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AROUND THE LEAGUE

Roy Gives His Future the Silent Treatment

May 08, 2003|From Associated Press

Patrick Roy is keeping his plans secret for now.

Has the winningest goaltender in NHL history played his final game or will he return for a 19th season?

After the Colorado Avalanche's unexpected Game 7 loss to Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs last month, Roy said he was pretty sure what he would do but wanted "a little more time to make sure I make the right decision."

He has been mum since. Avalanche officials insist they don't know what Roy will do, but there are signs that he has decided to retire.

In January, he put his home in a Denver suburb up for sale. Within the past year, he purchased a home in Palm Beach, Fla.

Roy, who turns 38 in October, is in good physical condition, but his arthritic hips have deteriorated in recent years. He had right hip surgery four years ago, and the left hip had to be drained of fluid this season, causing him to miss two games. Roy's butterfly style of goaltending only aggravates that condition.

Jacques Demers, a hockey television analyst in Montreal and Roy's former coach with the Montreal Canadiens, believes Roy will quit. Demers said he was told by a "confidant" of Roy in December that the goaltender planned to retire after this season.

"We don't know anything more than what Patrick said after our last game," Avalanche spokesman Jean Martineau said. "For the past few years, he has indicated the same thing -- that he will take it year by year and make a decision in the off-season."

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The best season in the Ottawa Senators' 11-year history is particularly satisfying for the core group of veterans who helped the team make the long climb.

Before this season, the Senators had won a total of two playoff series. But now they're contending for the Stanley Cup finals. After beating the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers in the first two rounds, Ottawa will play the New Jersey Devils starting Saturday in the Eastern Conference finals.

"You can argue with our lack of success in the playoffs, but at the same time, we've been building something together for some time, and with the way we're going, we don't want to stop," right winger and team captain Daniel Alfredsson said.

Alfredsson is among the players -- along with Wade Redden, Chris Phillips, Marian Hossa and Magnus Arvedson -- who have been with the Senators for at least six years.

Another eight players came up through the farm system during that time, and Coach Jacques Martin is in his eighth season with the team.

"We've had the same coaches for a number of years, and the core of players has been around a long time, so you build trust and you believe in each other," Alfredsson said.

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Calle Johansson will not return to the Washington Capitals next season, a decision made on the heels of the defenseman's disagreements with Coach Bruce Cassidy. "This is a mutual separation," General Manager George McPhee said. "Calle is not sure if he will play next season, but if he does, he'll explore free agency." ... The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed two of their top three scorers from last season. Geoff Sanderson signed a three-year deal, and David Vyborny agreed to terms for next season. Contract terms were not released.

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