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April 14, 2013

NHL Signing: Boston Bruins Sign Carl Soderberg To Three-Year Deal

Boston Bruins General Manger Peter Chiarelli announced yesterday, prior to the Bruins match-up with Carolina, that the club had signed forward Carl Soderberg to a three-year, one-way contract (annual cap hit of one million).

Soderberg’s contract was official at 5:00 p.m., and he is joining the team on Wednesday (April 17). The forward is eligible to play the rest of the regular season and playoffs (though he does not need to play a regular season game to be eligible for the playoffs).

“We are fortunate to get a player like Carl at this stage of the season,” the B’s GM said in a statement issued with the team’s press release.

“Carl is a strong two-way center, who can also play the wing. We look forward to him joining our team next week.”

If you ask the B’s GM, he might tell you he had always hoped this would happen, but might have been unsure, as the forward has been over playing in Sweden ever since Boston acquired him from the St. Louis Blues on July 23, 2007, in exchange for Hannu Toivonen.

And before being en route to Boston from overseas, the Swedish Elite League’s leading scorer had spent 11 seasons working his way through the ranks of his hometown teams in Malmo, Sweden.

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April 12, 2013

NHL, International Olympic Committee Continue To Work Towards Agreement

There is still no deal to send NHL players to Sochi next February for the Olympics, but another meeting Friday advanced the process, according to ESPN.com.

Officials from the NHL, NHL Players Association, International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation met in New York City to try and resolve the outstanding issues that remain in striking an agreement.

“We had a good working session and were able to discuss all of the issues involved in the possibility of having NHL Players participate in the 2014 Sochi Games,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “The parties are committed to continuing to work through the process, but there remains work to be done on all sides.”

Added NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr: “Today’s discussion was constructive. While there is a lot of work still to be done, I remain cautiously optimistic.”

IIHF president Rene Fasel has said before he hoped to have a deal in place before the men’s world championships begin in early May.

Top NHL officials went to Sochi last month for a site visit and had further meetings with Olympic and IIHF officials. The NHL has participated with its players in every Olympics since 1998 in Nagano, Japan.

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April 12, 2013

Quick Hits: Carl Soderberg, Adam Foote, Drew LeBlanc

  • ESPNBoston.com’s James Murphy confirms the Swedish Ice Hockey Association has indeed blocked Carl Soderberg‘s deal with the Boston Bruins. Apparently the national association is fairly intent on Soderberg suiting up for Sweden at the upcoming IIHF World Championship. The tournament ends May 19.
  • The Colorado Avalanche will retire the jersey of longtime defenseman Adam Foote in a ceremony next season.

    The 41-year-old Foote helped the Avalanche win Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001. He appeared in more regular season games and postseason contests than any defenseman in franchise history.

  • The Chicago Blackhawks agreed to terms with forward Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State to a one-year contract. LeBlanc won the Hobey Baker Award, given to the nation’s top college hockey player.
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April 12, 2013

Philadelphia Flyers Looking To Buyout Danny Briere This Offseason?

Danny Briere is likely down to his final eight games as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, according to Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com.

With the salary cap dropping from $70.2 million to $64.3 million next season, the 35-year-old Briere the Flyers top earner with a $6.5 million cap hit this season is the team’s prime candidate for a summer buyout under the terms of the new collective-bargaining agreement.

The buyout would save Philadelphia almost $2 million on the remainder of Briere’s deal, which it due to expire after next season.

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April 12, 2013

Palms Hotel And Casino Owners Looking To Bring NHL Team To Las Vegas

According to Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee, the Maloof family owners of the Palms hotel and casino in Las Vegas and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings are hoping to bring NHL hockey to Las Vegas.

The Maloofs are on the verge of selling the basketball team “and they want to pursue another professional sports franchise in Major League Baseball or the NHL,” Voison writes, adding that the family “have met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and have for months looked into buying a hockey franchise, with Las Vegas among the possible destinations.”

