NHL News and Notes

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Isles ink Sutton to three-year deal
August 10th, 2007

Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - The New York Islanders signed defenseman Andy Sutton to a three-year contract on Friday. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We're very pleased to bring Andy Sutton to Long Island on a long-term deal," said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. "He fits the personality of the team (head coach) Ted (Nolan) and I are putting together."

Sutton, entering his 10th season in the NHL, scored two goals and added 14 assists in 55 games for the Atlanta Thrashers last season. A tall, rangy backliner specializing in shot-blocking, he has compiled 27 goals, 105 points and 785 penalty minutes in 432 career games with San Jose, Minnesota and Atlanta.

"Andy adds a little bit of everything both on offense and defense and we really like what he brings to the table," said Nolan. "He's a big guy who plays big and isn't afraid to do the dirty work."

The 32-year-old Ontario native was selected as a free agent by San Jose in 1998 out of Michigan Tech.

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Blackhawks acquire Adams from Coyotes
August 11th, 2007

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks acquired center Kevyn Adams from the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday in exchange for forward Radim Vrbata.

The 32-year-old Adams spent last season with Carolina and Phoenix and totaled three goals and nine assists in 68 games.

"In Kevyn Adams we're getting a veteran player who is extremely versatile, is a good skater and is a very good face-off man," said Chicago general manager Dale Tallon. "Kevyn has won a Stanley Cup and is a proven leader."

In 513 career games, Adams has 59 goals and 75 helpers to go along with 304 penalty minutes.

Vrbata had 14 goals and 27 assists in 77 games last year for the Blackhawks. In 346 career contests, Vrbata has notched 75 goals and 95 helpers.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Coyotes sign goaltender Auld
August 13th, 2007

Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes signed goaltender Alex Auld to a one-year contract on Monday. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Auld posted a 7-13-5 record and 3.34 goals-against average in 27 games last season as the backup goaltender to Ed Belfour with the Florida Panthers.

Prior to last season, he posted a career-best 33 wins with a 2.94 GAA in 67 games for the Vancouver Canucks. In a five-year NHL career, Auld is 46-44-13 with a 2.89 GAA in 108 games.

The Ontario native adds depth in net for the Coyotes, who already feature David Aebischer, Mikael Tellqvist, and minor-leaguer David LeNeveu.

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Coyotes' Ricci hangs up skates
August 14th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Phoenix Coyotes center Mike Ricci announced his retirement Monday, ending his 16-year career in the NHL, according to a Canadian newspaper

Ricci, 35, made the announcement during the a charity golf tournament in Peterborough, Ontario, on Monday, and the story was reported in Tuesday's Peterborough Examiner. Ricci played only seven games last season before sitting out, and eventually being placed on injured reserve due to a lingering neck injury.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Ricci suffered a neck injury during the previous offseason. He underwent surgery to repair the injury in June and after rehab, was finally cleared to play in November.

Ricci then played in only seven games before missing 10 straight with stiffness in his neck. He registered just one assist on the year.

In the 2005-6 season, Ricci played 78 games with the Coyotes, collecting 10 goals and six assists for 16 points. A first-round selection, taken fourth overall by Philadelphia in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Ricci also logged ice time with Quebec/Colorado and San Jose. Ricci has recorded 243 goals and 361 assists for 604 points with 970 penalty minutes in 1,099 games.

Ricci plans on taking a job with the San Jose Sharks this winter, possibly in a player development role, according to the story.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Still some big names left on free agent market
August 14th, 2007

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The NHL free agent season started with such a flurry of activity that it's easy to forget that there is still some quality talent left on the market.

It's been 1 1/2 months since the league's free agency period began, and most of the coveted players were snatched up early by teams eager to improve their station. Daniel Briere went to Philadelphia, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez signed with the New York Rangers, and Brian Rafalski inked a deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

However, there are a handful of players who have not signed yet, whether it's because teams have not made the right offers, haven't shown interest at all, or because the player is considering retirement. Whatever the reason for their availability, it must be reassuring to teams that there is still skill left to be acquired.

