Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/25/05 at 03:53 PM ET
The theory that the new collective bargaining agreement will force NHL teams to undergo facelifts won't apply to the Ottawa Senators this year, according to general manager John Muckler. When the Senators open the season Oct. 5 against Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, their fans can expect to see a team pretty similar to the one that last skated off that same ice surface in April 2004 after being beaten out of the playoffs by the Leafs. Unlike teams such as the Philadelphia Flyers, which was the first club to purge itself of contracts over the weekend, Muckler confirmed Monday at the Senators' official 2005-06 season launch that Ottawa won't follow suit, despite having just 10 players under contract for a total of $23.6 million US for next season. That means they'll retain the services of forward Bryan Smolinski (scheduled to earn $2.24 million in 2005-06) and defenceman Greg de Vries ($2.28 million) - both rumoured to be headed out of Ottawa. Under terms of the new CBA, teams are right now allowed the chance to buy out existing contracts at two-thirds of their value. "We're not going to do that," Muckler said. "We like our players. Our first priority is to keep them. "I'm happy we're in that position rather than in the position of a buyer."
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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.
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