News from October 2002


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Valeri Bure to have his knee examined
by David J. Neal - - The Miami Herald
October 1, 2002

Panthers right wing Valeri Bure is returning to Birmingham, Ala., to have his right knee re-examined by Dr. James Andrews, the prominent knee surgeon who operated on the same knee last season.

''He's had occasional swelling on it,'' Panthers general manager Rick Dudley said. ``We've decided to send him back to see the doctor that operated on it. Nobody thinks it's anything serious. But he's had occasional swelling, so we want to make sure it's all right.''

Bure has been icing down his knee after most practices. He has played only one of the Panthers first five preseason games.

''Has he performed well? Yeah,'' Dudley said. ``But we've got the season starting. We don't want to go into the season and find out there is something wrong with him. We don't anticipate that.''

It also wasn't anticipated that left wing Kristian Huselius, the Panthers' only other proven 20-goal scorer, had suffered a Grade 3 knee sprain when he went down the first day of training camp. Before Huselius' MRI, the judgment was Grade 1 -- an injury that would have put him out for a week, maybe. Huselius is expected to miss the opener.

This is looking like a flashback to a year ago.

Bure had two knee surgeries in 2001-02. Like now, his right knee was bothering him throughout training camp. Still, he started the season and played the first five games. He skipped practice the day before the sixth game, at Vancouver, and was limping that night.

Still, Bure was allowed to play. It was his last game until January. The knee's meniscus tore completely, forcing him to undergo surgery. He missed the next 37 games. He tore cartilage in the same knee March 17 and missed the final 14 games of the season.

''Everybody's seen him, and there's no indication of anything major, that's for sure,'' Dudley said. ``If there was, we'd be concerned. The worse that it would be is he might need a cleanup.''

That would mean arthroscopic surgery, similar to what brother Pavel Bure underwent last week. Pavel, a Ranger, is expected to miss two weeks.


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The Bure knee curse continues
by Michael Russo - - The Sun-Sentinel
October 1, 2002

The Panthers are hoping the inherent bad Bure knee hasn't struck again.

A week after older brother Pavel had surgery on his twice-rebuilt right knee, Valeri Bure headed for Birmingham, Ala., on Monday to have his twice-operated-on right knee examined by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.
Bure has been experiencing soreness and occasional swelling since he started skating last month, but the Panthers don't think it's anything major.

"The season is starting, and we don't want to go into the season and find out there is something wrong with him," General Manager Rick Dudley said. "We don't anticipate that. Nobody thinks it's anything serious.

"The worst that it could be is that he might need a cleanup, and that would be a minor thing."

If Bure does need arthroscopic surgery, he could probably begin rehab a few days later. But the Panthers don't think it'll get to that point.

"I think he just wants mental reassurance that he's 100 percent prepared to go to work," coach Mike Keenan said. "He's been working awfully hard in camp and just wants to make sure everything's in order and that he can enter the season confident."

Bure was limited to 18 points in 31 games in his first season as a Panther. After a brief holdout, Bure hurt his knee in camp. But he played through the pain until it was discovered after the sixth game of the season that he had a torn meniscus.

Bure underwent surgery and missed 37 games, returning in January. But Bure never felt the knee healed properly and in March he flew to Birmingham to be operated on by Andrews, who had reconstructed Pavel's knee in 1999. Valeri missed the final 14 games of last season as Andrews cleaned up some loose cartilage.

In the meantime, Viktor Kozlov took Bure's spot on the right side of the top line in Monday's practice and Keenan liked what he saw Monday and in Saturday's game in Tampa. Keenan is contemplating moving Kozlov from his normal center position to open up some ice for him.

It would also create another spot at center.

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Pavel yet to skate
by Larry Brooks - - New York Post
October 2, 2002

Pavel Bure, yet to skate in the aftermath of last Thursday's right knee arthroscopic surgery that repaired a torn medial meniscus, doesn't know when he'll get back on the ice or whether he'll be able to play in the opener. "I can't say that I have a timetable; it's a day-by-day process," the Russian Rocket, whose been riding the stationary bike, told The Post. "They said it would be a minimum of two weeks [from the Sept. 24 date of the injury], so I'm not really looking too far ahead.

"Am I frustrated or concerned? Not really; injuries are part of the game and can happen to anyone. I feel fortunate to be in a situation where I can come back so soon. When I had this same injury when I was 16, I spent a month in the hospital. This time, I walked home about an hour after it was done."

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Pavel's friend left exposed...
by Kevin Paul Dupont - - Boston Globe
October 4, 2002

The Montreal Canadiens have exposed 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound Gino Odjick. in today's draft. Many moons ago, when he was piling up 300-plus penalty minutes a season (of a career 2,567), the 32-year-old Odjick worked the ice in Vancouver as Pavel Bure's bodyguard (the Rock and the Rocket). He's cheap by today's standards: $750,000 this year with only a $50,000 bump in 2003-04.

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Bure will not play in Rangers' opener
by Arthur Staple - - Newsday
October 4, 2002

Pavel Bure took a spin around a familiar ice surface, the second consecutive day that the New York Rangers' marquee scorer has skated after the Sept. 26 arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

After skating for about 20 minutes at the National Car Rental Center on Friday, Bure said he doubts he will be in uniform for either Wednesday's season opener against the Hurricanes in Raleigh or the Rangers' home opener against the Canadiens next Friday.

"It feels not bad," Bure said. "It's only been seven days since the surgery and I'm skating on it, so that's a pretty good sign. But it has to be at least two weeks (until he can play, according to his medical prognosis), and that's Thursday. So we'll see."

Even if Bure returns next Saturday in Pittsburgh or for the team's fourth regular-season game, on Oct. 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, that is still encouraging. Bure said he knew he had suffered a "pretty serious" injury sometime during the first two periods of the Sept. 22 game against the Devils.

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Rangers Expect Bure to Start the Season
by John Diamos - - NY Times
October 5, 2002

Glen Sather, the Rangers' president and general manager, said tonight that right wing Pavel Bure, who underwent knee surgery on Sept. 26, would be ready to play in the regular-season opener Wednesday against the defending Eastern Conference champion Carolina Hurricanes.

"Just from what I've been told, yes," Sather said, referring to reports from the club's medical staff. Advertisement

Bure underwent an arthroscopic procedure to repair torn cartilage in his right knee two days after he tore his medial meniscus against the Devils on Sept. 24.

The 31-year-old Bure, who was expected to miss two weeks, began skating last week and again here this morning before the Rangers finished their nine-game preseason schedule tonight with a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins.

The Rangers' top line will feature Petr Nedved on left wing, Eric Lindros at center and Bure. On Friday night, Lindros, who had missed four consecutive games with a strained left elbow, had a hat trick, which included the game-winner in overtime, when the Rangers defeated the Panthers, 5-4.

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NHL putting game-worn jerseys up for sale
by Ira Podell - - Associated Press
October 7, 2002

The NHL wants to give fans the shirt off a player's back - for a price.

The league and The MeiGray Group, a distributor of game-worn hockey jerseys, said Monday they reached a multiyear agreement to sell jerseys worn during games this season.

It's the first time a major pro sports league has done it. And the NHL plans to turn a profit.

Fans can buy the shirts on the Internet or by telephone, with prices ranging from $250 for lesser-known players to $12,500 for one of 12 jerseys used by New York Rangers captain Mark Messier.

Patrick Roy's jersey will cost $7,500, Jaromir Jagr's $6,000, and Pavel Bure's $5,000.

Fans of Mario Lemieux shouldn't bother logging on or calling - the Pittsburgh Penguins are among the nine of the NHL's 30 teams that opted not to participate in the new program. The Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and Eastern Conference champion Carolina Hurricanes also declined to take part this year.

"You go to any hockey game and the arena is a sea of team jerseys," said Brian Jennings, the NHL group vice president for consumer products marketing. "Now imagine not only owning a team jersey, but an authentic jersey actually worn by the likes of Mark Messier, Paul Kariya or Joe Sakic."

Not since "Mean Joe" Greene threw his Pittsburgh Steelers jersey to a soda-sharing kid in a TV ad have game uniforms been this accessible. Unlike the dirt-stained shirt in that commercial, these jerseys will be cleaned before they're sold to the public.

The coded, tagged and security-numbered jerseys will go directly from the ice to purchasers. A system has been devised to identify where, when and by whom every jersey was worn.

"The collecting of game-worn hockey jerseys has become one of the sports memorabilia industry's most popular pursuits," said Barry Meisel, MeiGray Group president and chief operating officer.

Les Wolff, a New York sports memorabilia appraiser and seller, says it's a good idea for both the NHL and collectors because this partnership will cut out questions about authenticity.

Reselling the items wouldn't be easy, Wolff said, since the jerseys already will be publicly sold at full retail value. But there are factors that could change that.

"Messier is a good example, because all his stuff is gold," Wolff said. "He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer. If he has a great year this year, they'll go up even more."

Gerry Cosby and Co., a sporting goods store located just outside Madison Square Garden, sells replica jerseys with name and number sewn on for $295. Now buying a real one worn by Toronto's Aaron Gavey or Colorado's Bryan Muir will be $45 cheaper.

The participating teams are Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington.

The teams will wear one set of home and road jerseys in the preseason, two sets of home and road jerseys in the regular season, and one set of home and road jerseys late in the regular season and into the playoffs. Teams that use a third jersey will wear two sets in the regular season.

Special sets also will be worn for the Nov. 2 Hall of Fame game in Toronto between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs, and on opening night in Los Angeles when the Kings retire Wayne Gretzky's No. 99.

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Russia Marks Putin's 50th Birthday
by Steve Gutterman - - Associated Press
October 7, 2002

The Russian people, accustomed to centuries living under rulers cast as omnipotent and omniscient, showered gifts and attention on their president as he turned 50 Monday--a display that some say is reminiscent of a Soviet-style cult of personality.

But others say Vladimir Putin is just a highly popular, humble leader who does all he can to shun the accolades and adoration.

He has been flattered in book and song, his face plastered on T-shirts, billboards and nesting matryoshka dolls. There's a Putin look-alike, there's a young man who assumed the Russian president's last name and there's a dog that can bark his first.

From classes about Putin in a Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg school, to a parade and a prayer in his name in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod, to a Moscow conference about the presidential image, the president was the focus of events across the sprawling country.

TV news shows devoted vast amounts of time to Putin. Newspapers listed developments in the growing myth surrounding the former KGB agent who has cast himself as a reformer and champion of order.

Children were encouraged to write Putin letters with their hopes and hints. The daily Komsomolskaya Pravda printed a letter from National Hockey League star Pavel Bure saying he was ``gratified that we finally have a national leader whom the people link with real hopes for the revival of Russia.''

