2010 NHL Free Agency: Penguins sign Chris Conner to one-year, $550K deal

Chris Conner.jpgThe Pittsburgh Penguins signed forward Chris Conner to a two-way, one-year contract that would pay him $550K at the NHL level, the team reports.

At a scrawny 5-8, Conner will have to struggle to find his way into the team’s reputation. Still, he’s been pretty solid in spot duty with the big club. The team provided a little more detail on his limited career so far.

Conner, 26, has played in 79 career NHL games since entering the league in 2006, posting nine goals and 24 points.

Conner, who originally signed with the Penguins on July 5, 2009, scored two goals and three points in eight games with Pittsburgh this past season, and appeared in one postseason contest. He scored two goals, one being the game-winner, in Pittsburgh’s 4-2 victory at New York against the Rangers Jan. 25 just hours after being recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The 5-foot-8, 180-pound forward completed his first season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2009-10, ranking second on the team in points (56) and assists (37), while chipping in 19 goals in just 59 contests. Two days before helping Pittsburgh defeat the Rangers the speedy winger tied a WBS franchise record with five points (2G-3A) in a 6-3 victory at Syracuse Jan. 23. Conner tied for the team lead with four points (2G-2A) in four postseason games.

The Westland, Michigan native spent three-plus seasons with Dallas after signing with the Stars in the summer of 2006. In 71 games with the Stars, Conner recorded seven goals and 21 points.

The team’s cap space is pretty limited at this point, as they’d have around $1.5 million for two depth spots, at least when Conner is at the NHL level. The Penguins are among the many teams that now seem close to having their rosters close to complete.

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    Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart

    Justin Schultz
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    The Edmonton Oilers activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve and assigned Griffin Reinhart to the minors.

    Schultz has missed the last 14 games because of a back injury, but he’ll suit up in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    The 25-year-old has one assist and a minus-6 rating in nine games in ’15-16.

    Here’s his interview with Oilers TV from earlier today:

    Reinhart was acquired in an off-season trade with the New York Islanders this summer.

    The former fourth overall pick has no points and a minus-1 rating in 12 games with the Oilers.

    The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

    James Reimer
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    James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

    Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

    The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

    Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

    He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

    Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

    Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

    The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

    In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

    Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

    The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.

    War of words continues between Rangers and Bruins on Saturday


    The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.

    After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.

    On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.

    “Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”

    The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

    Dubinsky to have hearing for cross-check on Crosby


    Brandon Dubinsky and the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will have a chat about his cross-check on Sidney Crosby.

    The hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, per beat reporter Aaron Portzline.

    As you can see in the above video, Dubinsky delivers a two-handed cross-check to Crosby’s neck, so the fact that he’s getting a hearing is no surprise.

    “There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” said Dubinsky. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front. But again, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m going to play hard, but try and play fair and play in between the whistle.”

    Crosby isn’t willing to give Dubinsky the benefit of the doubt.

    Anyone who follows the NHL knows that Dubinsky and Crosby aren’t fans of each other.

    The two have engaged in some serious battles, including this fight last February: