More moves on Day 2

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

The West Coast teams caught up with the East on the second day of National Hockey League free agent shopping, while the bankrupted Buffalo Sabres had some explaining to do to their fans.

The Los Angeles Kings made up for early inactivity by landing defenceman Tom Preissing (formerly of Ottawa), forwards Ladislav Nagy (Dallas), Michal Handzus (Chicago) and Kyle Calder (Detroit). But Anaheim general manager Brian Burke, already with defenceman Mathieu Schneider in his pocket, came back late in the day by adding his former Vancouver power forward Todd Bertuzzi in a two-year deal worth $8 million US.

Still to be heard from in the competitive California market are the San Jose Sharks, though it's expected they're in the Sheldon Souray hunt as they seek to replace Scott Hannan. Souray remains the top defenceman on the market.

Anticipating Souray's departure, the Montreal Canadiens took advantage of Roman Hamrlik's desire to stay in Canada by taking him away from Calgary for four years at $22 million. Up front, the Habs brought ex-Senator Bryan Smolinski back to the Northeast Division.

The playoff-challenged Washington Capitals took another step back to respectability by adding Michael Nylander from the New York Rangers to set the table for another 50-goal run by Alexander Ovechkin.

In other Western Conference developments, Nashville snapped out of fire-sale mode to add Radek Bonk from Montreal, Jed Ortmeyer from the Rangers and defenceman Greg de Vries from Atlanta. Chicago reunited Czechs Robert Lang and Martin Havlat, giving Lang a two-year pact to leave Detroit.

One-time Leaf Owen Nolan isn't finished yet, getting back with former San Jose boss Darryl Sutter in Calgary, though this time the coach is Mike Keenan. Ex-Leaf Ken Klee moved from Colorado's blue line to Atlanta's.

It was a long June in Buffalo, starting with the fallout from the Sabres' loss to Ottawa in the conference final, ending with co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere both leaving Sunday for nothing in return. But in a sometimes emotional press conference yesterday, general manager Darcy Regier and managing partner Larry Quinn tried to reassure the testy fans who have sold out the HSBC Arena the past year to see a winning team.

"This is not a team that's cheapening out, it's just that we lost two very good players," Quinn said. "I think that's too bad, and I think we probably failed somewhere."

Briere signed for $52 million and eight years in Philadelphia, while Drury became a New York Ranger for five years and $35.25 million. Briere was considered too rich to keep, but Drury was immensely popular, the subject of a spring Sports Illustrated feature about the Sabres intertwined with their working-class fan base.

"If you had a crystal ball, yeah, sure you'd like to go back and do some things differently," Regier said. "But we are where we are. We're going to be less competitive without Danny and Chris. But we'll figure out a way somehow to be better. The sky's not falling."

Dainius Zubrus might also leave this summer, but Regier is trying to get Group 2 free agent forward Thomas Vanek back long-term.


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