Putin was away from the whirlwind, attending a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Moldova--not surprising, since aides claim he is uncomfortable about the myth-making.

But the other leaders were aware of the occasion. The summit's informal program included birthday greetings at a cave complex filled with fine Moldovan wine. Monday morning the country's president Vladimir Voronin gave Putin a bottle of wine with the Russian leader's portrait, and a crystal crocodile. Ukraine's president gave him a solar clock.

Back in Russia, television channels broadcast several programs about Putin.

A 20-minute segment on the ORT channel alternated footage of an on-the-go Putin--swimming with dolphins, greeting adoring teenage fans--with an interview about his personal tastes and home life.

Putin said he didn't know what his wife would give him for his birthday. Last year it was ``a sweater, I think, or a scarf,'' he said.

The NTV network had a story about a woman who has trained her dog to bark ``Vova''--short for Vladimir--and a man who changed his patronymic and last name to Putin's, calling the president an ``angel'' who had given his life meaning.

It also showed a Putin look-alike who said he planned to give the president a car he built with an engine from a Russian Volga and a chassis modeled after an antique Mercedes.

The gift that said the most, however, was a hat--a replica of sable-lined, jewel-encrusted Cap of Monomakh, an early czarist-era symbol of the Russian autocrat's absolute power--that a group of jewelers and cultural figures said they planned to give Putin for his birthday.

The newspaper Gazeta quoted an unnamed Kremlin official as saying the Cap of Monomakh had not yet arrived and that if it did, Putin would not try it on. That comment suggested the Kremlin is eager to show that if anybody is making the president into a mythical figure, it is the Russian people--not him.

``The whole stability of Russia is based on the image of Putin _ there is no (other) objective basis for stability, either social or economic, there are high oil prices and there is the image of Putin, said Alexei Pushkov, the anchor of a political news program on the Moscow network TV Tsentr.

Under these conditions, when society seeks a strut of support, it turns to Putin,'' Pushkov said. He said the myth-making around Putin also results from his popularity and others trying to make money from it.

Political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky, director of a Moscow think tank called the Center for Strategic Studies, said the image of Putin--who was plucked from obscurity and picked by former President Boris Yeltsin as his successor--is largely a creation of Kremlin insiders determined to remain in power. ``Of course this all starts at the top,'' he said.

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Bure On the Mend
by Arthur Staple - - Newsday
October 8, 2002

Pavel Bure skated in his first full practice since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Sept. 26, but he still sounded resistant to the thought of playing tomorrow.

"For me, the most important thing is to get healthy," Bure said. "I have to be 100 percent. This is my first practice in 10 days. We'll see."

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Bure Goes Back to Practice
by John Diamos - - NY Times
October 8, 2002

Two days before the Rangers' 77th N.H.L. season opener, in Raleigh, N.C., Pavel Bure practiced today for the first time since having arthroscopic knee surgery on Sept. 26.

"The doctors said it would take two weeks at least," he said. "And two weeks will be Thursday. So I can't really tell if I'll be ready to play Wednesday. But if I don't have any pain and they tell me it's O.K. to play, then sure, I'll play."

The club's president and general manager, Glen Sather, said Saturday that he expected Bure to be ready for the game, against the Carolina Hurricanes. Rangers Coach Bryan Trottier sounded guardedly optimistic today.

"He had a full practice today," he said. "We're really encouraged."

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NY Rangers 4, Carolina 1
- - AP News
October 9, 2002

Mark Messier tallied twice in the opening game of his 24th NHL season and Petr Nedved also scored a pair of goals as the Rangers coasted to a 4-1 victory over the defending Eastern Conference champion Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers used seven players added to the roster since last season's finale, but were without injured star Pavel Bure, who is still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

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Bure flu
- - Newsday.com
October 10, 2002

Bure, who had gone full out in practice the past two days, did not skate yesterday morning after coming down with a nasty cold. He is questionable for tomorrow's home opener against the Canadiens.

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Pavel sent home
by Larry Brooks - - New York Post
October 10, 2002

Pavel Bure showed up at the rink yesterday morning with the flu, whereupon Bryan Trottier immediately sent the Russian Rocket back to his hotel in order that No. 9 "not contaminate the team" in the hours before the season opener.

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Strep Throat Sidelines Bure
- - New York Times
October 11, 2002

The Rangers will most likely have to wait until next week for Pavel Bure to make his season debut. Bure was told he had strep throat yesterday, a day before the Rangers' home opener tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.

Bure, who scored 12 goals in 12 games with the Rangers last season, sat out the Rangers' 4-1 victory at Carolina on Wednesday night because he felt ill.

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Bure to miss at least two more games
by Arthur Staple - - Newsday.com
October 11, 2002

Pavel Bure's knee might have been strong enough for him to play tonight, but he has strep throat, will miss at least two games and might not be able to skate again until after the team returns from tomorrow's game in Pittsburgh. That means Tuesday's home game with the Leafs is in doubt because he will not be able to test his knee while he is sick

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Bure might miss week
by Ira Podell - - ESPN
October 12, 2002

Pavel Bure will have to wait a little longer to return to the Garden.

According to a report in the New York Times, Bure has strep throat and will not play in the Rangers' home opener against the Canadiens on Friday night.

Strep throat is very contagious and usually requires up to a week for recovery.

Bure also missed the Rangers' season-opening 4-1 victory at Carolina on Wednesday night.

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Canadiens Top Rangers 4-1
by Ira Podell - - AP News
October 12, 2002

New York played without high-scoring forward Pavel Bure for the second straight game. Bure has recovered from a preseason knee injury, but is out now because of strep throat. He is not expected to play at Pittsburgh on Saturday night, and his return for Tuesday night's home game against Toronto is questionable.

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Pittsburgh 6, NY Rangers 0
- - AP News
October 13, 2002

The Rangers played their third game in four nights and looked it, especially without stars Eric Lindros (one-game suspension) and Pavel Bure (strep throat). They appeared tired and ragged from the start.

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Bure close to playing
Trottier: Time to Regroup
by Arthur Staple - - Newsday.com
October 14, 2002

Bryan Trottier loves a challenge. His favorite word, in spite of the obstacles his team is trying to overcome, is "fun." Saturday night's embarrassment in Pittsburgh was decidedly not fun, though, and Trottier now is faced with his biggest challenge yet. Just three games into his tenure as coach, he must make the Rangers accountable for their poor play. Ron Low never could figure that out, and that was that.

Trottier gave the Rangers off yesterday, following three games in four nights. There will be some basic changes starting with today's practice at the MSG Training Center, two of them to Trottier's benefit.

Dan Blackburn's dislocated finger is not broken and the young goaltender will practice. So will Pavel Bure, who has been off skates since Tuesday with strep throat. Bure was close to playing following his Sept. 26 knee surgery when the illness struck, so he is still in the mix for tomorrow's game with the Leafs at Madison Square Garden.

The rest of the changes are up to Trottier, who allowed no excuses for Saturday's debacle. "Everybody has to take their fair share of responsibility," he said after the 6-0 loss, which was played without Bure, Eric Lindros (suspension) and Blackburn, who was hurt in warmups.

"You can't feel sorry for yourself. You want to know something? For me, [a game like Saturday] is the excitement of a challenge."

If Bure returns, that should goose the sleeping offense that has produced one goal in two games. It should also provide some of the balance up front that Trottier sought in the preseason. Petr Nedved, Lindros and Bure form an intriguing line, with Bobby Holik, Radek Dvorak and perhaps Matthew Barnaby making a strong second line. The injuries and suspension have already turned the first week of games into an extension of the preseason, with lines juggled nightly.

On defense, Trottier can only hope that Darius Kasparaitis suffered some homecoming jitters in Pittsburgh, when he was on the ice for five of the Penguins' goals and was knocked on his fanny by Mario Lemieux while attempting a hit. Kasparaitis' partner, Vladimir Malakhov, was not much better Saturday; Trottier could split those two with Brian Leetch and Tom Poti for a couple of different pairings.

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Three games in, Rangers need adjustment
by Larry Brooks - - New York Post
October 14, 2002

It's difficult enough to get a read on an NFL team after three games, let alone one that plays in the NHL, so no one should rush to judgment about the Rangers, even after a weekend massacre in which they were outscored 10-0 over the final five periods by the Canadiens and Penguins, respectively, which is not to be confused with respectfully.

Still, there's no doubt that the alarm bells have already begun to toll. Yes, it's true, the Rangers haven't yet had Pavel Bure in the lineup, and if he were not on the roster the team wouldn't have a prayer of making the playoffs. And yes it's true that in Pittsburgh on Saturday the Rangers didn't have either Bure or Eric Lindros, their two most important players. So the team has been depleted while opening the season with three games in four nights. But that's no excuse.

Neither is the assertion that so much losing over the last five years has left this team with a fragile psyche. How exactly is Bobby Holik fragile? Why would Darius Kasparaitis come into the season with a delicate mindset? What do the last five seasons have to do with Tom Poti, Rem Murray, Matt Barnaby or Jamie Lundmark?

The plea for time to incorporate the new staff's concepts with new personnel rings hollow. Though no one expects the Rangers to be at their most cohesive at the outset, there's no reason not to expect a combination of adrenaline and commitment to produce a sturdy base for the opening laps of the marathon. After all, it's not as if such a concept is unprecedented.

A year ago, under a new coaching staff and with a recent history at least as equally depressing as their more famous neighbors, the Islanders bolted through a 9-0-1-1 October. In 1993-94, under a new coaching staff and with a history of underachieving, the Devils opened with seven straight victories.

Bure and Lindros should be great equalizers. They simply have to be, for if they're not, the season's toast. Let's not kid ourselves.

But even with the Russian Rocket and No. 88 motoring, the Rangers are going to have to make adjustments in their approach. Trottier is going to have to make changes, too - beginning with Holik and Mark Messier.

If the Rangers are going to use Holik as their third center, they've simply thrown $45 million down the drain. Holik must be on against the opposition's first or second line at all times; there's no debate on this. And in order to maximize both his effectiveness and, more to the point, his value to the team, the Rangers simply must have Holik playing with speed and talent on the flank.

Why Jamie Lundmark, who excelled with Holik during the preseason, hasn't gotten a sniff with him yet is a mystery, but there is no question that the freshman should be on No. 16's wing beginning with tomorrow night's Garden game against the Maple Leafs - matched against the Mats Sundin unit. Any other tactic is self-defeating.

Three games into the season and Messier leads the team's forwards in ice time. It can't be. Trottier himself must know this better than anyone. He lived it as a player a decade ago. He has to be willing to coach it. Come on already with the fairy tale that a 41-year-old center can play 20:00 a night in a league that gets bigger and faster by the moment.