While significant free agents remain, the amount of teams able to compete in the free agent market at this point of the summer has certainly dwindled. That's because many of the early participants in this year's shopping period have little room left on the $50.3 million salary cap. Also, the teams with available salary-cap room are unlikely to be prime destinations for a marquee free agent.

Still, one team that somehow has space left to make another big signing is the Rangers, who are reportedly close to bringing veteran center Michael Peca into the fold. The 33-year-old Peca is a two-time Selke Award winner as the league's top defensive forward, but is coming off a fractured tibia in his right leg that caused him to miss most of last season with Toronto. Still, a healthy Peca will be a tremendous addition to the already formidable Blueshirts.

While Peca is seemingly close to joining a club, there are even bigger names out there without a team to call their own.

Among the remaining superstars are a pair of former league MVPs in Peter Forsberg and Eric Lindros, players who spend as much time on the injury list as they do in uniform these days. Forsberg, 34, is the more intriguing of the two because he can still approach the top of his game when healthy, whereas Lindros, also 34 years of age, is only an average player at this stage of his career.

Both players may choose to retire, but it seems Lindros is closer to that option than Forsberg. The "Big E" has been working closely with the NHL Players Association and he could be seeking a permanent position with the NHLPA.

Forsberg, meanwhile, is still battling foot problems, but hopes his latest surgery will get him back near 100-percent. The Swedish legend has stated that if he returns he would like to play for MODO Hockey in his home country or any of his three previous NHL clubs (Colorado, Philadelphia, Nashville).

Teemu Selanne is another offensive superstar who remains a free agent. The 37- year-old "Finnish Flash" has scored 90-plus points in each of his last two seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and helped that franchise win its first ever Stanley Cup title back in June. He hinted strongly at retirement after the playoffs, but has never made it official. If Selanne does return, it will likely only be to play for the Ducks.

Another scoring threat is on the market, as centerman Jason Allison is still without a team. The 32-year-old has battled various injuries and has played in just 165 contests since registering 95 points in 2000-01 for Boston. He last played with Toronto in 2005-06 and posted 60 points in 66 games.

In terms of goaltenders and defensemen, the list of notable names is a very short list. Ed Belfour, 42, is still interested in being a starting netminder in the NHL and was solid enough in 58 games with Florida last year that some teams should be interested. However, Belfour played for peanuts with the Panthers and is seeking a pay increase this season. Strange, one would think the guy who once offered a police officer "one BILLION dollars" to release him from custody would not need the extra cash.

Danny Markov is in a similar situation as Belfour, as the 31-year-old defenseman is still available only because he wants too much money. The Russian is a tough presence on the blue line, but is pricing himself out of many teams' budgets, including most clubs with a serious chance at winning the Cup.

It's still a mystery where most of these players will wind up, and the NHL preseason is less than a month away. Sure, most of the guys left on the table are either injury-prone, past their prime or both, but for the right price they could add experience and cachet to a number of NHL clubs.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Islanders agree to terms with Vasicek
August 15th, 2007

Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - The New York Islanders agreed to terms with forward Josef Vasicek on a one-year contract Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Vasicek spent last season with the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators. In 63 total games, the Czech native registered six goals and 16 assists.

Vasicek's most productive season came in 2003-04 when he had 19 goals and 26 helpers in 82 games with the Hurricanes.

In six seasons in the NHL, Vasicek has compiled 61 goals and 87 assists in 379 regular season games with the 'Canes and Predators.

Vasicek was originally selected by Carolina in the fourth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Avalanche sign a pair
August 20th, 2007

Denver, CO (Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche signed forward Wyatt Smith and defenseman Wes O'Neill to one-year contracts on Monday.

The 30-year-old Smith played in a career-high 61 games with the Minnesota Wild last season, compiling three goals and three assists. Overall, Smith has played in 186 career games with the Wild, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders, and has tallied 10 goals and 19 helpers.

O'Neill, 21, recently wrapped up his collegiate career at Notre Dame and finished his senior campaign second among defensemen with 21 points.

