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Tverdovsky joining Hamilton’s AHL team

November 25, 1997

HAMILTON, Ontario (AP) _ Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky, a restricted free agent who hasn’t played in the NHL this season, is joining the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.

Tverdovsky, a 21-year-old who had 10 goals and 45 assists last season, will practice with the Bulldogs on Tuesday and travel with the team to Cincinnati for a game on Wednesday.

Phoenix, the NHL and the Edmonton Oilers _ the Bulldogs’ parent club _ agreed to let Tverdovsky play in Hamilton, said general manager Scott Howson.

``I think he doesn’t want to get too stale, Hamilton’s close and I also think it became clear the AHL was the preferred place for him to play,″ Howson said.

Tverdovsky is one of a handful of young NHL stars _ Paul Kariya of Anaheim, Detroit’s Sergei Fedorov and Pittsburgh’s Petr Nedved are others _ sitting out because they have been unable to reach deals with their teams after becoming restricted free agents.

Tverdovsky has been skating at York University since the beginning of the NHL season.

``He and his agent (Don Meehan) approached us a couple of weeks ago and wanted to get him playing again and we’ve been working to try and make sure that it was OK for him to play with us,″ Howson said.

The Bulldogs aren’t counting on having the Russian rearguard for very long.

``He could come to an agreement with an NHL team in the next couple of days, and that would be the end of it,″ Howson said. ``We’re just going on a day-by-day, game-by-game basis.″

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