There is no reason to panic, but there is every reason for concern. The Rangers have been terrible their last 100 minutes. They have defeat in their eyes. Trottier has to act. Now. And decisively.

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Bure makes season debut
Bure: Three shots on goal; Two goals and one assist; Plus two
by Ira Podell - - AP News
October 15, 2002

New York Rangers Pavel Bure (9) celebrates his goal in the second period with Matthew Barnaby, center, and Petr Nedved, left, on Tuesday, October 15, 2002 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Trevor Kidd is in the foreground. (AP Photo/Bernie Nunez)

New York Rangers Pavel Bure (9) celebrates his goal in the second period with Matthew Barnaby, center, and Petr Nedved, left, on Tuesday, October 15, 2002 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Trevor Kidd is in the foreground. (AP Photo/Bernie Nunez)

Pavel Bure had two goals and an assist in his season debut with the New York Rangers on Tuesday night after he missed the first three games due to illness.

Bure didn't play in New York's season opener last Wednesday at Carolina because of the flu. He then missed the Rangers' first home game on Friday and a game at Pittsburgh -- both losses -- due to strep throat.

"I don't remember when I was sick so much in my life. It was really bad," Bure said after the Rangers beat Toronto 5-4. "I couldn't even talk, I couldn't swallow, I couldn't turn my head. And then I had a really big fever as well. It wasn't good."

He took his first shift 49 seconds into Tuesday's game against the Maple Leafs. Bure helped the Rangers snap a 1-1 tie in the second period with an assist, and then made it 3-1 with a goal 41 seconds later.

Bure helped set up Tom Poti's first goal of the season with 2:20 left in the period. He was camped in front of the net when Poti's shot whizzed past him and goalie Trevor Kidd and instantly threw his hands up in celebration when the red light came on.

New York made it 3-1 at 18:21 when Bure took a perfect pass from Matthew Barnaby at the bottom of the right circle and swept a shot into the net. His second goal at 6:49 of the third period looked very similar to the first and gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead.

"It's a funny game," Bure said. "Sometimes you can score lots of goals and sometimes you can go without it. If you ask me what's the difference, I don't know. Sometimes you shoot and it goes in."

The fact that Bure missed the first game of the season was only a surprise because of the reason. The speedy right wing tore cartilage in his twice rebuilt right knee during an exhibition game against New Jersey on Sept. 24.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery two days later which left him questionable for the season opener. Bure's knee did recover in time, but he was too sick to play.

Bure was placed back on a line with Eric Lindros and Petr Nedved. Lindros also was out of Saturday night's game at Pittsburgh, serving a suspension for a high-sticking penalty from the night before.

The combination didn't last long as Lindros was called for boarding Maple Leafs forward Wade Belak, about 12 minutes before Poti's goal, and was ejected from the game.

New York's offense needed a boost, having been outscored 10-1 in its two losses following a 4-1 victory on opening night. The Rangers went 143 minutes, 28 seconds without a goal, dating to Friday, until Barnaby scored on a breakaway at 12:24 of the second period.

Bure had 12 goals and eight assists in 12 games for the Rangers last season after he was traded from Florida. In 1999, shortly after he was traded from Vancouver to Florida, he had the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee replaced for the second time in four years.

New York Rangers winger Pavel Bure (9) celebrates with teammate Jamie Lundmark in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Trevor Kidd (obscured-rear) and referee Eric Furlatt after Bure's second goal of the game in the third period of their NHL game at New York's Madison Square Garden, October 15, 2002. Bure was playing in his first regular season game of the year and the Rangers won 5-4. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

New York Rangers winger Pavel Bure (9) celebrates with teammate Jamie 
Lundmark in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Trevor Kidd (obscured-rear) and referee Eric Furlatt after Bure's 
second goal of the game in the third period of their NHL game at New York's Madison Square Garden, October 15, 2002. 
Bure was playing in his first regular season game of the year and the Rangers won 5-4. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

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Bure rockets Rangers to win
- - New York Rangers
October 15, 2002

Pavel Bure was feeling a little out of sync after missing the first three games of the season due to a bout with strep throat, he certainly didn't look it on Monday night. Bure tallied a pair of goals and assisted on another to lead the Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs and snap the team's two-game losing streak. Tom Poti, skating in his 300th NHL game, and Matthew Barnaby each added a goal and an assist in the win. Mike Richter made his fourth consecutive start in goal, turning aside 29 of 33 shots to move within two wins of 300 in his NHL career. Mikael Samuelsson tallied New York's other goal on the night, while Bobby Holik and Jamie Lundmark each collected their first points with the Rangers. The Blueshirts, who improved to 2-2-0-0 with the win, travel to Buffalo to face the Sabres Thursday night at HSBC Arena (7:00 PM ET) before returning home to host Nashville on Saturday at MSG.

__________________________________

PAVEL BURE - Made his season debut, collecting two goals and an assist en route to first star of the game honors ... Is tied for first on the team with two goals.

"I was OK. The most important thing for us was to win the game. We played real well as a team and a lot of the guys stepped up, especially when Eric (Lindros) left the game."
_____________

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Bure blasts Buds in Broadway return
- - Sportsnet.ca
October 15, 2002

The Russian Rocket had two goals and an assist in his season debut, helping the Rangers break out of a two-game scoring slump with a 5-4 victory Tuesday night over the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs.

Matthew Barnaby, Tom Poti and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for the Rangers, who scored all their goals after Eric Lindros was ejected for boarding Wade Belak in the second period.

“It was a situation where we weren't supporting the puck,” Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. “I have no answer for it because all of the lines went to real pond hockey.”

The Leafs, who got goals from Darcy Tucker, Jonas Hoglund, Nik Antropov and Tomas Kaberle, dropped their third straight following a 6-0 victory over Pittsburgh to start the season last Thursday.

New York was outscored 10-1 in two losses following a 4-1 victory over Carolina on opening night. The Rangers went 143 minutes 28 seconds without a goal, dating to Friday, until Barnaby scored on a breakaway at 12:24 of the second period.

Bure didn't play in New York's season opener last Wednesday at Carolina because of the flu. He then missed the Rangers' first home game on Friday and a game at Pittsburgh -- both losses -- due to strep throat.

“I don't remember when I was sick so much in my life. It was really bad,” Bure said. “I couldn't even talk, I couldn't swallow, I couldn't turn my head.

“And then I had a really big fever as well. It wasn't good.”

Even if he felt up to it, Bure couldn't watch his teammates play without him on television because he hasn't been able to get his apartment wired for cable.

He took his first shift 49 seconds in and helped the Rangers snap a 1-1 tie in the second period with an assist. Then he made it 3-1 with a goal 41 seconds later.

Bure had 12 goals and eight assists in 12 games for the Rangers last season after he was traded from Florida and already has three points this season.

“It's a funny game,” Bure said. “Sometimes you can score lots of goals and sometimes you can go without it. If you ask me what's the difference, I don't know. Sometimes you shoot and it goes in.”

Bure helped set up Tom Poti's first goal of the season with 2:20 left in the period. New York made it 3-1 at 18:21 when Bure took a perfect pass from Barnaby at the bottom of the right circle and swept a shot into the net.

Bure made it 4-2 with another power-play goal at 6:49 in the third, when he took a pass from Brian Leetch and scored a nearly identical goal -- putting the puck in while dropping to his left knee.

“I didn't do anything,” Bure said. “I just hit a couple of shots that went in.”

New York entered only 1-for-18 on the power play but went 2-for-3 Tuesday.

Toronto closed to 4-3 when Kaberle scored at 13:50 of the third, but the Rangers went back up by two goals when Samuelsson scored 17 seconds later.

The Maple Leafs, who held a 33-28 advantage in shots, made it 5-4 with 4:10 left on Antropov's first goal this season.

Bure tore cartilage in his twice rebuilt right knee during an exhibition game against New Jersey on Sept. 24.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery two days later which left him questionable for the season opener. Bure's knee did recover in time, but he was too sick to play.

Bure was placed back on a line with Lindros and Petr Nedved. Lindros also was out of Saturday night's game at Pittsburgh, serving a suspension for a high-sticking penalty the night before.

The combination didn't last long, as Lindros was called for boarding Belak and was ejected.

Belak, who had his head knocked into the boards, was down for a few minutes before being helped from the ice.

“Wade went into the boards and fell, and even talking to him when we were coming off the ice he made note of that,” Lindros said. “I think he got his skate caught in the rut between the boards and the ice, and when his big body went down, tangling up with mine, then I went down.

“I made sure that when I came in that I had my stick above his head so that it wasn't like the full force of everyhing going in. Not only was I protecting myself, but him as well.”

New York general manager Glen Sather said he already called the league regarding the severe penalty given to Lindros.

“I'm OK. I just got hit in the head,” said Belak, who didn't return to the game.

The Rangers killed off the entire five-minute power play and then went on offence. Notes: Belak made his season debut, replacing injured defenceman Bryan McCabe. ... Barnaby had another goal disallowed in the third period because he knocked the puck in with a high stick.

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Keenan blames Bure after loss
By Brian Biggane - - Palm Beach Post
October 16, 2002

It's taken all of three games for Valeri Bure to find himself in Mike Keenan's doghouse.

The Panthers came up wanting for effort in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday night and coach Keenan pointed the finger prominently at Bure and a handful of others afterward.

The Wild took control of the game with two goals in the first 7 minutes, 49 seconds and never were threatened.

"We reverted back to being a 60-point team," Keenan said. "We didn't have much effort from anyone on the hockey club, particularly early on.

"Valeri again didn't want to do what the coaches asked of him. He didn't want to conform to the way we wanted the team to play."

Keenan was most perturbed that Bure failed to clear the puck out of the defensive zone on the Panthers' first penalty-killing opportunity. Florida killed the penalty, but only after spending the majority of two minutes in its own zone.

"I chipped it out and it didn't go to the other end," Bure said.

Told of Keenan's remarks, he said, "If he feels that way, I don't know what to say."

Keenan benched Bure for much of the rest of the period; he finished with just four shifts totaling 2:34. Keenan did the same with Denis Shvidki, whom Keenan said was out of position three times when teammates passed to him in the first period and "wasn't ready to pick it up." Shvidki played just 1:52 in the period.

It was just 27 seconds after the Panthers killed off that first penalty, a high-sticking call against Igor Ulanov, that the Wild opened the scoring when Bill Muckalt swept in the rebound of a Jason Marshall shot.

