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NHL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 26, 2001

Lemieux tries to spur Jagr

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Mario Lemieux says teammate and NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr needs to do more for the Penguins to win another Stanley Cup.

"I think we need him to play a little better for us to have a chance to go all the way," Lemieux said Wednesday. "He's got to elevate his game and be a leader."

Lemieux's comments came as Pittsburgh prepared to meet the Sabres in an Eastern Conference semifinal series that opens tonight in Buffalo.

Asked about Jagr's state of mind, Lemieux said: "Hopefully he's happy. ... He's a young guy who's had a great career so far. He's making $10-million a year. He's a single guy. This is the best time of his life, and I'm not sure he realizes that. I've been talking to him a little bit about that the last couple of days."

After winning his fourth straight regular-season scoring title, Jagr had one goal and five assists in Pittsburgh's first-round elimination of Washington.

Meanwhile, defenseman Bobby Dollas has left the team for undisclosed personal reasons and will not return, general manager Craig Patrick said. Dollas, 36, had no points in five regular-season games and did not play against the Capitals.

DEVILS: Center Jason Arnott was expected to return tonight when New Jersey hosts Toronto in Game 1 of their East semifinal series. Arnott had an MRI exam on his injured left knee Monday and was declared fit. He missed Sunday's 5-1 series-clinching victory over Carolina.

FLYERS: General manager Bob Clarke is trying to set up a meeting with Eric Lindros. Clarke said he has put in a call to Lindros lawyer Gordon Kirke and asked for a meeting to determine if Lindros would consider being traded to another team besides Toronto. He wants to know before the free-agent period starts July 1.

MAPLE LEAFS: For the past three days of practice, goalie Curtis Joseph has held a stick 8 inches long in his right hand for any drill involving stopping the puck. He was coy when asked the reason.

"I will just avoid (that question)," Joseph said, smiling. "I'm not going to lie to you."

SABRES: Center Erik Rasmussen, nursing a mildly separated right shoulder, is doubtful for tonight, coach Lindy Ruff said Wednesday. Rasmussen was scheduled to have the shoulder evaluated this morning.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Canada finalized its 23-player roster for the tournament, which begins Saturday in Germany, by adding forwards Rem Murray of the Oilers and Kris Draper of the Red Wings.

- and contributed to this report.

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