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Rangers Reacquire Kovalev in Trade

February 11, 2003|From Associated Press

The New York Rangers added another high-priced All-Star to their struggling lineup, reacquiring Alexei Kovalev from the cash-strapped Pittsburgh Penguins in an eight-player trade Monday.

New York, already with an NHL-high payroll of more than $70 million, made the deal for the flashy forward as part of a desperate push to make the playoffs for the first time since 1997. The trade comes 1 1/2 weeks after Ranger General Manager Glen Sather fired rookie coach Bryan Trottier and named himself the coach.

The Penguins sent Kovalev, their second-leading scorer, forward Dan LaCouture and defensemen Janne Laukkanen and Mike Wilson to the Rangers for forwards Rico Fata and Mikael Samuelsson, defensemen Richard Lintner and Joel Bouchard, and what is believed to be $4 million.

The financially troubled Penguins had said any deal involving Kovalev would require a $4-million payment -- the most allowed by the NHL.

"I don't think it's a salary dump at all. I think it's a trade," Sather said.

Kovalev spent the first six-plus seasons of his NHL career with the Rangers and was a member of New York's Stanley-Cup winning team in 1994.

He has 27 goals and 37 assists this season.

New York is in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and trails in the race for the final playoff spot by six points.

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Montreal defenseman Patrice Brisebois will be sidelined indefinitely while undergoing more tests for an irregular heartbeat.... Buffalo defenseman Henrik Tallinder will be sidelined indefinitely because of a sprained right ankle.... Pittsburgh traded defenseman Andrew Ference to Calgary for a conditional draft pick.... The Florida Panthers reassigned left wing Eric Beaudoin to San Antonio of the American Hockey League.

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