Experts Rumor Update:

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Eric Lindros may not last much longer as a New York Ranger.

Reliable sources report that the Rangers have talked to at least three teams about a Lindros deal — two in the west and the Boston Bruins in the east. And there may be others.

Rangers general manager Glen Sather refused to confirm or deny the reports.

Meanwhile, the Bruins are stirring the trade pot by putting Martin Lapointe and Kyle McLaren on the front burner of the trade oven.

The Maple Leafs had been contemplating pulling the trigger on a deal that would have sent Bryan McCabe and Alyn McCauley to the Bruins for Lapointe and McLaren, but the injury to McCabe may have terminated those discussions.

At the moment, the Colorado Avalanche seem to be the front-runners. Their offer is Martin Skoula and Alex Tanguay.

The Bruins reportedly are trying to get more and justifiably so. Tanguay has been in the doghouse for a long time and Skoula has been available all season.

Probably, the Rangers would have to toss in another warm body to win the auction, but the Lindros-to-Boston deal makes the most sense.

The Rangers are one of the few teams that can absorb Lapointe’s $5.5-million US salary and, at the same time, retain some of the Lindros obligation.

And anyone familiar with the Bruins knows financial considerations of that nature are paramount.

At the moment, the Rangers are struggling, largely because the power play is awful, a fact that could be altered if (a) Lindros was taken off it and (b) a decent scorer was willing to park himself in front of the net.

Lapointe for Lindros would solve both those problems — at least it would when Lapointe returns to action. Furthermore, although the players in question deny it, there are persistent reports of a rift between Lindros and Pavel Bure.

The Bruins got Lapointe in a fit of pique and have regretted it ever since.

Owner Jeremy Jacobs got into a shouting match with Mike Ilitch of the Detroit Red Wings at a governors’ meeting.

Jacobs wanted Ilitch to cut corners, a practice with which Jacobs is more than familiar.

Ilitch told him to mind his own business, pointing out that while there were Stanley Cup banners in Detroit, the only thing the Bruins ever won was the first draft pick.

Jacobs was furious and decided that no matter what it cost, he would take Lapointe, who was about to become an unconditional free agent, away from the Wings.

He succeeded, but paid far above market value in the process.

Now, with the Bruins unable to draw 10,000 despite having a first-place team, and with Lapointe having been out of the lineup, the feeling is that Lindros could boost local interest.

And since the Bruins are winning without McLaren and Lapointe, what have they lost by making the deal?

W.C.


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