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HEXTALL 12-GAME PENALTY TOO SEVERE, SAY FLYERS

For the second time in three years, Philadelphia goaltender Ron Hextall will get a late start to his season.

Hextall, who missed the first eight games in 1987-88 due to a suspension incurred in the 1987 playoffs, will sit out the first 12 next season for attacking Montreal defenseman Chris Chelios in Game Six of the Wales Conference finals.

Flyers President Jay Snider said he had expected NHL executive vice president Brian O'Neill to suspend Hextall for three to five games Monday because the incident did not involve a stick.

"Basically, this was a fight," Snider said. "To take one month of a player's six-month season away from him and away from his team because of something I think is fairly common is wrong."

But O'Neill said Hextall's previous suspension and the fact that his attack on Chelios was deliberate were mitigating factors.

The Flyers will appeal Hextall's suspension before the NHL's Board of Governors, probably in June, but Snider said he doesn't expect much of a reduction, if any.

Hextall was vacationing and unavailable for comment.

Burns, McNall honored

ST. LOUIS -- Coach Pat Burns of Montreal today was named The Sporting News 1988-89 Coach of the Year, and Bruce McNall, president of the Los Angeles Kings, was selected as TSN's NHL Executive of the Year.

In a poll of coaches, Burns got twice as many first-place votes as runner-up Bob McCammon of Vancouver.

McNall, recognized for acquiring Wayne Gretzky from Edmonton, easily outdistanced runners-up Pat Quinn of Vancouver and Serge Savard of Montreal.

Islanders get Crossman

LONDON, Ontario -- Defenseman Doug Crossman said the Los Angeles Kings have sent him to the New York Islanders to complete a deal that sent goalie Kelly Hrudey to the Kings.

"I got the word tonight from Rogie (Vachon, the Kings' general manager)," Crossman told the London Free Press. "I'm gone."

The Kings gave up goalie Mark Fitzpatrick, defenseman Wayne McBean and a player to be named to get Hrudey.

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