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Slap shots

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 27, 2002


Sniper capture eases worries of Capitals' Simon and family

Chris Simon said he heaved a huge sigh of relief when the snipers who terrorized the Washington, D.C., area were apparently captured. The Capitals left wing lives in Montgomery County, Md., where six people were killed.

"I was worried," said Simon, who lives with his wife, Valerie, and daughter, Sierra, 18 months. "My wife and I, every few hours, we'd make sure we had contact with each other. You're nervous because if something happens to your wife, your daughter is there alone. I'm just thankful the police and FBI have done a great job capturing this ... I would call him a coward because people were defenseless."

Simon said he found himself looking over his shoulder. When he pumped gas, he said he sat in the car until the tank was full so as not to be a target. Valerie and Sierra stayed close to home.

"She would rather have been out doing things with my daughter, but safety is No. 1," Simon said. "You were always keeping an eye out. You were always watching and making sure there wasn't someone lurking in the woods. It was a sick plan, and you would like to see what the reason is. It seems like no reason whatsoever."

Penalty shots

Brett Hull does not think much of the job officials are doing. The Red Wings right wing went off after Wednesday's tie at 3 with the Kings in which 11 obstruction-related penalties were called.

"I don't know what to say," Hull said. "I don't think the refs understand the rules. The rules were meant to stop the obstruction between the blue lines, and they don't even call that. It's terrible. It is meant to make the game better but it's making it worse. One game there is two penalties on each team, and then two games in a row there's 15 each. It's ridiculous."

Hull said it is useless to put together a game plan when "all you're doing is killing penalties and playing on the power play. How do you adjust your game plan when you don't know what they're calling? They need to have some sort of meeting or get-together with the general managers. It's not fun to play, and it's certainly not fun for the fans to watch."

Five questions

With Rangers enforcer Dale Purinton:

Q: How many tattoos do you have?

A: You could probably count about 500.

Q: Why so many?

A: It's just something I enjoy doing, and it goes no farther than that. I'm first and foremost a hockey player and that's kind of my personal life. I don't really walk around with short sleeves ar anything. No one ever really sees them.

Q: Don't you have your name tattooed across the top of your back?

A: Yeah, in Old English writing. Me and a guy named Todd Fedoruk (with the Flyers), we played together in juniors and just got this idea. It has nothing to do with hockey or anything like that. It's just personal things we do as people.

Q: Painful?

A: They're really painful, to tell you the truth. You can't come across many things to compare it to. It's probably a 10 out of 10. I don't recommend it, that's for sure.

Q: Of which tattoo are you most proud?

A: My parents' and grandparents' initials on my left forearm.

Around the league

Expected to be one of the league's up-and-coming teams, Edmonton won one of its first seven and lost three to goalies playing their first NHL games. ... The prospects for Thrashers coach Curt Fraser are so bleak he is expected to be fired during a four-day break after Saturday's game against the Panthers. ... Things are a bit better for Nashville coach Barry Trotz, who was winless entering Saturday's game against the Red Wings. He and general manager David Poile go back 15 years. ... Former Lightning center Chris Gratton, who has a broken bone in his foot, has three goals, seven assists in his first six games with Sabres. ... Former Lightning goalie Kevin Weekes was 3-2-0 for the Hurricanes with a .934 save percentage and 1.93 goals-against average in his first six games. ... Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter said doctors could clear Theo Fleury to skate in two weeks. ... Too bad for the Wild, which lost forward Bill Muckalt with a dislocated right shoulder. Muckalt, who did not scorein 70 games with the Senators last season, had a team-high five in Minnesota's first six. ... The announced 10,140 for Tuesday's game at Buffalo's HSBC Arena was 24 fans short of the smallest at the 6-year-old facility. "It's kind of sad the fans don't show support," forward Vaclav Varada said. "It feels like no help."

Quotable

"Most of us would do that, get dizzy, shoot the puck into the corner and get the heck off the ice." -- Oilers forward Ryan Smyth after watching Colorado's Peter Forsberg score after fighting off Edmonton defenseman Jason Smith behind the net and skating in front for a spin-o-rama that beat goalie Tommy Salo over the shoulder

-- Compiled by staff writer Damian Cristodero, using personal interviews and information from other news organizations.

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