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  •   Major Players

    Eastern Conference | Western Conference

    By Jason La Canfora
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, October 1, 1999; Page D10

    Eastern Logo Keys to the Eastern Conference
    Eric Lindros,
    Philadelphia: He hasn't enjoyed the pressure of playing in Philadelphia, and things will only get worse. GM Bobby Clarke is on thin ice and the aging team flopped in the playoffs.

    Darcy Regier, Buffalo: The Sabres' GM knows his team's last great shot at a Cup is this season, before G Dominik Hasek retires. If he can beef up his offense at the trade deadline, he could get his Cup.

    John Muckler, Rangers: The old-school coach faces a tough task uniting new players. Rangers fans want a playoff team, but with holes at center and on defense, a postseason berth isn't assured.

    Alexei Yashin, Ottawa: If the superstar is willing to hold out and sacrifice a season's salary ($3.5 million), the Senators will suffer. They may find a way to trade him, but options are limited.

    Pavel Bure, Florida: The Panthers are banking on 50 goals and a playoff spot, but Bure is coming off his second re-constructive knee surgery and his supporting cast is largely composed of underachievers.

    Western Logo Keys to the Western Conference
    Peter Forsberg, Colorado: How his shoulder responds from surgery could alter the power structure of the conference. If he's back and flying by Christmas, the Avalanche could be lethal in spring.

    Father Time, Detroit: The biggest downside to the team is age, specifically on defense. They must find a way to spot Larry Murphy (38) and Chris Chelios (37) to make another serious playoff run.

    Complacency, Dallas: The Stars are loaded with veterans, many of whom reached their life's goal in June. It's tough to stay motivated every day of an 82-game season.

    Owen Nolan, San Jose: Once a regular 30-goal guy, this team captain has to be more consistent, giving his best effort every night, especially with so many impressionable youngsters on the roster.

    The Canadian Dollar, Calgary and Edmonton: The top two franchises of 10 years ago are unable to keep top talent. The NHL has pledged more assistance to small-market teams. It's badly needed.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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