"These players provide us additional organizational depth," said Avalanche assistant general manager Greg Sherman. "We have the ability now with our affiliates to sign and develop players with our own staff and philosophy."

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Kings sign Klemm

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings signed free agent defenseman Jon Klemm to a one-year contract on Monday. Per team policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Klemm, 37, is a two-time winner of the Stanley Cup (1996 and 2001 with the Avalanche) and a veteran of 14 NHL seasons, suiting up for Chicago, Quebec/Colorado and Dallas.

In 751 career regular season games, Klemm has 42 goals, 100 assists and 426 penalty minutes. In 105 career playoff games, he has seven goals and seven assists to go along with 47 penalty minutes.

This past season, the defensive-oriented Klemm played in 38 games with the Stars, recording one goal and two assists.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Peca, Blue Jackets agree on deal
August 23rd, 2007

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - The Columbus Blue Jackets signed free agent forward Michael Peca to a one-year contract on Thursday.

Although terms were not disclosed, according to the Columbus Dispatch, Peca's contract with the team is believed to be worth a base salary of $1.25 million.

Peca, 33, missed the final four months of last season with a broken leg, and needed to pass a team physical before the deal was finalized.

The Toronto native spent last season with the Maple Leafs following a one-year tour of duty with Edmonton, three seasons with the Islanders, five years with Buffalo and parts of two seasons with the Canucks. A second-round pick of Vancouver in 1992, Peca has totaled 164 goals and 245 assists, and is plus-73 in 728 NHL contests.

He has served as team captain for two different clubs - the Buffalo Sabres (1997-2000) and the New York Islanders (2001-2005). In 93 career playoff games, Peca has notched 15 goals and 19 assists, including 13 points during the Sabres' run to the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals.

Last season, in 35 games with Toronto, Peca scored four goals and tallied 11 assists.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Predators ink Langfeld
September 4th, 2007

Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators have signed free- agent forward Josh Langfeld to a one-year contract.

Langfeld, 30, appeared in 33 games for the Detroit Red Wings and played 38 games for Grand Rapids, Detroit's AHL affiliate, during the 2006-2007 season.

In five seasons and 141 career NHL games with Ottawa, San Jose, Boston and Detroit, Langfeld has netted NINE goals and totaled 23 assists for 32 points.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

No retirement for Roenick, joins Sharks
September 4th, 2007

San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Rather than retiring, center Jeremy Roenick has decided to play a 19th season in the NHL, as the veteran center signed a one-year deal with the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

It was two months ago when Roenick told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he was ready to retire.

His new deal is reportedly worth $500,000.

"Jeremy Roenick is a tremendous competitor and he has a great love for the game of hockey," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "We feel he can add something to our talented group of players on our club and we feel that this is an environment where Jeremy can be successful."

The 37-year-old Roenick played with Phoenix last season and had 11 goals and 17 assists over 70 games.

"I'm very thankful for this opportunity to play for the San Jose Sharks," Roenick said. "They have a great team and I look forward to helping this group compete for the Stanley Cup."

One of the greatest American ice hockey players in the history of the sport, Roenick needs just five goals for 500. He would become just the third U.S.- born player to achieve the feat, joining Joe Mullen and Mike Modano.

A nine-time NHL All-Star, Roenick has posted 495 goals and 675 assists in 1,252 NHL games with Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Roenick has made one trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, in 1992, when his Blackhawks were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Leafs' Bell suspended indefinitely
September 4th, 2007

New York, NY (Sports Network) - The NHL suspended Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mark Bell indefinitely without pay on Tuesday and placed him in the league's substance abuse program.

Bell pleaded no contest in August to hit-and-run charges and drunken driving, both charges coming from an incident in California last September, when Bell was a member of the San Jose Sharks. The 27-year-old will serve six months in jail next summer after the end of the season.

The upcoming season is now up in the air for Bell, though. He will be suspended until approval for his reinstatement is given by the NHL, the NHL players' union, and program doctors.

