HULL DENIES COMMENTS: Bobby Hull strongly denied he told a Moscow newspaper that Adolf Hitler "had some good ideas" and that the U.S. black population was growing too quickly.

"The statements attributed to me by the Moscow Times and now republished by other media outlets are false and defamatory," the retired NHL star said Wednesday in a statement.

"I will use all legal means against those responsible for these outrageous lies and distortions of the truth."

The English-language newspaper on Tuesday also reported that Hull assailed the Canadian government for being too socialist and quick to give money to lazy people, and quoted him as saying that selective genetic breeding to produce better humans could be a good idea.

"Hitler for example, had some good ideas," Hull was quoted as saying. "He just went a little bit too far."

Hull, in Russia for of the annual Spartak Cup preseason hockey tournament, returned to Canada and appeared at a news conference in Sudbury, Ontario, on Wednesday.

GARTNER RETIRES: Ask experts around the NHL about Mike Gartner, and the accolades are uniform: great skater, natural goal scorer, genuine gentleman, future Hall of Famer.

For the first time in two decades, they'll have something new to call him - an ex-player.

After scoring 708 goals over 19 seasons with five teams, Mike Gartner announced his retirement Wednesday, just weeks before the start of training camp.

Gartner always seemed to shun the spotlight, even though the five-time All-Star ranks as the league's No. 5 goal scorer and 18th career point-getter with 1,335 in 1,432 games for the Phoenix Coyotes, Washington Capitals, Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.


U.S. OPEN DRAW: Top seeds Pete Sampras and Martina Hingis will have tough paths to the U.S. Open championship.

Sampras, seeking a record-tying 12th Grand Slam singles title, and Hingis got difficult draws Wednesday for the the season's final Grand Slam tournament.

Sampras has a potential quarterfinal meeting with former U.S. Open champion Andre Agassi, who is seeded eighth this year. If he gets by Agassi, Sampras then could face defending champion Patrick Rafter in the semifinals, a major obstacle in his quest for a fifth title at Flushing Meadow.