New Jersey Devils right wing Bill Guerin and New York Rangers center Pat LaFontaine were among six players named to complete the 1998 U.S. Olympic hockey team roster.
Also added to the team were defensemen Bryan Berard of the New York Islanders, Keith Carney of the Chicago Blackhawks, left wing Shawn McEachern of the Ottawa Senators and goaltender Guy Hebert of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
LaFontaine, the NHL’s fourth-leading scorer this season with 15 goals and 18 assists, wasn’t among the initial selections because of concerns about his conditioning, said Lou Lamoriello, general manager of the U.S. team.
LaFontaine played in only 13 games last season due to a serious concussion.
“I wanted to make sure Patty was in top physical shape,” Lamoriello said. “And he’s certainly proved that he is not only healthy, but playing at the top of his game and could be a dominant force.”
LaFontaine, one of the highest-scoring U.S.-born players in NHL history, represented the U.S. in the 1984 Olympics and led the team with five goals and five assists in six games.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to represent your country, it’s a tremendous honor,” he said. “I’m excited to be part of the team.”
Eagleson will stand trial
Former NHL Players Association chief Alan Eagleson has been ordered to stand trial in Toronto on fraud and theft charges after waiving a preliminary hearing on allegations he stole more than $200,000 from Hockey Canada, the NHL and the union.
The charges stem from allegations Eagleson defrauded the hockey organizations of more than $100,000 during the 1984 Canada Cup tournament. He’s also charged with stealing $100,000 from Hockey Canada between 1982 and 1985.
Eagleson is also fighting extradition to the U.S. to answer a Boston grand jury’s 1994 indictment on 32 counts of fraud, racketeering and embezzlement steming from his 24 years as executive director of the players’ association.
There’s also a related class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. by former NHL players.
Spano withdraws plea
Former New York Islanders owner John Spano backed out of a plea bargain with three states on fraud charges stemming from his aborted purchase of the team, a decision that leaves him facing as much as 30 years in prison.
Although Spano, 33, was scheduled to plead guilty Monday to a federal bank fraud charge in Boston that would complete an arrangement between three states, he didn’t appear in court and has decided to contest all charges brought against him, said Bob Fink, an attorney for Spano.
“We’re pleading not guilty,” Fink told Bloomberg News. “It was John Spano’s belief that he was getting a raw deal.”
Fink said he’ll file a motion to rescind his client’s guilty pleas in New York and Texas.
Devils’ Brodeur honored
New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur was named the NHL player of the month after posting a league-best 10-2-0 record and a 1.50 goals against average in November.
Brodeur, who began the month with nine straight wins, limited opponents to two goals or fewer in 10 of 12 games.
The 25-year-old Brodeur leads the NHL with a 16-5-0 record, 1.69 GAA and .926 save percentage.
Also considered for the award were Washington Capitals right wing Peter Bondra, Montreal Canadiens left wing Shayne Corson, Los Angeles Kings goalie Stephane Fiset and New York Rangers center Pat LaFontaine.
On the ice
Jaromir Jagr scored at 4:02 of the third period as the Pittsburgh Penguins extended their unbeaten streak to eight games with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal.
At Philadelphia, Brian Holzinger tied the game with a third-period goal as Buffalo remained unbeaten in eight overtime games this season (2-0-6) after a 1-1 tie with the Flyers.
At Miami, Keith Tkachuk scored three goals and the Phoenix Coyotes added to Florida’s home woes with a 3-2 victory over the Panthers. Tkachuk scored a goal in each period for his fifth career hat trick.