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Shoot down shootout

The NHL may tweak its shootout procedures some day to fall in line with the world junior tournament, where the first three shooters are random but after that you can go back to the well and pick someone from the top three to go again, but Oilers coach Craig MacTavish doesn't want to see it. Not in his time.

"(Jussi) Jokinen would be playing until he's 60 if you did that," deadpanned MacTavish as he offered a plug for the NHL's best shootout guy, who's 14 for 18 lifetime in shootouts. "Heck, you'd have beer-leaguers coming out." True enough, but they're in the entertainment business and the shootout is all about individual skills, not team stuff.

Dallas goalie Marty Turco would probably be on MacTavish's side, too, even though he's the best in the business in shootouts. He hates them. "On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being I despise them, I'd rate shootouts a nine," said Turco.

Jokinen's A move is a quick short-side shot over the goalie's stick, and his B is the one-handed shovel like he scored on Dwayne Roloson on Thursday. The shovel job has a bit of hotdog in it, but whatever works.

"He's comfortable with that move, but it's a pretty flashy one. One of these days a goalie is going to poke-check the puck off his stick," said Oilers forward Petr Sykora.

Little cost for big Price

Dallas forward Stu Barnes is part owner with Olie Kolzig of star Canadian junior goalie Carey Price's Tri-City Americans. "We may have to give him a raise from $75 a week to $85," joked Barnes of the serf's wages junior players are paid. "Actually, we also have the rights to (Jonathan) Toews and Jack Johnson. Would be nice if they decided to leave school and play for us." Not likely. Johnson will be on L.A.'s blue-line as soon as he signs, maybe after his sophomore year at U of Michigan. Toews (U of North Dakota) will be playing for the Blackhawks next year, or perhaps this March if he wants to leave school. Price might actually get dealt to the Memorial Cup hosts, the Vancouver Giants.

Don't mind my net

Nashville backup Chris Mason has bailed out the Predators big-time, starting 22 straight games and playing 40 of the last 57 with Tomas Vokoun out (blood clot and damaged thumb), but Vokoun is still the No. 1 goalie there. There won't be any 1 and 1A like with Vesa Toskala and Evgeni Nabokov in San Jose, where they rotate every game. Vokoun is Mason's good friend but business is business. He wants to play.

"I don't think any goalie who comes back from an injury should have to split time and be comfortable with it. That's my position. That's where I stand," said the antsy Vokoun, who will start Tuesday against the Ducks, with a plastic splint on his left thumb.

This and that

Patrik Stefan's empty-net goof against the Oilers found its way onto Good Morning America and Rome is Burning, Jim Rome's ESPN show Friday.

Carolina pro scout Marshall Johnston loves watching Kings rookie Anze Kopitar. "I see a lot of Jean Beliveau in him," said Johnston.

The Sharks had 11 power-play goals in their two romps over the Red Wings in San Jose, that's 11 out of the 14 goals they scored. I'd say Detroit needs some work on the penalty kill.

Martin Havlat felt a pop in his groin the other night in Chicago. Bad news for the Blackhawks, who were dead offensively when he had a high ankle sprain.

Best bang for the buck in the NHL: Dan Cleary. Only $625,000 this year and $675,000 next season in Detroit.
 
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