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NHL briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 26, 2000

Richer signs with Capitals

WASHINGTON -- Former Lightning forward Stephane Richer signed a one-year deal Friday with the Capitals for between $1-million and $1.5-million, depending on incentives.

Richer, 34, played with Tampa Bay for three seasons and was traded to St. Louis on Jan. 13. Last season Richer had 15 goals and 37 points in 56 games with Tampa Bay and St. Louis. Richer is a two-time 50-goal scorer and has scored at least 20 goals in 12 of his 15 seasons. His last 20-goal season came with Montreal in 1996-97.

Richer has 407 career goals with 92 on the power play, which could be a vital ingredient in Washington.

"The one area we've lagged is on the power play and Richer has the skill to play on the power play and run a power play and he can play different positions on the power play down low or in the slot or on the point. It's a manager's hunch. This could be a good fit and we'll see how it goes," Capitals general manager George McPhee said.

The Capitals scored on 15 percent of their power-play chances last season.

Richer played 110 games for the Lightning from 1997-2000 with 28 goals and 37 assists.

Peter Bondra has borne the scoring load for the Capitals in recent seasons, but slumped to match his career-low 21 goals last season. Bondra has one year, worth $3.9-million, left on his contract and has asked to be traded.

AVALANCHE: Forwards Milan Hejduk and Chris Drury, both 24, are restricted free agents without contracts. It is unlikely they will be in camp, which begins in two weeks, until they have signed.

"I would like him to be there and Milan would like to be there," Hejduk's agent, Jiri Crha, said. "Unfortunately, you never know what could happen."

Crha said specific salary numbers have not been discussed in contract talks. He said he would prefer a one-year deal for Hejduk, who made $690,000 last season. Hejduk scored a team-high 36 goals and finished second to Joe Sakic with 72 points.

Drury, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie two years ago, was the team's third-leading scorer with 20 goals and 67 points. His pay was $640,000.

BRUINS: Left wing Joe Hulbig signed to a one-year contract. Hulbig, 26, played in 24 games last season with two goals, two assists and eight penalty minutes, before suffering a season-ending groin injury in January.

ISLANDERS: Defenseman Branislav Mezei, the third of the team's four 1999 first-round draft picks, signed a three-year contract.

RUSSIANS SALUTE FETISOV: Vyacheslav Fetisov bade farewell to Russian hockey by scoring the winning goal for the Russian All-Stars as thousands in Moscow cheered the man who went from Soviet sports icon to NHL star.

"I've come back to say thank you," Fetisov said at the match against the World All-Stars 2000.

Fetisov scored in the final minute to make it 7-6.

Fetisov, a seven-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion as a member of the Soviet team, was the first to leave the Central Army team in Moscow and join the New Jersey Devils 11 years ago.

He won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings, and one as an assistant coach with the Devils.

Fetisov, 42, ended his career as a player two years ago.

Fetisov has said he might coach the Russian team for the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 if asked.

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