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708 GOALS LATER, GARTNER ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT

After scoring 708 goals over 19 seasons with five NHL teams, Mike Gartner has decided to call it a career.

Gartner, who'll turn 39 in October, announced his retirement Wednesday -- just weeks before the start of training camp and a few months after playing out his option with the Phoenix Coyotes.

"The timing is right," Gartner said. "It's something I planned on doing. My oldest son is now 14 years old and is going to be a freshman in high school and my daughter is going to junior high.

"I always told my wife that when our kids got into high school, we would have a stable environment and wouldn't be moving around. I just wanted to be in one place and not have them worry about being pulled out of school.

"Everything was kind of coming to a point where I had to make a decision. . . . It's really the right time."

Gartner retires as the No. 5 goal scorer in NHL history. He ranks 18th in points with 1,335 in 1,432 games for Phoenix, the Washington Capitals, Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Mike has had a tremendous career," Coyotes general manager Bobby Smith said. "He can look back and be very proud of what he's done. I think he has an outstanding chance for the Hall of Fame. He's in very good company with 700 goals. Very few guys have done that. The same thing with 600 goals and 600 assists."

In 1994, Gartner became the first NHL player to score 30 goals in 15 consecutive seasons.

Hull denies Hitler comments

TORONTO -- Bobby Hull strongly denied he told a Moscow newspaper that Adolf Hitler "had some good ideas" and that the U.S. black population was growing too quickly.

"The statements attributed to me by the Moscow Times and now republished by other media outlets are false and defamatory," the retired NHL star said in a statement.

"I will use all legal means against those responsible for these outrageous lies and distortions of the truth."

The English-language newspaper on Tuesday also reported that Hull assailed the Canadian government for being too socialist and quick to give money to lazy people, and quoted him as saying that selective genetic breeding to produce better humans could be a good idea.

"Hitler for example, had some good ideas," Hull was quoted as saying. "He just went a little bit too far."

Hull, in Russia for the annual Spartak Cup preseason hockey tournament, returned to Canada and appeared at a news conference in Sudbury, Ont., on Wednesday.

He acknowledged that topics such as Hitler and blacks came up in his session with Moscow reporters, but he said they were raised by the journalists, according to the Sudbury Star.

"I am deeply offended by the false statements attributed to me with respect to Adolf Hitler and the black community in the United States," Hull's statement said. "To my mind, Adolf Hitler was the most evil and despicable person who ever lived and there is nothing good or positive that can ever be said about such an evil man.

"I deeply regret any injury or insult that this regrettable situation has caused and I am very hurt by it."

Hasek receives a fine

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Buffalo Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek has been fined after escaping injury when his Ferrari went off the road in east Bohemia.

The daily Mlada Fronta Dnes reported Wednesday that Hasek was fined $30 for speeding after his car went off the road Sunday night and hit a tree.

"It was a small accident with no injuries," the newspaper quoted police spokeswoman Marie Kotkova as saying.

Kotkova gave no details on the accident, citing Hasek's request that no information be released.

Blackhawks bring in Olczyk

CHICAGO -- The Blackhawks signed free agent Eddie Olczyk, returning him to the team with whom he began his NHL career in 1984.

Olczyk played last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 937 career games, he's scored 330 goals with 435 assists.

Stars sign Severyn

DALLAS -- The Stars signed forward Brent Severyn to a one-year contract, the team said.

Severyn, a 32-year-old unrestricted free agent, played in 37 games with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim last season, collecting one goal and three assists.

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