Bruins sign captain Zdeno Chara to a seven-year extension

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zdenochara3.jpgIt turns out that the Bruins trip to Europe has been good for business. After locking up Patrice Bergeron for three more years with a contract extension, the Bruins announced today that they have extended the contract of captain Zdeno Chara as well according to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe.

This was a homecoming for Zdeno Chara. Turns out, it was a very lucrative return to the city where Big Z really got his hockey career started as a teenager, playing for Sparta Praha in the spring of ’96.

Chara, the 33-year-old Bruins’ captain, in the next few hours will finalize a long-term contract extension with the Bruins, one that is believed to expire on or about his 40th birthday.

Contract terms have not been released by the Bruins, but based on a conversation just minutes ago with his Wellesley-based agent, Matt Keator, Chara today will ink a six- or seven-year deal that probably will bring him slightly less than his existing deal, which this season will pay him $7.5 million.

As it turns out, the details of the contract are for seven years at $45.5 million. With extensions for both Chara and Bergeron worked out the effect is two-fold as it removes that potential distraction later in the year when both of their current deals would be winding down and it eliminates the possibility of the Bruins losing either or both of them in the off-season.

Thanks to the new Kovalchuk rule regarding contracts, Chara’s cap hit is a little different as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun tweets.

The cap hit on Chara will be $6.917M in the first six years of the deal
and $4 million in final season. New Kovalchuk rule applies.

This also puts the Bruins in a position of knowing exactly where they’ll stand in regard to adding players next season. Their other soon-to-be unrestricted free agents in Michael Ryder, Mark Stuart, and Marco Sturm don’t seem like likely candidates to be brought back in the future, but at the very least the Bruins know how much money they’ll have to deal with them and others in the off-season.

For the Bruins, locking up two of their key players, especially Chara, is important because they’re guys that have served the organization well and to get the business side of hockey cleared before the Bruins take the ice today in Prague against the Coyotes makes a ton of sense. Of course, we’ll see how good Chara’s contract looks in the last year or two when he’s 39 and 40 years-old. At least they avoided having it be a 35+ contract like what they’ve got with goalie Tim Thomas.

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.