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A Big Splash

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

You can forgive fans of the Boston Bruins if they look a bit bewildered. After suffering through years of mismanagement on Causeway Street, they're probably not sure how to react when something positive happens to their team. It's fair to say that something positive happened Saturday, just hours after the start of the free agent shopping season. The Bruins, guided by the hand of interim GM Jeff Gorton, signed the marquee member of the 2006 class, defender Zdeno Chara. Moments later, they added center Marc Savard, the NHL's ninth leading scorer in 2005-06. That friends is a big splash. Fans of the Bruins should feel free to jump up and down, buy the first round, and wear the black-and-gold again with pride

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Still Unsigned

from TSN,

Despite the flurry of signings on Saturday, the NHL free agency cupboard is still well-stocked, and more big signings can be expected before the holiday weekend is over. With most of the top defensive players signing, and a Pronger deal looking very expensive, teams could start turning to the remaining free agent forwards instead. There are nine forwards left on the TSN.ca All-Free Agent Team - enough for three full lines. Jason Arnott, Anson Carter, Bill Guerin, Michael Peca, Mark Recchi, Jeremy Roenick, Sergei Samsonov, Brendan Shanahan and Doug Weight are the remaining gems.
read on

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What A Day

from EJ Hradek of ESPN,

Crazy! That's the best word to describe the first day of the NHL's free agent season. Flush with cash, general managers around the league were quick out of the gate (the market opened at noon ET on Saturday) trying to convince their favorite free agents to sign on the dotted line. And for the most part, they weren't disappointed. Through the first 12 hours of the free agent period, more than 30 UFAs either re-signed with their old club or agreed to terms with a new team. Most of those skaters were defensemen, who fell like dominoes in the first several hours.

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What About Pronger

from the Edmonton Sun,

He (Lowe) doesn't care where Pronger wants to go or whether it'll be a soft landing when he gets there. He isn't keeping the defenceman's camp up to date on negotiations and he had a one-word answer when asked if one of his priorities is making sure Pronger is happy. "No.'' This is about making the Oilers happy, he said, and absolutely nothing else. "I'm actively pursuing a trade, because of the request. I want to respect that there has been a request, but we have to be careful too that we don't set a precedent that every request for a trade is granted immediately or easily.'' "It's really important that we do well in this trade,'' he said. "We're not going to be forced to make a deal that's not a very good deal for the Edmonton Oilers.''

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NHL Is “Blooming”

Flyers Fan Central has discovered something very unique. I have heard about branching out, but this may be going a bit far. image

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Blue Collar Mentality

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Jay McKee, who spent 10 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and led the NHL in blocked shots last season, signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Blues. The club also re-signed one of its own unrestricted free agents, inking captain Dallas Drake to a two-year, $1.1 million-a-year deal. "We're talking about people that are going to play with blue-collar attitudes," new Blues President John Davidson said. "It fits what we're doing. Looking at Jay, we wanted to get somebody in our top four (defensemen) and now we have somebody for a long period of time. "Dallas is a player that leads by example. Talking to people associated with the club, we felt it was important to bring him back." "I have all the respect in the world for JD," McKee said. "He's a huge addition to the organization, a huge factor in my decision to come there."
read on

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Bruins Open The Bank

from the Boston Herald,

A key feature of the “new” National Hockey League is that the salary cap and liberalized free agency make it possible for losing teams to improve dramatically from one season to the next. The Bruins, in the matter of a few hours yesterday, certainly improved in a big way. The B’s brass has said for months it no longer was going to be business-as-usual for a team known as one of the stingiest in the NHL. The B’s backed up their optimistic predictions with bold actions, signing giant defenseman Zdeno Chara, formerly of the Ottawa Senators, to a five-year deal worth $37.5 million. Gorton was on the phone with an aggressive offer to Chara’s Boston-based agent, Matt Keator, at one minute past noon. The two parties would talk several times over the next 2 hours - with new B’s coach Dave Lewis and former star players Cam Neely and Don Sweeney also getting on the phone to make a pitch to Chara - before the stunning deal was locked up.

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Blow It Up

Is Bill at Abel to Yzerman representing the the majority voice of Wings fans?

Just like the trade deadline when needs were clear, money has handcuffed Holland. Where it used to be a non-issue, it’s now the ONLY issue. Here’s my suggestion. Tell Steve Yzerman what’s about to happen so he realizes what he’d be coming back to, then blow the damn thing up. Yep. If three glaring weaknesses are going to be acknowledged then allowed to bake in the sun and become more rotten each day, let’s just get down to the business of re-building. Lang, Schneider, Maltby: gone. Traded, waived, bought out…whatever. Clear the rolls and move on.

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Who’s Smiling Now

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The good news: Zdeno Chara didn't sign with the arch-rival Maple Leafs. The bad news: His choice of a new home isn't much better for Ottawa. Peter Chiarelli got the last laugh on the Senators yesterday and owner Eugene Melnyk must be furious. The outgoing Ottawa assistant GM couldn't participate in contract negotiations, but he must have had a smile a mile wide when he found out Chara had signed a five-year, $37.5-million (all terms US) agreement with the Bruins -- the team Chiarelli will take over in two weeks.

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Teams Wearing Dunce Cap

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

One summer and one day of triple- capped free agency has proven that there is no such thing as an NHL idiot-proof system, try as hard as the myopic league power brokers did to install one. For after reviewing some of the free-agent signings of last year and yesterday, we can only conclude that the NHL's 54-percent solution comes in the guise of a pointy dunce cap, hard though it may be, and the payroll upper limits enforced by the CBA on big-market clubs merely provides all of the league's 30 clubs with an equal opportunity for lunacy.
continued (reg. req.) Also from Larry Brooks, Elias turned down bigger offers to stay with the Devils...
On the day when flawed players with marquee names were signed by desperate teams for staggering sums of money, Sather's Blueshirts were believed offering a long-term deal worth $7M per to Elias, while the Blackhawks, according to sources, were in at $7.5M per. But Elias, who was weighing his options at his offseason home in the Czech Republic, spurned the extra cash to remain with the only NHL organization for which he's played. A two-time Cup champion, Elias is the Devils' signature skater and is all but certain to be named team captain next season.
more (reg. req.)

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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