Short season can be squeezed in

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

If a National Hockey League season can be salvaged today, it is likely to include a 28-game schedule starting the last week in February or March 1.

"We weren't really expecting this, so we're kind of scrambling around now," a league official said last night in reference to clearing the decks for a possible shortened season.

A training camp of a week to 10 days would be needed, particularly to allow players to get back from European teams.

The schedule would be all intra-conference, with 14 home and away games. The league has computed roughly two days for every game for travel purposes, which would see the regular season wrap up around late April, leaving two months for a normal playoff run.

The 1994-95 lockout ended in mid-January with time for a 48-game schedule that ended the first week in May.

That season, the Stanley Cup was won by the New Jersey Devils on June 24, but the NHL is not interested in dragging the playoffs into July.

DRAPER DECLINES

Kris Draper will not play for the UHL's Motor City Mechanics after all.

Legal issues have caused the speedy forward to inform the United HockeyLeague team that his services are not available as initially hoped.

"Because my wife and I are applying for our green cards, I can only have one employer. And that has to be the Detroit Red Wings, who are sponsoring me," Draper said last night.

"If there is a (CBA) agreement I'll be with the Red Wings. If not, the next team I play for hopefully will be Team Canada at the world championships.

Draper, Chris Chelios and Derian Hatcher signed with the Mechanics three weeks ago. While Chelios and Hatcher have made their debuts for Motor City, Draper had yet to lace up for the suburban Detroit outfit because of insurance issues.

THEODORE'S DAD FINED

The father of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore was given a $30,000 fine but no jail time for heading up a loansharking ring that charged exorbitant interest rates.

The sentence meted out to Ted Nicholas Theodore, 71, was almost exactly what his lawyers had recommended when he pleaded guilty in December to charges of loansharking and possessing a restricted weapon.

The fine will be deducted from a $650,000 sum seized from the family when the ring was dismantled.

Quebec court Judge Jean-Pierre Bonin said in his ruling that "there is not one iota of proof that would lead one to suspect the other son of the accused, Jose Theodore, was in any way mixed up in this business."


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