The Maple Leafs, who acquired Bell in a draft-day trade in June along with goaltender Vesa Toskala in exchange for three draft picks, will open training camp on September 13 for the upcoming season. It is unclear what, if any involvement Bell will have in Maple Leafs camp. The final determination on the level of Bell's involvement will be determined by program doctors.

Bell has scored 83 goals and accrued 89 assists in 410 career games with the Sharks and Blackhawks. He finished with 11 goals and 10 assists in 71 games for the Sharks last season.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Bruins send Walter to Isles
September 11th, 2007

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins have acquired center/right wing Petteri Nokelainen from the New York Islanders in exchange for center prospect Ben Walter and a conditional second-round draft choice in 2009.

Nokelainen, 21, was selected 16th overall by the Islanders in the 2004 NHL Draft. In 15 games for the Islanders during the 2005-2006 season, he netted one goal and added two assists. He spent last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL and totaled six goals and ten assists for 16 points.

Walter, 23, has appeared in 10 games for the Boston Bruins since being selected in the fifth round of the 2004 NHL Draft. He was the MVP last season for Providence, Boston's AHL affiliate, and tallied 24 goals and 43 assists.

Walter is the son of Ryan Walter, a 15-year NHL veteran.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Numminen to have heart surgery
September 13th, 2007

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Buffalo Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen will need to have heart surgery after a cardiac condition was discovered during a physical prior to training camp, the team announced on Thursday.

Numminen, who had two goals and 27 assists in 79 games last season, has twice had his heart operated on in the past. The last time was in the summer of 2006, when he had a procedure performed at the Cleveland Clinic to correct an irregular heartbeat. He also had a procedure done in 2004 due to a dilated aorta.

It is unclear how long it will take for Numminen to return to play.

"How it relates to his career is still a work in progress and a little bit unknown," said general manager Darcy Regier. "We'll just have to assess it on a day-to-day basis. I had a short discussion with him and wished him luck."

Over an 18-year career he has played in 1,314 games and has totaled 115 goals and 505 assists. He spent his first 15 seasons with the Winnipeg/Phoenix organization, the 2003-04 season in Dallas and the past two seasons with Buffalo.

On November 13, 2006, he played in his 1,252 game, which passed Hall of Famer Jarri Kurri for most ever by a European player.

He signed a one-year contract with Buffalo in July.

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Sean Burke announces retirement from NHL

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Longtime goaltender Sean Burke announced his retirement from the National Hockey League on Tuesday.

The well-traveled Burke appeared in 820 games over his 19-year career with the New Jersey Devils, Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings.

"I have been very fortunate to enjoy a long and eventful professional hockey career," said Burke. "In retirement, I will certainly miss the camaraderie with my teammates and the interaction with the fans most of all."

The 40-year-old Burke was a three-time All-Star and ranks 19th all-time with 324 wins. He also compiled 38 shutouts, good for sixth on the all-time list. Burke ends his career with a 2.96 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.

The Windsor, Ontario native also captured the silver medal with Team Canada at the 1992 Olympic Games in France.

Burke closed out his career by appearing in just 23 games last season with the Kings and had a 3.11 GAA to go along with a .901 save percentage.

"I am looking forward to the beginning of this new phase of my life," added Burke. "It will be nice to have more time to watch and encourage my children as they pursue their own sporting endeavors."

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Bruins send C Mowers to Ducks for D Saunders, Skinner
September 24, 2007

BOSTON (AP) -The Boston Bruins acquired defensemen Nathan Saunders and Brett Skinner from the Anaheim Ducks for center Mark Mowers on Monday.

Mowers had five goals and 12 assists in 78 games for Boston last season. In 261 games with Nashville, Detroit and Boston, he has 17 goals and 44 assists.

Saunders and Skinner, who haven't played in the NHL, were assigned to Boston's AHL team in Providence.

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Boyle expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks following wrist surgery.
September 24, 2007

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle is expected to miss four-to-six weeks after undergoing wrist surgery Sunday.

Boyle got hurt in a freak locker room accident Saturday night after the Lightning's 2-1 preseason loss to Washington. The defenseman was distracted while hanging up his skate. The skate slipped off the hook and hit Boyle in his left wrist, severing three tendons.

