2010 NHL free agency: Sens, Lightning, Ducks and Habs get their signings on

dominicmoore.jpgA bevy of signings all went down this afternoon so we’ll get you caught up in quick-hit fashion. We would’ve called this the lightning round but considering they’re one of the teams involved in things we didn’t want to get too silly.

Dominic Moore signs two-year deal with Tampa Bay

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Steve Yzerman signs someone who was affiliated with the Montreal Canadiens organization last year. Crazy, right? Again, Yzerman strikes, this time landing a guy who will fit in great as a third or fourth line centerman and penalty killer for the Lightning. Moore won’t dazzle you, but he’ll just go about his job and do it well. Consider this one a savvy signing for the Lightning especially at a cost of $2.2 million over two years.

Chris Campoli avoids arbitration, re-signs with Ottawa

The Ottawa Senators have again avoided the tricky hand of the arbitrator by coming to a one-year contract agreement with restricted free agent defenseman Chris Campoli. Campoli’s deal will pay him $1.4 million next season.

For Campoli, the salary constitutes a pretty substantial raise as he made $625,000 last season and it’s tough to see why he’s getting a huge raise as his numbers last season were not inspiring (67 games, 4-14-18 and a -3 plus/minus rating).

James Wisniewski avoids arbitration, re-signs with Anaheim

SportsNet’s Nick Kypreos tweets that James Wisniewski has avoided arbitration with the Ducks and re-signs with the team for $3.25 million on a one-year deal. Wisniewski is a bit of an odd hybrid as a defenseman in that he provides some offensive touch (3 goals, 27 assists last year) as well as playing an edgy physical game. He plays an ideal game for the Ducks and gets a small raise on the $2.75 million he made last year.

Montreal signs defenseman Alex Henry to a two-year, two-way deal

Hey, even the Hamilton Bulldogs need love too. Henry provides them with depth along the blueline and he’s a guy they’re already very familiar with as it is. He’s a big boy at 6’6″ 231 pounds so if the Habs find themselves hurting for size in the defense and need a thumper, he’ll get the call. As for now, Hal Gill will take care of their thumping/getting-in-the-way needs.

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    Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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    Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

    (Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

    Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

    Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

    “He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

    Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

    Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

    Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

    It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

    Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

    Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

    Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

    Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

    Read more about Game 6 here.

    Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

    With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

    There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

    What if that offside goal counted?

    Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

    Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

    What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

    The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

    Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

    Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

    Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

    ***

    Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

    More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

    Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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    With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

    Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

    The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.