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Thrashers send Buzek home

OTTAWA, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Thrashers sent disgruntled defenseman Petr Buzek home Saturday due to a contract squabble that may lead to him being traded.

Buzek, who is under contract through 2002-03, has been seeking an extension, even though he has played only 14 games the past two seasons due to injury.

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A week ago, his agent sent a proposal for a multi-year extension to Thrashers general manager Don Waddell, who said, "I was not in a position to agree to it," because of Buzek's lack of action.

Buzek was activated from injured reserve Thursday after missing five games with a groin strain. That same day, he demanded a trade and was scratched for a home game against Montreal.

On Saturday, Buzek approached coaches before a game in Ottawa and said he was not emotionally ready to play. Waddell decided to send him home before Atlanta's four-game road trip got underway.

"If a player does want to be a part of our hockey team, then we do not want him to be part of our organization," Waddell said. "We feel Petr's presence would be detrimental to our team, so he has been sent home to Atlanta."

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Buzek, 24, is scoreless with a minus-4 rating and 13 penalty minutes in nine games this season.

He missed most of 2000-01 with concussion-like symptoms after suffering a neck strain against Washington on Sept. 11. In 1999-2000, he appeared in 63 games, totaling five goals and 14 assists.

Prior to being taking in the 1999 expansion draft, Buzek spent parts of two seasons with Dallas, which made the Czech Republic native a 1995 third-round selection.

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