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Tuesday, April 22
Updated: April 25, 10:06 PM ET
Flames, Saint John Pro Sports reach agreement

ESPN.com news services

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames became the sole owner of the Saint John Flames of the American Hockey League.

The Calgary Flames said Tuesday they reached an agreement with Saint John Pro Sports Inc. to buy its 50 percent interest in the AHL club. The Saint John owners said they were not making enough money.

This marked the 10th year in the AHL for the Saint John Flames, who are Calgary's top affiliate. In 2001, Saint John won the league championship.

Before the agreement, it had been determined the team would not play in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 2003-04. Calgary president and chief executive Ken King said he is considering several options for next season.

Coyotes agree to multiyear deal with Vaananen
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes agreed on a multiyear deal with defenseman Ossi Vaananen, the team said Tuesday.

Vaananen has played in 224 games in his three-year NHL career, all with the Coyotes, recording eight goals and 31 assists. He has a plus-minus rating of plus 16.

He played in 67 games last season, finishing seventh on the team in average minutes per game (19:15).

Coyotes, Springfield sign three-year deal
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes and Springfield of the American Hockey League signed a three-year agreement Friday that makes Phoenix the Falcons' sole NHL affiliate.

For the first time, Springfield will sign four players on its own to round out the roster. The Coyotes will be responsible for placing 15 to 16 players in Springfield.

"The fact that we are extending our affiliation with Springfield speaks volumes about our belief in the ownership, the management and the fans of the Falcons," Coyotes general manager Michael Barnett said. "We feel very fortunate that our future NHL players will experience the positives of fine-tuning their skills in a hockey community."

Barnett said he believes the Falcons will benefit from a sole affiliation, as opposed to sharing personnel with another NHL club, through more uniform management and player movement.

Maloney to return to his old job with Wolf Pack
NEW YORK -- New York Rangers assistant general manager Don Maloney was hired Monday as GM of the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack.

Maloney replaces Al Coates, who left the organization to become senior vice president of business operations for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Maloney was the Wolf Pack GM for three seasons, before Coates was hired in July 2000, and helped the team to the 2000 Calder Cup championship. Maloney will be responsible for the hockey operations of the Rangers' top farm team.

''Don Maloney has a proven record of success with managing our efforts in Hartford,'' Rangers GM Glen Sather said. ''I know his guidance will allow us to continue the winning tradition of the Hartford Wolf Pack.''

Maloney, who played 10 seasons with the Rangers, went on to become the general manager of the rival Islanders for three years after serving as an assistant GM there.

He has been assisting Sather with Rangers transactions and entry level player contract negotiations. He also has been overseeing the club's professional scouting operations.

Devils sign first pick in 2000 draft
EAST RUTHERFORD -- Defenseman David Hale, New Jersey's first-round pick in the 2000 draft, was signed by the Devils on Wednesday.

Hale, 22, had two goals and six assists in 26 games this season with North Dakota of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. He had 10 goals and 16 assists in three seasons with the Fighting Sioux.

The Colorado Springs, Colo., native was the 22nd pick overall.

"We've watched David's progress on the college level and feel he is ready for the next step," Devils president Lou Lamoriello said. "We look forward to having him at training camp in September."

Flyers call up three for playoffs
PHILADELPHIA -- Rookie defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was one of three players called up Monday by the Philadelphia Flyers for their opening-round playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Seidenberg had four goals and nine assists in 58 games for the Flyers earlier this season. In 19 games for the Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, Seidenberg had five goals and 11 points.

The Flyers also called up defenseman John Slaney and goaltender Neil Little.

Little posted an 18-19-4 record for the Phantoms this season.

Slaney led all Phantoms defensemen with nine goals and 33 assists in 55 games.

The best-of-seven series starts Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

Stars call up a pair from Utah
DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars recalled defenseman John Erskine and goaltender Mike Smith on Monday from the Utah Grizzlies.

Erskine had two goals in 16 games with Dallas this season, and two goals and eight assists in 52 games with Utah.

Smith had an 11-10-4 record in 27 games with a 2.55 goals against-average and a .910 save percentage with Lexington, and was 5-5 with a 3.23 goals against-average and a .906 save percentage for Utah.

The Stars open the NHL playoffs Wednesday night against the Edmonton Oilers.

Feldman, one of the Oilers' original owners, dies
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Zane Feldman, one of the original owners of the Edmonton Oilers, has died.

The Oilers announced Feldman's death in a release, saying he was battling a severe infection that spread to his bloodstream. He died Saturday in a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Feldman, 80, was one of the Oilers owners during their time in the World Hockey Association and was instrumental in getting the Northlands Coliseum constructed.

''It's been a sad season for Oilers tradition,'' said Patrick LaForge, Oilers president and chief executive officer. ''First with the passing of Bill Hunter in December and now with the loss of Zane.

''Edmonton lost a great contributor to its sporting heritage over the weekend, and the Oilers lost a good friend and supporter.''

Hunter was the founder of the Oilers.

