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IN THE CREASE
Pierre McGuire
September 25, 2000
Once the coyotes are officially sold to a group led by Wayne Gretzky and businessman Steve Ellman, look for top-notch goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who sat out last season because of a contract dispute, to sign a deal and return to the team. Khabibulin, in fact, even offered to come to training camp without a contract, but current owner Richard Burke told him he was not welcome. Moreover, Burke signed unrestricted free-agent goalie Sean Burke (no relation) to a one-year, $1.3 million deal two weeks ago. Expect the new owners to deal Burke, possibly to the Penguins, as soon as they gain control of the club....
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September 25, 2000

In The Crease

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Once the coyotes are officially sold to a group led by Wayne Gretzky and businessman Steve Ellman, look for top-notch goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who sat out last season because of a contract dispute, to sign a deal and return to the team. Khabibulin, in fact, even offered to come to training camp without a contract, but current owner Richard Burke told him he was not welcome. Moreover, Burke signed unrestricted free-agent goalie Sean Burke (no relation) to a one-year, $1.3 million deal two weeks ago. Expect the new owners to deal Burke, possibly to the Penguins, as soon as they gain control of the club....

Vancouver's Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, may be the best-known rookies entering the NHL this season, but here are five other first-year forwards who should make an impact in 2000-01: Martin Havlat and Petr Schastlivy of the Senators, Oleg Saprykin of the Flames, Milan Kraft of the Penguins and Denis Shvidki of the Panthers.... Which agent will win the Vincent Lecavalier sweepstakes? The Lightning's star center split with agent Bob Sauve last month, and suitors are lining up to represent him. Lecavalier, 20, is expected to have a breakout season and could be a hot property for endorsements....

Red Wings checking center Kris Draper is not doing himself any favors by holding out and refusing to sign the one-year, $900,000 deal the team is offering. (He wants a multiyear contract at slightly more money per season than the team is willing to pay.) During the summer Detroit brought in free-agent center Boyd Devereaux, who has performed well in camp, and also moved defenseman Mathieu Dandenault to forward, making the front line a crowded place. Playing well on an excellent team would help Draper, who could be an unrestricted free agent in July 2001, cash in next summer.

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