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PRIMEAU AND HURRICANES NEAR POINT OF NO RETURN

The Carolina Hurricanes showed Keith Primeau the money, and he threw it away.

General manager Jim Rutherford sent the All-Star center a letter saying Tuesday was the final day to sign a two-year, $6 million deal.

Primeau said he tossed it out.

"Not a lot of people can throw $3 million in the trash," Rutherford said before the Hurricanes' 3-2 loss at Nashville on Tuesday night. Rookies Richard Lintner and Randy Robitaille scored 44 seconds apart, and Tomas Vokoun won his second straight start for the Predators.

Primeau said he was only doing what he thought was right for his family.

"I refuse to make an apology for doing what I think is right for me and my family, without coming off as bold or crass," said Primeau, who is married and has four children. "I am doing what is in the best interest of me and my gang."

Primeau, the team's leading scorer last season with 30 goals, became a restricted free agent on July 1 and has missed Carolina's first 37 games.

Rutherford said Tuesday that he tried "pretty hard" to trade Primeau in the last month.

"What are we going to do, keep sitting here week after week?'" Rutherford said. "They think some miraculous thing is going to happen. We don't think anything will."

Primeau and co-agents Don and Todd Reynolds are asking for a four-year, $17 million deal. Those numbers, a bit lower than Primeau's initial asking price, were floated by Don Reynolds during a meeting with Rutherford and Primeau two weeks ago.

Primeau, 28, earned $2 million last year, when the nine-year veteran played in his first NHL All-Star game. He says he will not play for Carolina again.

Hatcher gives Rangers tie with Coyotes

PHOENIX -- With goalie Bob Essensa surviving another bombardment, the Phoenix Coyotes looked as if they would escape with a victory over the New York Rangers.

Then came a lightning shot by defenseman Kevin Hatcher, and the teams settled for a 2-2 tie.

The Rangers outshot the Coyotes, 37-29, but Essensa stopped 35 shots for the second consecutive game to literally save Phoenix.

"Bob Essensa was magnificent," the Coyotes' Jeremy Roenick said. "He was the best player out there."

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