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Wild pursuing Saku Koivu to fill hole at center

MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Koivu brothers could be united in Minnesota.

After committing $30 million over six years to Martin Havlat(notes) during the flurry of the first day of free agency, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher turned his focus Thursday to Saku Koivu(notes), the top center currently on the NHL’s open market. Koivu would fill a glaring need at a critical position for Minnesota and, in turn, be able to play with his younger brother, Mikko.

In a conference call, Fletcher confirmed the team’s desire to sign Koivu, who has played his entire career for the Montreal Canadiens. Saku is 34, eight years older than Mikko, who is the franchise’s clear cornerstone now that Marian Gaborik(notes) has signed with the New York Rangers.

“Certainly, we’ve expressed some interest,” Fletcher said. “He’s a great hockey player. There aren’t a lot of centermen on the marketplace.

“There’s certainly nobody of Saku’s caliber out there.”

Don Baizley, who serves as the agent for both brothers, declined to comment on the situation until “Saku’s contract is done.”

That doesn’t mean a deal will be done with Minnesota, of course, as Fletcher acknowledged.

“I’d be surprised if 10 or 15 teams haven’t reached out to him by this point,” the GM said. “I’m not sure where the process will go, but he’s a terrific hockey player.

“I certainly sense some interest, but there’s a lot of good situations out there for centermen.”

Koivu has been with Montreal since 1995. He had 16 goals and 34 assists last season, right around his career averages for full seasons. He missed most of the 1999-2000 season because of a shoulder injury and most of the 2001-02 season while recovering from abdominal cancer.

Koivu’s parents, who live in Finland, certainly have their preference among Saku’s many options.

“It’s one of their dreams for their kids to play on the same team,” Mikko said earlier this week in an interview with the Star Tribune newspaper. “There’s no doubt it would be special for all of us if it can happen, but we’ll see.”

If the Wild can’t get him, they could try to trade for a center, though Fletcher indicated that’s not likely. Returning players James Sheppard(notes), Eric Belanger(notes), Pierre-Marc Bouchard(notes) and Benoit Pouliot(notes) are candidates to fill the other center spots.

“It’s a difficult commodity to find,” Fletcher said, acknowledging he discussed with Mikko the possibility of playing with Saku.

The Wild’s new boss said he’s evaluating other free agents, too, but said the process could stretch over the next couple of weeks.

Also signed Wednesday was defenseman Greg Zanon(notes), to a three-year contract worth $5.8 million, but there’s likely an opening for another blue-liner on the roster.

“We could still land somebody in the next day or two, or it may be a case where there’s not much more in free agency and we wait to fill some holes via trade,” Fletcher said.
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Leafs re-sign F Grabovski to three-year deal

TORONTO (AP)—Mikhail Grabovski(notes) has signed an $8.7 million, three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Belorussian forward who reached agreement on Thursday with Toronto had 20 goals and 48 points in 78 games last season, both ranked fourth on the Maple Leafs.

In 105 career NHL games with Montreal and Toronto, he has 23 goals and 57 points.
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Panthers sign D Leopold to 1-year deal

MIAMI (AP)—Defenseman Jordan Leopold(notes), acquired in the deal that sent the rights to defenseman Jay Bouwmeester(notes) to Calgary, signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

The move came on the second day of free agency, one day after Florida assistant general manager Randy Sexton had said that the chances of signing Leopold appeared “remote.”

“I’m pumped to get it done,” Sexton said Thursday. “We are absolutely ecstatic to have Jordan in Florida. … I did think it was remote yesterday. That’s one of the interesting things about free agency.”

Leopold had his exclusive negotiating rights traded to the Panthers on Saturday for the rights to Bouwmeester, who signed a multiyear contract with Calgary on Tuesday.

Even though the Panthers didn’t get a deal done with Leopold before he hit the open market, they were still able to sign him.

“Sometimes these things take longer than you would hope,” Sexton said. “I think that at the end of the day, there was very genuine interest in Jordan’s part to come to Florida.”

Sexton and Leopold said the defenseman turned down longer-term offers and more money from other clubs to sign with the Panthers. The 28-year-old Leopold said he was looking forward to the opportunities he would have with Florida, and didn’t think other interested teams were “the right fit for my family.”

