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Burke sits in a "hockey decision'

Four days after being charged with beating his wife, Carolina goaltender Sean Burke was removed from the lineup for Wednesday night's game against Detroit. The team said he could play by week's end.

Coach Paul Maurice said the decision to bench Burke was a "hockey decision" and was not related to the assault charges.

Burke practiced Wednesday morning with the team, then went through an individual workout. Maurice said Burke would not suit up for the game.

Burke was charged Sunday night with assaulting his wife, Leslie, during a domestic dispute, police records show. He spent 21{ hours in jail before being released. Leslie Burke said during a 911 call that her husband pulled out some of her hair and had beaten her before.

"Sean's situation has no bearing once the puck drops," team captain Kevin Dineen said after Carolina's victory. "That's the bottom line. The way we want to handle it is to give them some space and privacy."

Burke, a four-time team MVP, and Trevor Kidd have been alternating and it would have been Burke's turn in goal Wednesday.

Burke's roster spot was filled by Mike Fountain, who was called up from the minors.

"I don't think after what he's gone through that he can be at his best playing one of the best teams," Maurice said. "What I would do with any player in a situation where he was off the ice and had a lot of distractions was make sure they got a good work day."

It was unclear whether Burke would play in either of the final two games of a five-game homestand _ Friday against the Islanders or Sunday against Ottawa.

"If he's not feeling sharp he won't play (Friday), but I wouldn't expect that to be a problem," Maurice said. "He will get the same consideration Friday that he would any other day."

Burke has been on the trading block since the team acquired Kidd from Calgary in the off-season after Burke and management failed to agree on a contract extension.

But Maurice said Burke has worked hard this season.

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