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Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 3, 2000

Panthers still for sale

No buyer is on the horizon for the Florida Panthers even though it has been nearly a year since Boca Resorts hired an investment banking firm to sell the hockey team.

"There has been a lot of activity," Boca Resorts chairman H. Wayne Huizenga told shareholders at the company's annual meeting Thursday in Fort Lauderdale. "We've talked to a number of people who have expressed interest. But there have been no offers."

Boca Resorts wants to sell the club because it doesn't fit with its luxury resort hotels, which account for about 86 percent of the company's revenue. Its properties include the Boca Raton Resort & Club and the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Resort and Marina in Fort Lauderdale.

Asked why it was taking so long to sell the team, Huizenga said, "First, what's happening in sports today is a little difficult. We have had significant interest. We just have not been able to agree on a price." He didn't identify any parties, but Richard C. Rochon, Boca Resorts' president, said a serious buyer from the northeast backed out for personal reasons about a month ago.

Without elaborating on those difficulties, Huizenga said declining attendance has not been a factor in the failure to find a buyer. The Panthers have drawn an average of 14,592 fans to their first five games at the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise, a 7 percent decline from the first five games last year. Average attendance for last season fell 13.5 percent from 1998-99, the club's first in the new facility.

"As soon as the team starts winning a few games, attendance will go up again," Huizenga said. The team has won just one of its first 11 games.

MAPLE LEAFS: Forward Darcy Tucker signed a four-year, $5.3-million extension. Tucker, 25, has one goal in 11 games this season. He had 21 goals in 77 games last season with Toronto and Tampa Bay.

OILERS: Goalie Tommy Salo signed a three-year, $10.4-million contract extension.

Thursday's games

PREDATORS 3, FLYERS 1: Cliff Ronning and Robert Valicevic scored in a 2:20 span of the first, giving Nashville its first win over host Philadelphia. Vitali Yachmenev added an empty-net goal with 12.7 seconds left for the Predators, who were 0-3-1 against Philadelphia since joining the NHL in 1999. Nashville also snapped a five-game (0-2-2-1) winless streak.

SENATORS 6, RANGERS 5: Magnus Arvedson and Igor Kravchuk scored 33 seconds apart in the third to lift host Ottawa. Ottawa had a two-goal lead with 4:24 left, but it was cut to 6-5 when Petr Nedved got one back for New York with 2:56 remaining. Marian Hossa's second goal of the game at 6:49 of the third tied it at 4 after Jan Hlavac gave the Rangers the lead at 2:47. Martin Havlat and Rob Zamuner also scored for Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa (8-1-3-0), which remained undefeated (4-0-2) at home.

MAPLE LEAFS 5, DEVILS 3: Jonas Hoglund scored twice in the third for host Toronto. The game was the first between the teams since the Devils eliminated the Maple Leafs from the playoffs with 3-0 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals en route to the Stanley Cup title. Toronto managed an NHL record-low six shots in that game.

BRUINS 5, BLACKHAWKS 3: Mikko Eloranta scored with 1:29 left and Jason Allison had two goals and two assists as host Boston ended a three-game losing streak.

Eloranta scored a fluke goal when he shot the puck at the net from along the boards and it squirted between the pads of Blackhawks goalie Rob Tallas.

"For sure we were thinking overtime," Blackhawks coach Alpo Suhonen said. "That goal was unbelievable and discouraging. There was no excuse for it."

The goal came 36 seconds after Chicago's Tony Amonte tied it 4-4.

Allison is only one goal from equaling last season's output and leads the NHL in power-play points with 15.

KINGS 5, THRASHERS 2: Jamie Storr made 22 saves as visiting Los Angeles ended a two-game losing streak. Bob Corkum, Mathieu Schneider, Steven Reinprecht, Jozef Stumpel and Rob Blake scored for the Kings, and Ziggy Palffy had three assists. The Thrashers' franchise-record four-game unbeaten streak (1-0-3) was stopped as they went 0-for-8 on the power play.

BLUES 2, CAPITALS 0: Rookie Brent Johnson stopped 30 shots, extending the host Blues' winning streak to six. "I still can't believe I'm here and to be undefeated is a bonus," Johnson said. The shutout is Johnson's second -- both this season -- in 11 career games. "It's a real great feeling to go out there and get a 30-save shutout and it's like a dream world right now," Johnson said. St. Louis is 10-2-1 this season, tying the best start in franchise history set in the 1997-98 season.

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