There once was a guy named Brad Murray who used to keep all the boxscores from previous seasons. I think his domain was called scoresandstats.com, but that doesn't appear to be active. He used to have .zip files containing all boxscores for a season. If you can track him down, he still might have them.
Sorry, my apologies..it seems that USA Today has removed the old archived boxscores from their site and instead has placed them in their paid archive location.
You can always join the hockey summary project on Yahoo groups and download the 96-97 boxscores from their zip files. Their page is at ca.geocites.com/hockey_summaries and website is at: sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/hockey_summary_project/