Although 54 players have enjoyed 100-point seasons in the National Hockey League, not one was born in the U.S.A.

Washington's Bob Carpenter last year became the 42nd player -- and first United States native -- to score 50 goals in a season, finishing with 53. Now Minnesota's Neal Broten, a native of Roseau, Minn., is taking a good run at 100 points.

Broten, one of the 1980 Olympic gold medalists, has 77 points and, with 22 North Stars games remaining, he would end with 106 at his current pace. At any rate, Broten is trying to break his own record of 98 for a U.S.-born player. Broten hit that figure in 1981-82, his rookie campaign, before dipping to 77, 89 and 56.

Last season was a downer for Broten in more ways than one. After the North Stars were eliminated from the playoffs, Broten was arrested for driving while intoxicated. He pleaded guilty this January. His court appearance resulted in a suspended sentence. It came one day after several Minnesota players had publicly endorsed Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

If referee Ron Wicks returns in the fall for a 20th NHL season, fans at one exhibition may be in for a treat.

"I've always wanted to be a coach, and when one coach suggested we change jobs, I told him it was fine with me," Wicks said. "I'm hoping maybe we can do it for an exhibition next season."

Wicks refused to identify the coach, and Washington's Bryan Murray said he was not the one.

"Dave Newell once offered to give me the whistle when I was getting on him, but I have enough sense not to try that," Murray said.

When he advocates the need for postcareer planning, Bryan Trottier of the New York Islanders is not just throwing out another collective bargaining item in his capacity as president of the National Hockey League Players Association.

Trottier organized a study program for Islanders players and their wives. Once a week, they attend college-level lectures on mathematics, science and the humanities. They read further on the subjects at home and will take examinations next month that can earn college credit should they decide to attend in the future.

The callup of goaltender Peter Sidorkiewicz, because of Mike Liut's sore neck, gives the Hartford Whalers the largest contingent (four) of former Capitals in the NHL. The others are Torrie Robertson, Doug Jarvis and Dean Evason.

The Whalers were winless in 10 straight games before Evason's goal beat Vancouver tonight, and are struggling to avoid missing the playoffs for a sixth straight season. The general consensus is that the 5-4 loss to Washington Feb. 2, after leading 4-0, may have been a death blow to the Whalers.