Belfour Is Suspended by Stars

Associated Press

A day after leaving the team in Boston after arguing with Coach Ken Hitchcock over his participation in an optional pregame practice, goaltender Ed Belfour was suspended indefinitely by the Dallas Stars.

"I've spoken to Ed, and at this time he feels he is not ready to join the team," General Manager Bob Gainey said in a statement. "We have placed him on suspension as we work toward a resolution."

Before flying back to Dallas, Belfour--a free agent after this season--called team captain Derian Hatcher to give his side of the story. Hatcher told his teammates, but refused to publicly discuss the details.

On Saturday, Gainey said: "I think the way I view the situation is there was a conflict, which itself was a problem, and the way Ed chose to respond to the problem created another problem. That is the bigger problem. We'll start there and work our way back. He made a choice, and I'd like to give him the opportunity to explain."

Coming off a 4-2 loss in Detroit, Hitchcock decided to give Belfour a break and let Marty Turco start against the Bruins. Tradition dictated that, as the backup for the day, Belfour be in goal for the morning skate so Turco could save himself for the game.

He refused, triggering the blowup between a coach known as demanding and often vocal with his players and a quirky star with whom there never was any indication of friction. In fact, twice in the last month, Hitchcock played Belfour in games after he had discussed using Turco.

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