Spilled chemical prompts Rangers to evacuate hotel

10/21/2005 - NHL

New York Rangers: The Rangers were forced to evacuate their Long Island hotel Thursday, just hours before their 5-4 loss to the rival New York Islanders, when a man wearing a surgical mask dumped a chemical on the floor and then drove away.

The 23-year-old man, former hotel employee Scott Wallace,
entered the hotel about 3 p.m., deliberately spilled the chemical
on the floor of the rotunda area and then fled, Nassau County
police said.

The chemical later was found to be harmless, and no one was

Police hazardous-materials units and a mobile laboratory were
sent to the hotel to test the chemical, which smelled strongly like
ammonia. Hotel guests including the Rangers were temporarily forced

Wallace was arrested several hours later, police said in a news
release issued Thursday night. The charges against him hadn't been
determined, pending a consultation with the district attorney's

There was no telephone number listed for Wallace at the address
provided by police.

The Rangers didn't want to blame their second loss to the
Islanders in two nights on the chemical scare.

"It bothered a lot of people, but I wasn't affected by it,"
goalie Kevin Weekes said after the game. "Players are used to a
game-day routine, and when it gets disrupted it can throw you off
course a little bit, but you have to put things in perspective and
give it the proper priority. Lives saved are what's most important

Atlanta Thrashers: The Thrashers' porous defense just got a little stronger.

The Thrashers on Thursday activated Shane Hnidy from injured reserve, where the defenseman spent the first six games of the season with a shoulder injury.

Atlanta, which swept a home-and-home series against the Washington Capitals in the opening week of the season by a combined score of 15-4, has allowed 16 goals in its last three
games -- all losses.

Hnidy, who was acquired from Nashville in July, suffered the shoulder injury in the Thrashers' preseason finale against the Predators on September 30. The 29-year-old Manitoba native
collected seven assists and 82 penalty minutes in 46 games with Ottawa and Nashville in 2003-04.

In 198 career contests, Hnidy has four goals, 18 assists and 353 penalty minutes.

The Thrashers also recalled goaltender Adam Berkhoel from
Chicago of the American Hockey League on Thursday. Berkhoel made his NHL debut against the New York Rangers on Saturday, allowing five goals on 29 shots in a 5-1 loss.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.