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NHL roundup

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 10, 2001

Belfour returns to Stars

The Stars saw No. 1 goalie Ed Belfour clash with coach Ken Hitchcock during a morning practice in Boston, walk out on the team and get suspended. Then Dallas won twice while Belfour and his ego kept each other company.

If Belfour and the Stars didn't quite kiss and make up Tuesday, they at least agreed to work on their problems. The goaltender's two-day suspension was lifted after he met with Hitchcock, general manager Bob Gainey and assistant GM Doug Armstrong. Belfour was expected to sit behind rookie Marty Turco again tonight against Atlanta.

"I'd like to handle things better than that on a normal basis," Belfour said. "I made a mistake that day. I overreacted to the coach, and maybe he was overreacting, too. But I shouldn't have acted that way."

The Stars fared well without Belfour, but not against elite teams (4-0 over the Bruins, 2-1 over the Rangers). And Belfour going ballistic is hardly new. He is not called "Crazy Eddie" because he sells stereos at deep discounts. He was arrested last year after a drunken rage and tried to bribe a police officer with a "billion dollars."

On the ice, he has been the key to Dallas' success, outplaying Buffalo's Dominik Hasek in the 1999 final. But he has dropped four of his past six starts, allowing 18 goals to Minnesota, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Detroit.

"I have to understand how to deal with a person who's struggling for maybe the first time since he's been here," Hitchcock said.

CAPITALS: Center Jeff Halpern will miss 7-10 days with a pulled groin.

PENGUINS: Player/owner Mario Lemieux said he wants to play in the All-Star Game next month at Denver. Lemieux, who returned Dec. 27, is not on the ballot. He has six goals and 10 assists in six games.

WILD: Rookie Maxim Sushinsky left to return to his native Russia. His agent, Gary Greenstin, said the right wing was homesick and unhappy with his lack of playing time.

Tuesday's games

BRUINS 5, PENGUINS 2: Lemieux didn't sppear to be bothered by playing on consecutive nights. The rest of the Penguins might have been. Lemieux played back-to-back games for the first time in his comeback and scored in the first and third periods, but Boston's Andrei Kovalenko scored three times in the third.

HURRICANES 7, PANTHERS 3: Carolina led 5-0 in the second period and ran its home unbeaten streak to 6-0-1. Hurricanes center Ron Francis scored his 1,589th career point, one short of Phil Esposito for fifth on the career list.

COYOTES 2, RED WINGS 2: Keith Tkachuk's goal tied the score with 6:34 left for visiting Phoenix, which got a point despite being outshot 41-15. Phoenix's Sean Burke made 39 saves.

BLACKHAWKS 6, ISLANDERS 3: Jaroslav Spacek had a goal and two assists and visiting Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first period despite being outshot 17-6.

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