Crawford could be on thin ice in L.A.

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 7:37 PM ET

Marc Crawford is feeling the heat in La-La Land.

Not only is the Los Angeles Kings coach under fire for reports last week he instructed Vancouver Canucks players to make Colorado forward Steve Moore "pay the price" in 2004, Crawford is fighting for his job.

There is a strong belief among those in the NHL community that if Crawford's club hadn't knocked off the Buffalo Sabres Thursday, he would have been fired.

Would that make sense? Not really. However, Crawford is on a short leash. Rumour has it Kings GM Dean Lombardi is feeling pressure from ownership to get results and Crawford might not be the right fit for young players.

AROUND THE BOARDS: There's plenty of talk that now that D Scott Niedermayer has returned to the Ducks, RW Teemu Selanne won't be far behind. Sources say GM Brian Burke believes Niedermayer and Selanne come as a package deal ... Former Dallas GM Doug Armstrong Friday attended his first game at American Airlines Arena since being fired by the Stars. He still has three years left on his deal and was sporting a nice tan, but must have been heartbroken to see the Stars drop a 4-2 decision to Ottawa. The word is his decision to rip the 'C' off Mike Modano's chest before the 2005 season came back to haunt Armstrong in the end. Oddly enough, Armstrong sat in a seat in press row, not in the box occupied by new co-GM Brett Hull ... Forget all this talk about San Jose firing coach Ron Wilson. He has changed his style, is more receptive to the players and is pushing the right buttons.

OFF THE GLASS: A lot of players in the Western Conference would be happy to see a team in Las Vegas. A player told Sun Media Friday "the NHL should just go there and get it over with. Just don't allow betting on the NHL in Vegas. Nobody bets on it anyway." The board of governors didn't talk expansion because too many teams are having attendance issues and moves for some franchises are the next step ... Detroit D Nik Lidstrom denied last week that any of the club's Swedish players have talked to Toronto C Mats Sundin about the possibility of his joining the Red Wings at the trade deadline. But sources say the Swedes on Detroit's roster have privately discussed the possibility and believe he'd be the perfect fit ... Don't be surprised if Atlanta RW Marian Hossa doesn't re-sign with the club any time soon. Atlanta GM Don Waddell has had discussions with Hossa's agent, Ritch Winter, but Hossa isn't in any hurry to get a deal done because he wants to see what improvements the team makes. If Hossa gets dealt at the deadline, Ottawa and Detroit will both make a pitch ... The employees in Tampa had a tough time wiping the smiles off their faces when they found out a group led by former Columbus president and GM Doug MacLean had to withdraw its offer to buy the club because of internal issues. Former GM Phil Esposito claimed last week he had a group ready to make a $175-million bid, but decided not to bother.

RUMOURS DU JOUR: With the Christmas roster freeze set for Dec. 19, trade talk is finally starting to heat up. With Niedermayer returning to the Ducks, Burke is trying to swing a trade to clear cap space for him. There's talk the Hawks have shown interest in D Mathieu Schneider, but Burke would like to keep him. Other Ducks who have surfaced in trade rumours: D Francois Beauchemin, D Sean O'Donnell, D Shane Hnidy and C Todd Marchant. If there was any market for RW Todd Bertuzzi, he'd be on that list. Burke will be getting a call from GM/coach Jacques Martin in Florida, who needs help on the blue line badly ... There has been plenty of talk about the Sharks trading C Patrick Marleau. That's partly because he's off to a bad start, didn't play well in the playoffs and has a "no movement" clause that kicks in Jan. 1. It's believed Toronto GM John Ferguson has inquired about Marleau ... There are whispers the Senators contacted the Penguins about LW Gary Roberts or RW Colby Armstrong a month ago. The word is Pittsburgh wanted LW Antoine Vermette in return because the team is looking for a winger to play with C Sidney Crosby. Penguins GM Ray Shero believes Vermette could be a nice fit ... Are the Oilers going to send C Jarrett Stoll to the Blue Jackets for C Gilbert Brule? That's the rumour ... The Senators have had no recent discussions with agent Don Meehan about D Wade Redden. The club is waiting for Meehan to reduce his salary demand below the $6.5 million Redden is making this season before talking about an extension ... Many observers believe free-agent C Peter Forsberg won't play another game in the NHL ... The Habs are sniffing around to see if there is a market for G Cristobal Huet.

Have a nice Sunday.


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