Originally created 05/26/06

Gretzky's wife might sue Jersey



TRENTON, N.J. - Wayne Gretzky's wife and a Phoenix assistant coach might sue New Jersey for $50 million each, contending their reputations were damaged after state officials leaked information from wiretaps in a case involving a multimillion-dollar sports betting ring.

In two separate notices - often a precursor to a lawsuit - the attorneys named the New Jersey Department of Law and the State Police for allegedly leaking information to the media about recorded conversations. The notices were filed May 8.

Gretzky and his wife, Janet Jones, were linked to the ring allegedly run by Phoenix Coyotes assistant Rick Tocchet, a former NHL player and close friend of Gretzky, the Coyotes' head coach.

New Jersey authorities announced charges in February against Tocchet, a New Jersey state trooper and another New Jersey man for running a nationwide sports gambling operation.

PENGUINS: In Pittsburgh, Ray Shero is the Pittsburgh Penguins' new general manager, signing a five-year contract after the Nashville Predators assistant general manager broke off talks with the Boston Bruins.

Shero replaces Hall of Fame executive Craig Patrick, whose contract was not renewed in April after 16-plus years on the job.

"I think I'm ready for it - I've had 14 years as an assistant (GM)," Shero said. "I'm thrilled to get this thing going."

The 43-year-old Shero is the son of former Stanley Cup-winning coach Fred Shero of the Philadelphia Flyers. The younger Shero spent eight years with Nashville after serving as Ottawa's assistant general manager for seven years.

Shero was a player agent before becoming a front-office executive. In college, he was a two-time captain for St. Lawrence University.

The Penguins, two-time Stanley Cup winners with Patrick as GM in 1991 and 1992, are coming off four consecutive last-place finishes in their division.

They have won no more than 28 games in any season since reaching the Eastern Conference finals in 2001, following a series of salary-shedding moves that included star Jaromir Jagr.

SABRES: Buffalo defenseman Henrik Tallinder has a broken left arm and will miss the rest of the playoffs.

Coach Lindy Ruff announced the news following practice a day after Tallinder was hurt in Buffalo's 4-3 win over Carolina in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference final series.

The Sabres lead the Hurricanes 2-1 in the series that resumes at Buffalo tonight.

"You feel terrible for Henrik. He's played tremendous but now he won't be part of the ride," Ruff said.

Tallinder was hurt with about 6 minutes left during what Ruff described as an innocent collision in Buffalo's zone.

Tallinder has been one of Buffalo's steadiest defenseman. He has two goals and six assists in 14 playoff games. He and defensive partner Toni Lydman also lead all players with a plus-14 plus-minus ranking.

The Sabres are already down two defensemen: Teppo Numminen, who's listed day to day with a groin strain, and Dmitri Kalinin (left ankle). Buffalo is also playing without playmaking center Tim Connolly, who's missed six games with a possible concussion.

Ruff said he's considering converting rookie center Jason Pominville into a defenseman. Pominville plays the point on Buffalo's power play. Another option is using Doug Janik, or trying rookie Nathan Paetsch.