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Green named in probe

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Travis Green, seen beating Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury last night, was named in connnection with the gambling probe allegedly run by Rick Tochhet.
Travis Green, seen beating Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury last night, was named in connnection with the gambling probe allegedly run by Rick Tochhet. (AP Photo)

PITTSBURGH -- While New Jersey State Police have declined to identify current players that were involved in the gambling enterprise allegedly financed by Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet, yesterday's Newark Star-Ledger named Bruins forward Travis Green as one of the participants.

Green, who scored Boston's first goal at 7:05 of the second period, was tight-lipped about the allegations, both after the game and at the pregame skate at Mellon Arena. He declined to answer whether he has been interviewed by investigators.

''I don't have a lot to say about it," Green said, who acknowledged feeling relief after scoring. ''[Tocchet] is a friend of mine, but I have no comment about it. I have no comment on that situation."

Tuesday, New Jersey State Police announced the arrests of trooper James Harney, 40, identified as Tocchet's partner by investigators, and James Ulmer, 41, of Swedesboro, N.J. Harney and Ulmer were charged with promoting gambling, money laundering, and conspiracy. Ulmer, according to New Jersey State Police, allegedly funneled wagers to Harney.

''It's certainly not a positive thing for hockey," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. ''At this point there's due process. Those of us on the outside really don't know the details, so it's really difficult to comment."

Green, who played in Phoenix for two seasons, played with Tocchet for less than a year. Green played in 78 games for the Coyotes in 1999-2000, and 69 games for Phoenix during the 2000-01 season. In 1999-2000, his third season with the Coyotes, Tocchet was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers after playing 64 games for Phoenix that year. Los Angeles Kings center Jeremy Roenick, also named in the Star-Ledger report, played for the Coyotes from 1996 to 2001. Roenick has admitted to gambling in the past.

''I spoke to Travis personally to make sure he was in the right frame of mind," said Sullivan, who played for the Coyotes for four years before he retired in 2001-02. ''I thought our guys had the necessary focus to be effective out there."

Leetch returns

After missing the past three games because of a groin injury, Brian Leetch returned to the lineup, skating 20 shifts for 17:50 of ice time, recording an assist on Brad Stuart's power-play goal in the second period.

Because of the Bruins' three-goal third-period lead, Sullivan was able to rest Leetch for much of the final frame.

''Nothing ever comes naturally in your first game back, but the groin felt good," Leetch said

The defenseman had missed seven games earlier this season when he first suffered the injury. Leetch said the most recent setback was when a tear in his groin reopened.

Sullivan dressed seven defensemen, squeezing Andrew Alberts out of ice time. Sullivan told Alberts before the game he might see fourth-line forward duty, but Alberts was purely a defenseman last night. Alberts played 11 shifts for 8:06, seeing more ice in the third when he spelled Leetch.

Although his turnover led to a Tomas Surovy goal that broke up Tim Thomas's shutout, Sullivan praised Alberts for his performance, especially during a first-period penalty-kill when the rookie was on the ice for the entire two minutes of Hal Gill's holding infraction. ''That's not an easy thing to play limited minutes, and then step in and have the necessary energy and jump to make the right plays," Sullivan said.

Eklund home

The Bruins welcomed Braintree native Brian Eklund back to New England, acquiring the 25-year-old goalie from the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Zdenek Blatny. Eklund, a standout at Brown and a star at Archbishop Williams, was playing for the ECHL's Johnstown Chiefs. In 1998, Eklund won the John Carlton Memorial Trophy awarded annually by the Bruins to the outstanding student-athlete playing high school hockey in eastern Massachusetts. The 6-foot-5-inch, 205-pound netminder, who will report to the Providence Bruins, played in his first NHL game Nov. 8, losing a 3-2 decision to Montreal. He had played in 17 games for the Springfield Falcons of the AHL, going 5-11-1 with a 4.19 goals-against average. Blatny, who went scoreless in five games with the Bruins this season, had eight goals and 22 assists in 35 games for Providence.

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