Florida had a chance to tie when the Wild's Lubomir Sekeras was sent off for hooking at 7:39. But 10 seconds later, a careless cross-ice pass by Dmitry Yushkevich was picked off by Antti Laaksonen, who went in on a breakaway and scored shorthanded on Roberto Luongo.

"I can't think of one hockey player who played well," Keenan said.

"They don't know how to prepare as professionals, and that's one reason why this franchise hasn't done well in the last five years. People like Bure, Yushkevich, (Sandis) Ozolinsh and (Stephane) Matteau didn't prepare themselves to play. If they're not ready, you can't expect the others to be."

While short on overall talent, the Wild again proved themselves to be a hard-working group that buys into coach Jacques Lemaire's system.

"They play very good defensive hockey," said Viktor Kozlov, who played just two shifts in the third period because of a rib injury, the extent of which wasn't immediately known. "They're a trap team that limits chances, and we didn't score on the chances we had."

While things never got as bad as last season, when Florida lost 6-0 to the Wild, Minnesota grabbed momentum early.

"We eased our way into it; we were back on our heels," center Ryan Johnson said. "When a team stands you up at the red line the way they did, you've got to chip it in two or three times and go from there.

"They're pretty skilled and they're going to bury their chances."

The Wild created enough Florida mistakes to muster four breakaways, though Roberto Luongo stopped the other three.

Niklas Hagman put away a Stephen Weiss pass for the only Florida goal with 6:44 left in the second period. That marked the first goal the Panthers had scored in three games in Minnesota, ending a drought of 158 minutes, 16 seconds.

Brad Bombardir had made it 3-0 on a power-play 2:14 into that period. Muckalt finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with three seconds to play.


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Bure Off to Best Start in Rangers History
- - New York Rangers
October 16, 2002

After his three point performance (two goals, one assist) on Tuesday vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs, right Wing Pavel Bure is now the first player in Rangers history to tally 14 goals in his for 13 games as a Ranger. He has now registered 23 points in those 13 games, registering 14 goals and nine assists over the span.

During his brilliant career, Bure has eclipsed the 60-goal mark twice in his NHL career (1992-93, 1993-94) and the 50-goal mark five times (1992-93, 1993-94, 1997-98, 1999-00, 2000-01). Entering the 2002-2003 season, nobody in the NHL tallied more goals than the 151 Bure did from the 1999-2002. Now in his 12th NHL season, and first full campaign with New York, he is a six-time All-Star and has led the NHL in goals three times (1993-94, 1999-00, 2000-01).

Most Goals Over The Last Three Seasons - (1999-00 - 2001-02)
1. Pavel Bure - 151
2. Jaromir Jagr - 125
3. Jarome Iginla - 112
4. Brendan Shanahan - 109
5. Markus Naslund - 108
6. Joe Sakic - 108

* Not including 2002-03 totals

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Rocket off to a flying start
- - New York Rangers
October 17, 2002

After his three point performance Tuesday night vs. Toronto, Pavel Bure is now the first player in Rangers history to tally 14 goals in his first 13 games with the team. The six-time All-Star has now registered 23 points in those 13 games, collecting 14 goals and nine assists over the span. Bure and the Rangers look to make it two straight wins as they visit the Buffalo Sabres tonight at HSBC Arena (7:00 PM ET, MSG Network/WFAN 660 AM).


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Sabres 4, Rangers 4
Bure: Three shots on goal; One goal and one assist; Minus one
- - AP News
October 17, 2002

Pavel Bure scored his third goal in two games with 8:51 left in regulation, lifting the New York Rangers into a 4-4 tie with the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Bure's wrist shot hit the far post and deflected in off the skate of goalie Martin Biron. Bure, who missed the first three games this season because of illness, has three goals and two assists in two contests.

Eric Lindros scored his first two goals of the season, and Bobby Holik also scored for New York, which is unbeaten in two games after being outscored 10-1 during a two-game losing streak.

Miroslav Satan had two goals, and Chris Gratton and Tim Connolly scored for Buffalo. Connolly and Satan each have three goals this season.

Satan's second goal capped a second-period rally that saw Buffalo score four times and take a 4-3 lead. He took a pass from Gratton and walked out untouched from the corner before tucking a shot past Rangers goalie Daniel Blackburn.

Lindros staked the Rangers to an early 2-0 lead when he scored power-play goals 26 seconds apart in the first period. Buffalo's Rob Ray was in the penalty box serving four minutes for an unprovoked attack on New York defenseman Darius Kasparaitis.

Following Satan's first goal at 1:06 of the second period, Gratton blocked a point shot and went the length of the ice before blasting a slap shot past Blackburn.

New York went ahead 3-2 when Holik scored his first goal with the Rangers, tipping Kasparaitis' shot barely over the goal line.

Blackburn made 24 saves, including a huge pad save on Henrik Tallinder late in overtime. Martin Biron turned away 32 shots for Buffalo.

Buffalo was 2-for-5 on the power play and the Rangers were 3-for-9. New York has five power-play goals in two games after starting the season 1-for-18 withthe man-advantage.


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Sabres 4, Rangers 4 - Post-Game Notes
- - New York Rangers
October 17, 2002

The Rangers and Sabres skated to a 4-4 tie at Buffalo's HSBC Arena in a see-saw match which featured five power play goals. Eric Lindros tallied a pair of goals 26 seconds apart in the first period to give the Blueshirts a 2-0 lead after one but the Sabres rallied with four goals in the second. Bobby Holik netted his first goal as a Ranger in the second and Pavel Bure scored his third goal in the last two games in the third period to even the score at 4-4. Dan Blackburn turned aside 24 of 28 shots in his first appearance of the 2002-03 season. Brian Leetch and Tom Poti each collected two power play assists and are tied for first on the club with six points in five games.

__________________________________

ERIC LINDROS - Tallied a pair of power play goals, marking his first two goals of the 2003-03 season ... Earned second star of the game honors.

"We got a point out of it but I don't think anyone in this room is really happy about it."
_________________

PAVEL BURE - Notched the game-tying goal, on the power play, and added an assist on Lindros' second goal ... Has notched three goals and two assists in his first two games of the season after making his debut on Tuesday vs. Toronto ... Has now scored 15 goals and 10 assists in 14 games as a Ranger dating back to March 19 ... Led all Rangers forwards with 25:55 of ice time.
_________________

BOBBY HOLIK - Tallied his first goal as a Ranger in the second period and has now collected two points (one goal, one assist) in the last two games.
_________________

BRIAN LEETCH - Notched a pair of assists, both on the power play, and leads the team with six assists on the season ... Led all players with seven shots on goal and 31:42 of ice time.
_________________

TOM POTI - Collected two power play assists and is tied with Leetch for first on the team with six points in five games (one goal, five assists) ... Ranked second on the team with five shots on goal.
_________________

DAN BLACKBURN - Turned aside 24 of 28 shots in the tie ... Made his 2002-03 debut after being sidelined with a dislocated left ring finger suffered during pre-game warmups on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

_________________________________

THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Miroslav Satan (BUF)
2. Eric Lindros (NYR)
3. Chris Gratton (BUF)

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Russian players feel the danger
The owner of Igor Larionov's former team joins others who ran afoul of the Russian Mafia
By Jim Kernaghan - - London Free Press
October 18, 2002

The danger is never really far away for Russian hockey players and it raised its head again this week when the owner of Detroit Red Wing Igor Larionov's old team was gunned down.

The National Hockey League's oldest player, 41-year-old Igor Larionov downplays the so-called Russian Mafia involvement in the death of Andrei Trifonov this week but the facts are there. Trifonov was murdered when two shooters opened fire on his car as it stopped at the gates of his suburban Moscow home.

Trifonov owned Khimik Voskresensk, Larionov's former team. He joins a lineup of Russian hockey people who've fallen afoul of the international crime syndicate, one which got its talons into more than one NHLer in the past. Last night's parade of the Stanley Cup before an adoring Joe Louis Arena crowd and the raising of their Stanley Cup banner might have been uplifting but a behind-the-scenes darkness remains.

Five years ago, Valentin Sytch, the head of Russian hockey, went down the same way as Trifonov, in a hail of bullets as he was leaving his home. The mother of Oleg Tverdovsky was kidnapped and held for ransom. In the early 1990s, then-Toronto Maple Leaf and current Florida Panther Dimitri Yushkevich, along with his wife Oksana, were threatened in an extortion attempt.

"People phoned my house saying I had to pay protection money," Yushkevich revealed later. "The next week, we left the country."

The daughter of former Soviet great Alexander Yakushev disappeared and was found dead in the Moscow River two months later. Notables in other sports, particularly soccer, also have been victims.

According to North American law enforcement specialists, the Russian Mafia makes the Sicilian Mafia resemble purse-snatchers.

Freed from the confines of a secret police state and godless, the worst of them operate without remorse.

When a group of Russian NHLers returned home to play a tournament, 200 private armed guards were brought in by tournament organizers and each of the ranking stars had at least one personal bodyguard.

While it hasn't cropped up recently, there has been concern among Russian players they could become targets of extortion attempts the moment their contract details are made known. The fear apparently is not from the top-level Mafia but smaller and wilder offshoots.

All of Pavel Bure, Slava Fetisov, Alexander Mogilny and Valery Kamensky have been named as victims of extortion. When he played for the Vancouver Canucks, Bure went out for dinner with friends, some purportedly involved with the Mafia. After dinner, everyone got into two waiting cars. Bure got into the rear car. The car in front blew up.

"I hate having to go to Russia," former Wings coach Nick Polano, now a scout with the Ottawa Senators, said last night. "You never know who is who over there. The criminals are pretty organized."

Polano chased Slava Kozlov around Russia before signing him to the Wings while Kozlov was recuperating in hospital. He had to furtively sign Petr Klima, then with Czechoslovakia, in a forest outside the team hotel.

Around the NHL, the notion is the threat has passed, that the vicious Russian Mafia has gone on to more lucrative pastimes than shaking down sports stars, there and in North America. But the top Russian teams, while apparently under the logo of some new corporation or other, really are Mafia-owned.

Various scouts at last night's Detroit Red Wings home-opener against the Montreal Canadiens consider it common knowledge and pointed to the age of the latest hit victim. Trifonov was 34 and unlikely to have amassed his fortune in the new Russia by conventional means. And the money to pay salaries as high as $300,000 US in the Russian elite league doesn't come from rubles at the gate.

Larionov speaks of returning to Russia one day. One has to wonder.

