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Former NHL player Rick Tocchet has an appearance in court later this morning in New Jersey related to the gambling investigation that was announced with great flourish over a year ago,

Tocchet and two other men, one a former Jersey state trooper, were named in something authorities called Operation Slapshot. Investigators said athletes and Hollywood types were implicated in the betting operation as clients but none are expected to face charges. The two other men have already pleaded guilty but have not been sentenced.

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The former player, who is on leave from his job as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes, was alleged to have been involved in the financing of the ring and also to have acted as a conduit for customers. The story got real traction with the revelation that one of the bettors may have been hockey icon Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet Jones. Gretzky coaches the Coyotes.

Tocchet was originally charged with promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy. There's at least one report that Tocchet will plead guilty to lesser charges.

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