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Lindros gets approval to practice with Flyers

Flyers center Eric Lindros was cleared Monday by his doctor to begin full practices with the team, almost three weeks after sustaining his third concussion of the season.

Lindros was examined in Chicago by Dr. James Kelly, the neurologist who has been treating the team's former captain and monitoring his progress since a concussion put him on the sideline in March.

Lindros was cleared to participate in workouts with the team today. The Flyers said Lindros will begin working out with the team immediately. Lindros has been skating for about 15 minutes a day at the team's practice rink.

"I'm excited about coming back," Lindros said. "If they practice (today), I'll be there. If (the Eastern Conference final with the Devils) goes to a seventh game, I feel I can play."

There has been speculation about whether Lindros' return would be positive. After criticizing the team's medical staff for failing to diagnose the March concussion, he lost his captaincy.

"If Eric is ready to play and wants to play, how can that be a distraction?" forward Rick Tocchet said.

Lindros' most recent concussion came in a collision with a minor-league player during a practice May 4. He has had five concussions, all since March 1998.

Many sides to new coach

CHICAGO _ Alpo Suhonen, introduced as the new coach of the Blackhawks, has produced a Finnish version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, been a consultant to the movie The Icebreakers and last year ran for a spot in the European Parliament.

Now he's the first European-born NHL coach in more than 50 years, given the job of taking Chicago back to the playoffs after a three-season absence. Suhonen, 51, has coached for nearly 30 years, in Europe and as an NHL assistant in Winnipeg and Toronto.

Suhonen has a reputation of favoring up-tempo, skilled play and is known as a quiet and effective communicator who quickly earns respect from players. "It's no different if you go into theater or into business or into hockey or wherever. Humans operate there," said Suhonen, who signed a three-year deal worth close to $475,000 a season.

RED WINGS: Detroit decided not to exercise a $3-million option on defenseman Larry Murphy's contract for next season, citing economics. Murphy will be an unrestricted free agent July 1 if he doesn't come to terms with the Wings.

STARS: Brenden Morrow, who missed two games with a fracture in his right ankle, had minimal swelling overnight after playing 13:26 in Dallas' 4-1 victory over the Avalanche on Sunday. Morrow was expected to play in Game 5 tonight.

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