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Slap shots

Compiled by DAMIAN CRISTODERO

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000


ANOTHER ROUND, MARIO?: For many golfers, the best part of their round is the 19th hole. Penguins owner Mario Lemieux said the 19th hole is Japan is really the fourth hole -- and any other hole you care to mention.

"They play about three holes, then you go into a little shack and have some beer and sake," said Lemieux, who was in Japan for his team's two games with the Predators. "Then you play a few more holes, and you have a little more beer and sake. Then, when you finish the round, you have more beer and sake. It was a great experience, but it took six or seven hours to play the round."

Lemieux wouldn't say what he shot, but quipped, "Obviously, I was better on the front nine than on the back nine."

FRESH FISH: Speaking of Japan, Predators general manager David Poile attended an unusual auction that began before sunup and featured wholesalers bidding on 500-pound tunas.

"It was absolute mass confusion and chaos," he said. "It was just like what I assume the New York Stock Exchange is like."

Tuna wasn't the only seafood up for bids.

"They would hold up live eels and fillet them right in front of your eyes," Poile said. "I went back to the hotel and had my bananas and cereal."

JET LAG: Upon arriving home at 6 p.m. Monday after a 15-hour flight from Tokyo, Penguins right wing Ian Moran had trouble with his internal clock.

Check out this odyssey:

"I got home and had a bowl of Golden Grahams, a bagel, two puddings, turned on Monday Night Football and woke up with drool all down the front of my T-shirt," Moran said. "I went upstairs, took a shower, trimmed my beard, fell asleep until around 1 (a.m.), was wide awake from 1 until 4, fell back asleep at 8:30 and slept unbelievable. Woke up again with one of my dogs in the bed and had no idea where I was or what I was doing. That was my night."

SHORT TAKES: Canucks twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin look so much alike, even their teammates have trouble teling them apart. "I think Daniel has a chip on his front tooth," goaltender Bob Essensa said. "Other than that, forget it." ... The Thrashers decided a paintball outing would solidify team unity, but it appears coach Curt Fraser got fragged. "I got shot by one of my own guys," he said. "I was sitting behind a tree and (Sergei) Vyshedkevich just shot me. He said he was trying to help me out. I think most of my guys were color blind." ... On his first day with the Flames after signing a three-year, $3-million contract, Marc Savard was razzed mercilessly by his teammates, who demanded he buy them lunch. The order: 30 Triple Whoppers. ... Wild goaltender and all-around good guy Jamie McLennan was on the Jim Rome radio show last week. "I've got a face for radio," McLennan said.

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