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This and That from Around the NHL

October 25, 1987

Undated (AP) _ During his recent recuperation from a fractured jaw, New York Ranger goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck could have turned out a cook book for people on soft foods.

″You can throw anything into a Cuisinart,″ said Vanbiesbrouck, whose fractured jaw from an exhibition game kept him on a diet of liquids and mushy foods and off the ice for the early part of the season.

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Known as ″Trader Phil″ because of the many deals he’s made since becoming general manager a little over a year ago, Phil Esposito says he is finished dealing - at least for now. Says Phil: ″I want to do everything (now) and that’s it...unless of course we can get somebody who can really help us.″

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The Washington chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has named Mike Gartner recipient of its 2nd annual Dan McCoubrey-Good Guy Award for 1987.

The award is an effort to recognize the countless hours members of the Capitals have spent working with various organizations throughout the area to publicize or raise money for charitable causes.

″Gartner has exhibited the quality of commitment to the community in which he plays,″ Washington chapter president Dave Fay said. ″He is the type of individual who finds it very tough to say no to any reasonable request for his time and always makes sure he has time available when children are involved.″

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The Philadelphia Flyers have recently unveiled an eight-foot bronze statue of the late singer Kate Smith outside the Spectrum. The statue was commissioned by the Flyers to honor Miss Smith, whose rendition of ″God Bless America″ caused her to be known as the team’s good luck charm during the 1970s when it was frequently substituted for the national anthem prior to the club’s important games.

In all, the Flyers have compiled a 58-9-2 record during games in which ″God Bless America″ was played, including four live appearances by Miss Smith at the Spectrum.

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Joe Murphy, the overall No. 1 pick in the NHL draft last year by the Detroit Red Wings, reportedly had an ″attitude″ problem and spent most of the season in the minors. However, Murphy has changed in more ways than one, according to Red Wings Coach Jacques Demers.

Not only is Murphy’s attitude better, Demers says, but the player who just turned 20 has also built himself up physically.

″He’s one year older and more mature,″ Demers said. ″He’s had a great attitude this year. Last year he was 172 pounds, but now he’s 186 and that makes a heck of a lot of difference. He’s stronger.

″We never questioned his hockey ability, but I think the 14 pounds he’s gained has really helped him. He has great speed and his acceleration is excellent when he goes to the net.″

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They alltalk about the hardest shooters in the league, but what about the hardest hitters?

If there was a ″top ten″ of hardest-hitters, Edmonton’s Normand Lacombe would probably be ranked. In a recent game against Boston, Lacombe bruised several Bruins with crushing body checks.

″He’s a quiet, shy kind of guy who doesn’t show much emotion, but he’s so strong,″ Oiler Coach Glen Sather said of the 5-foot-11, 205-pound right winger.

″One time he came off the ice and he had five Bruins yelling at him, he hit one of their guys so hard. I think what it is, he’s so strong that when he hits people, he hurts them.″

Lacombe, who scored only his 14th goal in 100 NHL games that night, shrugged off the comment.

″I just go hit them, if they get upset that’s their fault,″ he says. ″They should keep their heads up.″

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Terry Crisp remembers the closeness of the Philadelphia Flyer players when he was a member of the team that won two Stanley Cups in the 1970s, and hopes to instill a similar feeling in his first year as an NHL coach with the Calgary Flames.

″If this team ends up having the camaraderie, unity and togetherness of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Stanley Cup teams, I’ll be the happiest coach in the National Hockey League,″ Crisp says. ″I know we’re going to be a close-knit team. All the ingredients are there. I’m not talking about goonery, either.″

END ADV Weekend Editions Oct. 24-25.

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