January 16, 2013
NHL notes: Scott Gomez, Wade Redden placed on waivers?
By QMI Agency
Scott Gomez and Wade Redden could soon be free agents.
The Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers have reportedly placed both Gomez and Redden on waivers in order to speed up their contract buyouts.
The NHL and the players' association negotiated an agreement Tuesday that will allow teams to buy out player contracts prior to the league opening the season on Saturday.
In order to ease the transition to a lower salary cap, teams are permitted two compliance buyouts to take place this season and/or next season.
Gomez, who is owed $10 million over the next two seasons, was initially told by the Canadiens to stay home to avoid an injury, while Redden, who is also owed $10 million over the next two seasons, played with the Rangers' AHL affiliate in Hartford over the last two years.
If both players clear waivers, they will become available to sign with any club as early as Thursday at noon EST.
ZAJAC SIGNS LONG EXTENSION
The New Jersey Devils ensured the club didn't lose another star player.
After Zach Parise signed with his home-state Minnesota Wild this July, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello locked up forward Travis Zajac to a reported eight-year, $46-million contract extension on Wednesday.
"During his time in New Jersey, Travis Zajac has become a solid, all-situation player and one of the core leaders of our hockey club," said Lamoriello.
The 27-year-old centre missed the majority of last season due to an Achilles injury, limited to 15 regular-season games where he posted two goals and four assists. On their way to the Stanley Cup finals, Zajac netted 14 points in 24 playoff games for the Devils.
KOVALCHUK BACK WITH DEVILS
Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday after playing in the KHL All-Star Game over the weekend.
Kovalchuk arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday and settled his family before reporting to the Devils.
The club's leading scorer missed the start of training camp on Sunday after asking and being granted permission to participate in the all-star game, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.
Devils coach Pete DeBoer was happy to have Kovalchuk in camp.
"When he's on the ice, the other team is on their heels and aware," DeBoer said. "It's not even what he does individually, it's the subtle plays he makes that creates offence for other guys down the ice. He generates a lot of our offensive opportunities. It's going to be nice to see him back out here."
SUSPENSION NOT REDUCED FOR TORRES
Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres will have to serve the remaining eight games of his suspension for his vicious playoff hit on the Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa.
"The terms of the Torres suspension remain the same, as modified by the Commissioner's decision last summer," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to the Chicago Tribune. "Neither the lockout nor the transition rules (in the new collective bargaining agreement) impacted the terms of the Torres suspension."
Torres was initially assessed a 25-game suspension, but was reduced on appeal to 21 games. The Coyotes went on a long playoff run before falling to the Los Angeles Kings, the eventual Stanley Cup champion.
Torres will be allowed to practice with the Coyotes but will not be elegible to play until their Feb. 2 home game against the Dallas Stars.
BLUES GIVE GM 5-YEAR EXTENSION
Doug Armstrong received a vote of confidence from the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.
The club signed the executive vice president/general manager to a five-year contract extension.
Armstrong was named the NHL's GM of the Year last season after guiding the Blues to their first Central Division title since 2000.
"My family and I are excited to remain with the Blues and in the St. Louis community," said Armstrong. "It's energizing to be in a city with such a welcoming and passionate fan base, and we are truly enjoying our experience here. On the ice, Ken Hitchcock and our coaching staff believe we have constructed the foundation necessary to compete year in and year out and deliver St. Louis its first Stanley Cup."
BRIEFLY: Defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky, who played with HC Slovan during the NHL lockout, will reportedly return to North America and play for the New York Islanders ... Veteran defenceman Sean O'Donnell announced his retirement on Wednesday. O'Donnell, 41, played more than 1,200 regular-season games with nine teams. He finished with 31 goals and 198 assists ... The Philadelphia Flyers waived goaltender Brian Boucher days after acquiring him in a trade with Carolina. The club also waived defenceman Andrea Lilja.