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Richer retires after 1 practice with Caps

Two-time 50-goal scorer Stephane Richer won't join the Capitals after all.

The right wing, who signed a one-year free-agent contract last month, surprised the team by announcing his retirement Sunday morning after one practice.

Team officials had no details, releasing a one-sentence statement saying Richer quit.

Richer scored at least 20 goals in 12 of his 15 NHL seasons. His last 20-goal season came with the Montreal Canadiens in 1996-97.

The Capitals hoped Richer would help their power play, which struggled last season, and serve as scoring insurance with right wing Peter Bondra in limbo. Bondra has asked to be traded; the team reportedly will honor his request.

Richer, 34, began last season with the Lightning and was traded to the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 13. He finished with 15 goals and 37 points in 56 games.

FLYERS: Negotiations between forward John LeClair and the team on a long-term deal broke down.

LeClair, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, reiterated in the afternoon that unless an agreement was reached by 12:01 a.m. today, there would be no more contract talks _ ever. Late Sunday, his agent, Lewis Gross, said, "As far as I'm concerned, it's over. We didn't talk at all today."

General manager Bob Clarke told a team spokesman he would have something to say today.

SENATORS: Alexi Yashin, back after a season-long absence because of a contract dispute, will not explain his situation at a team meeting, and some players are upset. "If he sat out that long, he should be willing to sit down and tell us what's going on," defenseman Wade Redden told the Ottawa Sun. "We don't need an apology, but a lot of stuff has gone on over the past year, and we've been in the middle of it."

MAPLE LEAFS: Goalie Curtis Joseph told the Toronto Sun he has skipped training camp scrimmages because he hurt his groin last week working out with other players in Toronto.

Team therapist Chris Broadhurst said the injury is a strain and Joseph will sit out of action "a couple of days."

OILERS: Captain Doug Weight agreed to terms on a one-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.

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