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Berard Close to Bruins Pact

August 9, 2002

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TORONTO (AP) _ Bryan Berard is close to signing with the Boston Bruins to continue his comeback from a career-threatening eye injury.

Berard could sign next week, agent Tom Laidlaw told the Canadian Press.

``There has been more than one team interested, but it’s fair to say that Boston is the lead team right now,″ Laidlaw said Friday.

``We’re hopeful it could happen in the next few days, but you never know. We’re not sure. I would say sometime next week.″

He earned $2 million with the New York Rangers last season, when he had two goals and 21 assists while playing in all 82 games. The team did not pick up a $3 million option on his contract.

The 25-year-old Berard nearly lost his eye in March 2000, when he was hit by Ottawa’s Marian Hossa while playing for Toronto.

Berard has been fitted with a special contact that barely improves his vision. A new deal would help him continue to pay off a $6.5 million insurance settlement he received after the injury.

The insurance company that agreed to his return last year must also sign off on the deal.

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