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AROUND THE LEAGUE

Cechmanek Likely to Leave Flyers

May 13, 2003|From Associated Press

Philadelphia Flyer goaltender Roman Cechmanek probably will not return to the team after a disappointing finish in the playoffs.

"I think it'll be very difficult to bring Roman back," General Manager Bob Clarke said Monday. "I don't think he wants to come back. I think he feels it's not a good place for him."

Cechmanek, 32, signed a three-year contract extension worth $3 million a season in January 2002. Clarke said he'll try to trade the goalie.

Clarke said the Flyers will pursue a new goaltender through a trade or free agency. Clarke expects backup Robert Esche to be a starter in the league but isn't certain the 25-year-old goalie is ready.

Cechmanek was 33-15-10 with a 1.83 goals-against average in the regular season, helping the Flyers finish one point behind first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.

But Cechmanek played poorly in the last two games of Philadelphia's second-round series against Ottawa, giving up nine goals in 46 shots.

Fans booed Cechmanek after Mike Fisher's long slap shot slipped between his legs for a short-handed goal that gave the Senators a 2-0 lead in Game 6.

He has a 1.96 lifetime goals-against average in three seasons, lowest among goaltenders with at least 150 regular-season games since 1943-44.

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Defenseman Marc Bergevin is returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins, two months after being traded to Tampa Bay.

The Penguins reacquired Bergevin from the Lightning in exchange for a ninth-round pick in this year's draft.

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