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For Candidate Kerry, the Puck Stops in Manchester, N.H.

It was one of the more unusual campaign trail introductions, but then again it was one of the more unusual campaign events. “I’ve known this man for years. He’s ready for anything. He’s ready to play some hockey, and I guarantee you he’s ready to be the next president of the United States: Sen. John Kerry.”

The speaker was a suited-up Cam Neely, a legendary member of the Boston Bruins. The event was an ice hockey interlude in Manchester, N.H., with more than a dozen other Bruin alums. The candidate was in a University of New Hampshire jersey with “Kerry 04" on the back.

“Those of us who were kids who grew up here in New England who loved hockey -- and that’s most people in New England -- have always followed the Boston Bruins, and to have the opportunity to skate with them ... is like a kid’s dream come true,” Kerry told the crowd between national anthem and faceoff.

“And today,” he said with a laugh, “they get to carry that dream, because I’m in the worst shape I’ve ever been in my life.”

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Fit or no, ladies and gentlemen, he shoots, he scores. Twice.

His team lost anyway, 9-8.

Moose Country

The road to the Democratic nomination is filled with the unexpected: Hecklers. Dead microphones. Surprised but uninterested voters during drop-ins at restaurants. The occasional Republican.

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And in Berlin, in New Hampshire’s remote north country, there are moose.

Late Friday, two staffers for Sen. John Edwards were driving from Manchester to Berlin to pick up Edwards’ traveling press corps following a charter jet flight from Columbia, S.C. A few miles from the rural airport, the van encountered two moose on the road. The driver, volunteer Charlie Huedner, 24, of New York City, avoided the first but hit the second, smashing the van’s windshield.

Huedner and passenger, Tommy Vietor, 23, of Boston, were unhurt. The moose died.

Crossing Party Lines

When Democratic presidential candidates were asked by Associated Press to name their favorite living Republican, three named the same person.

Wesley K. Clark: Rollie Rimmel, an Arkansas friend.

Howard Dean: former Sen. Warren Rudman of New Hampshire.

John Edwards: Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

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John F. Kerry: McCain.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich: conservative commentator Patrick Buchanan.

Sen. Joe Lieberman: McCain.

Al Sharpton: columnist Armstrong Williams.

Who’s E-counting?

178: Number of Dean items for auction on EBay.

$11,000: Auction price of the “badclark.com” domain name.

$7.95: Auction price of cuff- links featuring Edwards’ face.

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$23.95: Auction price of a first-edition George W. Bush jack-in-the-box.

Duly Quoted

“Everyone always calls me ‘Rev.,’ but in school they called me ‘Spanky’ ” -- How Al Sharpton described his childhood nicknames to AP this week.

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Compiled from staff, wire and Web reporters by Times researcher Susannah Rosenblatt.


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