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Former Redskins Quarterback Mark Rypien to Participate in Admirals' Home Opener

NORFOLK, VA - The Norfolk Admirals and Lincoln Military Housing are pleased to announce that Mark Rypien will sing the national anthem and participate in a ceremonial puck drop at the Admirals' home opener on October 13, 2006.

Rypien is best known as the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was Super Bowl XXVI MVP, as he led Washington to a 37-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in 1992.

Rypien is a native of Calgary, Alberta, and was the first Canadian-born player to win the Super Bowl MVP award. He is an avid hockey fan, and his cousin, Rick Rypien, currently plays for the Vancouver Canucks organization.

"This is a great opportunity for the Admirals to start the season out on a high," said Admirals Assistant General Manager Mark Bernard. "It's not everyday that you have the chance to bring out a Super Bowl MVP who is also an avid hockey fan to an Admirals game. We are very grateful to Lincoln Military Housing for their participation in this event, as it would not be possible without them."

The Admirals' Home Opener is on Friday, October 13 at 7:15 p.m. against the Springfield Falcons (AHL Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning).

Season tickets, 20-game plans, ten-packs and group tickets are on sale now through the Admirals' office and through the Admirals' website. For more information, contact the Admirals at (757) 640-1212 or visit them online at norfolkadmirals.com.
 

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Pelletier, Strazzabosco added to Amerks roster

The Rochester Americans roster continues to take shape with the addition of goalie Jean-Marc Pelletier and defenseman Michele Strazzabosco.

Pelletier was 21-15-1 with a 3.28 goals-against average with the Amerks last season. While he is property of the Florida Panthers, the expected arrival of goalie Craig Anderson from Florida means Pelletier could be loaned elsewhere.

Strazzabosco played on the Italian Olympic team in the Turin Winter Games. He was invited to the Buffalo Sabres training camp but has not signed a contract.

Strazzabosco will likely play in tonight's 7:05 AHL preseason games against the Syracuse Crunch at the ESL Sports Centre. Tickets are $7.
 

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Pen tries to adjust to starting season in minors again

Erik Christensen was back at Wachovia Arena on Wednesday morning, determined to not let starting the season in the minors for a third straight year get him down.

That’s easier said than done of course, as Christensen would be the first to admit.

“It was tough, at first,” said Christensen, who was cut by Pittsburgh after Sunday night’s exhibition game with Philadelphia. “But this year, my focus is that anything sort of negative that comes along, I’m going to try to put a smile on my face.”

Indeed, that’s something Christensen has struggled to do in the past.

A third-round pick (69th overall) in the 2002 draft, Christensen is certainly talented enough to play in the NHL. And, there’s no questioning his work ethic or his heart.

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Bulldogs drop season opener against tough Marlie squad

Help is on the way. The Hamilton Bulldogs who opened their preseason schedule with a 6-5 loss to the Toronto Marlies last night at the Oshawa Civic Auditorium, will be getting seven players from the Montreal Canadiens today and tomorrow.

Forwards A.J. Baines, Kyle Chipchura, Jonathan Ferland, Maxim Lapierre, Corey Locke and defenceman Danny Groulx and goaltender Yann Danis have been assigned to the Dogs by Montreal.

Most are expected to arrive today although Danis and Ferland won't get in until tomorrow.

The Bulldogs now have 32 players in camp although Andrew Archer (knee) Riley Day (back) Eric Manlow (ankle) and Francis Lemieux (groin) are injured.

With the influx of returning players the Dogs will, in all likelihood, be making cuts in the next couple of days.

The Bulldogs led 2-1 after the first period but the two teams were tied 5-5 heading into the third.

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Three sent down to AHL's Marlies

The Maple Leafs sent forwards Erik Westrum and Brad Leeb, along with goalie J.F. Racine to the Marlies yesterday, and recalled centre Kris Newbury in time for last night's game against Ottawa which the Leafs lost 5-3.

There were 30 players in camp, more than head coach Paul Maurice would have wanted at this point, but necessary due to all the injuries.

"I knowwe're as cut down as we can be," said Maurice. "If we were entirely healthy, we would probably be sitting at 25, 26 guys."

Those sitting out last night due to various injuries included Mike Peca, Darcy Tucker, Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina.

"Anybody who's got anything is not playing," said Maurice.

A MAGNIFICENT YEAR: Turns out those who thought retired Pittsburgh Penguins star Mario Lemieux was a whiner weren't that far off. Now the owner of the Pens, Lemieux is a wine lover. He's selling a small portion of his 2000 Bordeaux collection at an Oct.28 auction in Chicago, says John Hart, chair of the Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., which cares for Lemieux's collection.

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Neufeld having fun as coach and GM of Southeast Blades

For a guy who never thought of becoming a coach after his playing days, Ray Neufeld sure looks the part.

