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Volume 24 No. 156
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          The CP's Neil Stevens reports that the return of RW
     Pavel Bure to the NHL increases the league's average yearly
     player salary to $1.3M when factoring in his previous $8M
     salary with the Canucks.  The Panthers, who acquired Bure in
     a trade with the Canucks, gave him a new contract for the
     rest of the season "believed to be worth about" $3M.  Agent
     Mike Gillis "will try" to negotiate a five or six-year deal
     worth around $10M per year for Bure after this season (CP,
     1/19).  In Toronto, Geoffrey York writes that Bure's "lavish
     lifestyle of endless partying and nightclubbing" during his
     holdout "made him a controversial figure" in his native city
     of Moscow (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/19)....The Atlanta Arena Co. took
     out an ad in the WALL STREET JOURNAL's Southeast edition
     promoting Thrashers club seats at the new Atlanta Arena:
     "Impress Customers.  Terrify Competitors" (THE DAILY)....In
     San Jose, Clark Judge writes that NFL Dir of Football
     Development Gene Washington's hiring by the 49ers "likely
     will be put on hold until the NFL resolves the future of co-
     owner Eddie DeBartolo."  It is "believed" that Washington
     would be named as an Exec VP (MERCURY NEWS, 1/19).