The Capitals sent D Ken Sutton back to the Devils yesterday for future considerations. Sutton, who played one exhibition game with the Capitals, was picked up from the Devils in last week's waiver draft.

SUSPENDED: Mighty Ducks D Ruslan Salei, who cross-checked Stars captain Mike Modano from behind into the boards during the second period of Saturday's game, was suspended 10 games without pay by the NHL. Also suspended for different actions in the same game were Mighty Ducks D Pascal Trepanier for five games and LW Jim McKenzie for four.

Modano incurred injuries to his head, face and neck after his head hit the boards, and is out indefinitely.

Salei's suspension began yesterday against the Coyotes. He will forfeit $109,756 in salary and will be eligible to return on Oct. 29 against the Capitals.

MONSTERS OF MIDWAY II?: The Blackhawks, who were criticized by several teams for overly physical play in the preseason, began the regular season with another brawl Monday night, when C Mark Janssens charged into Sharks G Steve Shields with 1 minute 15 seconds to play and the Blackhawks trailing, 7-1. Blackhawks D Brad Brown was given a major penalty for cross-checking and LW Bob Probert was ejected for intending to injure another player.

Capitals GM George McPhee was suspended for one month for an incident after the Blackhawks displayed similar conduct in a preseason game.