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Tocchet Suspended Five Games and Fined

From Associated Press

The totals for Phoenix Coyote forward Rick Tocchet in eight days of knee collisions are two opponents injured, two suspensions, seven games missed and about $186,000 in lost salary.

The NHL suspended Tocchet for five games Friday because of a kneeing penalty against Detroit’s Steve Yzerman in Wednesday’s game.

Last week, he was suspended for two games for a similar check Jan. 20 against Ryan Smyth of Edmonton. Smyth suffered a torn ligament in his left knee and will be out at least six weeks.

“The fact that Mr. Tocchet committed a similar foul and was suspended for two games just a week ago is a factor in this decision,” Brian Burke, the NHL’s director of operations, said in a statement.

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The league also fined Tocchet $1,000, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

Yzerman sprained the medial collateral ligament of his knee and developed a charley horse in his lower thigh, injuries that could keep him out at least two games. But he felt Tocchet didn’t intend to injure him.

“He would never do something like this on purpose,” Yzerman said. “I hope he doesn’t get suspended.”

The suspension began with Phoenix’s game Friday at Buffalo.

Tocchet has 18 goals and 108 minutes in penalties in 46 games this season.

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Sitting in his black wheelchair, Vladimir Konstantinov gave President Clinton a thumbs-up.

The annual visit to the White House by a Stanley Cup championship team turned into an emotional reunion Friday as the Detroit Red Wing defenseman made his first public appearance since a limousine accident seven months ago.

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“Vladi, we know how hard you are working, and how far you have come since your accident last summer. You are showing every day that you have the heart of a champion,” Clinton told Konstantinov after the two exchanged thumbs-up signs in the East Room of the White House.

Konstantinov, in a coma for weeks after the accident and now slowly regaining his ability to speak, also nodded often at encouraging words from the speakers.

“Vladi’s really excited and really happy,” said Konstantinov’s wife, Irina. “He was up at five in the morning today. He’s very excited about seeing old teammates.”


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