Will Naslund be on sidelines for Turin?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

Vancouver C Markus Naslund might be a star in the NHL, but there are no guarantees he's going to be on Team Sweden at the Olympics. A couple of newspapers in Sweden have been campaigning the last couple of weeks for Swedish GM Bengt Gustafsson to leave Naslund off the list when the roster is announced Dec. 22. The word is Naslund didn't play well when he suited up for Modo last year in the Swedish league and hasn't performed the way Philly's Peter Forsberg, Toronto's Mats Sundin or Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson have at international competitions. One insider suggested Naslund's omission from the Swedish squad would be a bigger deal in Vancouver than it might be in Sweden. All that being said, Alfredsson doesn't believe it. "We're talking about one of the premier players in the (NHL). He should be there if you want to have the best chance to win," said Alfredsson ... Goalie injuries are a major issue in the NHL at the moment. At one point last week, there were 11 goalies on the IR, including New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, Tampa's Sean Burke and Vancouver's Dan Cloutier. The goalies blame the new rules for what's happening. "We're not happy with it because we used to be very well protected," said Cloutier, who suffered a concussion after being run by Minny's Andrew Brunette last week. "It's the new rules, obviously, because guys aren't afraid to come in now."

AROUND THE BOARDS: Former Senators D Curtis Leschyshyn, who retired after attending training camp with Colorado, is going to launch a new career next week. Leschyshyn will work as an in-studio analyst for Altitude Sports between periods of Avs games ... Columbus RW Nikolai Zherdev rebounded from being a healthy scratch on Thursday vs. Calgary with a three-point game vs. the Canucks on Friday ... NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin will be getting even more heat after some recent moves by the Canucks. They've been sending guys down between games to save money. Apparently, Saskin met with New Jersey and Washington players recently to discuss his new post with them. The reaction: Neither team is willing to cast votes at this time because they didn't like what they heard ... Boston D Brian Leetch will be gone for a month with a knee injury. That's a huge loss for the club because he was playing well.

RUMOURS DU JOUR: The Blackhawks are not happy with G Nikolai Khabibulin. His problem: He hasn't been able to stop the puck. They'd love to deal him, but realize they're stuck with his huge contract ... Keep an eye on Florida C Joe Nieuwendyk. He will skate in the next couple of days and then determine if he's going to have back surgery. Retirement isn't out of the question ... The Avs are trying to move D Kurt Sauer, who has been a healthy scratch ... The Sabres are slowing down a deal to move D Jeff Jillson as part of a package with G Martin Biron. That's because G Ryan Miller broke his thumb and they suddenly need Biron. Teams showing heavy interest in a package deal are Atlanta, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Washington. Tampa, Toronto and Vancouver are all looking for one more quality blueliner ... Apparently, the Stars wouldn't mind packaging up D Martin Skoula and G Marty Turco, who has struggled with a 3.35 GAA, if they could find the right fit .. The Isles are looking to get rid of tough guy Eric Godard, who fought Ottawa's Brian McGrattan last night ... Speaking of the Isles, there's talk GM Mike Milbury could finally get fired if the team doesn't turn things around ... The Penguins wouldn't mind moving RW Ziggy Palffy, D Dick Tarnstrom and G Jocelyn Thibault. The word is Pittsburgh GM Craig Patrick is disappointed in Palffy -- a huge off-season signing who has not produced.

Have a nice Sunday.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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