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Pavel rests
October 18, 2002

Mark Messier and Pavel Bure missed practice Friday. Bryan Trottier said Messier called him Friday morning and sounded "under the weather," and the coach told him to rest. Bure, recovering from strep throat, went to the doctor for a checkup

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Nashville 2, NY Rangers 2 (ot)
Bure: Four shots on goal; One goal; Plus one
- - AP News
October 19, 2002

New York Rangers' Pavel Bure puts the puck past Nashville Predators' Tomas Vokoun on a penalty shot during the first period, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2002, at Madison Square Garden in New York.  (AP Photo/Ed Betz)

New York Rangers' Pavel Bure puts the puck past Nashville Predators' Tomas Vokoun on a penalty shot during the first period, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2002, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)

Scottie Upshall scored his first NHL goal with 5:39 left in the second period and the Nashville Predators earned another overtime point with a 2-2 tie against the New York Rangers.

The sixth overall pick in this year's draft, Upshall beat goaltender Mike Richter with a snap shot from inside the left faceoff dot, converting on a partial breakaway. It wa

s the first point in three NHL games for the 19-year-old Upshall.

"Great feeling to score in this building in front of all those people," he said.

"You dream about it, even though you know it'll come. I'm just glad it helps us get a point."

Tomas Vokoun shut down the punchless Rangers the rest of the way as the Predators ended an 0-0-1-2 road trip. They opened it with overtime losses to the New York Islanders and New Jersey.

Nashville could have walked away from Madison Square Garden with another win, but David Legwand failed to find a vacant net from the low slot, grazing the goalpost with 68 seconds left in overtime.

Legwand beat the Rangers at the Garden with the NHL's first-ever overtime penalty shot goal in December 2000. That started a three-game winning streak in the series that became a four-game unbeaten run Saturday.

"They are a frustrating team to play against and you really have to maintain your discipline," Rangers first-year coach Brian Trottier said. "You don't want to get impatient with them."

Pavel Bure scored on a penalty shot for the inconsistent Rangers, who managed just 16 shots and were booed throughout the final stages of overtime. They picked up their second straight tie and moved to 2-2-2 on the season.

"We understand it's frustrating, but we want to play well at home," captain Mark Messier said. "We know the fans are with us, they've been with this team forever. It's not a problem."

"In fairness to the fans, I think they woukd love to see more generated," Trottier added. "Our guys want to play and maintain our discipline."

Things looked good early for the Rangers, who opened the scoring at 4:25 of the first period when Bure beat Vokoun on a penalty shot, deking right before sliding the puck inside the left goalpost.

"The puck was rolling and I wasn't sure what I was going to do until I got going," Bure said.

"He's obviously a great player and he made a great move," Vokoun said.

It was the 11th career penalty shot for Bure - including his failed attempt against Richter in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals - and second at Madison Square Garden. He has scored on six of them.

The Rangers were awarded the shot when Predators defenseman Bill Houlder closed his hand on the puck in the crease. Bure discussed with Eric Lindros who should take the shot before skating to center ice.

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen tied it on the power play 3:49 into the second period. He picked up a bad clear by Rem Murray and put a slap shot past Richter from the top of the right faceoff circle.

New York took back the lead just 68 seconds later when defenseman Dale Purinton beat Vokoun with a snap shot from the left point along the boards. It was his first goal in 88 NHL games.

"It took only three years, but it's a great feeling," Purinton said. "I scored 50 on Richter in practice, but it's nice to get one during the season. It always feels good to contribute when you're a defensive defenseman."

Matthew Barnaby chased down the puck and gave it to Purinton.

"I'm going to give it to my mom because she is my biggest fan," Purinton said. "She criticizes and critiques my game more than anyone."

Upshall tied it again nearly 10 minutes later, using his speed to skate away from a Rangers defenseman and a wicked shot to beat Richter.

Richter made a diving stop with 2:50 left in regulation and stopped Clarke Wilm's blast with the right side of his facemask with 2:35 to play in overtime.

In the final 70 seconds, Legwand ended up alone in the low slot following a scramble, but the puck glanced the post with Richter squirming back into position.

"The shot just rolled off my stick and I think hit the side of the post," Legwand said. "He made a great play just to get there. I'm not sure if it hit him."

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Game Recap: Rangers 2, Nashville Predators 2
- - New York Rangers
October 19, 2002

The Rangers opened their four game homestand Saturday night with a 2-2 tie against the Nashville Predators at Madison Square Garden.

Pavel Bure got the Blueshirts on the board when he cashed in on a penalty shot attempt at 4:25 of the first period. Following a Kimmo Timonen power play goal early in the second, Dale Purinton wristed a shot past Tomas Vokoun for his first NHL goal to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Rookie Scottie Upshall answered with his first NHL tally 10 minutes later to knot the game at 2-2.

"It's taken three years to score my first," said Purinton. "It's obviously a great feeling. I score 50 a year on Mike Richter in practice so it's nice to score one when it counts." Richter turned aside 24 of 26 shots and still remains two wins shy of 300 for his NHL career, while Vokoun stopped 16 of 18 shots in his second appearance of the season.

"We got a point out of it, but we still need to get better," said Bure after the game. In a strange scoring twist, there were no assists registered in the game. New York, now 2-2-2-0 on the season, hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday (7:00 PM ET).

_____________________

PAVEL BURE - Tallied his fourth goal of the season on a first period penalty shot, extending his goal/point scoring streak to three games (four goals, two assists over the span) … Has now registered six penalty shot goals in 11 career regular season attempts … Ranks first on the team and is tied for third in the NHL with four goals … Has now registered at least one goal in 12 of 15 games as a New York Ranger since his acquisition on March 18, 2002 ... Is also tied for first on the team with six points (four goals, two assists) ... Named second star of the game.

"On the bright side we took a point, but on the other side we obviously have to play better and we’re not satisfied with a tie."

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Game Preview: Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
- - New York Rangers
October 22, 2002

Coming off a pair of ties with Buffalo and Nashville, the Rangers (2-2-2-0) continue their four-game homestand tonight as they host the unbeaten Tampa Bay Lightning (3-0-1-0) at Madison Square Garden (7:00 PM ET, MSG Network/WFAN 660 AM).

Pavel Bure got the Blueshirts on the board Saturday night when he cashed in on a penalty shot attempt at 4:25 of the first period. Following a Kimmo Timonen power play goal early in the second, Dale Purinton wristed a shot past Tomas Vokoun for his first NHL goal to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Rookie Scottie Upshall answered with his first NHL tally 10 minutes later to knot the game at 2-2. Richter turned aside 24 of 26 shots and still remains two wins shy of 300 for his NHL career, while Vokoun stopped 16 of 18 shots in his second appearance of the season.

Bure now leads the club with four goals in three games and has scored 16 goals in 15 games to start his Blueshirt career dating back to March 19. Tom Poti (one goal, five assists) and Brian Leetch (six assists) are tied with Bure for the team lead with six points.

Tampa Bay is coming off a 3-3 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at Mellon Arena and sit atop the Southeast Division with seven points to start the season. The Lightning skated past the Atlanta Thrashers, 8-5, on Friday at home. Vincent Lecavalier (three goals, four assists) and Vaclav Prospal (two goals, five assists) lead the Bolts and are tied for 15th in the NHL with seven points. Nikolai Khabibulin has started all four games between the pipes, posting a 2.90 bgoals against average and a .882 save percentage.

Following tonight's game, the Rangers will host the Washington Capitals on Wednesday (7:00 PM ET - Delta/Rangers T-Shirt Night) and the Los Angeles Kings on Friday (7:00 PM ET) before heading to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs on Saturday (7:00 PM ET).

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Tampa Bay 4, NY Rangers 2
Bure: Three shots on goal; Even; 2 minute interference penalty (scored on)
- - AP News
October 22, 2002

Martin St. Louis scored a pair of goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning continued the best start in franchise history with a 4-2 victory over the struggling New York Rangers.

Defenseman Dan Boyle had three assists for the Lightning (4-0-1), who remained one of only two unbeaten teams in the NHL. They finished 13th or worse in the Eastern Conference each of the previous five seasons.

Playing without arguably its best player, Tampa Bay scored on three of its eight power plays against the undisciplined Rangers, who were booed off home ice after extending their winless streak to three games (0-1-2).

Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier, the first overall pick in the 1998 draft, sat out with a knee injury.

New York had a 2-1 lead following Mark Messier's power-play goal 3:28 into the second period but was whistled for five minor penalties over the next 16 minutes.

The Lightning scored on two of the ensuing power plays, eventually chasing backup goaltender Dan Blackburn. St. Louis tied it at 2-2 with his first goal of the night at 7:39, and Vaclav Prospal made it 3-2 at 14:56.

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Game Recap: Tampa Bay 4, Rangers 2
- - New York Rangers
October 22, 2002

The upstart Tampa Bay Lightning remained unbeaten through five games (4-0-1-0) with a 4-2 victory over the Rangers at MSG. Martin St. Louis tallied his fourth and fifth goals of the season and Dan Boyle recorded three assists to lead the Lightning. Rem Murray and Mark Messier scored for New York, who have two games remaining on their current four-game homestand. Dan Blackburn allowed three goals on 21 shots before he was replaced by Mike Richter at the start of the third period. Nikolai Khabibulin turned aside 18 of 20 Rangers attempts and added an assist in the win.



_____________

PAVEL BURE Failed to register a goal for the first time at MSG since joining the Rangers on March 19 ... His three-game goal streak was also snapped (four goals).

_____________

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Game Preview: Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
- - New York Rangers
October 23, 2002

The Blueshirts will look to snap their current three-game winless streak (0-1-2-0) Wednesday night when they take to the ice against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden (7:00 PM ET, MSG Network/WFAN 660). Wednesday’s meeting is the first of four between the two clubs this season. All fans in attendance will receive a Rangers t-shirt courtesy of Delta Air Lines. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking here.

Martin St. Louis scored a pair of goals and added an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning continued their best start in franchise history with a 4-2 victory over the Rangers on Monday at Madison Square Garden. Defenseman Dan Boyle added three assists for the Lightning (4-0-1-0), who remained one of only two unbeaten teams in the NHL, along with the Philadelphia Flyers (3-0-2-0). The Rangers received goals from Rem Murray and Mark Messier in the loss. Mike Richter, who replaced Dan Blackburn at the start of the third period, will get the start in goal vs. the Caps, whom he has posted a 21-17-2 mark in 43 career matches.

Mike Modano collected three assists, including nice feeds on two early power-play goals, and Rob DiMaio scored twice as the Dallas Stars beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 Sunday night. Craig Billington made his first start of the 2002-03 season for Washington but was replaced by Olaf Kolzig just 10:13 into the game. He allowed three goals on eight shots.

