Thursday, July 25, 2002

Van Allen to Ottawa: After splitting the last two seasons with Dallas and Montreal, defensive center Shaun Van Allen recently signed with the Ottawa Senators.
Great quotes in hockey: When the Toronto Maple Leafs shipped the rights to defenceman Dmitry Yushkevich to the Florida Panthers last week, Yushkevich delivered a parting shot for the ages: "The most honest person in the organization is [team mascot] Carlton the Bear, because he never says anything."
Kings grab Rasmussen from flailing Buffalo Sabres: The Los Angeles Kings acquired forward Erik Rasmussen from the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday for forward Adam Mair and a fifth-round selection in next year's draft.

Detroit's Old Boy Network: One of the NHL's oldest teams got a little older Wednesday as the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings signed veteran left wings Derek King and Michel Picard.

Meatheads rejoice: Left wing Chris Simon, the lone member of the Washington Capitals to appear in all 82 games last season, signed a one-year contract to remain in the nation's capital on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Why the Buffalo Sabres had to be taken over by the NHL:
NEW YORK -- John Rigas, the founder of bankrupt
Adelphia Communications Corp. and owner of the Buffalo
Sabres, and two of his sons were charged Wednesday
with conspiracy for allegedly looting the cable TV
provider and using it as their "personal piggy bank.''

Authorities said the defendants hid $2.3 billion in
liabilities from investors.

In addition to the criminal charges, the Securities
and Exchange Commission brought a civil lawsuit
Wednesday in U.S. District Court, calling the case
"one of the most extensive financial frauds ever to
take place at a public company.'' It sought
restitution and fines and to bar the defendants from
ever heading a company.

Rigas, founder and former chairman and CEO, was
arrested on conspiracy charges along with Timothy
Rigas, a former company chief financial officer, and
Michael Rigas, another former company executive.

Also charged were James Brown, vice president for
finance, and Michael Mulcahey, who supervised the flow
of money in and out of the company.

The executives made false statements to their lenders
and borrowed more than $2 billion from Adelphia
without reporting it to the SEC, Deputy Attorney
General Larry Thompson said in Washington.

He said the company falsified its number of cable
television subscribers and generated fake management
fees to conceal the alleged fraud.

Thompson also said the father took $13 million from
the company to build a golf course.

Attorneys for the Rigases did not immediately return a
call for comment.

The NHL took over control of the Sabres last month,
helping clear the way for the sale of the team. The
arrangement, which could continue into next season,
follows an agreement with Rigas, who remains owner of
the team in title only.

NHL spokeswoman Bernadette Mansur said Wednesday, "It
would be inappropriate for us to comment.''

Adelphia, the nation's sixth-largest cable company
with 5.7 million subscribers in more than 30 states,
filed for bankruptcy protection last month. The move
followed months of turmoil after the company revealed
billions of dollars in off-balance-sheet debt -- much
of it owed by the founding family.

"The defendants intentionally submitted false
information to lenders and made false statements to
the public,'' Thompson said. He said they "victimized
Adelphia shareholders through a wide variety of quite
frankly brazen thefts.''

Stephen Cutler, director of the SEC's enforcement
division, called it "an egregious multifaceted fraud
on the company's investors.''

In separate federal court papers, U.S. Postal
Inspector Thomas F.X. Feeney said investigators
believe the Rigases took money from Adelphia "on a
massive scale, using the company as the Rigas family's
personal piggy bank, at the expense of public
investors and creditors.''

Feeney said Adelphia was controlled by John Rigas and
members of his family, who owned a majority of the
company shares and controlled a majority of seats on
the company's board of directors.

Feeney accused family members of using a "variety of
deceptive and misleading accounting practices'' and
manipulating the books "to create the illusion that
Adelphia's financial condition and performance were
substantially more favorable than they in fact were.''

The Rigases resigned their executive positions with
the company in May. Later that month, the family
agreed to turn over $1 billion in assets to help cover
loans, to turn over $567 million in cash flow from
other cable companies the family owns, and to pledge
all stock held by the family as collateral. Adelphia
estimates it is liable for $3.1 billion in family

Adelphia said the Rigas family used the company's cash
or assets to help it buy and operate the Sabres,
expand personal cable company holdings, acquire
timberland and invest in a golf course, and that many
of the deals weren't approved by the board. The
company said it was investigating the family's use of
company jet airplanes, condominiums and apartments.
Straka catches way too many breaks: Penguins forward Martin Straka, who missed most of last season due to a series of injuries, injured his back while training in the Czech Republic. The Penguins did not describe the nature of his latest injury or how it happened, but two Czech hockey publications reported that Straka, 29, was lifting weights with Penguins teammate Milan Kraft when a machine with 374 pounds fell on top of him. Straka's agent, Rich Winter, said the injury should take six weeks to heal and Straka will be ready for the beginning of the season.

The Blues go slumming for some goals: The St. Louis Blues signed veteran forward Jason Dawe on Tuesday. Dawe, 29, spent the past two and a half seasons with the AHL's Hartford Wolfpack, the New York Rangers' top minor league affiliate. Last season, he had 28 goals and 37 assists in 79 games.

The 5-foot-10, 189-pound right wing has spent the previous three seasons with the Rangers organization. He had one assist in three NHL games. Dawe, originally selected by Buffalo in the second round in the 1991 draft, has 86 goals and 90 assists in 365 career games with Buffalo, the Rangers, Montreal, and the New York Islanders.

San Jose gives budding Hollywood loser one more chance: Alexandre Daigle, the Ottawa Senators' much-heralded No. 1 overall draft pick in 1993, has agreed to a free-agent tryout with the San Jose Sharks in September.

Daigle, 27, who retired two years ago, has been living in Los Angeles trying to get an acting career and production company off the ground, but appears to have given up hope.

Daigle won't be going to the Sharks with any guarantees. He will have to make the team and has agreed to play with the club's AHL affiliate in Cleveland.