“Things didn’t seem to work out,” Leopold said. “As the day gets longer, weird things happen. (Sexton) happened to call at the right time and we were able to work something out.”

Bouwmeester and Leopold have not been the only changes in the Panthers defensive corps this offseason. Florida, which lost defenseman Karlis Skrastins(notes) to free agency on Thursday, also announced that defenseman Clay Wilson(notes) signed a two-year contract. On Wednesday, defenseman Ville Koistinen(notes) agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the club on Wednesday. Skrastins signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Stars.

“We’re really pleased about our rebuilt defense,” Sexton said. “We’re mobile, we can get up the ice quickly.”

Leopold, who has been traded four times, played in 83 games for the Flames and the Colorado Avalanche during the 2008-09 season. The Minnesota native has played in 355 games in his NHL career and was a member of the 2006 U.S. Olympic team.
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dznutz88 wrote:Chris Neil is contemplating three solid offers and will make his decision shortly.

The New York Rangers offered a four year deal to Neil, averaging $2.3 million per season, while the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs have both tabled three year offers to the Toronto native.

Sources say while the Rangers have made the most substantial bid, the veteran forward is weighing the appeal of staying in Canada which is making his decision more difficult.

Earlier in the week, Neil reportedly turned down the Senators' offer of $1.7-million per year.

Neil, 30, tied a career-low with ten points and set a career-low with a minus-13 in 60 games last season.

The 6-foot-1, 214-pound right winger can still mix it up, however, getting in 14 fights last season; his highest total since 2002-2003.

The Senators scored a victory in the Battle of Ontario last night.

While Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke was the first to call Todd Reynolds, the agent for Chris Neil, when the NHL’s free agency period opened Wednesday, the rugged winger turned down more money from archrival Toronto and the New York Rangers to stay in Ottawa.

Just when it looked like Neil was on the way out, he accepted a four-year, $8-million (all terms US) contract to remain with the only NHL franchise he has ever known. He left a four-year, $9.2-million offer from the Rangers and a three-year, $6.9-million deal from the Leafs on the table.

Neil turned down a four-year, $6.8-million offer from the Senators last week, so it was worth the wait for the winger.

“I’m really relieved,” said Neil, who had three goals and seven assists in 60 games last season. “I don’t know how much testing the market meant to all of this. When I spoke to Bryan, we weren’t really sure about my true value. He didn’t know what I was worth and I didn’t know either.

“When you hit the free-agent market, you’re able to find out what you’re worth. We were able to find that happy medium. I’m ecstatic that I’ll be able to stay in Ottawa.”

Neil wouldn’t really have signed with the hated Leafs, would he?

“It was pretty close,” he said. “They made a good offer. (But) my heart is in Ottawa.”

With Neil signed, the Senators could either deal C Chris Kelly or D Jason Smith.

“I’m happy because Chris Neil wanted to be here. He had some options, but he’s certainly a guy that fits well here,” GM Bryan Murray said. “He’s a strong, physical player for us. He can take care of the other team’s tough guy and he can play a role for us. He’s an important core guy on our team.”

Once his destination was settled, Neil was able to relate just how close he came to leaving.

There were serious discussions with the Leafs. Neil also spoke to Rangers coach John Tortorella and thought New York would be a decent fit. The Sharks also showed interest. However, Reynolds made a final call to Murray.

“We heard from Ottawa around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. and we just let them know where we were at with the offers,” said Neil. “We made one last call to them and just told them, ‘This is what it’s worth for Chris to stay in Ottawa.’ If they were able to do it, we thought that would be great. If not, I was probably going to be a New York Ranger.

“There was a lot of back and forth with a bunch of different teams. We looked at all the options through the course of the day. None of them felt right to me.

“It was just a gut feeling that this was right for me and my family. I just felt the right thing for me to do was to stay in Ottawa. I was able to find out where I stand and I felt good. This was always where I wanted to be.”


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The Senators might not let Dany Heatley take the money and run after he turned down a deal to the Edmonton Oilers. While owner Eugene Melnyk, who paid a $4-million US bonus to the unhappy star, hasn't indicated he'll take any legal action, the Senators have talked about their options with NHL headquarters in New York. The Senators say they'd been given permission by Heatley's agents, Stacey McAlpine and J.P. Barry, to make a deal with the Oilers. Edmonton wasn't on the list of eight to 10 preferred desintations submitted by the agents, but GM Bryan Murray said he wouldn't pursue a deal without permission from the Heatley camp, which he claims he received.

