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LeClair Issues Deadline

John LeClair has given the Philadelphia Flyers a deadline of midnight Sunday to reach an agreement on his multiyear contract.

LeClair, the NHL's leading goal-scorer over the past five seasons, says he won't negotiate during the season nor sign a deal during the free-agency period afterward.

That means the Flyers might be forced to trade LeClair if the two sides don't resolve differences this weekend.

"Enough's enough," said LeClair, acquired from Montreal in 1995. "There's been enough time for negotiating. Everything's got to come to an end or it just keeps dragging, gets worse."

Contract talks broke off Wednesday, a development that Flyers chairman Ed Snider called "ominous."

Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said he remained hopeful and was awaiting a response from LeClair's agent Lewis Gross on the latest proposal. He said the fact that the two sides don't plan to meet again does not mean the talks are off track.

"Everybody got their feelings and philosophies out on the table," Clarke said of Wednesday's meeting. "That's done. It'll be on the phone now."

The Flyers are believed to be offering a four- or five-year deal that averages $7.5 million to $8 million a year. Snider has said LeClair is asking for significantly more than the $9 million a year he requested in arbitration. LeClair was awarded a one-year, $7 million contract last month.

Lately, Clarke has played down the possibility of a trading LeClair, calling it an "option" after Wednesday's bargaining session.

But last spring, asked about the scenario of LeClair getting a one-year arbitration award, then waiting for free agency, Clarke said such a strategy would force a trade because the Flyers couldn't afford to lose LeClair for nothing.

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