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COURAGEOUS COMEBACK ENDS FOR DUCKS' HOLAN

Milos Holan's brave attempt at an NHL comeback has ended with his release by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Holan, 27, a Czech defenseman, struggled to regain his health after being diagnosed three years ago with granulocytic leukemia, a form of blood cancer.

He had his immune system purposely destroyed to undergo a bone marrow transplant in February 1996 and during eight months in the hospital he lost 50 pounds.

On Wednesday, president-general manager Pierre Gauthier had to tell Holan he didn't make the team.

"Milos has made great strides in overcoming his illness and is an inspiration to everyone in this organization," Gauthier said in a news release. "We are grateful for all of his hard work and wish him and his family all the best."

Around the league:

Dallas Stars defenseman Derian Hatcher has been suspended for four preseason games for an incident with Chris Pronger of the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

With 36 seconds left in the game, Hatcher punched Pronger from behind, sending him to the ice. As Pronger was on his knees, attempting to regain his footing, Hatcher cross-checked him.

Hatcher, who was also fined $1,000, served one game of the suspension Tuesday night against Nashville while waiting for a hearing.

David Legwand, the second player taken in the entry draft, has been sent home from the Nashville Predators' training camp due to mononucleosis. "No determination has been made on his status and he will be re-evaluated at a later date," general manager David Poile said.

Chicago left wing Reid Simpson will miss four to six weeks after breaking his right hand in a fight with Boston right wing Aaron Downey.

In contract matters: Saku Koivu agreed to a two-year contract with Montreal. Terms were not disclosed, but Koivu is believed to be in line for about $3 million a year. . . . Vancouver re-signed forward Brad May. . . . Buffalo native and 1980 Canisius College graduate Jon Christiano has been named assistant coach of the Rochester Americans, joining the staff of head coach Brian McCutcheon. Christiano served as an administrative assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres last season, primarily compiling video breakdowns of the Sabres and upcoming opponents. . . . Holdout center Petr Nedved, who missed last season in an ongoing contract dispute, has rejected the Pittsburgh Penguins' latest offer of $17 million to $18 million over five years. . . . Winger Jason Allison has rejected three Bruins' contract offers -- they are for one year, one year plus an option, and three years.

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