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Notebook: Rangers sign Tibbetts, recall three others

| Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002

NEW YORK — The New York Rangers signed forward Billy Tibbetts on Monday and recalled him from Hartford of the AHL.

Tibbetts had five goals and five assists in 16 games this season at Hartford.

The Rangers also recalled forward Gordie Dwyer, defenseman Richard Lintner and goalie Johan Holmqvist from Hartford. Holmqvist served as the backup Monday night to Mike Dunham, making his first Rangers appearance since being acquired from Nashville last week, against San Jose.

Tibbetts, Lintner, and Dwyer were all in the lineup against the Sharks. Forward Dixon Ward was sent down to Hartford.

Tibbetts was released by Philadelphia last April, less than one month after he was obtained from the Penguins. The left wing had just one assist and 69 penalty minutes in nine games with the Flyers.

His only point with Philadelphia came in his first game with the Flyers against the Penguins on March 23.

Tibbetts, 28, was suspended by the league for two games after he received his third instigator penalty of the season at Carolina on March 28.

In 71 career NHL games, Tibbetts has two goals, eight assists and 257 penalty minutes.

Tibbetts pleaded guilty in 1994 to raping a 15-year-old girl at a 1992 party in Scituate, Mass. He was 17 at the time and received a suspended sentence of three-to-five years, with four years' probation.

When he moved to Pittsburgh, he was identified as a convicted sex offender in fliers given out in his neighborhood.

Later in 1994, Tibbetts received a suspended sentence of six months and 18 months' probation on charges of assault and battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct and intimidating a witness.

In 1995, he was found guilty on charges of assault and battery with a BB gun. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and was ordered to serve the rape sentence at the same time for violating probation in that case.

Tibbetts, a Boston native, was paroled Oct. 29, 1999, by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.

He got into more trouble in January 2001 when he punched Atlanta forward Darcy Hordichuk as Tibbetts sat on the Pittsburgh bench. His parole was not revoked but the parole board sanctioned him and warned him that future aggressive behavior could send him back to jail.

The NHL gave Tibbetts a four-game suspension for the infraction.

SENATORS, CAPS MAKE TRADE

The Ottawa Senators acquired defenseman Dean Melanson from the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Josef Boumedienne.

Melanson has a goal and four assists with 40 penalty minutes in 23 games this season with Portland of the AHL. Boumedienne has two goals and 15 assists with 62 penalty minutes in 26 games with Binghamton of the AHL.

BURE SURGERY SUCCESSFUL

Right winger Pavel Bure had successful arthroscopic surgery on both knees and is expected back in the lineup by the end of January.

Bure, the New York Rangers' leading scorer with 14 goals, had torn cartilage repaired in his left knee and exploratory surgery on his right knee. In both cases, the operations showed no damage to Bure's anterior cruciate ligament.

He is expected to be out four weeks.

"The procedure performed on Pavel went extremely well," said Dr. Andrew Feldman, who operated on Bure with Dr. Tony Maddalo at St. Vincent's Hospital. "He will begin his rehabilitation program immediately, and we are extremely optimistic that he will return to full form."

Bure injured his left knee Dec. 6 and had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Sept. 26.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

The Phoenix Coyotes recalled Zac Bierk in another attempt to deal with the extended absence of top goaltender Sean Burke. In a related move, the Coyotes reassigned goalie Patrick DesRochers to Springfield of the American Hockey League, the team for which Bierk went 6-4 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .914 save percentage this season. … The Florida Panthers recalled defenseman Jamie Rivers and right winger Juraj Kolnik from San Antonio of the AHL and reassigned goalie Wade Flaherty to San Antonio. … The Atlanta Thrashers placed defenseman Richard Smehlik on injured reserve before their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Smehlik bruised his chest Friday in a 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.

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