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NY Rangers Show Interest in Berard

September 23, 2001

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) _ If Bryan Berard’s impaired vision can pass an NHL physical, the New York Rangers are interested in him.

The 24-year-old Toronto defenseman’s career was thought to be finished after he sustained severe damage to his right eye when accidentally struck by Marian Hossa’s stick in a 2000 game in Ottawa.

``He has to overcome a lot of things for him to be able to play,″ Rangers general manager Glen Sather said Saturday. ``We’ve had ongoing conversations with him.″

Berard, who has already undergone seven eye surgeries, also would need to have a special contact lens inserted in his right eye to improve his vision.

His current 20/600 vision _ seeing something in his right eye at 20 feet that someone with normal vision would see at 600 feet _ falls below the league bylaw requiring all players to have eyesight of 20/400 or better.

``Of course, he has to pass a league physical,″ Sather said. ``He was approved to play at the U.S. Olympic camps, and he had to get medical clearance there, right?″

Sather would like to get an answer as soon as possible.

``At this stage, I’m still willing to give it a chance,″ he said. ``But if the season starts, and he comes up to me after that and asks for a tryout, sure, I’d give him one.″

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