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NHL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001

Bettman upholds Nolan's suspension

NEW YORK -- Owen Nolan must serve his 11-game suspension after the Sharks' appeal was denied Saturday.

League commissioner Gary Bettman refused to reduce the ban Nolan received this month for his hit on Grant Marshall of the Stars. Nolan won't be eligible to return until the Ottawa game March 1.

"After giving due consideration to the evidence and arguments presented to me on appeal of Mr. Nolan's suspension, I have concluded that the original determination regarding the length of Mr. Nolan's suspension was warranted and appropriate," Bettman said. "Accordingly, Mr. Nolan will serve the full 11-game suspension."

Coyotes fire Smith, hire Fletcher

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- General manager Bobby Smith was fired and replaced by Cliff Fletcher, who signed to a long-term deal as executive vice president and general manager. "Cliff is . . . one of the most respected gentlemen in the game," managing partner Wayne Gretzky said of Fletcher. "His wealth of experience and knowledge of the game will be a valuable asset to our organization.

"Bobby Smith worked very hard under difficult circumstances," Gretzky said. "He did an excellent job, but at this point we felt (we) needed to make a change."

Fletcher, who spent the past two seasons as a Lightning senior adviser, will oversee hockey operations.

LEAFS: Forward Jeff Farkas was recalled from St. John's of the AHL and defenseman David Cooper was sent down.

SABRES: Forward Dave Andreychuk will miss a week with a right knee injury.

Saturday's games

CAPITALS 6, CANADIENS 3: Jeff Halpern scored twice, Peter Bondra scored his 35th of the season and visiting Washington extended its unbeaten streak to nine.

FLYERS 5, THRASHERS 1: Simon Gagne had two goals and an assist and Roman Cechmanek had 28 saves for host Philadelphia.

LEAFS 5, AVALANCHE 5: Alex Tanguay and Adam Deadmarsh each scored for visiting Colorado, which overcame three two-goal deficits. Chris Drury scored the tying goal for the Avs.

SABRES 5, DEVILS 1: Miroslav Satan scored twice and set up two others and host Buffalo capitalized on New Jersey's defensive sloppiness.

PENS 3, JACKETS 2 (OT): Alexei Kovalev scored the winner on an assist by Martin Straka for visiting Pittsburgh.

* * *

TONIGHT ON TV: Red Wings at Stars, 8, ESPN.

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