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FLYERS SHIP CECHMANEK TO KINGS

The Philadelphia Flyers finally put the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs fiasco to bed Wednesday, trading goalie Roman Cechmanek to the Los Angeles Kings.

A year after he blew up on the ice at his teammates, a year after he asked to be traded, a year after the team fired coach Bill Barber following a playoff meltdown, the wound was cauterized.

The Flyers will receive the Kings' second-round pick in the 2004 NHL entry draft.

Bob Clarke, the Flyers' president and general manager, said Wednesday that Cechmanek had requested a trade a year ago. The goalie, speaking on a conference call, confirmed that.

The Kings have decided to part ways with goalie Felix Potvin, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"I'm so excited. It was my first choice to play in L.A.," Cechmanek said from the Czech Republic during a conference call. "It is something new, it's great for me, gives me a new chance.

"I think maybe it will be different hockey. The Kings play offensive hockey and I like it, more offensively and more European than in Philadelphia."

Cechmanek, 32, had a 33-15-10 record in 58 regular-season games for the Flyers, and his 1.83 goals-against average was second in the league to Dallas' Marty Turco. Cechmanek's .925 save percentage was third-best.

"We like Roman's track record," Kings general manager Dave Taylor said. " His career goals-against average is 1.96, lowest among goaltenders with at least 150 regular-season games since 1943-44. He has 20 shutouts.

Roy supports Aebischer

DENVER -- Patrick Roy made it clear who he thinks should replace him as goalie for the Colorado Avalanche next season: David Aebischer.

On the day he announced his retirement, Roy threw his support into the corner of his backup the past three seasons.

"David is there. I think he deserves a chance," Roy said Wednesday at his retirement news conference.

As a 7-year-old in Quebec, Roy was told by his coach that he was too small to play goalie. He has never listened to what others say about him, so why should retirement be any different?

"I think it's always been important for me to play with consistency, but also leave on my own terms," said Roy. "I think I've accomplished everything that I wanted and I think I have done basically what I thought I should. It was important to leave on my own terms."

Colorado's management is high on Phil Sauve, who pushed Aebischer for the backup spot in training camp last year, but they might want him to spend another year with the team's top minor league affiliate.

Swedish star Peter Forsberg is still trying to decide between an eighth season with the Avalanche or returning to Sweden to play for his father's team.

Colorado captain Joe Sakic said he had no doubt which way Forsberg would go.

"He's coming back," Sakic said. "He didn't tell me, but I know that he's coming back. That would be a shock (if he didn't return)."

Jagr paying taxes

PITTSBURGH -- Washington Capitals star Jaromir Jagr is settling his account with the federal government, a tab the IRS said reached $3.27 million in unpaid income taxes.

According to the lien, Jagr owed $3,270,209 in income tax for the 2001 calendar year. Jagr made more than $10 million, including bonuses, in his last year with the Pens.

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