Washington, which has lost two straight since a 3-0 start, got within one goal twice. Jeff Halpern made it 2-1 in the first period, and Jaromir Jagr made it 3-2 with a 4-on-4 goal late in the second period. Kolzig stopped 21 of 22 shots. The Capitals also were coming off a collapse Saturday, as they allowed three goals in the final 24:30 of a 3-1 loss in Philadelphia.

The Rangers skated past the Capitals, 6-3, at MSG in their last meeting on January 26, snapping an 0-3 skid vs. Washington in three previous matches. New York has posted a 3-1-0-0 mark in their last four meetings vs. the Caps on home ice.

ALL-TIME - RANGERS vs. WASHINGTON:
Overall: 68-73-17-1
At MSG: 37-33-8-1
At Washington: 31-40-9-0

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Different Bure, same doghouse
- - Vancouver Province
October 23, 2002

The predictable marriage made in hell betweem ex-Panther Pavel Bure and Florida coach Mike Keenan ended in a quick divorce. Bure was sent to the Rangers shortly after Keenan's arrival in Florida last season.

Now it looks like Bure's younger brother Valeri is also a marked man in Florida.

Keenan benched Valeri for what he called a lackluster effort, and blasted him in the media saying, "Valeri, again, just didn't want to do what the coaches asked him to do," before adding Bure is one of the few Panthers who "don't know how to prepare as professional."

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Washington 2, Rangers 1
Bure: Five shots on goal; even
- - AP News
October 23, 2002

No matter what the New York Rangers do, they still cannot stop Jaromir Jagr.

Jagr had an assist and scored the go-ahead goal with 4:23 remaining in the second period as the Washington Capitals edged the Rangers, 2-1.

Throughout his brilliant career, Jagr has made a living of beating the Rangers. He has 26 goals and 48 assists in 53 career games against New York.

The first period belonged to the Rangers, who had 16 shots on goaltender Olaf Kolzig. But the line of Jagr, Robert Lang and Steve Konowalchuk took over thereafter.

Behind the net, Jagr was double-teamed by defensemen Dale Purinton and Vladimir Malakhov. But that did not work as Jagr slid a pass to Konowalchuk, who beat Rangers goaltender Mike Richter with a soft shot from the left side with 11:50 remaining in the middle period.

Nearly three minutes later, with New York blue-liner Brian Leetch serving a hooking penalty, Jagr struck again, beating a screened Richter with a hard wrist shot from the right circle.

The Rangers got on the board 55 seconds after Jagr's goal, when Matthew Barnaby scored. But they had just seven shots in the final 20 minutes and were booed off the ice by the crowd at Madison Square Garden for the third consecutive game.

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Game Preview: Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings
- - New York Rangers
October 25, 2002

The Rangers conclude their current four-game homestand on Friday as they host the Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden (7:00 PM ET, MSG Network/WFAN 660 AM).

On Wednesday, Washington snapped their two-game losing streak and the Rangers' winless streak reached four games (0-2-2-0) as the Capitaks skated past the Blueshirts 2-1 at MSG. Steve Konowalchuk and Jaromir Jagr scored for Washington, who have three games remaining in their current eight-game road trip. Jagr also added an assist on the night and leads the Caps with five goals and eight assists. Matthew Barnaby netted his second goal of the season for the Rangers' lone tally. Mike Richter turned aside 24 of 26 shots, while Olaf Kolzig stopped 31 of 32 shots for his fourth win of the season.

Jason Allison's goal at 9:35 of the third period allowed the Los Angeles Kings to salvage a 3-3 tie with the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. Lubomir Visnovsky and Mathieu Schneider also scored for the Kings, who remain winless in their last three games (0-1-2-0). Allison added an assist and Felix Potvin stopped 25 shots on the night.

The Rangers have posted a 2-1-1-0 record vs. Los Angeles in their last four meetings. Despite a 4-0 Kings win over the Blueshirts in their last meeting on January 9 at MSG, New York has registered a 6-1-1-0 in the last eight games on home ice.

Following the game, the Rangers travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre (7:00 PM ET). The Blueshirts skated past the Leafs, 5-4, in their first meeting on October 15 at MSG.

ALL-TIME SERIES - RANGERS vs. KINGS:
Overall: 61-39-16-0
At MSG: 35-16-6-0
At Los Angeles: 26-23-10-0

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Los Angeles 6, NY Rangers 2
Bure: Five shots on goal; one assist; plus one
- - AP News
October 25, 2002

As their fans' mouths open, so do the New York Rangers' eyes.

Off to a disappointing start following an offseason spending spree, the Rangers were embarrassed at home by the Los Angeles Kings, who received a hat trick from Adam Deadmarsh in a 6-2 rout.

The Rangers suffered their third straight loss and finished an 0-3-1 homestand. They were in the game for about half of the first period before Los Angeles scored twice in a 14-second span for a 3-0 lead.

In what has become a trend this season, fans at Madison Square Garden booed throughout most of the game. They had reason to, with New York giving the Kings seven of the game's eight power plays while allowing four breakaways.

"We got soundly beat, no beating around the bush about it," said captain Mark Messier, whose team is winless in its last five games (0-3-2). "It's a little bit of an eye-opener for everybody."

Making matters worse for the Rangers, the talented Kings played their best game of the season, getting points from 10 different players and 18 saves from Felix Potvin in snapping a three-game winless streak (0-1-2).

The Rangers had another night to forget. During their five-game winless streak, they have had no discipline and little scoring punch, managing just 11 goals - two or fewer in each of the last four contests.

"Obviously, there are a lot of things that are disappointing about what is going on right now," said Mike Richter, who stopped just 5-of-8 shots before being replaced by Dan Blackburn.

Richter had little chance on the first goal of the game as Deadmarsh scored just after a two-man advantage expired. Rangers defenseman Dale Purinton, who took the first penalty, put the puck into his own net following Deadmarsh's shot from the low slot.

Smolinski made it 2-0 with 9:06 left in the first period. With Messier draped all over him in the right faceoff circle, Smolinski stopped Jaroslav Bednar's pass from the right corner with his left skate and put a quick snap shot past Richter.

Just 14 seconds later, Jason Allison broke in alone on Richter and Frolov put home the rebound for a 3-0 lead. It was his first career goal.

Armstrong scored 7:20 into the second period to make it 4-0. Matthew Barnaby got the Rangers on the board less than three minutes later, but Deadmarsh restored a four-goal lead 2:33 into the third with his second goal of the night.

The Rangers closed within 5-2 on Ronald Petrovicky's first goal with the team 4 1/2 minutes into the third but were unable to get any closer. They were outshot in each period and failed to score on their only power play.

"We are having trouble scoring and things are not working out for us around the net," center Eric Lindros said. "We are pressing some, but we have to get back to basics. That sounds simple, but it's the truth."

The Rangers missed the postseason for the fifth straight year in 2001-02, then signed center Bobby Holik and defenseman Darius Kasparaitis to contracts totaling $70.5 million. Holik has two points and a minus-4 rating. Kasparaitis is a minus-9 with one assist.

QUOTES:
"The most difficult thing is not to lose your confidence. You still have to believe in yourself, in your teammates and in your coaching staff. You have to go out there and do the best that you can." - Pavel Bure

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Game Preview: Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
- - New York Rangers
October 26, 2002

The Rangers and Maple Leafs meet for the second time this season, with the Blueshirts holding a 1-0-0-0 edge after skating to a 5-4 win on October 15 at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers’ four-game homestand came to a close Friday night as the Los Angeles Kings extended the Blueshirts’ winless streak to five games (0-3-2-0) with a 6-2 road win. Adam Deadmarsh netted a hat trick, Jason Allison collected three assists and Bryan Smolinski recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Kings. Matthew Barnaby and Ronald Petrovicky scored for New York.

The Maple Leafs were defeated 4-1 by the Florida Panthers on Wednesday and are now winless in their last three games (0-2-1-0). The Leafs, playing the second game of a seven-game homestand, got a goal from Nikolai Antropov, but still fell to 1-4-0 on their own ice. Ed Belfour, who dropped a 4-1 decision to Boston on Monday, stopped 26 of 29 shots but was unable to prevent Toronto from dropping five of its last seven (1-5-1).

LAST MEETING: Rangers 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 4 (10/15/2002)
Pavel Bure tallied a pair of goals and assisted on another to lead the Rangers to victory and snap the team's two-game losing streak. For Bure it was his first game of the season after missing the first three matches due to a bout with strep throat. Tom Poti, skating in his 300th NHL game, and Matthew Barnaby each added a goal and an assist in the win. Mike Richter made his fourth consecutive start in goal, turning aside 29 of 33 shots on the night to move within two wins of 300 in his NHL career. Mikael Samuelsson tallied New York's other goal on the night. Bobby Holik assisted on Samuelsson's goal to record his first point as a Ranger. Jamie Lundmark collected hist first NHL point with an assist on Bure's third period, power play tally.

ALL-TIME SERIES - RANGERS VS. MAPLE LEAFS:
All-Time: 202-261-95-1
At MSG: 119-105-56-0
At Toronto: 83-156-39-1

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Rangers 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
Bure: Six shots on goal; one goal (game winning) and one assist; plus one
- - AP News
October 25, 2002

New York Rangers right winger Pavel Bure puts the puck through the legs of Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour for the game winning goal with 57 seconds left in third period NHL action in Toronto on Saturday Oct. 26, 2002. (AP Photo/Frank Gunn)

New York Rangers right winger Pavel Bure puts the puck through the legs of Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour for the game winning goal with 57 seconds left in third period NHL action in Toronto on Saturday Oct. 26, 2002. (AP Photo/Frank Gunn)

Mike Richter's best effort of the season was rewarded by Pavel Bure's scoring ability.

Bure scored with 57 seconds remaining as the New York Rangers halted a five-game winless streak with a 4-3 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Richter kept the Rangers in the game, making 22 of his 36 saves in the second period. But he fell behind, 3-2, when Alexander Mogilny beat him with a one-timer 3:48 into the third.

"I think Richter played the kind of game we all know and have seen him play before," Rangers captain Mark Messier said. "When we need him the most, whenever this team had gone on a roll, he's been the guy who's done it. We expected the kind of game we got from him tonight."

"I've been feeling pretty good this year for most of the time," Richter said, "but it's a team game, and sometimes certain aspects of your game are going to have to pick up to help the team, and I didn't feel I was doing enough. Tonight I felt better. It felt good to help out the squad."

The Rangers capitalized on a turnover by the Maple Leafs to rally for their first win since October 15.

With the game tied, 3-3, rookie defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo attempted a pass to Travis Green on a late rush. But the puck was intercepted by New York defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre, starting the pivotal rush.

