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Friday, October 4, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Oilers Trade Malcontent Messier To Rangers For 3 Players -- Forecasted Swap Is `About Winning'

The Hartford Courant: AP

NEW YORK - The Edmonton Oilers traded malcontent superstar Mark Messier to the New York Rangers today in exchange for three players, making good on Messier's prediction last month: "I don't think you'll see me in that uniform again."

Messier's contract dispute with the Oilers dates back to last winter, but he said his later trade demands also revolved around the club's inability to win over the past two seasons.

"It's about winning," he said last month.

Along with Messier, the Rangers received future considerations in return for center Bernie Nicholls, right wing Steven Rice and left wing Louie DeBrusk.

The Rangers said Messier, 30, winner of the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP in 1989-1990, would play tomorrow night in Montreal.

NHL signs cable deal

-- The National Hockey League signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal with SportsChannel America yesterday that calls for the network to carry 150 regular-season and 65 Stanley Cup playoff games.

SportsChannel America televised NHL games the past three years, paying the league $17 million a season.

ESPN also had been involved in negotiations with the NHL. But ESPN only wanted 12 Friday night games beginning in January, with exclusive rights to the conference and Stanley Cup finals.

SportsChannel America is available in approximately 14 million television households, while ESPN is available in 60 million.

Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3 -- MONTREAL - Montreal captain Guy Carbonneau scored a key third-period goal as the Canadiens opened a milestone season.

The victory followed a half-hour on-ice tribute to more than 40 former Canadiens and Maple Leafs. The NHL's two oldest clubs wore replicas of their uniforms from the inaugural 1917-18 season for the opening of the league's 75th anniversary season.

Carbonneau followed Mike McPhee's rush to the net and flipped the puck over Toronto goaltender Grant Fuhr to break a tie 2:50 into the third period.

Russ Courtnall, Sylvain Turgeon and John LeClair also scored as the Canadiens made it six straight wins in home openers against Toronto since their 9-2 victory in 1917.

Bruins 5, Rangers 3

-- BOSTON - The Boston Bruins opened their season with a surprising flurry of goals, two of them while short-handed, and survived a second period New York rally.

Five players - Bob Sweeney, Ray Bourque, Bob Carpenter, Ken Hodge and Vladimir Ruzicka - took up the scoring slack caused by the absence of Cam Neely, expected to be sidelined through December with a thigh injury.

Red Wings 3, Blackhawks 3 -- CHICAGO - Michel Goulet scored twice and Jimmy Waite, playing for the unsigned Ed Belfour, stopped 25 shots as Chicago battled Detroit to a tie.

Goulet's 488th and 489th career goals in the first period rallied Chicago from a 2-0 deficit.

Notes

-- Former NHL scoring champion Mario Lemieux is troubled again by back spasms, but still expects to play in the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins' season-opener tonight in Buffalo. -- North Stars center Neal Broten, who left to play in Germany when negotiations with his hometown team stalled, dropped his request for a no-trade contract and agreed to terms with Minnesota. -- Washington Capitals left wing Kelly Miller said he would not play in tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers because he is dissatisfied with his contract.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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