gives a false impression.
Fuhr sparkled in his last outing against the Flyers, a 6-0 slaughter on Dec. 30 in Edmonton that ended the Flyers' 14-game unbeaten streak. It was one of Fuhr's three shutouts this season, and it was equally memorable for Hextall - but not quite in the same way.
"That was one of our worst games of the year, and we've played a lot of bad ones," Hextall said. "We just weren't mentally prepared . . . We've certainly got a lot to prove (tonight)."
The Oilers are without Wayne Gretzky, sidelined with a knee injury. Keenan said that doesn't mean the defending champs can't win.
"They've got five world-class players (Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Fuhr, Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson)," Keenan said. "If they take the best player in hockey away, they've still got four world-class players."
BEST OF THE REST
The third-ranked Temple Owls try to make it 14-0 overall, 8-0 in the Atlantic 10, when they entertain conference foe Massachusetts (7-6, 2-4) tonight in college basketball at McGonigle Hall (WCAU Radio 1210, 7:30 p.m.)
The Penn Quakers (2-8), who won their first game of the not-so new year Monday night at St. Francis (Pa.), tonight travel to 9-4 Notre Dame (WXPN 88.9 FM, 7:30 p.m.).
Also, ESPN is offering an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown: ninth-ranked Duke (10-2, 1-1) at second-ranked North Carolina (13-1, 2-0), at 8 p.m.
Oilers at Flyers
7:30 p.m., at the Spectrum, on PRISM, and on WIP Radio(610)