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AROUND THE LEAGUE

Blackhawks Won't Bring Suhonen Back

March 28, 2001|From Associated Press

Alpo Suhonen is out as coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, sidelined because of a heart ailment with seven games remaining in his first season.

Suhonen has been undergoing tests for the last three weeks and an angiogram Monday revealed a blockage in one of his arteries, a condition that will not require surgery, General Manager Mike Smith said.

"The condition is serious but not life-threatening," Smith said Tuesday, adding that Suhonen will not return to the Blackhawks next season.

Assistants Denis Savard and Al MacAdam will share coaching duties for the final seven games of a disappointing season. The Blackhawks will miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

Suhonen, 52, did not attend Tuesday's news conference. His successor will be the Blackhawks' sixth coach since 1995.

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Keith Primeau, the Philadelphia Flyers' leading goal scorer, will be sidelined for at least three weeks because of a sprained left knee, team physician Art Bartolozzi said. Primeau, who has 34 goals and 73 points, was injured Monday night when he caught his skate in a rut as he was hit by Chris Phillips of the Ottawa Senators in the third period of a 3-3 tie. . . . Defenseman Derian Hatcher of the Dallas Stars was suspended for two games by the NHL for elbowing Jeff Finley of the St. Louis Blues.

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Alexander Mogilny had two goals and Bobby Holik a goal and three assists as the New Jersey Devils took over the Eastern Conference lead with a 7-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Tampa, Fla.

The Devils, who hold a one-point advantage over the Senators in the race for the conference's top spot, won for the 14th time in 15 games. New Jersey, which had a franchise-record 13-game winning streak end in a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, set a team record with its seventh consecutive road victory.

"I think the team responded really well," Devil Coach Larry Robinson said. "Everybody was focused. And the nice thing about it is we kept our focus right to the end. I thought tonight was a great team effort."

Mogilny, who has four goals and nine points in four games against the Lightning this season, gave the Devils a 4-1 lead with consecutive second-period goals. He scored on a rebound at 11:17, and then redirected Scott Niedermayer's pass while skating down the slot during a power play at 16:49.

Pittsburgh 4, Buffalo 1--Hans Jonsson and Robert Lang scored 12 seconds apart for the Penguins in the opening minute at Pittsburgh against the Sabres' backup goaltender, Martin Biron.

Calgary 3, Columbus 0--Fred Brathwaite made 19 saves at Calgary, Canada, for his franchise-record-tying fifth shutout of the season.

Jarome Iginla, Chris Clark and Valeri Bure scored for Calgary, which won consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 9-10.

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