The Los Angeles Kings re-signed veteran forward Luc Robitaille on Monday and also announced they're reducing their season-ticket prices for the upcoming season.
Robitaille signed a one-year contract with the Kings. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Robitaille, 39, holds the NHL record among left-wingers for goals (653) and points (1,370). Originally drafted by Los Angeles in the ninth round (171st overall) in 1984, Robitaille ranks second in club history in games played (1,012), goals (542) and points (1,130) and fourth in assists (588).
"We have always considered Luc Robitaille to be a King at heart," general manger Dave Taylor said in a statement. "It has always been our intention for Luc to retire as a King.
"We are pleased that Luc has re-signed with the Kings, as are the fans I am sure. We look forward to him continuing to represent the Kings in a first-class manner."
The Colorado Avalanche spent a decade building a team that could contend for a Stanley Cup every year. The new collective bargaining agreement will chip away at that team, although the men in the front office aren't ready to give up on being dominant.
General manager Pierre Lacroix said Monday the Avalanche will honour the contracts of two core players, Joe Sakic and Rob Blake, and insists he hasn't given up on the notion of keeping Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote on the roster, as well.
"Who do I want back? I want everybody back because we are very proud of what we accomplished for 10 years," Lacroix said. "That is the goal. Is it possible? Sure it's possible. There is going to be some adjustment."
In reality, it will be nearly impossible for the team to keep both Forsberg and Foote, two free agents who will go on the open market if not signed by Colorado by Aug. 1.
When he's healthy, Forsberg is widely considered one of the best players in the game and can likely get the NHL-maximum $7.8 million US on the open market. Foote, a top defenceman, could command $4 million. The salary cap is set at $39 million. After their 24-per-cent salary rollbacks, Sakic and Blake will combine to count about $13 million against that cap. The Avalanche have only eight players under contract - with the possibility of buying out a few of those contracts - and need to sign 15 more.
Islanders general manager Mike Milbury knows the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement will only help his team so much. The rest is up to him and the players he puts on the ice.
"We always felt we could compete, but there was a feeling of frustration," Milbury said Monday. "We'll have a better chance, but we still have to make the right decisions."
Payrolls no longer are an issue when it comes to hockey. Gone are the days where big-market clubs could load up their rosters with all-stars no matter the cost.
The limit is $39 million US per team, whether you play in a sparkling new arena or the seen-its-better-days Nassau Coliseum. "Let's face facts. We need our top guys to perform," Milbury said. That starts with Alexei Yashin, who was slated to earn $10 million this season before a 24 per cent rollback cut his salary to $7.6 million - tied for second highest in the NHL.
Yashin scored 44 and 40 goals with Ottawa in the seasons before and after his yearlong holdout, which led to his trade to Long Island in June 2001. But he has only 73 goals in three seasons with New York. Injuries limited Yashin to 15 goals and 19 assists in 47 games during the 2003-04 season.
Yashin always has marched to the beat of his own drum and has not always been thought of as the best teammate, but the Islanders need more out of him if they are going to make their fourth straight trip to the playoffs.
Milbury has liked what he has seen and heard recently from his star forward. Yashin told Milbury that he wants to be the go-to guy, and has committed to coming to Long Island next month to work out with other players in the organization.
"At that kind of money, he's got to be the go-to guy," Milbury said.
The Islanders only have four players under contract for next season. Although he has until Friday to decide, Milbury is not going to buy out anyone before the deadline.
His main concern is his defence corps. Janne Niinimaa is the only blue-liner with a deal, and Adrian Aucoin, Roman Hamrlik and Kenny Jonsson are all free agents. Aucoin has expressed a desire to come back, and Milbury already has been in contact with him.
Jonsson, who has been with the Islanders since 1996, is not expected to return.
"I haven't spoken to him in a long time," Milbury said. "He didn't call. After nine years we thought that would be the nice thing to do."
Milbury expects a lot of talented players to be available on the open market, including many forwards. He will be shopping, but doesn't want his payroll to be much above $30 million heading into the season.
He will look at some players bought out by teams who need to cut payroll to fit under the cap. But he will be somewhat leery of those that are simply set free.
"Obviously that depends on the player," he said. "There's got to be a reason to buy them out other than just the money. They're still going to get good money to play. I don't see (John) LeClair falling into a $450,000 range (the NHL minimum)."
The Vancouver Canucks painted a rosy picture of ''exceptional'' fan support and growing season-ticket sales Monday even though the status of two of their biggest box-office draws remains in question.
General manager Dave Nonis said the team is working hard on a new contract for captain Markus Naslund and looking for an end to forward Todd Bertuzzi's suspension.
''I didn't make any secret about the fact we were going to try to sign Markus and we will,'' Nonis said at a news conference. ''We're going to make a concerted effort to put a team out there that is competitive.''
But resolving the issue of Bertuzzi's suspension won't be quite so easy for Nonis because the matter is out of his hands.
Nonis said he has been told a ruling should be coming from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman within about 10 days.
''He wants to get this resolved and move forward,'' Nonis said of Bertuzzi. ''He is excited about coming back to play, he looks in good shape.''
There are reports Bertuzzi, upon his reinstatement, will want to be traded from Vancouver. But Nonis said he has never been told that by Bertuzzi.
''Todd has never requested a trade,'' Nonis said. ''He has never said he wants out of Vancouver.
''And until he tells me that, I'm going to build this club with him on our roster.''
If Mike Modano doesn't return to the Dallas Stars this season he would consider joining former teammate Brett Hull in Phoenix.
''That's always been good, and I've always enjoyed playing with him,'' Modano told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Modano also told the paper he is intrigued at the opportunity to play under Wayne Gretzky, who may choose to coach the Coyotes. ''That would be a great experience to be around Wayne all the time,'' he said. ''That would be fun, and he'd be excited about it, I think.''
Modano, who has spent his entire NHL career with the Stars organization, says his first choice is to stay in Dallas.
''My gut feeling is, yeah, if it comes down to it somehow, someway, you can get creative to keep me around here for another three or four years. I don't think it's that difficult,'' Modano told the Star-Telegram. ''If the money situation is not that big of a difference, yeah, I'll stay. If it's big-time, then you are making a hard decision.''
-Thanks to www.tsn.ca for all reports