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NHL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 13, 2001

Report: Bourque will not return

DENVER -- It appears hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time will be the final act in Ray Bourque's 22-year NHL career.

The Denver Post is reporting that the future Hall of Fame defenseman will announce his retirement early next month.

A five-time Norris Trophy winner, Bourque said he was uncertain about his future plans during the Avalanche's championship parade Monday.

"It's not the easiest thing to play when you're 40 years old," Bourque said. "It takes a lot of energy. It has been great. I've enjoyed it.

"I've got to see if the fire, the passion and everything you need to be successful playing this game is going to be there. If I decide it is, then I'll continue. And if I feel that it's going to be tough, then we'll see what we do."

The Avs have known about Bourque's plans for a while, the Post said. By retiring, Bourque, 40, would give up the option year on his contract, worth $6.5-million.

Meanwhile, the injury to forward Joe Sakic's shoulder during the Western Conference semifinal was worse than what the team captain spoke of publicly, defenseman Rob Blake said.

Sakic missed Games 4 and 5 against the Kings. He played Game 6 but didn't take faceoffs.

"He probably would have missed a month if it was during the regular season," Blake said.

Lightning gets new affiliate

The Lightning announced it has entered into a one-year affiliation agreement with the Pensacola Ice Pilots of the East Coast Hockey League. Tampa Bay's affiliation with Johnstown had expired.

The Ice Pilots were founded in 1996-97 when the Nashville Knights relocated. They have made the playoffs three of the past five seasons and average about 6,000 in attendance.

"The Ice Pilots are a first-class operation," Lightning general manager Rick Dudley said in a release.

They also are Tampa Bay's second new minor-league affiliate. The Lightning will share the AHL's Springfield team with the Coyotes after the disbanding of the Detroit Vipers and the IHL.

MAPLE LEAFS: If the team plans to meet with Flyers general manager Bob Clarke to discuss an Eric Lindros trade, it's news to executive Bill Watters, the Toronto Sun reported.

And a sit-down chat with Lindros' representatives -- father Carl and lawyer Gord Kirke -- also is not in the cards.

"We have no plans to discuss anything with the Philadelphia Flyers or with the players on their reserve list," said Watters, the team's assistant to the president. "There is nothing (to talk about)."

KINGS: Los Angeles gave coach Andy Murray a two-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.

Murray, 50, has led the Kings to a 77-59-25-7 record and two playoff berths in two seasons since replacing Larry Robinson on June 14, 1999. "Andy and his staff have done a tremendous job the past two seasons, and we look forward to continuing our quest for the Stanley Cup," general manager Dave Taylor said in a statement.

RANGERS: New York agreed to terms with free-agent defenseman Matt Kinch, 21, who had 18 goals, 66 assists and 52 penalty minutes with Calgary as the top-scoring defensemen of the WHL.

TRADE: The Maple Leafs gained offensive experience, acquiring forwards Travis Green and Robert Reichel from the Coyotes for defenseman Danny Markov. Toronto also obtained minor-leaguer Craig Mills.

RATINGS: ABC's ratings for the Stanley Cup final fell 10.8 percent from a year ago, the network said.

- Staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

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