Overture By Soviets To Join The Nhl Is Turned Down

Posted: April 11, 1989

An overture for an NHL expansion franchise, made on behalf of the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation, was rejected by the league as unworkable, NHL Players Association executive director Alan Eagleson said yesterday.

Ramon Dacyshyn, executive vice president of Intercan Sports Inc., the agency that negotiated the release of Soviet player Sergei Priakin to the Calgary Flames last month, said the proposal was made last month to league president John Ziegler and Eagleson.

Under the plan, which Dacyshyn said was made on behalf of the Soviet Hockey Federation, a team stocked exclusively with Soviet players would compete in the NHL as a 22d franchise. He said it would have divided its home games between Moscow and a North American city - either Seattle or Hamilton, Ontario - and play the standard 40 away games.

Apart from the travel costs and scheduling headaches, the proposal breached so many NHL bylaws - including its entry and waiver drafts and its trading policies - that league officials dismissed it as unworkable, Eagleson said.

The NHL is expected to expand within the next 3-5 years. It has remained at 21 teams since four survivors of the World Hockey Association were added in 1979.

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Only two teams in NHL history have rebounded from a 3-0 deficit in a seven- game playoff and the St. Louis Blues want it to stay that way.

The Blues hold a 3-1 lead in their Norris Division semifinal series against the Minnesota North Stars and a win tonight at home would clinch the series for St. Louis.

Minnesota stayed alive with a 5-4 victory Sunday on rookie Don Barber's breakaway goal with seven seconds remaining.

"I'd like to think someone can do impossible things," said North Stars coach Pierre Page. "Someone has to do it sometime. Maybe it'll be us."

How could a team like the Chicago Blackhawks, with a 27-41-12 regular- season record, be winning its first-round NHL playoff series? Easy, they have goaltender Alain Chevrier.

In his first NHL playoff action, Chevrier looks like a Stanley Cup veteran, and Detroit Red Wings coach Jacques Demers is worried.

"There's no question that Chevrier, for his first playoff round, has been playing simply outstanding," Demers said. "It's like Chevrier is in the finals of the cup."

The Red Wings lost their third straight to the Blackhawks on Sunday, and now go back to Detroit today down, 3-1, in the best-of-seven series, one game away from a summer vacation.

Chevrier has allowed just 2.78 goals per game in the series and made several clutch saves in Sunday's 3-2 victory and Thursday's 5-4 overtime win.

"Chevrier played particularly strong, especially in the first period when we were a little flat and they were taking it to us," said Chicago coach Mike Keenan.

The Calgary Flames are starting to feel the heat from their fans and the Vancouver Canucks entering tonight's Game 5 of the Smythe Division semifinals.

You see, there wasn't supposed to be a Game 5.

Calgary, 43 points superior during the season, was supposed to sweep. But after four games, the teams are tied, 2-2, as the Canucks have shown discipline and defense in producing their best hockey of the season.

Calgary looked to take control with a 4-0 victory Saturday in Game 3. But Vancouver rebounded with a 5-3 triumph Sunday.

"We won't change anything we've been doing," Canucks captain Stan Smyl said. "We'll keep playing our game, getting our chances and limiting theirs. You're not going to see any changes from what we've been doing."

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