Devils Give Lindros Benefit Of The Doubt

Around the NHL

Eric Lindros is getting the benefit of the doubt from the New Jersey Devils, this time.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ high-scoring center and captain nearly ignited a third-period melee when he bowled over Martin Brodeur with a shoulder after the Devils’ All-Star goalie stopped a shot by John LeClair in Wednesday night’s 4-1 New Jersey victory.

Brodeur was stunned by the hit that knocked him off his feet and sent his mask spinning off his head. However, he wasn’t seriously hurt.

The hit was the second somewhat questionable one this season by Lindros, whose brother, Brett, had to retire last year because of a string of concussions.

Rob Niedermayer of Florida sustained a serious concussion when hit by Lindros along the boards in the final minutes of a season-opener last week. The Panthers center is expected to be sidelined a month.

Lindros insisted he has not done anything wrong.

“I was watching Johnny (LeClair) shoot the puck,” he said of Wednesday night’s play. “I was just heading toward the net. I didn’t see him (Brodeur) until the last minute.”

Devils defenseman Lyle Odelein said Lindros apologized after the play, which ended with all 10 skaters on the ice congregating around Lindros.

“Eric is not a player like that to run over a star player like Marty,” Odelein said. “He was going to the net and was off-balance a bit. Like he said. He didn’t mean to do it. Big E is an honest player and I respect that from him.”

Brodeur admitted he might have been a little out of the crease.

“I don’t think he did it purposely,” Brodeur said. “If I had seen him coming, we probably would not have touched each other.”

On the ice

Brett Hull scored his third goal of the game with 1:44 to go in overtime as the St. Louis Blues beat the visiting Los Angeles Kings 3-2.

Hull, playing out his option while talks continue on a new contract, has five goals and an assist in the first four games. Hull now has 28 career hat tricks.

Chris Joseph scored with 8:03 left in the third period to lead the Philadelphia Flyers over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 and end the Flyers’ two-game losing streak.

Stars sign

Hatcher Defenseman Derian Hatcher ended his holdout, signing a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars.

“We’re glad to have Derian sign for two years,” Stars general manager Bob Gainey said in a statement announcing the signing. “He has been a big part of our organization for the past six seasons and we look forward to his future contributions.”

Hatcher, 25, is in his fourth season as the Stars’ team captain. Contract terms were not disclosed.

Tags: hockey

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