Toronto Sun
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The video was delivered to Marian Gaborik's house in Slovakia at about 6 p.m., or noon in the Eastern United States on Wednesday, when the NHL free-agent market window opened. The fleet sniper, who had been the leading scorer in the history of the Minnesota Wild, did not get a contract offer from his former team, and the Rangers were prepared. The promotional video prepared specifically for the 27-year-old included highlights of his career, clips from games at Madison Square Garden and testimonials from players on how fabulous it is to play in New York. "I watched it right away and it was unbelievable," Gaborik said yesterday, less than 24 hours after he agreed to a five-year, $37.5-million offer - with a limited no-trade clause - that will make him the team's No. 1 right wing.

New York Newsday
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Nash re-ups with Jackets for 8 years

By RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer Jul 3, 10:48 pm EDT

Buzz up!

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—Rick Nash(notes) and the Columbus Blue Jackets have reached agreement on an eight-year contract extension through the 2017-18 season.

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson confirmed the signing to The Associated Press on Friday night. The Canadian Press first reported the signing, saying the deal is worth $62.4 million. Nash will make $7 million in 2009-10.

“Rick made a significant statement to Columbus and for Columbus in terms of how he feels about playing here,” Howson said. “He loves Columbus; he never wanted to leave. That’s what made me so optimistic all along that we could sign him to an extension.”

Nash, who would have been an unrestricted free agent after next season, set career and team highs last season with his 79 points (40 goals, 39 assists) in 78 games in leading Columbus to its first trip to the playoffs in the franchise’s eighth season. It was not just a coincidence that it was also Nash’s first full season as captain.

The 25-year-old left wing from Brampton, Ontario, tied for the NHL lead in goals with 41 in the 2003-04 season. He was at his cottage in Ontario and not immediately available to return calls requesting comment on the new contract.

There had been speculation that his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, among several others, would have been prime buyers for his services if he had entered the free-agent market.

Howson said it was important to note that the deal still allows the Blue Jackets enough wiggle room in their budget to get or keep other quality players to play with Nash and improve the team.

“He allowed us some flexibility,” Howson said. “He’s aware that by signing this contract that other players will be able to get paid as well.”

The Blue Jackets made two free-agent signings on Wednesday: center Sami Pahlsson and goalie Mathieu Garon(notes). Pahlsson adds another experienced puck-handler to the lineup and Garon will serve as a backup and mentor to Calder Trophy-winner Steve Mason(notes).

The club, which already has touted young players such as Antoine Vermette(notes), Derick Brassard(notes), Jake Voracek and Nikita Filatov(notes), is still in the market for help on the blue line and perhaps another center. Nash’s signing might make it easier to get players to commit to the team.

Nash, Columbus’ first overall pick in the 2002 draft, is the Blue Jackets’ all-time leader in goals (194) and points (355) in 441 career games. The four-time NHL All-Star has led the club in goals for the past five seasons.

At last month’s NHL Awards in Las Vegas, he was named the winner of the NHL Foundation Player Award in recognition of his charitable work and commitment to the community. Earlier this week, he was invited to the orientation camp which will determine Canada’s team in the 2010 Olympics.
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Canucks land free-agent winger Mikael Samuelsson

Jul 3, 3:42 pm EDT

Buzz up!

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Free agent forward Mikael Samuelsson(notes) signed a $7.5 million, three-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.

“Obviously (the money) was the key, I shouldn’t lie,” Samuelsson said in a conference call after signing the deal.

The Swedish right wing spent the past four seasons in Detroit, winning the Stanley Cup in 2008 and falling one game short this past season. The 32-year-old forward has 86 goals and 208 points in 466 career NHL games.

Samuelsson was also part of Sweden’s gold medal-winning team at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

He’s the third forward to leave the Red Wings this spring. Marian Hossa(notes) and Tomas Kopecky(notes) signed with the Chicago Blackhawks this week.

Samuelsson believes the Canucks, who signed brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin(notes) of Sweden to contract extensions this week, can contend for the Stanley Cup.

