Former Washington Capitals captain Dale Hunter, who was traded to Colorado in March, said he may have played the final game of his 19-year career Friday night when the Avalanche was eliminated by Dallas in Game 7 of the NHL's Western Conference finals.

Hunter, who will be 39 this summer, becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Avalanche acquired Hunter for a draft pick at the March 23 trade deadline and must make some hard contractual decisions in the offseason.

"This could be it," Hunter told Bloomberg News after his team's 4-1 loss at Reunion Arena in Dallas. "I hate to make an emotional decision right now or even talk about it. This is really not the time or the place."

Hunter is better known for his chippy play than his offense. With 323 goals and 3,565 penalty minutes, he is the only player in NHL history to amass more than 300 goals and 3,000 penalty minutes.

Hunter's remaining dream, though, was to win the Stanley Cup. In his 19 seasons for Washington and the former Quebec Nordiques, he made the playoffs 18 times. He only went to the Stanley Cup finals once--last season when the Capitals were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.


Concessionaire Cited

Veterans Stadium concession operators in Philadelphia have been cited for allegedly serving beer to a minor, an offense that could result in the venue used by the Phillies and Eagles being fined or even losing its liquor license for a year.


$15 Million Short

Oscar De La Hoya wants double the proposed $15 million purse to get into the ring with Felix Trinidad. According to today's El Mundo newspaper, De La Hoya will not agree to fight Trinidad in a welterweight reunification fight for the $15 million that he has been offered.

Roberto Alcazar, De La Hoya's trainer, said De La Hoya, the WBC champion, was discussing getting double that amount with his promoter, Bob Arum. The $15 million figure came from Arum, who is arranging the Sept. 18 bout in Las Vegas.


France Falters

A late goal by Valery Karpin gave Russia a 3-2 victory over France in a Euro 2000 qualifier in Paris, leaving the World Cup champions facing an uphill climb to qualify for next year's European Championship.

England also had its chances severely dented with a scoreless tie at home against Sweden.

Meanwhile, Turkey and Norway picked up key victories. Turkey kept pace with Germany in Group 3 with a 4-2 win in Finland on two goals each from Hakan Sukur and Tayfur Havutcu. Norway virtually clinched a berth with a 2-1 win in Albania on a late goal by Tore Andre Flo.


Lett Suspended

Already uncertain about the health of star cornerback Deion Sanders, the Dallas Cowboys were dealt another blow from a familiar and troubling area.

Leon Lett, the Cowboys' Pro Bowl defensive tackle, was suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, his third suspension since 1995.

Although his first suspension lasted four games and the second lasted a year, team officials have remained hopeful the third suspension might not be as long.


Gotti in Lead

Spain's Roberto Henandez Heras won the 21st and next-to-last stage, and Italy's Ivan Gotti grabbed the overall lead at the Tour of Italy. Gotti, who is looking to win his second Tour of Italy in the last three years, took advantage of race leader Marco Pantani's ban because of anti-doping tests before the start of yesterday's leg.

CAPTION: Dale Hunter, left, collides with Stars' Blake Sloan during a playoff game. Hunter's dreams of a Stanley Cup title are over for this year, maybe forever.