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Oilers get Better

from the Edmonton Sun,

Chris Pronger will be the best hockey player to wear an Edmonton Oiler jersey since Mark Messier. Wayne Gretzky was already gone, or it might have been The Great One. You can make a case that Curtis Joseph ranked up there. But Pronger, at 30 years of age in the prime of his career, is a better player than Joseph, Doug Weight, Bill Guerin or any of the latter-day Oilers we watched go away because of economics. Pronger, by signing a five-year deal at $6 million US a year with the Oilers, is going to make a lot of people better around him.

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Are Sens Asleep

from the Ottawa Sun,

In a world of new hockey economics, where fiscal sanity is supposed to reign, there should be no reason to panic when the Adam Footes and Derian Hatchers of the world hit the jackpot. There should be no reason for the Senators to fret when Pavol Demitra finds a new zip code or when the tightwad Chicago Blackhawks crack their piggybank open to sign Ottawa boy Adrian Aucoin. And why would the Senators really care that Shawn McEachern is back in Boston? Does it really matter that Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk have jumped the good ship Leaf and landed in Florida, of all places, for former Ottawa bench boss Jacques Martin? No, there's no reason for concern. Not when, on a day when free- agent signings came one after another, the Senators had a major signing of their own: Denis Hamel. With all due respect to Denis Hamel, Denis freaking who?

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Panic in Toronto

from the Toronto Sun,

Two days into the brave new hockey world and already John Ferguson's reputation is taking a pounding. What, players and agents are wondering, is the general manager of the Maple Leafs doing? The answers, however varied, are not encouraging. Ferguson's clumsy handling of negotiations with Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk -- where he attempted to have close friend Roberts undercut close friend Nieuwendyk -- sent a cryptic message to those within the industry. And then, to follow that up with a desperation offer to Nieuwendyk, after first trying an end run on him, only demonstrated his own inexperience in deal making.

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Russia is an Option

from the Toronto Star,

If it's not enough that the Maple Leafs must compete for players in a new economic world, now they must also compete with the world. Toronto forward Nik Antropov said yesterday he has received two serious offers from Russian club teams that would double or triple the $1 million (all figures U.S.) qualifying offer he has received from the Leafs. The 25-year-old said the money is so good in Russia now that he expects some players to spurn the relatively frugal offers from the salary-capped NHL to go home. He's just hoping, he's not one of them. "I have to think about it with my agent (Don Meehan) very hard. I've been thinking about it for the last month and a half. We haven't make a decision yet," said the Kazakh. "I hope to stay here in Toronto and play for the Maple Leafs." While staying in Toronto and playing "in the best league in the world" is clearly Antropov's preference, he's also raising two young children while plying a career that can be cut short at any time. Other considerations, such as higher, tax-free income, come into play.

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More Modano

from the Dallas News,

Tom Hicks believes Mike Modano will become a Dallas Star for life Wednesday morning. Modano is about 90 percent sure. Hicks and Modano spent much of yesterday discussing a new five-year, $17.75 million deal to keep Modano in Dallas, and Hicks, who is spending time in California, said when he hung up the phone that he believed Modano was as good as signed. "The last thing I said was, 'Do we have a deal?' and he said, 'Yes.' So I said, 'Congratulations on finishing your career with us,' and we left it that," Hicks said. "Is it legally binding? No. Could Mike change his mind? Sure, that's his prerogative. But, in my mind, we have a deal."

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Pronger Traded

CP reporting Pronger traded to Edmonton Oilers. On TSN Website as Breaking News. update 1:04am, per TSN,

St. Louis Blues Senior Vice President & General Manager Larry Pleau announced the club has traded defenceman Chris Pronger to the Edmonton Oilers for defencemen Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka. "Eric Brewer has been a premier defenseman in the National Hockey League for the past several seasons and we are very excited about the talents he brings to the Blues," said Pleau. "We are also adding two skilled younger defensemen who are clearly up-and-coming players at this level. We're looking forward to having all three of these players in our lineup together one day in the future.

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Naslund Talk

CKNW Radio in Vancouver reporting Naslund will re-sign with Vancouver.

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Tuesday Player Movement

from Sportsnet, The Flyers have agreed to multi year deals with big defensemen, Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje and Chris Therien. update to the Philly story, 12:06pm The Flyers also re-signed Phantoms forward Jon Sim to a a one-way NHL contract. Sim played with Hatcher in Dallas. To make cap room for all four players, the Flyers traded defenseman Danny Markov to the Nashville Predators, according to league sources. That trade will be announced later today. 9:51am, The Chicago Blackhawks have signed free agent defenseman Adrian Aucoin to a four year deal worth $16-million, TSN has learned. 12:28pm, Sportsnet reporting Holik signs with Atlanta. 12:44pm, Still not official from msnbc, The Boston Bruins are close to signing 35-year-old center Mike Modano to a free-agent deal, beating out the Atlanta Thrashers and Pittsburgh Penguins, a Canadian website reported Tuesday. RDS.ca, a French language website affiliated with TSN.ca, reported the news, citing no sources. TSN.ca provided the translation. 1:11pm, Wings sign Yzerman to one year deal, will be announced today. 2:18pm, Bruins sign Murray and McEachern. 3:02pm, Sportsnet has learned that Pavol Demitra has signed with the L.A. Kings. 6:26pm, Martin Gelinas signs with Florida per Sportsnet FA tracker. 7:05pm, Tony Amonte signs with Flames, 2yrs, $1.8 mil per year. 7:10pm, Brian Boucher re-signs with Coyotes. from azcentral, Phoenix re-signed its starting goalie to a one-year contract Tuesday. 7:15pm. Stillman to Canes. 7:20pm, Marek Malik signs with Rangers. This has been posted at the NHLPA site all day, but now it is official. 7:21pm, The Islanders have signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Alexei Zhitnik to a four-year contract. 7:28pm, New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has signed unrestricted free agent forward Martin Straka. 7:35pm, Dave Scatchcard signs with Boston. I know he had said he signed with an Eastern Conference team, just received confirmation it is Boston. 7:41pm, New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has re-signed restricted free agent goaltender Kevin Weekes. Some other player transactions have taken place, so make sure you check out the TSN Tracker for all the tranactions. I try to post the "name" transactions but may have missed some of your favorite players. 8:22pm, McCarty signed a two-year deal for $1.6 million ($800,000 per season) with the Flames. I have moved the Modano story to a regular post. I am still not comvinced that the deal is 100% complete.

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Yzerman Ready to Go and Chelios Offered a Contract

from the Detroit Free Press (Wed. edition) via the Mercury News,

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland locked up captain Steve Yzerman for another year, tendered an offer to defenseman Chris Chelios, is working on re-upping with the team's restricted free agents and trying to figure out what goaltender he can live with. The big news Tuesday, though, was the long-awaited announcement that Yzerman would be back for a 22nd season with the franchise. He was offered a deal worth between $1.5 million and $2 million last Wednesday and, after two days of telephone tag, he and Holland finally connected. Though his team at the moment is in shambles only 12 players are under contract Yzerman expressed confidence that he'll be playing with a Stanley Cup contender. "With all teams, I think between now and next month, teams will be dramatically different," Yzerman said. "But I expect ours to be extremely competitive, one of the best teams in the league." Yzerman is known as one of hockey's great competitors, and it's little surprise that he's back. He hasn't played since May 1, 2004, when he left the ice bloodied after being struck in the face in Game 5 of the second-round playoff series against Calgary.

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Amonte Talk

Calgary radio reporting Amonte to be a Calgary Flame.

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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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