The Oilers present the Zane Feldman Trophy annually to the team's most valuable player. Tommy Salo and Todd Marchant were co-winners this season.

Isles fined $25,000 for practicing without media
NEW YORK -- The NHL fined the New York Islanders $25,000 Wednesday for holding a closed practice without media access.

The violation occurred during Tuesday morning's skate, hours before the Islanders' 2-2 tie against the New York Rangers in Uniondale.

An Islanders spokesman contacted reporters Tuesday and told them that the team would not practice, but the players later took the ice.

Islanders coach Peter Laviolette apologized Thursday.

"I didn't realize it was against league policy, and I'm sorry for what happened,'' Laviolette said.

Sharks sign a pair of free agents
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks signed defenseman Tom Preissing and center Craig Valette on Friday.

Both were unrestricted free agents.

The 24-year-old Preissing had 23 goals, 29 assists and a career-high 52 points in 42 games this season as captain of Colorado College of the WCHA.

The 20-year-old Valette had 30 goals and 26 assists in 71 games this season with Portland of the WHL. He led the team in goals and was second in points with 56.

Canucks send Reid back down to Manitoba
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Vancouver Canucks assigned rookie center Brandon Reid to Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Thursday.

Reid had two goals and three assists in seven games with the Canucks since making his NHL debut in early March. He was sent down after his first game, but recalled again in mid-March.

Reid, Vancouver's fifth choice and 208th overall in the 2000 entry draft, led Manitoba in scoring with 18 goals and 34 assists when he was called up.

Sabres call up Bartovic, send three to AHL
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres called up forward Milan Bartovic and assigned three players to the minors on Wednesday.

Assigned to the AHL Rochester Americans were forwards Jason Botterill, who had a goal and five points in 17 games with the Sabres, Norm Milley and defenseman Radoslav Hecl.

Bartovic, Buffalo's second-round pick in the 1999 draft, has yet to play an NHL game. He leads Rochester with five game-winning goals, and had 18 goals and 27 points in 73 games this season.

The moves were made before the Sabres' home game against Atlanta.

Blackhawks send pair down to AHL squad
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks sent forwards Igor Radulov and Igor Korolev to Norfolk of the AHL on Wednesday.

Radulov played five games this season for the Blackhawks and scored four goals. He made his NHL debut March 23 against Pittsburgh and scored his first NHL goals in the next game March 25 against the New York Islanders.

Korolev has played in 48 games with the Blackhawks. He had four goals, five assists and 30 penalty minutes.

Liles signs deal with Avs
DENVER -- Defenseman John-Michael Liles, one of the top 10 Hobey Baker finalists announced on March 20, signed a long-term contract with the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday and was assigned to Hershey of the American Hockey League.

Liles, 22, was Colorado's eighth selection in the 2000 Entry Draft. He played in 39 games for Michigan State this season, recording career highs for goals (16), assists (34), points (50) and penalty minutes (46). He also was a team-best plus-22 in plus-minus rating.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Liles, a two-time Best Offensive Defenseman in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, was first in the nation among blueliners this season, averaging 1.28 points per game.

Thrashers reach agreement with MSU's Maloney
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Thrashers agreed to terms with forward Brian Maloney on Friday.

Maloney, who recently finished his senior season at Michigan State, will report to Chicago of the American Hockey League, general manager Don Waddell said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 24-year-old Maloney had 19 goals and 16 assists in 39 games for the Spartans this past season -- including 17 goals and nine assists in the final 18 games.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Canadian had 137 points -- 63 goals and 75 assists -- 292 penalty minutes and a plus-51 rating at Michigan State.

Blues owner pleads guilty in a drunk driving case
COLUMBIA -- St. Louis Blues owner Bill Laurie pleaded guilty in a drunken driving case.

Laurie was arrested last month in Columbia on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and failing to stay in his lane.

His lawyer, Dick Thomas, entered a guilty plea on his behalf Tuesday to a lesser charge of driving with excessive blood-alcohol content. Thomas said Laurie's blood-alcohol level tested at 0.11. The legal limit is 0.08.

Municipal Court Clerk Shara Meyer said it is not uncommon for first-time DWI offenders to have their charges reduced.

Laurie was fined $450 and ordered to complete a substance abuse program for traffic violators, Meyer said.

Taffe scores goal, then sent to minors
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hours after scoring a goal for the Phoenix Coyotes, Jeff Taffe was back in the minor leagues.

The Coyotes reassigned the 22-year-old center to Springfield of the AHL following their 4-3 loss at Edmonton on Wednesday night, a defeat that eliminated Phoenix from playoff contention.

Taffe scored Phoenix's last goal, tying the game at 3 early into the third period.

The demotion completed the rookie's third stint with the Coyotes. He had three goals and one assist in 20 games.

Taffe was St. Louis' first-round (30th overall) entry-draft pick in 2000. The next season, the Blues traded him to Phoenix, along with Ladislav Nagy, Michal Handzus and a 2002 draft pick for Keith Tkachuk.

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