Aebischer alone in NHL
Swiss Stanley Cup winner David Aebischer will be the country's only representative in North America's National Hockey League (NHL) when the new season gets underway on Wednesday.
Swiss international defenders Goran Bezina (Phoenix Coyotes) and Julien Vauclair (Ottawa Senators) have both been told that they will be starting the season with their club's farm teams in the lower AHL.
However both players are expected to be called up to the first team in the near future after impressing in pre-season play. Despite his defensive position, Vauclair scored twice in four matches for the Senators. Bezina, who also got on the scoresheet for the Coyotes, is likely to benefit from a number of injuries in the Phoenix line-up.
Aebischer keeps deputy role
Aebischer will just be hoping for a lot more of the same this season, after winning ice hockey's biggest club trophy in his first year in the NHL. The young goalie from Fribourg is again set to deputise for Patrick Roy, after the legendary netminder agreed to renew his contract with the Colorado team.
The Avalanche appear to have stuck to the old saying that you don't change a winning team, with their other stars Rob Blake and Joe Sakic also signing extensions.
There will be no shortage of teams looking to prevent Aebischer and his Colorado team-mates lifting the Stanley Cup for a second successive year. In the Western Conference, the Avs are expected to face particularly strong opposition from the Detroit Red Wings and the Dallas Stars.
Both teams have been busy in the transfer market. The Red Wings have signed wingers Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull, who have scored more than 1,300 goals between them in the past 15 seasons. The Detroit side defense also looks more than capable, following the acquistion of the Czech Republic's Olympic gold medal winning goalkeeper Dominik Hlasek.
The big signing at Dallas is former St Louis Blues centre Pierre Turgeon, who joins up with two other top quality centres in the shape of Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk.
In the east, the New Jersey Devils will be looking for revenge against the Avalanche following last season's defeat in the deciding game of the playoff finals. The Devils have lost Alexander Mogilny to Toronto, but have held on to goalkeeper Martin Brodeur and their first line of attack.
The Washington Capitals will also be expecting some payback after signing Jaromir Jagr in the biggest transfer deal of the summer. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has described the acquisition of the Czech forward, five times the league's top scorer, as a sign of Washington's commitment "to sincerely compete for the Stanley Cup."
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