SUN Hockey Pool

NHL notes: Islanders, Tavares set for long-term deal

Islanders forward John Tavares skates during the warmup before playing against the Flames in...

Islanders forward John Tavares skates during the warmup before playing against the Flames in Calgary, Alta., Jan. 3, 2011. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:30 PM ET

John Tavares' future with the New York Islanders is all but set.

Tavares has agreed to a six-year contract extension worth $33 million with the Islanders, although the paperwork has yet to be completed, ESPNNewYork.com reported Wednesday.

The Islanders have announced a Thursday press conference regarding the 20-year old centre.

"We want John to be a part of this organization for a long time," Islanders general manager Garth Snow told the website Wednesday. "I don't think there has been any deviation from that plan for either party in that regard."

Tavares, the first pick in the 2009 draft, is headed into the last year of his entry-level deal that pays him roughly $900,000.

Tavares will get $4 million the first year of the new contract, $5 million the second, and $6 million for each following year, a source said.

Meanwhile, contract talks for another high-profile player, Drew Doughty, appear to have hit a roadblock.

The Los Angeles Kings want to lock up the defenceman on a long-term contract but are holding the line at paying him more than the $6.8 million a year star forward Anze Kopitar makes, ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reported.

COLUMBUS ANTES UP

They're set to roll the dice in Columbus to ensure the Blue Jackets don't leave town.

Casino tax revenues would finance the public purchase of Nationwide Arena in Columbus under a local government proposal announced Wednesday.

The casino cash would allow local governments to borrow $53.3 million to buy the arena from Nationwide Realty, which in turn would buy a 30% stake in the Blue Jackets.

The agreement, which will require approval from city council, would allow the financially strapped Blue Jackets to play rent-free.

Nationwide also would pay the Blue Jackets $28.5 million over 10 years for naming rights to the arena.

The Blue Jackets have said they are losing $10-12 million a year on their lease with Nationwide and have threatened to relocate without a better deal.

MARKOV'S STATUS UNSURE

The Montreal Canadiens are unsure whether Andrei Markov will be ready for the season opener after two major surgeries in two years on his right knee.

Markov has skated several times in recent weeks but did not join his teammates this week at the Bell complex in Brossard for workouts.

Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier said simply, " I hope so" when asked if Markov would be in the lineup Oct. 6 in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.

Josh Gorges, another Habs defenceman coming off knee surgery, said he will be ready to go.

"I'll be there in the first game of the season," he said. "I feel stronger than before when I skate. I feel more stable."

Max Pacioretty also is recovered from injuries suffered on a hit last season from Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara.

McCRIMMON FUNERAL SATURDAY

A funeral mass is scheduled for Saturday for former Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, who was among those killed when a plane carrying KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crashed Sept. 7.

Services will begin Friday with visitation from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in the Detroit suburb of Farmington, Mich. A mass is set for noon Saturday.

McCrimmon, 52, was in his first season as Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's coach.

He played in 1,222 NHL games with Boston, Philadelphia, Calgary, Detroit, Hartford and Phoenix, and had been an assistant coach with the New York Islanders, Calgary, Atlanta and Detroit.

BRIEFLY

Contract talks between the Sabres and third-year defenceman Tyler Myers are "moving forward," the Buffalo News reported, but sources say no announcement is imminent. Myers is entering the final year of his entry-level contract and is expected to get a new deal worth $5-6 million a season ... The Carolina Hurricanes have signed defenceman Mathieu Roy to a one-year, two-way contract. Roy, 28, played in just four games with Tampa Bay last season. He has two goals and 11 assists in 65 games with Edmonton, Columbus and the Lightning since 2005-06 ... Defenceman Blake Kessel, 22, the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel, has signed an entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers ... Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin will throw out the first pitch at Friday's Baltimore Orioles game against the Los Angeles Angels at Camden Yards ... The Ottawa Senators have renewed their secondary affiliation with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL.


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