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Shanahan is winging it in Detroit

December 20, 1996

From coach to the franchise history, Brendan Shanahan makes no secret about his delight playing with the Detroit Red Wings after coming over in an early season trade from Hartford.

``There is a special excitement that goes along with playing on an original-six team and you feel it in the dressing room and feel it when you put on the sweater,″ Shanahan says. ``And, I think the fans are a part of that as well.″

Shanahan says the Red Wings are ``extremely focused″ on winning the Stanley Cup, which escaped them last season after they set a record for most victories in a season.

``If you look at teams like the (Edmonton) Oilers before they won their Cup or even Pittsburgh or the (New York) Islanders before they went on their string, they had some incredibly heartbreaking losses in the playoffs before (they won),″ Shanahan said. ``I saw a video where Mark Messier was saying he didn’t feel that (the Oilers) could have won a Stanley Cup without being able to draw from the experience and the heartbreak of (losing).″

As for playing under Scotty Bowman, the NHL’s all-time winningest coach:

``His mind works like a computer as far as having knowledge for the game ... other teams and their players and personnel. He can make subtle adjustments to our game, to respond to the style in which the team plays or even an individual player. He is very smart that way.″

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PAPER CHASE: John Spano will have to wait until January now to find out officially if the NHL board of governors will approve his purchase of the New York Islanders.

The board failed to rule on the sale at its meetings last week in Phoenix because the paperwork wasn’t in their hands.

The problem, according to Islander spokesman Pat Calabria, was that some of the necessary paperwork was delayed due to the Thanksgiving holiday period from reaching the league’s offices in time to meet a deadline for having the sale on the governors’ agenda. The spokesman said the paperwork will make the NHL office in plenty of time for the next board of governors meeting, set for January at the All-Star Game in San Jose.

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MILLION MILESTONE: The American Hockey League is looking like a million these days. At the gate, at least.

With 51,786 fans attending nine AHL games on Nov. 30, the AHL surpassed the one million mark in attendance. It was the earliest in the league’s 61-year history that it had reached the mark.

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NO MINOR ACHIEVEMENT: Doug Lawrence certainly made his point in a recent game for the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League. In fact, he made seven of them _ all on assists _ to set a CHL record as Tulsa beat San Antonio 10-5. The old record of six was set by Wichita Thunder forward Ron Handy on March 1, 1994,against the Fort Worth Fire.

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CHANGING ROLES?: These are strange days in Tampa Bay for Dino Ciccarelli and Rob Zamuner.

As of Wednesday, Ciccarelli had only two goals in 16 games since pulling off a hat trick on Nov. 8 against Pittsburgh. Zamuner, meanwhile, has 7 goals and 17 assists for 24 points to rank third in team scoring, one point behind Ciccarelli.

Ciccarelli is an offensive specialist and Zamuner a defensive specialist, and Lightning coach Terry Crisp doesn’t want to see a reversal of roles.

``It’s nice to see Zamuner get the accolades, but I want to caution him that his job is still to kill penalities,″ Crisp said.

End advance for Dec. 21-22

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