Back in Quebec?

Quebec's premier, Jean Charest, is confident the NHL wants to bring a team back to Quebec City.

Charest told the Canadian Press yesterday that he discussed the issue with commissioner Gary Bettman at the Montreal Canadiens' 100th-anniversary game last Friday.

The premier said Bettman seemed sincerely interested in bringing pro hockey back to the provincial capital a decade and a half after the Nordiques left to become the Colorado Avalanche.

Charest said the commissioner appeared convinced of the economic viability of a team in Quebec and the prospect of finding investors.

Bettman has said he would consider Quebec City as a possible home for an NHL team if it follows through on plans to build a top arena and if a team is for sale.

Gilroy demoted

New York's Matt Gilroy, a rookie defenseman, is heading to the minor leagues for the first time.

Gilroy, last season's Hobey Baker Award winner as the college player of the year, was the surprising choice to be sent to Hartford of the AHL. He was second among NHL rookie defensemen with four goals.

Gilroy, 25, who starred at Boston University, signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract in the spring. His demotion gives New York space under the salary cap.

Cleary out

Detroit forward Dan Cleary will miss about a month because of a separated shoulder. He was injured Wednesday night.

- Associated Press