Vegas has long been mentioned as a potential NHL market, but it has fallen behind leading expansion/relocation candidates Seattle and Quebec City in recent years.

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April 12, 2013

Detroit Red Wings, Jimmy Howard Close To Six-Year Contract Extension

Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings are finalizing the last details on a new contract that would keep the goalie in Detroit long term. ”It’s close,” he told ESPN.com.

Howard confirmed with reporters that it’s a six-year deal, with TSN reporting that it’s worth about $5.3 million per season.

As the Red Wings have battled to stay in the playoff chase through injuries and a revamped defense, Howard has been one of Detroit’s most consistent performers. He’s 16-12-4 with a .917 save percentage and 2.41 goals-against average this season.

He was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after signing a two-year, $4.5 million contract in 2011.

The new contract comes with a healthy raise and a commitment from the team that could keep the 29-year-old New York native with the Red Wings late into his career.

“It definitely means a lot,” he said. “I started my career here, being drafted almost 11 years ago this June. It definitely means a lot to stick around here.”

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April 11, 2013

NHL Announces Initiative In Support Of Gay Athletes

Amid heightened speculation that a male athlete in one of North America’s four major professional leagues will soon publicly declare his homosexuality, the National Hockey League and its players announced Thursday what appears to be the most comprehensive measure by a major men’s league in support of gay rights.

“Our motto is Hockey Is for Everyone, and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in the statement. “We are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the N.H.L. Players’ Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.”

In a telephone interview Donald Fehr, the chief executive of the NHLPA said: “Bottom line, it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what we’re all supposed to do in this world.”

You Can Play will help run seminars for NHL rookies to educate young prospects on gay issues and make resources and personnel available to each individual team as desired. The league and union also will work with You Can Play to integrate the project into its behavioral health program, enabling players to confidentially seek counseling regarding matters of sexual orientation. Burke said the joint venture would also step forward when players make homophobic remarks.

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April 11, 2013

International Olympic Committee And NHL To Meet, Discuss Sochi Winter Olympics

The NHL has another Olympic meeting on tap for Friday as the parties involved try to continue to make progress.

Sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday that the league will meet in New York City with the International Olympic Committee, the International Ice Hockey Federation and NHL Players Association as all four parties continue to reach an agreement that will allow NHL players to go to Sochi, Russia, for next February’s Games.

Sources say an agreement is not expected at Friday’s meeting, that there’s more work to be done. All sides hope to have an agreement in place sometime in May, but there’s no guarantee.

Travel, insurance and hospitality for players’ and owners’ families remain issues, sources told ESPN.com.

Top NHL officials went to Sochi last month for a site visit and had further meetings with Olympic and IIHF officials. The NHL has participated with its players in every Olympics since 1998 in Nagano, Japan.

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April 11, 2013

NHL Trade Rumors: David Poile Not Expected To Trade Shea Weber This Summer

The 2013 NHL trade deadline is barely in the books and we’re already looking ahead to summer transactions. Specifically, would the Nashville Predators be interested in trading defenseman Shea Weber in exchange for additional scoring? In speaking with CBC.ca’s Elliotte Friedman, Predators GM David Poile suggested that’s not likely to happen.

“I talked to general manager David Poile about Nashville’s need to build offence. The Predators have the lowest “one-goal game” winning percentage in the NHL and are the victim of eight shutouts, also 30th. I asked Poile if he’d consider trading Shea Weber once the post-offer sheet moratorium ends in July: “We have a franchise goaltender and the best defenceman in the NHL. We are building our team around them.”

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April 11, 2013

NHL Signing: Montreal Canadiens Sign Peter Budaj To Two-Year Contract Extension

The Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday signed goaltender Peter Budaj to a two-year contract extension. The deal is worth $2.8 million, a source told Pierre LeBrun.

Budaj played eight games with the Canadiens this season, with a 6-1-1 record and 2.28 goals against average and .917 save percentage with one shutout.

Budaj joined the Canadiens organization as a free agent in 2011. He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round (63rd overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

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