“I like the team,” he said. “When you play against Vancouver it’s always a hard game and a skill game too.

“You need some experience (to win the Cup). You need to be hungry. I believe we can do some damage.”
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Kings acquire Smyth from Avalanche

Jul 4, 12:39 am EDT

Buzz up!

LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Los Angeles Kings acquired left wing left wing Ryan Smyth(notes) from the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night for defensemen Kyle Quincey(notes) and Tom Preissing(notes) and a fifth-round draft pick next year.

The 33-year-old Smyth had 26 goals and 33 assists in 77 games last season. He has 310 goals and 350 assists in 920 regular-season games with Edmonton, the New York Islanders and Colorado. In 81 playoff games, he has 25 goals and 27 assists.

“Ryan is the type of player who fits with our team,” Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said. “He fills an important need as he is a competitive, gritty scoring left winger and he fits with the overall identity we continue to build here.”

Quincey led Kings defensemen in scoring last season with 38 points (four goals and 34 assists) in 72 games. The 23-year-old Quincey was claimed off waivers from Detroit on Oct. 13. The 30-year-old Preissing, a former Colorado College star, had three goals and four assists in 22 games for the Kings last season.

“We are pleased to be adding two quality NHL defensemen,” Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman said. “Kyle and Tom are both versatile players who can contribute at both ends. They will add defensive depth to our lineup.”
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Canucks sign free-agent goalie Andrew Raycroft

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—The Vancouver Canucks added depth in the nets by signing free agent goalie Andrew Raycroft(notes) to a one-year deal on Monday worth $500,000.

Raycroft went 12-16-0 with a 3.14 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage in 31 games last season. He will serve as the backup to Roberto Luongo(notes).

In 230 career NHL games in eight seasons with Toronto, Boston and Colorado, Raycroft is 94-96-16, with six shutouts, a 2.90 GAA and .899 save percentage.

Vancouver lost backup goalie Jason LaBarbera(notes) last week when he signed a two-year, free-agent contract with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Canucks also announced Monday that they re-signed defenseman Shane O’Brien(notes) to a one-year, $1.6-million contract.

O’Brien, a 25-year-old restricted free agent, had 10 assists in 77 games last season, his first with the Canucks after being acquired in a four-player trade with Tampa Bay in October.

O’Brien also had 196 penalty minutes last season, second in the NHL to Philadelphia forward Daniel Carcillo(notes).
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OTTAWA (AP)—Alex Kovalev signed a two-year, $10 million deal Monday with the Ottawa Senators, leaving the rival Montreal Canadiens after parts of five seasons.

Kovalev, a 16-season NHL veteran, led Montreal with 26 goals and 65 points last season. He failed to reach a new deal before the free-agent season opened last Wednesday, and Montreal made several moves to spend its money elsewhere.

Kovalev earned $4.5 million last season and became an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“I think you always want your player to play 100 percent, and that’s difficult over 82 games and if you are judgmental you can find a hole,” Senators general manager Bryan Murray said Monday. “I think Alex, they claim, has been a little more inconsistent than he should be. I think the opposite. I think when he plays great he can win a game for you.

“In this organization we’ve got many hard workers and guys that will compete for us every night, but we needed something special to go with that, and this guy is a special player.”

Earlier Monday, Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey told Montreal radio station CJAD that Kovalev would not be returning to the team. Gainey said he offered the 36-year-old forward a new contract last week, but the crafty winger took too long to mull over the deal.

“We hadn’t agreed on the amount, but another player was willing to come and join our team,” he said.

“So the dollars that we had allotted there for a particular position were grabbed up by another player.”

Montreal has also decided not to retain Saku Koivu(notes), its longtime captain and popular forward who spent his first 13 NHL seasons with the Canadiens.

The Senators will be counting on Kovalev to help them get back to the playoffs after Ottawa missed out last season following 11 consecutive appearances. His role could become even bigger with the status of star forward Dany Heatley(notes) unresolved.

Heatley, a two-time 50-goal scorer, requested a trade from Ottawa after his ice time was cut and his work ethic challenged by Cory Clouston after the new coach took over in February.

The drama with Heatley makes the signing of Kovalev more intriguing. Murray doesn’t see a parallel between him and Heatley, but believes Kovalev will help his teammates improve.