Neufeld, the former NHLer who was born in St. Boniface and spent parts of four seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, is into his second full season as head coach and general manager of the Southeast Blades and he's loving life in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

"When I was done playing I needed a break from the game for a while and I took that," said Neufeld, whose squad is off to a 2-1 start heading into this weekend's gruelling stretch of three games in three days against the OCN Blizzard, Swan Valley Stampeders and Dauphin Kings.

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'Scary' rollover keeping rookie defenceman off the ice

The black eye and scars on his face might suggest otherwise, but Shaun Heshka considers himself lucky.

Heshka, a highly-touted rookie defenceman from Melville, Sask., has yet to step on the ice during Manitoba Moose training camp after getting into a car crash on his way to Winnipeg late Saturday night.

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Clarke fielding goalie calls

News of Antero Niittymaki's torn hip labrum was only hours old when Bob Clarke's phone began to ring.

"It's not a problem finding an experienced backup, there are lots of them around if that's what we want to do," the Flyers' general manager said yesterday morning. "It would depend on the price and how much each guy makes.

"There have been a couple of them offered to us already. We'll make a decision over the next 3 or 4 days."

Niittymaki tore the labrum in his left hip making a routine save at practice Tuesday morning. An MRI exam taken late that afternoon revealed that the injury was severe and would require surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation.

The Flyers said last night they won't know until today how long Niittymaki will be out.

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Maurice keeps experimenting

Championship teams often set trends, and the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes were no different.

One of areas the Hurricanes excelled in was their versatility up front, in which some players could skate in all three forward positions. The flexibility allowed the team to employ different looks and often gave the opposition fits trying to match up defensively.

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice, whose team dropped a 5-3 decision to the Ottawa Senators at the Air Canada Centre last night to even its preseason record at 3-3, would like that lineup flexibility this season, too.

"The guys who can play more than one position on the ice usually have a high level of on-ice intelligence," Maurice said. "So if you have a lot of those types of players, you probably have a pretty good team."

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A high-salaried NHL keeper could start the season in Manchester

With three goaltenders in Los Angeles, the Kings are actively trying to trade one prior to the Oct. 4 NHL roster deadline, when that extra goalie would have to be sent to Manchester.

Yesterday the Kings extended the contract of obvious starter Dan Cloutier, who is set to earn $2.5 million this season. Three times in his career (all with Vancouver) the 30-year-old won at least 30 games. Fighting to back up Cloutier are Mathieu Garon, with a $1.2 million salary, or past AHL most valuable player Jason LaBarbera, with an $800,000 salary. One may become the starter for the Monarchs.

Kings assistant general manager Ron Hextall, who doubles as the GM of the Monarchs, said the parent club will still work to trade that extra NHL goalie even if the player clears waivers and lands in the Verizon Wireless Arena. Both Garon and LaBarbera must clear waivers to play in Manchester (meaning another club can claim them) and they would need to clear waivers again for a recall later by Los Angeles.

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Iowa Stars update

Hey Stars Fans: be sure to listen to Larry Cotlar in the morning on 1460 KXNO after 8:30. The Cotman will be interviewing Iowa Stars Director of Hockey Operations Scott White. You can also listen online at http://www.kxno.com/main.html .

The Stars return home to face the Rivermen this Friday night. Game time at Wells Fargo Arena is 7:05 PM. Iowa then travels to Omaha to take on the Knights for Game Three of the exhibition season on Saturday night. Game time is 7:00 PM. The Stars wrap up their Training Camp and the exhibition season on Sunday, October 1st against Omaha. The puck drops at 5:05 PM in Downtown Des Moines. Tickets are on sale now for both home games at the Wells Fargo Arena Box Office, at any area Dahl's locations or online at www.dahlstickets.com.

IOWA STARS INFO: The Stars Opening Night is scheduled for Thursday, October 12th against Houston. Wells Fargo Arena game time is 7:05 PM. Season ticket packages are on sale now at the Stars office, located at 833 5th Avenue in Downtown Des Moines. Full season packages begin at only $336, with 12-game mini-plans as low as $168. Discounted group tickets are available for all 40 home dates. For more information, please contact an Iowa Stars ticket representative at 515-23-STARS.
 

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Amerks rookie Kaleta enjoys putting hurt on his opponents

It's pretty clear that Patrick Kaleta doesn't go onto the ice looking to make friends.

Enemies, yes. Friends? Not a chance.

Kaleta is a Grade A pest, the gnat that won't go away. Except dealing with a gnat would be more pleasant.

Tiny insects don't inflict pain. Kaleta does.

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Fight to make B-Sens begins

As Shawn Collymore sat in his locker stall Wednesday afternoon, discussing his tryout with the Binghamton Senators, Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton sang "When I get where I'm going" out through the dressing room speakers.

Fitting moment? Or just a country music coincidence? For Collymore and nine others this week, time will tell.