Lefebvre fed Rem Murray, who carried through the neutral zone and found Bure. The "Russian Rocket" beat Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour between the pads with a soft shot for his third goal in two games against the Leafs this season.

After Bure's goal, Richter faced one more test. Mats Sundin won a face-off from Eric Lindros and passed to defenseman Bryan McCabe, who was all alone in the low slot. But the blue-liner's slap shot was smothered by Richter.

"This was huge," Rangers right wing Mikael Samuelsson said. "It hasn't gone well for both teams. It was good we got one on the road. Richter played unbelievable tonight. He kept us in the game, and we kept digging and digging, and snuck one in late in the game and won."

In a game that featured all sorts of sloppiness and undisciplined play, the Leafs were slighty worse than the Rangers.

New York forged a 3-3 tie less than five minutes before Bure scored when Samuelsson put in his own rebound.

After firing a hard shot from inside the right faceoff circle, Maple Leafs defenseman Karel Pilar failed to pick up Samuelsson, who breezed through the slot and beat Belfour.

Prior to scoring the tying goal, the Rangers had taken three careless penalties, and with defenseman Dale Purinton off for hooking, the Leafs cashed in.

In the waning seconds of New York's sixth power play, Purinton, who started Friday's 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings with a hooking penalty, hauled down Toronto center Alyn McCauley.

On the ensuing face-off, Petr Nedved was kicked out and replaced by Murray, who lost the draw to Sundin. Sundin fed Mogilny, who was alone in the slot and scored.

Nedved had tied it, 2-2, just after Shayne Corson was kicked out of a face-off with Lindros and penalized for cross-checking. Following a few cross-ice passes, Nedved found himself alone at the doorstep and beat Belfour.

The Leafs took a 1-0 lead with 3:07 remaining in the first when Mogilny centered a pass for Mikael Renberg, who put it home.

But it took just 1:50 into the second for Messier to tie the game after he intercepted Pilar's clearing pass.

Former Ranger and tough guy Tie Domi made it 2-1 with his third goal of the season with 6:53 remaining in the period, redirecting defenseman Robert Svehla's pass in traffic.

The Rangers were without Radek Dvorak due to a sprained MCL suffered Friday. They also lost Bobby Holik in the second period to a hip injury.

Toronto, which has won just once since a season-opening win at Pittsburgh, fell to 0-3 on its season-high seven-game homestand.

"It was a heartbreaker to lose the game like that," Belfour said. "It was a slap in the face."

"He (Richter) made some great saves," Renberg said. "I think we could have had a bigger lead than one goal. He made some key saves. But still, we had the lead, and couldn't keep it."

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Game Recap: Rangers 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
- - New York Rangers
October 25, 2002

Mike Richter's best effort of the season was rewarded by Pavel Bure's scoring ability. Bure scored with 56 seconds remaining in the third period as the Rangers snapped a five-game winless streak with a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mark Messier, Petr Nedved and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for New York. Richter kept the Rangers in the game throughout, making 22 of his 36 saves in the second period.

________________________________________

Pavel Bure scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season at 19:04 of the third period ... Has now scored three goals in two games vs. Toronto this season ... Also collected an assist on Petr Nedved's second period power play goal ... Led all Rangers with six shots on goal ... Is tied for second on the team lead with nine points (five goals, four assists).

____________________

THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Mike Richter (NYR)
2. Alexander Mogilny (TOR)
3. Mark Messier (NYR)

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Game Preview: Rangers vs. Phoenix Coyotes
- - New York Rangers
October 28, 2002

New York takes to the ice tonight for their third game in four nights as they host the Phoenix Coyotes at Madison Square Garden (7:00 pM ET, MSG Network/WBBR 1130 AM). The Rangers look to snap their current four-game home winless streak (0-3-1-0), on the heels of a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs on Saturday in Toronto.

Pavel Bure slipped a shot past Ed Belfour with 56 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Rangers a 4-3 win over the struggling Leafs, snapping New York's five-game winless streak. Mike Richter turned aside 36 of 39 shots to move within one win of 300 in his NHL career. Mark Messier, Petr Nedved and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for the Blueshirts, who were playing their third game in four nights. Bure also added an assist, while Brian Leetch collected a pair of helpers.

The Coyotes dropped their second straight game with a 6-1 loss to the visiting Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Mike Johnson scored the lone goal for Phoenix in the loss. The Coyotes are 1-2-0-0 in the last three games, with their last win coming on the road last Tuesday in Nashville, a 2-1 decision. Phoenix received troubling news in Nashville as goaltender Sean Burke suffered an ankle sprain and will be out of the lineup for four weeks. Off-season acquisition Brian Boucher will see the bulk of the netminding duties in Burke's absense. The Coyotes offense is led by free agent addition and former Rangers winger Tony Amonte, who is tied for the team lead in points with seven (three goals, four assists) in nine games.

Messier is expected to make history tonight as he skates in his 1,613th career NHL match, moving past Ray Bourque into sole possession of third place on the NHL's all-time games played list. Messier also only trails Larry Murphy by three games (1,615) to move into a tie with the former defenseman for second place on the all-time list. Richter is also on the verge of a major milestone as he is now only one win shy of 300 in his NHL career.

Tom Poti became the first Ranger to reach double-digits in points on the season with an assist on Saturday in Toronto. He now leads the team and is tied for first among NHL blueliners with 10 points (one goal, nine assists).

Following tonight's game, the Rangers hit the road for a pair of games, beginning Wednesday at Tampa Bay (7:00 PM ET). The Blueshirts then travel to Boston where they will meet the Bruins on Saturday (7:00 PM ET) before returning home to host the St. Louis Blues on Sunday at MSG (5:00 PM ET).

ALL-TIME - RANGERS vs. PHOENIX:
Overall: 30-22-6-0
At Home: 17-9-2-0
At Phoenix: 13-13-4-0

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NY Rangers 3, Phoenix 2 (ot)
Bure: Four shots on goal; two goals; plus two
- - AP News
October 28, 2002

Mike Richter got his 300th NHL win and prevented the New York Rangers from being booed off the ice at Madison Square Garden for a fifth straight game.

Petr Nedved scored with 2:40 left in overtime after Richter made 29 saves as the Rangers rallied for a 3-2 triumph over the Phoenix Coyotes.

When Nedved put a backhander past Brian Boucher, Richter became the 19th goaltender to reach 300 wins and first to do it with the Rangers.

Already the franchise's all-time wins leader, the 36-year-old Richter became the sixth active 300-game winner, joining Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Curtis Joseph, Ed Belfour and Tom Barrasso.

"On a personal level, it's exciting," said Richter, who won 182 games from 1989-97. "I was hoping to get it earlier in my career. A couple of injuries the last few years and not as many wins as we wanted was a disappointment. But I'm glad I've been able to stay with this organization long enough to set it with one team."

Richter is 118-144-39 since New York's last playoff appearance in 1997.

"It's really a temporary thing," he said. "It's something you'll dwell on a little bit more after your career is done. There has been a lot of great teams and a lot of great players that I have been associated with. For me, it's a great thing we got 300, but nothing is more important to me than 301."

"Ricky's a real pro," added Bryan Trottier, Richter's eighth coach. "He prepares himself and he works hard. He still wants to learn, which I think is to his credit. He wants to improve and wants to find a way to help the club win."

In win No. 299 on Saturday, Richter made 22 of his season-high 36 saves in the second period to keep his team in the game as New York edged Toronto, 4-3. He did the same Monday before allowing goals to Shane Doan and Brian Savage in the second period.

Richter's lastest wins followed Friday's 6-2 loss to Los Angeles in which he surrendered three goals and was pulled in the first period. That defeat concluded an 0-3-1 homestand during which New York was booed off the ice after each game.

After Savage's first goal of the season made it 2-0 at 7:24, Pavel Bure halved the Rangers' deficit 82 seconds later. Less than 10 minutes later, Bure tied it with his seventh of the season, converting a pass from Eric Lindros.

In overtime, "The Russian Rocket" prevented a scoring opportunity when he hauled down defenseman Paul Mara along the boards in the Rangers' zone during an odd-man rush.

Moments later, New York rookie Jamie Lundmark put a shot off the left goalpost. Off the ensuing faceoff, Phoenix defenseman Teppo Numminen's pass from the right boards to Savage was intercepted by defenseman Vladimir Malakhov, who found Nedved on the doorstep for the game-winner.

"I think it's important to start winning at home," Nedved said. "It was huge, especially coming from behind. It seems like we've been struggling, especially when we get a couple of goals down. We start pressing and making plays that are not really there. I think tonight we didn't change a thing, and although we were losing, 2-0, Pavel scored two huge goals and we were able to come back and win in overtime."

Bure started on a line with Rem Murray and Mark Messier. After a delay in the second period, Trottier reunited Bure with Lindros, who set up Bure's first of the night.

"It's a little bit of a gut (decision) as you say it to yourself," Trottier said.

"Eric had good wheels, Pavel had good wheels, so it seemed like a good time. And it worked."

Bure's second goal of the night came with 1:58 left in the second after Lindros won a faceoff and was able to find Bure while Krzysztof Oliwa checked a Coyotes defender.

After taking a pass from Lindros in the slot, Bure ripped a slap shot past Boucher, who had been 4-1 lifetime against the Rangers and made his third straight start in place of injured starter Sean Burke.

After Richter made 11 saves in the first, Doan got the Coyotes on the board 2:58 into the second, teaming with Branko Radivojevic on an odd-man rush and converting a crisp cross-ice pass into his third goal. Less than five minutes later, Savage went unchecked by defenseman Darius Kasparaitis near the crease and redirected Mara's shot past Richter.

"We gave them two great chances," Doan said. "Lindros made some great plays. We have got to play in their zone. For about eight minutes, we sat back and had them come back at us. They have way too much offense over there for us to be playing in our zone."

"Our game was going along pretty well until the glass came out," Coyotes coach Bob Francis added, referring to the second-period delay. "We seemed to lose it after that and they picked it up. The game obviously could have gone either way. They did what they had to do in the second half of the game, but we got a point out of it."

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Game Recap: Rangers 3, Phoenix Coyotes 2 (OT)
- - New York Rangers
October 28, 2002

On the night Mark Messier and Mike Richter reached the record books, the Rangers extended their winning streak to two games with a 3-2 OT win over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Petr Nedved converted a Vladimir Malakhov feed at 2:20 of the extra session to give the Blueshirts their first win at MSG since October 15, snapping a four-game winless streak on home ice. Pavel Bure tallied his sixth and seventh goals of the season and Eric Lindros added a pair of assists in the win. Mike Richter turned aside 29 of 31 shots in becoming just the 19th goaltender in NHL history to reach the 300-win plateau. Mark Messier, skating in his 1,613th career game, moved into third place on the NHL’s all-time games played list.

