Palffy Ends Holdout, Signs With Islanders

Posted: December 18, 1998

The New York Islanders ended a long and acrimonious contract battle with Zigmund Palffy by signing their top scorer to a five-year contract last night.

Coach Mike Milbury confirmed the deal, which the Associated Press reported as worth $25 million.

``I think everybody's pleased that it's over,'' Milbury said. ``I wasn't sure that it would come to a conclusion, and this was it. This was the last attempt to bridge the gap. Basically what we did was go back to the long-term deal and revisited that to see if they were more interested.''

Palffy, who was a restricted Group Two free agent, had been in Slovakia. Milbury confirmed that he was en route to the United States.

``I'm very happy to come to a conclusion,'' Palffy said in a news release. ``In my heart I always wanted to be a New York Islander. And I want to thank New York Islander fans. I cannot wait to get back on the ice and play in front of them.''

Palffy tied for fifth in the NHL in scoring last season, when he scored 45 goals and added 42 assists in 82 games. His 13-game scoring streak last season was the NHL's longest.

The native of Skalica, Slovakia, had his best season in 1996-97 with 48 goals and 42 assists in 80 games. In 281 career games, he has 146 goals and 135 assists.

He is one of only five NHL players to score 40 goals in each of the last three seasons, and led the league with 17 power-play goals last season.

JURISPRUDENCE The limousine driver convicted in the 1997 crash that injured three members of the Detroit Red Wings is back in jail after being arrested for a probation violation.

Richard Gnida was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail at his arraignment following an arrest at his home Wednesday, an Oakland (Mich.) County District Court spokeswoman said. Judge Kimberly Small issued an arrest warrant for Gnida on Dec. 7, six days after he missed a court hearing.

Gnida, 29, was released from a work camp in June after serving seven months of a nine-month sentence for driving with a suspended license.

* Former Northwestern football player Michael Senters pleaded innocent and denied lying to federal grand juries investigating sports betting at the school.

Senters was one of four former players charged earlier this month in an indictment that accused them of lying about their gambling.

Senters is accused of lying about a $500 bet he is said to have placed on a 1994 game between Northwestern and Ohio State, a game in which he played.

Senters, now 26 and living in Florida, denied the accusations in entering his plea.

COLLEGES Lauren Ciacciamani had 20 kills and Christy Cochran added 19 as Penn State defeated Nebraska, 3-1, to advance to the NCAA women's volleyball final. The Lions (35-0) will play Long Beach, a 3-0 winner over Florida, in Madison, Wis. tomorrow. Long Beach also is 35-0, thus assuring the NCAA of its first undefeated champion in its 18-year history.

* Pittsburgh will host the first two rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in 2002.

After drawing sellout crowds for six men's Eastern subregional games in 1997, Duquesne was chosen to host the NCAA women's Eastern regional finals in 2001. The men's tournament will return to the Civic Arena a year later.

Other men's subregional sites in 2002 will be the MCI Center in Washington (East); the United Center in Chicago and Kemper Arena in Kansas City (Midwest); the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, S.C., and the TWA Dome in St. Louis (South); and University Arena in Albuquerque, N.M., and ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. (West).

Regional sites are the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. (East), the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. (Midwest), Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. (South) and San Jose Arena (West).

The 2002 Final Four will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

NOTEWORTHY Undefeated lightweight Calvin ``Strictly Business'' Davis (15-0) won a TKO over Troy Fletcher in the sixth round of their scheduled eight-round bout at the Holiday Inn in South Philadelphia.

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