"We're all adults, and we know what a tryout is," said Collymore, a 23-year-old right wing who scored 23 goals last season for the United Hockey League's Danbury Trashers.

"And I guess there's nothing else you can do but do your best and give 100 percent, and not concern yourself with if there's a chance or if there isn't a chance," Collymore added. "Either you can make the team, or leave a good impression. So it's best just to go full bore and see what happens after that."

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P-Bruins' coach like his team's mixture

As disappointing as the 2005-2006 season was for the Providence Bruins, this season should be completely different.

The P-Bruins finished 43-31-1-5 for fourth place in the Atlantic Division a season ago with a roster split between inexperience and age. Now, those young players have the experience to go with another solid core of prospects, and that should equate to a promising season in the Bruins' organization.

There's a bunch of high draft picks wearing the black and gold in Providence, players who have the ability to help the parent club when needed this season, and on a fulltime basis in the future. The new-look P-Bruins were on display at URI's Boss Arena last night in their first exhibition game of the preseason, losing to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 5-3.

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Parenteau thinks he belongs in NHL and he's going to prove it

Before Pierre Parenteau went to Anaheim's training camp less than two weeks ago, he had high expectations.
After averaging nearly a point per game for Portland in the regular season, finishing among the top 10 in scoring during the Calder Cup playoffs and bulking up as requested by the National Hockey League team over the summer, Parenteau figured he deserved a good look by the Ducks.
That look didn't last long.
Less than five days after camp opened in California, the 23-year-old right wing was cut and reassigned to Portland for his fourth American Hockey League season.
"My expectations coming into camp was pretty high, and I guess it didn't go the way I expected it to," Parenteau said. "They sent me down in the first cut. I couldn't believe it, really."

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Flyers have eye on goalie market

The Flyers are proceeding as if they must find a backup goalie to replace Antero Niittymaki, who likely will undergo surgery on his left hip.

"We're assuming it's surgery," general manager Bob Clarke said yesterday.

The Flyers said no medical update would be available until today. Clarke indicated that he wanted to find an inexpensive goalie who could later be waived.

Clarke said he was seeking an experienced backup. "There are lots of them around," he said. "It would depend upon the price. If we chose to go that way, we're only looking for a goaltender for a couple of months. We're not going to carry three."

A trade will not be imminent until the club knows for certain how much time Niittymaki will miss. The goalie tore his labrum, fibrous cartilage that runs along the cup of the hip joint. Niittymaki could need eight weeks to recover and would require two more weeks to get in shape.

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Rising to the challenge

Julien Ellis isn't one to stray away from a challenge -- even if it's one he created for himself.

Ellis, who is one of the goaltenders vying for a job with the Manitoba Moose, got off to a bad start when he showed up in Vancouver for Canucks camp in bad shape.

Strike one.

The poor fitness test results went public and Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault was critical of the rookie netminder, but gave the youngster credit for his hard work as camp went on.

Before Ellis was reassigned to Manitoba, he got his first taste of NHL pre-season action against the Anaheim Ducks.

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Second-year pro Mole has his eye on NHL- 9/27

In a New York Islanders camp with goalies with names like Rick DiPietro, Mike Dunham and Wade Dubielewicz, the least star power at the start belonged to Mike Mole.

The second-year pro opened some eyes — at least, the ones he hadn't already opened in his college career — with a top-notch camp in Nova Scotia that had some media reports tossing his name around for an NHL job.

"He had a really good camp. He's very athletic," Bridgeport coach Dan Marshall said after a practice back in Shelton, Conn.

"He seems to be a really good kid character-wise. I love his work ethic." Now Mole, 23, is fighting for a spot with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Wednesday, he made 27 saves in the Sound Tigers' 5-3 exhibition victory at Boss Arena against the Providence Bruins.

"A lot of positives came out of that camp," Mole said. "It helped getting my confidence up, getting some positive feedback from the coaches." One of those coaches was behind him from the start. Islanders assistant coach Danny Flynn coached Mole for two years at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. They won the Canadian national championship in 2004.

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Baseball's loss may be the Admirals' gain

He's here as a Norfolk Admiral. But had he made a different decision a few years ago, Troy Brouwer may have shown up in Hampton Roads as a Norfolk Tide.

At age 15, Brouwer was a pretty good ballplayer when he wasn't burying pucks in the net. Good enough, in fact, to make a Canadian national team.

To reach his potential, though, Brouwer felt he had to either step off the ice or out of the batter's box.

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Have Pads, Will Travel

Nearly 41/2 years have passed, but Alex Westlund remembers the call that came about midnight in Cincinnati.

"Someone in broken English said, `We wonder if you play Russia next year, yes?'" Westlund said. "I thought, `Yeah, sure, whatever.' I gave him my agent's number. I thought it was a joke."

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