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Friday

Games lost: 5; total 115.

Negotiating session: No.

Next negotiating session: None scheduled.

Crack in the ice

Look who's talking _ Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow.

The main negotiators in the NHL labor dispute made contact Friday for the second time in two days after a long period of silence.

"They talked mainly about scheduling," said Steve MacAllister, public relations director of the NHL Players Association. But not about new talks.

"There is nothing going," Goodenow, executive director of the NHLPA, told the Canadian Press in Toronto.

Bettman, the NHL commissioner, and Goodenow last spoke Oct. 11 before the talked via phone Thursday.

In New York, NHL spokesman Arthur Pincus said there would be an announcement on a revised schedule, "but not until after the weekend."

The NHL is reportedly working on a 74-game schedule.

Refunds spread

When, or if, the NHL cancels games that have already been postponed, season-ticket holders of the Toronto Maple Leafs learned how they can get their money back. The team is offering two options _ they can receive a monthly refund check or can have their accounts credited, along with a 5 percent interest payment. The Leafs are the seventh team to announce a refund plan.

Devil to AHL

New Jersey's Brian Rolston, who led the 1994 U.S. Olympic team with seven goals in eight games, signed a contract with the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Albany, the Devils announced.

"We are pleased with Brian's decision at this time to continue playing hockey with Albany," said Lou Lamoriello, the Devils' president and general manager.

Trottier backs off

Former NHL star Bryan Trottier's financial problems might have made him ill, but not suicidal, he said. Trottier said a published report that he contemplated suicide to escape a $9.5-million debt was wrong. "I kind of chuckle," Trottier said. "Those things make great reading, but are they factual? No."

Trottier, now an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, did not deny quotes attributed to him in Thursday's editions of the New York Daily News. But he said the story was exaggerated.

"I'm a fighter. I'm not a quitter," he said. He also said he checked into a hospital for nearly two weeks where he took a "crash course" on dealing with personal difficulties.

Foreign moves

Foreign players continued to move. The New York Rangers' Alexei Kovalev, joined a Russian team that making an exhibition tour of the Central Hockey League. Nikolai Borshevsky of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Robert Reichel of the Calgary Flames are among the latest to return to Europe _ Borshevsky to Russia and Reichel to Germany.

Rangers vs. Devils

Rangers-Devils, the sequel. The saga continues, miles away from the front lines of the lockout. In Albany, the Binghamton Rangers, off to the best start in their 18-year history, scored four goals on five shots in the second period to defeat the River Rats, the New Jersey Devils' farm team, 6-2. The Rangers surpassed the 5-0-3 start of the 1992-93 team that recorded an American Hockey League record 57 victories and 124 points. Earlier, the Devils' Brian Rolston, who led the 1994 U.S. Olympic team with seven goals in eight games, signed a contract with Albany.

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