___________________________

Pavel Bure scored a pair of goals on the night and is now tied for fourth in the NHL with six … Leads the Rangers with six goals and 11 points in eight games … Marked his fourth multiple-point game of the season and his second in two games after collecting a goal and an assist on Saturday at Toronto … Has scored three of New York’s last four goals over the last two games.
___________________________

THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Petr Nedved (NYR)
2. Pavel Bure (NYR)
3. Eric Lindros (NYR)

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Lindros-Bure Combination Is a Winner
by Jason Diamos - - The New York Times
October 29, 2002

For much of Eric Lindros's eight seasons in Philadelphia, he centered a line nicknamed the Legion of Doom. For the Rangers recently, he was centering a line that might be called the Legion of Whom?


Last night at Madison Square Garden, Rangers Coach Bryan Trottier chose to center Lindros with low-profile, grinding wingers for the second straight game. But with the Rangers trailing the Phoenix Coyotes by two goals midway through the second period, Trottier grudgingly put Lindros and the All-Star right wing Pavel Bure back together.

"It just seemed like a good time," Trottier later said.

And how. Sixteen seconds later, Lindros set up Bure for the Rangers' first goal. Before the period was over, Lindros won a face-off to set up another Bure score.

When Petr Nedved completed the comeback with a goal at 2 minutes 20 seconds of overtime, it not only gave the Rangers a 3-2 victory, but also earned Mike Richter his 300th career National Hockey League victory. Richter is the 19th goaltender to reach the 300 mark.

"I was hoping to get it earlier in my career," said Richter, who made 29 saves. "But I'm glad I've been able to stay with this organization long enough to get it with one team."

Richter, 36, made his debut with the Rangers during the 1989 playoffs and was in goal in 1994, when they won their only Stanley Cup since 1940. But Richter's last three seasons have been shortened by reconstructive knee operations and a fractured skull; those absences are part of the reason the Rangers have not qualified for the playoffs the last five seasons.

The Rangers (4-5-2-0) have won consecutive games for the first time this season, and it was just their second victory at the Garden. The Coyotes dropped to 3-6-0-1.

Lindros's two assists were his first since he recorded two in the Rangers' 4-1 victory at Carolina on opening night. The assists were also the first he has recorded this season playing with Bure, who missed the first three games of the season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Sept. 26.

Teaming Bure with Lindros is not exactly rocket science. That was made clear by Rangers General Manager Glen Sather when he obtained Bure from Florida on March 18.

Bure scored 12 goals in his 12 games with the Rangers last season, then had four goals in his first three games this season.

But after Bure failed to score in the Rangers' next three games, Trottier opted to have Bure skate on a line centered by Mark Messier in Toronto on Saturday. It worked. Bure scored on a breakaway with 56.2 seconds to play to give the Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Maple Leafs.

When last night's game began, there was Bure, again on Messier's right. Lindros found himself between Ronald Petrovicky and Mikael Samuelsson, two energetic but hardly star forwards.

The Rangers and the Coyotes skated through a relatively even first period before Shane Doan and Brian Savage scored to give Phoenix a 2-0 lead by the 7:24 mark of the second period. Ordinarily, that would have brought out heavy booing. Last night, however, little more than a smattering of boos was heard in the Garden, which was not sold out.

At 8:30 of the second period, the Rangers received a break when a section of the protective glass behind the Phoenix goal had to be replaced. It gave the Rangers a de facto timeout.

For the ensuing face-off, Trottier sent out Bure to skate with Lindros. At 8:46, off a pass by Lindros from behind the Coyotes' goal, Bure threaded a wrist shot from the slot through traffic and between goalie Brian Boucher's pads. Just like that, it was 2-1.

"I don't aim it," Bure said later with a laugh. "I just shoot."

With time winding down in the second period, Lindros and Bure struck again. Lindros won a face-off from Daniel Brière in the left-wing circle and Bure blasted a slap shot from the edge of the left circle that eluded Boucher to his stick side, just inside the left-wing post.

For Bure, it was his team-leading 7th goal of the season and 19th in 20 career games as a Ranger. Lindros, who is in his second season with the Rangers, has 2 goals and 4 assists for 6 points in 10 games.

"I felt better tonight," said Lindros, who had been pressing. "I felt more comfortable with the puck. It's coming."

Having Bure to his right cannot hurt.


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Game Preview: Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning
- - New York Rangers
October 30, 2002

The Blueshirts look to continue their winning ways when they take a two-game winning streak to Tampa Bay to battle the Lightning tonight at St. Pete Times Forum (7:00 PM ET, MSG Network/WFAN 660). Tonight’s game will mark the second meeting of these two teams this season. Tampa Bay skated past the Blueshirts, 4-2, on October 21 at MSG.>

On the night Mark Messier and Mike Richter landed in the record books once again, the Rangers extended their winning streak to two games with a 3-2 OT win over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes on Monday. Petr Nedved converted a Vladimir Malakhov feed at 2:20 of the extra session to give the Blueshirts their first win at MSG since October 15, snapping a four-game winless streak on home ice. Pavel Bure tallied his sixth and seventh goals of the season, while Eric Lindros collected a pair of assists in the win. Richter turned aside 29 of 31 shots for his 300th career NHL win, while Messier appeared in his 1,613th career game, moving past Ray Bourque into third place on the NHL’s all-time games played list.>

Nikolai Khabibulin made 22 saves and Tampa Bay scored four goals in the final 4:04 as the Lightning rallied for a 6-1 rout of the Florida Panthers on Monday. Khabibulin allowed a power-play goal by Marcus Nilson just 2:34 into the contest but settled down thereafter to improve to 6-0-2 this season. Vincent Lecavalier, Ruslan Fedotenko and Vaclav Prospal each had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. The Lightning lost the only game he did not start, a 5-1 setback on Saturday at New Jersey with Kevin Hodson between the pipes.>

Following tonight's game, the Rangers visit the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7:00 PM ET) before returning home to host the St. Louis Blues on Sunday at MSG (5:00 PM ET).>

LAST MEETING VS. TAMPA BAY:
October 21, 2002 - The upstart Lightning remained unbeaten through five games (4-0-1-0) with a 4-2 victory over the Rangers at MSG. Martin St. Louis tallied his fourth and fifth goals of the season and Dan Boyle recorded three assists to lead the Lightning. Rem Murray and Mark Messier scored for New York, who have two games remaining on their current four-game homestand. Dan Blackburn allowed three goals on 21 shots before he was replaced by Mike Richter at the start of the third period. Nikolai Khabibulin turned aside 18 of 20 Rangers attempts and added an assist in the win. >

ALL-TIME - RANGERS vs. LIGHTNING:
Overall: 22-18-5-0
At MSG: 12-9-2-0
At Tampa Bay: 10-9-3-0

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Tampa Bay 3, NY Rangers 0
Bure: Five shots on goal; minus 2
- - AP News
October 30, 2002

After Nikolai Khabibulin stood on his head, the Tampa Bay Lightning continued to play out of their minds.

Khabibulin made 20 of his 24 saves over the first two periods before watching his teammates take over in the third as the Lightning continued their amazing start with a 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers.

The Rangers controlled play through 40 minutes but were unable to score on Khabibulin, who stopped 11 shots in the first period and nine in the second. He also helped kill a four-minute power play to preserve a 1-0 lead.

"Between the second and third, we came into the room and basically thanked (Khabibulin)," said Vincent Lecavalier, who capped the scoring with an empty-net goal. "He's the one that kept us in the game."

"There's one (Khabibulin) stole," added Tim Taylor, who opened the scoring against his former team in the first period.

Fredrik Modin also scored for Tampa Bay, which finished 13th or worse in the Eastern Conference each of the previous five seasons but is tied for the NHL lead with 16 points.

Much of the Lightning's success has to do with the third period, where they have a league-best 17 goals. They had a 1-0 lead after two periods Wednesday night before scoring twice and holding an 11-4 advantage in shots.

"I think a little bit has to do with the way we're trying to play," coach John Tortorella said. "We're trying to play aggressive. We're trying to get up the ice."

The Rangers were too aggressive from the start. Eric Lindros took a cross-checking penalty off the opening faceoff, and New York was called for the only four minors of the first period.

"It seems like it's always the same guys," said coach Brian Trottier, whose team ended the night as the most-penalized club in the NHL. "They're told, and you're pretty sure that they're focused out there, but they're the ones making the mistakes."

While the Lightning failed to score on any of their six power-play chances, they didn't need to. The Rangers also went 0-for-6, wasting a four-minute advantage against Khabibulin in the first period and two power plays in the second.

"I thought we played well enough to score at least one or two, but the game came down to us not being able to capitalize on our opportunities," Rangers winger Petr Nedved said. "He either made great saves or we didn't get off good shots."

The Rangers were coming off consecutive one-goal wins after losing three straight. They played well after a shaky start but were unable to get anything past Khabibulin before finally fading in the third period.

"We didn't start the game right with all the penalties," Nedved said. "But we took over the game in the second period and into the third. We really had some good chances, but we couldn't bury them." The Lightning buried the ones they had to, including Modin's, which made it 2-0 with 4:34 to play.

Brad Richards sent a diagonal pass to the low slot for Martin St. Louis, who drew Richter and a defenseman to the right goalpost before feeding a wide-open Modin on the left side.

With Tampa Bay suffocating the Rangers, Lecavalier made it 3-0 by putting his fifth goal into an empty net with 1:42 to play. It was a typical finish for the Lightning, who had Khabibulin to thank.

"Coach Tortorella told us if it wasn't for one guy, we were lucky to have the lead," Taylor said. "If we don't get back and play in the third, we could lose it. But we didn't sit back. We wanted to make sure we finished strong."

"It was not a pretty game for the team," added Khabibulin, who recorded his first shutout of the season and 29th of his career. "But we found a way to win."

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Game Recap: Tampa Bay 3, NY Rangers 0
- - New York Rangers
October 30, 2002

Despite outshooting Tampa Bay 24-22, including an 11-5 clip in the first period, the Rangers came up empty, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum. Tim Taylor, Fredrik Modin and Vincent Lecavalier scored for the Bolts, while Nikolai Khabibulin posted the shutout. Mike Richter stopped 19 shots in the loss, snapping New York's two-game winning streak. At 7-1-2-0, the Lightning are off to their best start in franchise history.

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Pavel Bure led all skaters with five shots on goal and all forwards with 23:29 minutes of ice time.

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THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Nikolai Khabibulin (T.B.)
2. Tim Taylor (T.B.)
3. Fredrik Modin (T.B.)

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