Joseph joins Detroit

Posted: Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Goalie fever hit the NHL on Tuesday, with Curtis Joseph leaving Toronto for Detroit, Ed Belfour departing Dallas to replace Joseph, and Steve Passmore staying put in Chicago.

Joseph said he's signing with the Stanley Cup-champion Red Wings, where he will replace the retired Dominik Hasek.

''Probably a year ago I couldn't have seen myself playing anywhere else,'' Joseph said at a news conference in Toronto. ''Detroit offers a very unique opportunity. Everybody who plays there says the future is now. That was enticing. ...

''There's no guarantee's that I'll go to Detroit and win a Stanley Cup. But I'd like to take that opportunity.''

Joseph compiled a 133-88-27 record and a 2.42 goals-against average in four seasons with Toronto. He earned $6.57 million last season, which was the last of a four-year, $24 million deal.

The Maple Leafs moved quickly and replaced Joseph with Belfour, who was 21-27-11 with a 2.65 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage (29th among starters) last season with Dallas.

The Stars let him go, electing to play with Marty Turco.

The New York Rangers, meanwhile, took another step toward bolstering their team defense, signing hard-hitting blue-liner Darius Kasparaitis on Tuesday.

Kasparaitis, a noted agitator in his career with the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh and most recently Colorado, joins two-way center Bobby Holik with the free-spending Rangers.

Holik signed a five-year, $45-million deal with New York on Monday, leaving the rival New Jersey Devils.

''Of course they're going to have a physical presence with me and Bobby,'' Kasparaitis said. ''As a new member, I'm trying to fit the team perfectly, and I'm trying to make a good chemistry with the players.''

Also Tuesday, the Blackhawks re-signed Passmore, who had eight wins in 23 regular-season games with a career-best 2.26 GAA and a .904 save percentage.

The Rangers' signing of Kasparaitis and Holik probably means they won't pursue forwards Tony Amonte of Chicago and Bill Guerin of Boston, who scored 41 goals last year.

''I don't think so at this time,'' Sather said. ''I wouldn't say no to anything at this stage, there's a lot of guys out there.''

Longtime defenseman Chris Chelios of Detroit also has yet to sign.

Amonte, who scored 27 goals for Chicago, is high on the wish list of the Stars and New York Islanders.

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