Boyle, 31, is coming off an impressive regular season in which he played all 82 games, recording 20 goals and 43 assists.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Flyers' Upshall tops injury list

The young left winger has a broken left wrist and will be sidelined for four to six weeks.

The season begins next week for the rebuilding Flyers, who are without pieces of their foundation after injuries to four players during Tuesday's 4-2 loss in Ottawa.

The most seriously injured is left winger Scottie Upshall, who suffered a broken left wrist. Right winger Joffrey Lupul appears to have a bad sprain in the same area.

Both will be in Baltimore today with hand specialist Tom Graham. Upshall will undergo surgery and miss four to six weeks.

"I knew I did something," Upshall said. "I skated right off and could not make a strong fist. I thought it was just a bad sprain, but the X-rays showed different.

"It's just something freaky. It's very disappointing. I just look forward to coming back and being great then. Hopefully, I won't be out too long a time."

Graham will determine the extent of Lupul's injury after examining him. Lupul told reporters in Edmonton last night that he would miss at least two weeks.

Center R.J. Umberger will miss seven to 14 days after Graham repairs his broken left pinky.

Defenseman Randy Jones suffered an injured right hip flexor and will not play for the remainder of the preseason.

"It's disappointing, but you have to deal with it," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "It opens the door for a couple of different things. We still have some games to evaluate guys. Some young guys playing [last night against Washington] were not going to get a chance, and guys who were given a chance will get a longer look here.

"R.J. is not a long-term thing. The hope is that Lupul is not either. Upshall is concerning, because the bone is in the wrist. It's the navicular bone and it's iffy on how it heals because of the blood flow that gets into the area. We have some depth at forward and we'll tap into it."

Forward Claude Giroux cannot be recalled from junior hockey under the collective-bargaining agreement because the Flyers are not in an "emergency" situation with no forwards to draw from.

Upshall said he took a pass at center ice and jammed his wrist when he was hit by defenseman Chris Schubert late in the third period. Lupul was jammed against the boards in the second period.

Their absence means Stefan Ruzicka, Boyd Kane, Jim Dowd, Ryan Potulny and Steve Downie will get longer looks.

Downie, however, is likely facing a long-term suspension after a dirty hit on Dean McAmmond in Tuesday's game left the Ottawa winger with a concussion. Downie is temporarily suspended, pending his hearing at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the league offices in Toronto.

The losses of Upshall and Lupul affect two lines, based on the combinations used in the preseason with a revamped roster.

"Hopefully, [Downie] is not out that long," coach John Stevens said. If a guy like Upshall is out an extended period of time, he's able to play and get back in. If [Downie] can help us, he'll get a chance to play. Other guys are fighting for a spot, too, and we'll get a chance to look at them the next couple of days."

Holmgren expects Downie to be suspended. He admitted after watching the play "over and over again" that Downie's hit "is concerning."

Downie destroyed McAmmond with a flying shoulder check to the head behind the net. Although Downie was gliding, he clearly left his feet and was airborne.

Earlier in the shift, Downie was pushed face-first into the glass by Schubert. It's possible that NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell will interpret the Flyer's action as "intent to injure" because Downie stayed on the ice after the hit.

In Ottawa, Downie said, "it was a bad situation" and he wished McAmmond "the best."

"I didn't even know who it was [on the hit]," he said. "I was just trying to finish my hit."

Holmgren said it was the Flyers' job to harness the emotion Downie brings to the game.

"He's got to play within the rules and not over the edge, and that is our responsibility," Holmgren said. "The last few games, he seems desperate to make this team."

The Flyers and Senators will not meet again until Nov. 24 in Ottawa.

"He'll get what's coming to him," Senators winger Brian McGrattan assured reporters in Ottawa. "He'll do it to the wrong guy and somebody will put him out of hockey. You do that at his level a couple of times, guys in junior won't do it, but guys at this level will. He'll get what's coming to him next time we play him, that's for sure."

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