“(Kovalev) makes players around him better and I think he’s one of the most exciting players in the league,” Murray said. “I talked with some of our players and they feel he’ll be able to step in and help us a great deal.”

Murray said he isn’t trying to pressure Heatley, who has a no-trade clause. Heatley rejected a trade to Edmonton last week and forced the Senators to pay him a $4 million bonus on July 1.

“There’s nothing new, talked with Edmonton,” Murray said. “They’re like we are, they’re in a holding pattern and they still seem quite interested. But I haven’t heard anything and certainly I don’t know if an acceptance to Edmonton is there or not.

“I don’t care where (Heatley) plays. He can play anywhere he wants as long as I can get the right deal. All I care about is what comes back to our club.”

Murray also left open the possibility that Heatley could remain in Ottawa, saying the club can support his contract and the one given to Kovalev.

“We wouldn’t have done this if we weren’t able to absorb this,” he said.

The Canadiens went on a shopping spree last week, signing free agent forwards Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta(notes), and defensemen Jaroslav Spacek(notes) and Hal Gill(notes). They also traded for high-priced center Scott Gomez(notes), sending forward Chris Higgins to the New York Rangers in the six-player deal.

More than 100 people demonstrated outside the Bell Centre on Sunday, begging Gainey to re-sign Kovalev, who was acquired in 2004 in a trade with the Rangers.

Gainey said he considered the gathering as more of an homage to Kovalev rather than a protest.

“I think that Alex has really left a mark on people and the hockey fans in Montreal, and the fact that he won’t be returning with our team is a difficult and emotional separation for them,” he said.

In 1,151 career NHL games with the Rangers, Pittsburgh and Montreal, Kovalev has 394 goals and 547 assists.

“He’s one of the high skilled guys in the National Hockey League,” Murray said. “Talking to him he was very happy. He thinks we have a good club here and he thinks he can be a nice addition to it.”
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D Beauchemin rejoins GM Burke in Toronto

TORONTO (AP)—Former Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin(notes) signed a three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

The signing reunites the physical defenseman with Toronto general manager Brian Burke, who was Beauchemin’s GM with the Ducks.

“I try to play an aggressive style of game,” Beauchemin said during a conference call. “Solid in the D-zone, I try to contribute offensively when I can, I just try to be hard to play against.”

The 29-year-old Beauchemin missed 62 games last season due to a knee injury last season, but returned to play in the final two regular-season games and all 13 playoff contests for Anaheim.

“Francois will be a welcome addition to our blue-line,” Burke said. “He’s a rock solid, steady defender that will add character to our team.”

In other moves Monday, the Maple Leafs gave Nazem Kadri, the seventh overall pick in last month’s NHL draft, a three-year entry level deal. Toronto re-signed forwards Ben Ondrus(notes) and Ryan Hamilton(notes) to one-year contracts and added free-agent forwards Jay Rosehill (two years), Tim Brent(notes) (one year) and Richard Greenop (three-year, entry level contract).
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Pronger ready for long-term commitment with Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. (AP)—Chris Pronger(notes) expects to help Philadelphia win a Stanley Cup this season and beyond.

Working out a contract extension with Philadelphia before the potential free agent plays his first game with the Flyers is already a priority for the former NHL MVP.

“I’d love to finish my career here,” Pronger said.

The Flyers are putting their win-now hopes in the hands of an aging and antagonistic defenseman acquired in a blockbuster, draft-day trade with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Flyers surrendered a pair of first-round picks and a promising prospect as part of the deal, and want their investment in Pronger to last more than a season. The 34-year-old Pronger, who had 11 goals and 37 assists last season, will earn $6.25 million next season. He is hopeful a new deal can be reached before the start of next season.

Pronger is set to roam the ice as the blue line bully the Flyers sorely needed if they expect to catch up with Sidney Crosby(notes) and the rest of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers traded for Pronger so he can deal the punishing hits that puts teams on notice as they try and attack the net.

“I think he plays with an attitude. That’s what you love about him,” Flyers coach John Stevens said.

Pronger, introduced by the Flyers at their practice facility on Monday, watched from a distance the last two seasons as Pittsburgh’s run of consecutive Stanley Cup finals included a steamroll through Philadelphia.

