Bruins admit interest in goalie Joseph


DALLAS -- Boston Bruins general manager Harry Sinden has admitted he has had talks about acquiring Edmonton goalie Curtis Joseph, now playing for Las Vegas in the International Hockey League while he awaits a trade. Sinden also said he is now unsure if a deal will be made for Joseph.

During the week, it was thought that a deal had been finalized based on comments by Joseph's agent, Don Meehan of Toronto.

"The basis of a deal has been made," Meehan said last week on a Canadian radio broadcast.

Based on those words, the Canadian and Boston media fell into a whirlwind of speculation and soon it was believed that the Bruins would send Shawn McEachern, one of their best players this season, 1995 first-round pick Sean Brown, either Mariusz Czerkawski or Jon Rohloff and a first-round draft pick to Edmonton.

That seems too steep for Sinden, who is not a man quick to panic and sell out the team's future for a temporary fix.

Sinden is not convinced that Blaine Lacher, who has had problems in goal this season, can't be salvaged, and the Bruins are getting fine goaltending from rookie Scott Bailey, 2-0-1 heading into last night's game with Los Angeles.

So, Sinden denied a deal had been finalized.

"This deal more and more looks like it could be out of sight for the Bruins," he said.

About Meehan's comments, Sinden said, "It's not an accurate quote. It shouldn't have been made. There's no deal. The basis of a trade hasn't been made with him, Edmonton or anybody else. And it's more and more unlikely that there will be a trade."

The genesis of all this apparently is a cocktail party Monday night at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, where Sinden spoke privately for a half-hour with Meehan. Sinden inquired about what it would take to sign the 28-year-old Joseph, who reportedly turned down $2 million a year from Edmonton. Joseph wants about $2.5 million per year.

"I wanted to get some parameters," Sinden said. "The thing isn't dead at all. But we have been wavering the last couple of days. If it was my player I was trying to sign, it wouldn't be economics. For a player of his caliber, his [contract] demand isn't excessive. It's high, no question. But he's had a good record."

Whatever happens, Sinden wants it to happen soon.

"I can't go on like this, talking to you guys every night," he said to members of the Boston media. "And my team is sitting there wondering what's going on. I don't blame Glen [Sather, the Oilers' GM]; he's got a darned good commodity there, he's got one chance to trade him and he's going to do the right thing. And I don't blame the goaltender. He's proven himself as a No. 1 goalie, and he needs to get a contract that befits that."

But will he get it in Boston?

In other goalie news, Buffalo has taken Dominik Hasek off the trading block since Hasek's save percentage reached .930. Also, the Sabres have stopped talking to Winnipeg about Buffalo defenseman Alexei Zhitnik.

And goalie Kelly Hrudey made his first appearance in goal for Los Angeles in six months. He lost, 5-2, to the Islanders.

Florida captain Brian Skrudland gave a rousing speech to his teammates in between the second and third periods of a recent game with Anaheim. Florida rallied for three goals in a 3:07 span, and Skrudland had two of the goals.

Bandits today

Opponent: Hershey Bears

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 5 p.m.

Radio: WITH (1230 AM), WAMD (970 AM)

Outlook: The Bears opened the 12-game season series with the Bandits with a 7-3 thumping in Hershey last month. Before that, they won two preseason contests against Baltimore. The Bandits have a 5-4 record at home.

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