Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Wild Wild West....Calgary shakes things up!

Before Martin Gelinas could finish packing his bags for Florida, the Flames replaced the '04 Cup hero with sniper Tony Amonte and tough guy Darren McCarty.
CALGARY -- While the five other Canadian clubs lay dormant Tuesday, the door to the Pengrowth Saddledome was spinning off its hinge in Calgary.
First up, Florida Panthers General Manager Mike Keenan announced the club has signed LW Martin Gelinas to a two year contract. As per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed."Like Nieuwendyk and Roberts, Marty brings with him proven leadership and skills as well as a history of playoff success," Keenan said. "He knows what it takes to win and has the experience to help guide our younger players and accelerate the growth of our team."Before the Gelinas departure had even circulated the famed 'Red Mile', Calgary announced the signing of free-agent forward Tony Amonte. Early reports have Amonte signing a two-year, $3.7-million deal, with the departing Gelinas agreeing to a two-years, $1.9 million deal in Florida. Both contracts are unconfirmed by Sportsnet.Amonte was one of the first big name free-agents to be bought out, and joins his fifth NHL team in Calgary (Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia, New York).Tracker: Fat Tuesday for free-agentsThe Flames also signed former Red Wing and fan favourite Darren McCarty to a two-year, $1.6 million deal.Reports circulating Tuesday also have the Flames in "active talks" with restricted free-agent and team captain Jarome Iginla. Iginla, who solidified his elite status during the 2004 Stanley Cup run, would demand quite a price on the open market should the Flames fail to re-sign the superstar.Gelinas, 35, has appeared in 1,052 National Hockey League contests for five different clubs (Edmonton 1988-93, Quebec 1993-94, Vancouver 1993-1998, Carolina 1997-2002 & Calgary 2002-04) and played in an impressive 147 postseason contests. He earned a Stanley Cup Championship with Edmonton in 1990.Gelinas becomes the third player with more than 1,000 games of NHL experience to be signed by Keenan in the last two days, joining Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts. Additionally, he has appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals with four different teams, Edmonton, Vancouver, Carolina and Calgary.Amonte, who started the lockout at about $5.82 million, was due $4.26 million. In 14 seasons with New York, Chicago, Phoenix and Philadelphia, Amonte had 392 goals and 436 assists in the regular season; he added 20 goals and 31 assists in 86 playoff games.McCarty, who moonlights as the lead singer of a rock group called 'Grinder', should have no problem adapting to the hard hat style Calgary took to the Finals a season ago. In 11 seasons with the WIngs, McCarty tallied 119 goals with 154 assists in 643 games.

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