Now the Eastern Conference postseason will run through the 6-foot-6, 220-pound intimidating force with a history of hostile play and a career littered with suspensions—which sounds like a perfect fit with the Flyers.

“The style that they play kind of fits the way that I play,” Pronger said.

Pronger, who also played for Hartford, St. Louis, Edmonton and Anaheim over a 15-year career, was the third player ever in 2007 to be suspended twice in one playoff year and the third to sit out a Stanley Cup finals game for an act committed in the championship round. He was banished for eight regular-season games for stomping on the leg of Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler(notes) in 2008, and has other suspensions for various infractions like cross-checking, high-sticking and slashing.

“He’s gotten in trouble with some suspensions, but it’s always with the intention of playing the game the right way,” Stevens said.

Pronger and prospect Ryan Dingle(notes) went from the Anaheim Ducks to Philadelphia for forward Joffrey Lupul(notes), defenseman Luca Sbisa(notes), first-round picks in 2009 and 2010 and a conditional third-round pick in 2010 or 2011.

“It’s a pretty bold move, but it’s a move that had to be made,” Stevens said.

Pronger instantly brings a lively personality and leadership to a locker room that needed an infusion of both. He cracked one-liners and poked fun at his punishments, all while promising his best to help the Flyers win the Cup.

Philadelphia hasn’t hoisted the Cup since winning the second of back-to-back titles in 1975.

So many major acquisitions—like Jeremy Roenick(notes) and Peter Forsberg(notes)—have arrived in Philly with the promise of being the missing piece to end the championship drought. Each fell short like the player before him.

“I think I’m probably a big piece,” Pronger said. “I don’t think I’m the key piece. The key piece is the group coming together at the right time and having that chemistry.”

The Flyers, eliminated by the Penguins in the first round, signed former Stanley Cup goalie Ray Emery(notes), backup goalie Brian Boucher(notes) and forward Ian Laperriere(notes). The Flyers lost 52 goals and 97 points when they traded Lupul and did not re-sign power-play standout Mike Knuble(notes), but are expecting Claude Giroux(notes) and a healthy Danny Briere(notes) to make up those points.

Adding Pronger to the mix makes the Flyers contenders.

“Of course it’s closer, but by the same token, it’s unfair to put that kind of burden on Chris as the key piece or anything of that nature,” team chairman Ed Snider said.

Preliminary talks on a contract extension have started between Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren and Pronger’s agent, Pat Morris. Morris said Pronger has never gone into a season with only one year left on a deal.

They’ll get a player who wants to play into his 40s and insists he doesn’t feel his age.

“Twenty-four. Call me Jack Bauer,” he said.

The Stanley Cup clock starts ticking on Pronger and the Flyers now.
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‘Monster’ G Gustavsson signs with Maple Leafs

TORONTO (AP)—The Maple Leafs have landed “The Monster.”

Toronto has nabbed coveted Swedish free agent goalie Jonas Gustavsson with a one-year contract on Tuesday. The 24-year-old netminder, nicknamed “The Monster,” was also heavily pursued by Dallas, San Jose and Colorado.

“Jonas is considered by many to be the best goaltender not playing in the NHL today,” Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said in a statement. “He has a unique combination of size and agility and we’re excited to add a player with his potential to our roster.”

Gustavsson played for Farjestads in the Swedish Elite League last season, registering four shutouts with a league-leading 1.96 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in 42 games.

The 6-foot-3 Gustavsson, expected to be the backup to Maple Leafs starting goalie Vesa Toskala(notes), led Farjestads to the league championship after allowing just 14 goals in 13 playoff games with five shutouts.

“I want to thank Brian Burke and his staff for giving me the opportunity to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” Gustavsson said in a statement. “Toronto is a great city, with tremendous fan support, and I am very excited about the future.”

Gustavsson also played for Sweden at the world championship, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.83 GAA and a .914 save percentage in helping his team to the bronze medal.
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Blackhawks F Pat Kane has been arrested on assault and robbery charges in Buffalo stemming from a late night altercation where he and a friend punched and robbed the cab driver who had driven them home. The cab driver did not have the $0.20 change from the fare, at which point the two individuals punched the cabbie repeatedly and stole back the money they had paid him.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Kane will probably not be a good play in fantasy this year. Robbery and assault are not crimes that can be quietly swept under the rug. What a dumbass. :roll: