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NHL briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 11, 2000

Senators gnashing over Yashin's silence

OTTAWA -- Alexi Yashin, back with the Senators after a seasonlong absence because of a contract dispute, will not explain his situation at a team meeting, and some players are upset about that.

"I'm disappointed," defenseman Wade Redden told the Ottawa Sun. "If he sat out that long, he should be willing to sit down and tell us what's going on. I'd like to see him talk to us behind closed doors. We're the guys affected most by what's happened. It would be a nice gesture.

"We don't need an apology, but a lot of stuff has gone on over the past year, and we've been in the middle of it."

Radek Bonk, who took over at No. 1 center in Yashin's absence and was the team's leading scorer, said that if Yashin returned only because he believed he had to -- as he said at a news conference Saturday -- management possibly should "deal with it."

"If he's not here because he wants to be, it's going to be hard," Bonk told the Sun. "If he goes his own way, it's going to be a distraction for the team."

Yashin's return also raises the issue of who will be team captain. Yashin served in the position during 1998-99. Daniel Alfredsson replaced him last season. Coach Jacques Martin said he won't announce his captain until after training camp. Players, including Alfredsson, don't expect a change.

"I don't expect there will be any discussion about it, but I haven't talked to Jacques," he said.

Richer retires after 1 practice with Caps

WASHINGTON -- Two-time 50-goal scorer Stephane Richer won't join the Capitals after all.

The right wing, who signed a one-year free-agent contract last month, surprised the team by announcing his retirement Sunday morning after one practice.

Team officials had no details, releasing a one-sentence statement saying Richer quit.

Richer scored at least 20 goals in 12 of his 15 NHL seasons. His last 20-goal season came with the Montreal Canadiens in 1996-97.

The Capitals hoped Richer would help their power play, which struggled last season, and serve as scoring insurance with right wing Peter Bondra in limbo. Bondra has asked to be traded; the team reportedly will honor his request.

Richer, 34, began last season with the Lightning and was traded to the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 13. He finished with 15 goals and 37 points in 56 games.

OILERS: Captain Doug Weight agreed to terms on a one-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.

MAPLE LEAFS: Goalie Curtis Joseph said he has skipped training camp scrimmages because of a groin problem.

Joseph told the Toronto Sun he hurt himself last week working out with other NHL players in Toronto.

"We're trying to stay on top of it and make sure it doesn't get any worse," he said.

Team therapist Chris Broadhurst said the injury is a strain and Joseph got treatment leading up to camp. "I think it will be a couple of days before he gets back into live action," Broadhurst said.

Broadhurst also is developing a conditioning program for defenseman Bryan Berard, who is at camp in Kitchener, Ontario, visiting teammates. Berard was struck in the right eye by an accidental high stick in a game March 11 and had surgery to reattach the retina.

FLYERS: Negotiations between forward John LeClair and the team on a long-term deal broke down.

LeClair, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, reiterated in the afternoon that unless an agreement was reached by 12:01 a.m. today, there would be no more contract talks -- ever. Late Sunday, his agent, Lewis Gross, said, "As far as I'm concerned, it's over. We didn't talk at all today."

General manager Bob Clarke told a team spokesman he would have something to say today.

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