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Report: Jagr thinks Pens trade him soon

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 12, 2001


TORONTO -- Jaromir Jagr told a Czech Republic newspaper he is "90 percent sure" he'll be traded this summer.

"When I was younger, I couldn't have imagined it," Jagr was reported as saying Tuesday. "But the moment is getting closer, probably this summer."

The Penguins captain, who earned $9,482,708 this season, said he has no control over his eventual destination.

"The team is going to send me to a club that would give them the best players in return and not where I'd want to go," Jagr said. "My only advantage is, only a few teams can afford my salary."

Jagr made a trade request this season before Penguins part-owner Mario Lemieux came out of retirement. Some speculated Lemieux made his comeback to keep Jagr happy.

TEAM USA: Fifteen NHL players and one collegian make up the preliminary roster for the U.S. team that will compete at the upcoming world championships.

The initial selections for the International Ice Hockey Federation men's world championship was announced 17 days before the competition begins in Hannover, Cologne, and Nuremburg, Germany.

The remaining seven members of the 23-player team for the two-week tournament will be announced later this month.

Only goalie Ryan Miller from Michigan State did not see significant action in the NHL this season. The Hobey Baker award winner as the top college player will be joined in the nets by Rick DiPietro, the only goalie chosen with the first pick in the league's entry draft, and Phoenix's Robert Esche.

The forwards are Jim Campbell (Canadiens), Tim Connolly and Mark Parrish (Islanders), Matt Cullen (Anaheim), Darby Hendrickson (Wild), David Legwand (Predators), and Landon Wilson (Coyotes).

The defensemen are Mark Eaton (Predators), Hal Gill and Eric Weinrich (Bruins), Bret Hedican (Panthers), Phil Housley (Flames), and Deron Quint (Blue Jackets).

Lou Vairo, chosen as an assistant for the 2002 U.S. Olympic team, will be the coach of the world championships squad for the second straight year.

The U.S. team, which was 4-1-2 and finished fifth last year, begins preliminary-round play April 28 vs. Ukraine.

TEAM CANADA: Bruins center Joe Thornton was among five players named to the Canadian team for the world championships.

Joining Thornton will be Boston teammate Kyle McLaren and Stephane Robidas of the Canadiens on defense and forwards Brad Isbister of the Islanders and Wes Walz of the Wild.

Canada opens against Norway on April 28.

Thornton, Isbister and Walz have previous international experience.

COYOTES: The team reached a deal with the Glendale City Council for a 17,500-seat arena.

The city council approved a measure Wednesday committing $180-million to help build the arena on a 200-acre site near Loop 101, one of the Phoenix metro area's major arteries.

The Coyotes, who would begin play at the arena in 2003 or 2004, agreed to stay there for 30 years, paying no rent for the first 10.

"The Coyotes are so happy to be able to stay in Arizona," said owner Steve Ellman, who had planned to develop an arena at the site of a defunct mall in Scottsdale. "At our last game, I was thinking it might have been the last we played in Arizona."

Ellman and team officials said the Coyotes would have left the Phoenix area had a deal not been struck. They said there were offers from other areas, but would not elaborate.

* * *

Tonight's playoff previews

Eastern conference

WHO: Devils (No. 1 seed) vs. Hurricanes (8).

RECORDS: New Jersey -- 48-19-12-3; Carolina 38-32-9-3.

SEASON SERIES: Devils 2-1-1.

THE LOWDOWN: Free from injuries and with sharpshooters Patrik Elias and Alexander Mogilny at the top of their games, the Devils won the conference with a team-record 111 points and a league-best 295 goals. Goaltender Martin Brodeur was, well, Brodeur, and a punishing defense was one of the league's best. The Hurricanes have five 20-goal scorers and a defense led by Sandis Ozolinsh and Dave Tanabe that created opportunities and got ironman goaltending from Arturs Irbe.

KEYS TO VICTORY: New Jersey -- Play the disciplined style that created the league's largest goal differential (100); keep the league's No. 1 power play (22.9 percent efficiency) rolling. Carolina -- Hope the defending Stanley Cup champions are overconfident.

DAMIAN CRISTODERO'S PREDICTION: Devils in four.

WHO: Capitals (3) vs. Penguins (6).

RECORDS: Washington -- 41-27-10-4; Pittsburgh -- 42-28-9-3.

SEASON SERIES: 2-2.

THE LOWDOWN: Goaltender Olaf Kolzig is a great equalizer, and Peter Bondra always is a threat. But Washington was 4-7-0-2 to close the season and 1-4-0-2 against playoff teams. The Penguins were also-rans until Mario Lemieux returned, which, no surprise, was when Jaromir Jagr came alive. Pittsburgh has major firepower but a rookie goaltender in Johan Hedberg.

KEYS TO VICTORY: Washington -- Stand-on-his head play from Kolzig; more offense from Trevor Linden and Dainius Zubris, who were acquired from Montreal to give the second line a boost. Pittsburgh -- Hedberg must not wilt under his first playoff pressure; the second line -- Martin Straka, Alexei Kovalev and Robert Lang -- must take some of the pressure off Lemieux and Jagr.

CRISTODERO'S PREDICTION: Penguins in six.

Western conference

WHO: Avalanche (1) vs. Canucks (8).

RECORDS: Colorado -- 52-16-10-4; Vancouver -- 36-28-11-7.

SEASON SERIES: Avalanche 3-2.

THE LOWDOWN: Much is made of the Avalanche's offense, but it is the defense, led by Ray Bourque (questionable for tonight's opener because of a lower back strain), Rob Blake and Adam Foote, that keyed the run to the Presidents Cup. The team has no apparent weaknesses and a huge strength in goaltender Patrick Roy. Vancouver won just two of its final 17 games. Losing captain and top scorer Markus Naslund to a broken leg and No. 2 scorer Andrew Cassels to a sprained ankle broke Vancouver's spirit.

KEYS TO VICTORY: Colorado -- Stay focused; ride the league's No. 3 power play, which also is No. 1 on the road (24.4 percent). Vancouver -- Either Dan Cloutier or Bob Essensa must play at another level in net; crank up the aggressiveness on the penalty kill.

CRISTODERO'S PREDICTION: Avalanche in five.

WHO: Blues (4) vs. Sharks (5).

RECORDS: St. Louis -- 43-22-12-5; San Jose -- 40-27-12-3.

SEASON SERIES: 2-2.

THE LOWDOWN: The Blues lost Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis and Pavol Demitra for long stretches, and neither Roman Turek nor rookie Brent Johnson could win the No. 1 goaltending job. St. Louis has not beaten a team over .500 since February. The Sharks reasserted themselves by winning three of their last four after a horrible March. Getting Vincent Damphousse back from a shoulder injury is a big plus.

KEYS TO VICTORY: St. Louis -- Get Pronger, MacInnis and Demitra back into form; goaltending must be more consistent. San Jose -- Give rookie goaltender Evgeni Nabokov as much help as possible; crank up the league's best road penalty kill unit (88.9 percent); Teemu Selanne must get hot.

CRISTODERO'S PREDICTION: Blues in six.

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