2010 NHL Free Agency: Flames re-sign Craig Conroy to one-year, two-way contract

craigconroyskates.jpgWhen I think of the Calgary Flames now-near-mirage of a Stanley Cup Finals run, I think of a few things. Jarome Iginla making himself a true hockey household name. Miikka Kiprusoff becoming the first Finnish goalie name I’d struggle to spell for years. Mike Commdore sporting a hilarious ginger afro. The speed of Chris Clark. The crazy fans in Calgary’s red mile. Martin Gelinas going from the answer to a Wayne Gretzky Trade trivia question to a man who seemed to always be in the right place at the right time.

I also think of scrappy center Craig Conroy.

The team signed the 38-year-old center to a one-year contract today. Calgary Herald writer Vicki Hall reports that it will be a two-year deal worth the league minimum. Flames blog Matchsticks & Gasoline contextualizes the Conroy re-signing.

With the health of Daymond Langkow still in question and the ability of any of the other three centres currently on the roster to handle tough minutes at even strength on the penalty kill, retaining Conroy certainly makes sense for the Flames, especially at that dollar figure with a versatile contract.

I’m not sure whether or not Conroy makes the team is really a question, I think there’s too much respect there; perhaps he’ll retire if he gets demoted, because I can’t imagine a thirty-nine year old player with a family wants to spend potentially his last season traipsing around the AHL, but who knows, he could prove to be a useful influence on what looks to be a very young Abbotsford team.

While it’s true that Conroy saw a serious drop in production last season (from 48 points in 82 games in 08-09 to only 15 in 63 in 09-10), it’s a very low risk, low money contract. Conroy seems like a pretty versatile, high-character guy, something the Flames might be a little bit short on.

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    WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

    Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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    Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

    We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

    Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

    Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


    Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


    Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

    Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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    Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

    Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

    The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

    In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

    This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

    The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

    This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.


    Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

    Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
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    The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

    Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

    With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

    If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

    Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

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    The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

    Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

    In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

    But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

    But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

    Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

    As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

    On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season: