|NHL free agency roundup: Ryan Miller reportedly signs with Canucks; Dan Boyle to Rangers; Paul Stastny to Blues||07.01.14 at 1:44 pm ET|
The opening hours of NHL free agency have been busy, with some big names making quick moves.
— Ryan Miller is on the move again.
The veteran goalie, who was traded from the Sabres to the Blues during the 2013-14 season, signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Canucks on Tuesday, the first day of free agency, according to multiple reports.
Miller, 33 , had a 2.64 goals-against average and .918 save percentage last season while posting a league-high 30 losses.
— Center Paul Stastny left the Avalanche to sign a four-year deal worth $28 million, according to a CBS Sports report.
Stastny, 28, had 25 goals and 60 assists last regular season, followed by five goals and five assists in 10 playoff games. Stastny, the son of Hall of Fame center Peter Stastny, grew up in the St. Louis area.
— Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who was bought out of the remaining seven years of his 10-year, $40 million deal with the Sabres, agreed to a one-year, $4 million pact with the Penguins, according to TSN.
The 31-year-old Ehrhoff had 33 points in 79 games last season.
— Defenseman Dan Boyle left the Sharks to sign a two-year, $9 million deal with the Rangers, according to ESPN.com.
Boyle, 37, had 36 points in 75 games for the Sharks, his team for the last six seasons. He’s also played for the Panthers (1998-02) and Lightning (2001-08).
— Veteran winger Mike Cammalleri agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract with the Devils, according to multiple reports.
Cammalleri, 32, had 26 goals and 19 assists for the Flames last season. He has 236 goals and 502 points in 669 career games with the Flames, Canadiens and Kings.
— The Oilers made two early signings, agreeing with onetime Bruins winger Benoit Pouliot on a five-year deal and defenseman Mark Fayne on a four-year pact, according to multiple reports.
Pouliot, 27, scored 15 goals for the Rangers last season, then had five goals and five assists during New York’s run to the Stanley Cup finals. He previously played for the Wild (2006-10), Canadiens (’10-11), Bruins (’11-12) and Lightning (’12-13).
Fayne, 27, had 11 points in 72 games for the Devils, with whom he played the last four seasons.
— The Senators traded disgruntled center Jason Spezza and a prospect to the Stars for forward Alex Chiasson, two prospects and a 2015 second-round draft pick, according to TSN.
Spezza, a former captain, asked out of Ottawa after recording 23 goals and 43 assists in 2013-14. The 31-year-old tallied at least 30 goals in four of his 11 seasons with the Sens.
Spezza, who has a no-trade clause, previously vetoed a trade to the Predators.
— The Senators also retained winger Milan Michalek with a three-year deal worth $12 million, according to NHL.com.
Michalek, 29, had 17 goals and 12 assists for the Sens last season.
— The Canadiens on Monday cleared some room on their roster when they traded defenseman Josh Gorges to the Sabres for a second-round pick and shipped center Daniel Briere to the Avalanche for winger P.A. Parenteau and a fifth-round pick in 2015.
|Ryan Miller denies heated exchange with Jeremy Jacobs||12.07.12 at 4:01 pm ET|
On Friday, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller denied calling out Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs during this week’s collective bargaining agreement negotiations. It had been reported that Miller and Jacobs had gotten in a heated exchange on Wednesday, but Miller said he was simply asking the owners to not pull what they had discussed off the table.
Miller texted the following to The Buffalo News Friday:
“The owners wanted to leave the room and pull everything we spent a full day on. I asked them to stay and continue pushing through. I may have been passionate but there was no disrespect or calling out one owner by name. I have a lot of respect for any owner because they are a big part of hockey.
“I wanted more than anything to make a deal but we are not professional negotiators. We as players didn’t have the experience or authority to make a final deal. We were trying to responsibly move this process forward as best we could. If anyone thinks that we did wrong by the game or by the fans then they are misinformed. We have a responsibility to about 750 players and we made moves approved by them and thinking about them.”
|Bruins-Sabres Live Blog: Sabres leading, 5-0, in third||02.08.12 at 7:17 pm ET|
|Ryan Miller: Neck pain, not concussion from Milan Lucic hit||11.28.11 at 4:04 pm ET|
Over two weeks ago, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller made headlines when he publicly complained after Bruins forward Milan Lucic charged into him in the first period of the Bruins Nov. 12 win. The hit was so hard that it knocked Miller’s mask off, and Miller was removed from the game after the second period.
