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Joseph Skates With Red Wings, Hasek

September 30, 2003

DETROIT (AP) _ Curtis Joseph skated for the first time in six weeks Tuesday and drew intense focus during the Detroit Red Wings’ awkward morning skate.

The Red Wings have been trying to trade Joseph since goalie Dominik Hasek ended his one-year retirement in July. But general manager Ken Holland has been unable to deal him in large part because of the two years and $16 million remaining on his contract.

Joseph had surgery in August to remove bone chips from his right ankle, making it difficult to find an interested team to deal with.

``It’s probably gone on longer than I anticipated, but you make the best of it,″ said Joseph, surrounded by about 40 reporters. ``I’m here to get my ankle ready and to get ready to play.″

Hasek left the ice and headed to the locker room soon after Joseph started to stretch on the ice.

``This will be the most awkward day, the first day, with the attention and coverage and the environment,″ Detroit coach Dave Lewis said. ``The thing we have going for us is we have a group of veterans who have been through almost everything this league can throw at you and this is just another situation. I’m sure everybody has made Curtis feel comfortable.″

Joseph will be with the Red Wings at least until Friday when the NHL has its waiver draft. Rosters were frozen Tuesday afternoon when teams submitted lists of unprotected players.

Joseph signed with Detroit before last season to improve his chances of winning his first Stanley Cup after playing 13 seasons with St. Louis, Edmonton and Toronto.

He had a 2.08 goals-against-average in the first round of the playoffs as the Red Wings were swept by Anaheim. That followed an inconsistent regular season in which he won 15 of his last 19 regular-season games to finish 34-19-6.

Hasek, who helped Detroit win the Stanley Cup in 2002, didn’t talk with reporters after Tuesday’s skate.

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