ATLANTA - The Russian Rocket may have been grounded for good. Pavel Bure faces more knee surgery, which likely would force him to miss a year and possibly end his once brilliant career.
Bure's agent, Mike Gillis, admits his client is unlikely to play for the New York Rangers this season. Bure still is experiencing pain in his right knee, which has been reconstructed twice.
Bure, 32, had arthroscopic procedures on both knees last season and played only 39 games.
"I know the guy has worked hard this summer," Rangers coach and president Glen Sather said. "But when you go through as much trauma (with the knee) as he's had, we do have some contingency plans."
Bure led the NHL in goals three times and twice scored more than 100 points in 12 seasons with Vancouver, Florida and the Rangers.
BLACKHAWKS: Chicago signed Finnish forward Tuomo Ruutu, considered by most the best player outside the NHL last season. Ruutu was the ninth pick in the 2001 draft.
CANUCKS: Vancouver obtained a needed backup for goalie Dan Cloutier by trading a second-round draft pick to Pittsburgh for Johan Hedberg.
COYOTES: The sight in Landon Wilson's left eye, injured by a puck last season, has been restored to 20/30 with the help of a contact lens, and he is ready to return to the lineup - wearing a visor.
"They're really astonished at how much eyesight I've gotten back with the contact lens," Wilson said. "They thought I'd never play hockey again. They were more worried about me seeing again enough to drive a car and do things like that."
PENGUINS: Defenseman Drake Berehowsky and left wing Reid Simpson, both unrestricted free agents, signed Friday.
STARS: Despite his stated goal to cut future payroll, Dallas owner Tom Hicks gave captain Mike Modano a $9.5-million contract extension for 2004-05.