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Holmgren's is reportedly close to losing his job

PHILADELPHIA - Flyers coach Paul Holmgren may have hastened his own firing by benching three veterans this week in two home games the Flyers lost. There are indications that Holmgren soon will be replaced by assistant general manager John Paddock, a former coach of the team's AHL farm club in Hershey. The Flyers, who have not had a losing season since 1971-72, were 23-28-8 after beating the Maple Leafs 3-0 at the Spectrum Thursday night. They were 36-36-8 last season, Holmgren's first as coach.

Holmgren did not dress left wing Brian Propp and center Ken Linseman for Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Penguins. Then he scratched Linseman and center Mike Bullard, who Holmgren said had the flu but seemed healthy, for Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Rangers.

Propp told reporters he thought he was playing as well as anybody on the team and did not know why he was scratched. He is the Flyers' No. 2 career goal-scorer, with 367, behind Bill Barber (420). Linseman sulked and said he was embarrassed.

Around the league

Jets: The NHL suspended forward Laurie Boschman for eight games Friday for a high-sticking incident involving Tomas Sandstrom of the Los Angeles Kings last week.

Sabres: Alexander Mogilny, who defected from the Soviet Union to the Buffalo Sabres last May, will seek professional counseling for his fear of flying, the team announced Friday.

Blues: Defenseman Jeff Brown agreed to terms on a multiyear contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Brown is making $185,000 this season, according to figures released by the National Hockey League Players' Association. Brown, 23, was acquired from the Quebec Nordiques Dec. 13 in exchange for goaltender Greg Millen and center Tony Hrkac. Brown, known for providing offense from the back line, has 11 goals and 23 assists in 56 games.

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