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League opens season tonight with Avs-Stars

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 4, 2000

The first puck of the NHL season drops tonight in Dallas, the same place last season came to a sudden end.

Less than four months after a goal by New Jersey's Jason Arnott beat Dallas in double overtime to win the Stanley Cup, Reunion Arena welcomes Colorado, the team the Stars beat to advance to the final the last two seasons.

"There is a real respect level between the teams," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said Tuesday. "There is a really intense individual competition."

The Stars and Avalanche open the season as the lone game. Five games are scheduled Thursday.

Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy needs only four victories to reach 448 and break Terry Sawchuk's career victory record.

Minnesota and Columbus join the league and Mark Messier comes back to the New York Rangers. Minnesota has a team for the first time since the North Stars left for Dallas after the 1992-93 season. The Wild play its first home game on Oct. 11 against Philadelphia. The Blue Jackets start Saturday at home against Chicago.

New York will cheer the return of its captain when the Rangers play their home opener Oct. 11.

The Devils begin their quest for two straight titles when they raise their championship banner Friday at home against Montreal.

Around the league

BLACKHAWKS: Kris King, 34, who had two goals and 55 penalty minutes in 39 games with Toronto last season, was released.

CAPITALS: Defenseman Sergei Gonchar signed a four-year, $13.3-million deal, leaving forward Chris Simon as Washington's lone holdout.

KINGS: Los Angeles placed right wing Ziggy Palffy and goalie Stephane Fiset on injured reserve, but Palffy (broken finger) is eligible to play in the team's season opener Friday at Washington.

RED WINGS: Captain Steve Yzerman, who injured a knee during Thursday's preseason game against Toronto, went on injured reserve. Detroit said he would not play Thursday at Calgary or Friday at Edmonton, but expects him to be ready for the home opener Oct. 11 against Edmonton.

SABRES: Veteran forward Doug Gilmour is questionable for Buffalo's opener Thursday against Chicago after missing two practices with a sore hip.

SHARKS: Center Ron Sutter and ex-Lightning defenseman Rudy Poeschek were released.

Tuesday's game

HURRICANES 5, CAPITALS 3: In the league's final preseason game, visiting Carolina broke a 3-3 tie with late goals by Jeff O'Neill and Tommy Westlund, who assisted on each other's scores.

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