The team said at the time that Miller had a concussion. Miller later revealed that the team released that information as part of a bid to get Lucic suspended.
But NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan did not suspend or fine Lucic, and Miller has yet to play in a game since the hit. On Monday, Miller was on the ice in Buffalo before practice taking some shots and said he hoped to return to regular practices soon. Miller also noted that he doesn’t think he suffered a concussion, saying it was more of a neck injury related to a disc problem.
“I feel good symptom-wise,” Miller told the Buffalo News. “It was more neck and something where I aggravated a disc in my neck pretty good and we had an MRI and CT-scan showing that which kind of backed that up and was the source of a lot of the tension and a lot of the discomfort.”
|Bruins-Sabres Live Blog: Headed to shootout||11.23.11 at 7:02 pm ET|
|Lindy Ruff: Lack of response ‘won’t happen again’||at 3:22 pm ET|
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told reporters after Wednesday’s morning skate that the Sabres are more focused on playing a “hard game” than on providing an overdue response to Milan Lucic‘s hit on goaltender Ryan Miller earlier this month.
Asked if retaliation was on the Sabres’ minds, Ruff replied, “I don’t think [NHL disciplinarian Brendan] Shanahan would like to hear that.”
Though Ruff was brief with his answers, he did indicate that if something similar were to happen, he would expect more of a response from his team. Lucic hit Miller in the first period on Nov. 12, leaving the goaltender with a concussion.
“I’ll answer the question one more time,” Ruff said. “We were disappointed in our response, and that won’t happen again.”
The Bruins have won nine games in a row, and now have as many points (24) as the Sabres. With both teams two points behind the Maple Leafs and focused on moving up, Ruff steered away from talk of retaliation and said he’s more concerned with his team coming out hard.
“We have to play a real hard game,” he said. “That would be the message tonight.”
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance to discuss the surging Bruins, who are on a nine-game winning streak.
Boston faces the Sabres on Wednesday night in a game between two Northeast Division rivals. But the game is also notable because of what occurred the last two teams faced off. In the Bruins’ win over Buffalo on Nov. 12, winger Milan Lucic collided with Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who had left his crease to retrieve a loose puck. Some perceived it as a dirty hit by Lucic, but Buffalo did not react to it during the game. In Wednesday’s game, however, the Sabres are expected to seek out Lucic and exact revenge, and Brickley said that it could happen right away.
“I’m hoping that we get a look at it right from the opening puck drop,” Brickley said, adding: “It’s either going to be a bloodbath right from the start or it’s going to be a Wednesday night November game between two teams battling for first place or something in between. You never know what you’re going to get. But the anticipation is that the Buffalo Sabres are going to let the Bruins know that they’re going to man up and stand up from themselves and for one another.”
After the Sabres missed their first chance to respond, they received widespread criticism. Although both teams reportedly have been spoken to by NHL discipline boss Brendan Shanahan, Brickley said the Sabres can’t afford to let another opportunity pass.
“You never really get that same exact genuine opportunity that they had to respond when Lucic collided with Miller — or hit him or checked him or ran him, however you want to describe it. That opportunity has come and gone. And you never get that same opportunity back,” Brickley said. “But because these guys are division rivals and they’re both very good teams, they expect to see each other in the postseason, they have to respond. And if it means you sacrifice the two points tonight to send a certain message even though it’s really not part of their DNA, it’s not really how their team is made up, they do have to stand up for themselves tonight.”
Asked who he thought would be the one to fight Lucic, Brickley mentioned Sabres center Paul Gaustad. After the game on Nov. 12, Gaustad said that he was embarrassed by his team’s failure to respond to Lucic’s hit immediately.
“I expect Gaustad, he was kind of under the microscope, he had a lot of things to say following the game about how embarrassed they were,” Brickley said. “Pretty good-sized guy. He’s not on a short list on the toughest guys in the NHL, but he’s tough.”