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NHL

Slapshots

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 30, 2003

Hull to retire (maybe)

Brett Hull signed a one-year, $5-million contract extension last week, but said if a work stoppage shuts down the league in 2004-05, he is calling it quits.

"You can't take a year off and come back," the Red Wings right wing said. "If there's no season after next, I'm done. Just call me when it's over for a managerial job."

Hull, 38, who got a $1-million raise, said he was excited about getting the contract done and called Detroit "a great place to play hockey."

There also is a sense he wants to pass Gordie Howe's 801 goals. With 715 after his hat trick against St. Louis Saturday, it probably would take three more seasons.

Hull said he has been rejuvenated to an extent playing with rookie Henrik Zetterberg and sophomore Pavel Datsyuk. Hull named the line "Two New Kids and the Same Old Goat."

On Datsyuk, he said, "The skill he possesses is mind-boggling."

And Zetterberg? "I've never seen a kid, a first-year guy, who is so composed."

A scar-ry story

Thrashers enforcer Jeff Odgers has a 12-inch jagged scar that runs across his abdomen.

"I was in a bar fight, fighting a guy, and he broke a beer bottle and slashes me," Odgers said. "My buddy threw me in the back of a pickup truck, drives me to the hospital and I get sewn up. They tell me later, a quarter-inch deeper and I'm dead.

"Three months later I see the guy. I pin him down, take out my pocket knife and cut him from his ear to his chin, just deep enough to scar him so he'll never forget."

For real?

"No, that's what I tell the rookies. Their mouths drop open. I walk out of the room and they're like, 'Oh, my God.' I tell them the truth the next day."

Which is?

"Hernia surgery."

Around the league

Marty McSorley, who apparently has not inspired much confidence among Lightning management as coach of AHL Springfield, which the team shares with Phoenix, might be the next Coyotes coach. ... The Ottawa Sun reported the league wants a salary cap of about $32-million in a new collective bargaining agreement with the players. The Bruins might go with rookie Andrew Raycroft as their playoff goaltender because Jeff Hackett broke his right index finger during warmups before a March15 game against the Panthers. ... The Sabres are 16-14-4-6 since Jan. 1. ... A statue of Wayne Gretzky outside Edmonton's Skyreach Centre was adorned with a sign that read "U$ Lackey," apparently to protest his statements supporting George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.

Five Questions with Canucks right wing Todd Bertuzzi:

Q: Has the race for the MVP between you and linemate Markus Naslund caused tension? A: No. The way the team has been playing, individuals are going to succeed too. It's just a good tribute to our teammates.

Q: Is it a goal for you two to become the first 50-goal teammates since Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux?

A: It's never really been a goal of mine. It would be pretty neat for us to finish off the year at 50. But, most importantly, it's not taking away from our team play and our line play. We're a very unselfish line.

Q: If both of you are at 49, who does center Brendan Morrison pass to?

A: He said if we're both at 49 and the three of us were going down on an empty-netter, he said he'd look us off and roof one himself.

Q: What did the Canucks learn from collapsing to the Red Wings in last season's playoffs?

A: We were taught by the older veterans of Detroit how to play for 60 minutes.

Q: With obstruction rules changes, is it easier to score goals this season?

A: No, it's not easy to score goals. The goaltenders are so good. You look at them, 90 percent of them are so big, they cover so much room. To get your goals you have to work extremely hard.

Quotable

"That's where I was born. That's where Columbus came when he founded America -- uh, down Plymouth. And the Boston Tea Party." -- Flyers center Jeremy Roenick when asked what he thinks of when he hears "Boston."

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

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