JayBouwmeester

Blues re-sign Bouwmeester: five years, $27 million

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The St. Louis Blues made a big move on Thursday, signing defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a five-year, $27 million contract extension — ensuring he won’t go to free agency when his current deal expires at the end of 2013-14.

The extension is interesting on a number of fronts.

One is the timing perspective — St. Louis completed it prior to (or, made it a higher priority than) re-upping with prized RFA defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who has been without a contract since July.

According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Bouwmeester deal apparently won’t affect any future contract for Pietrangelo.

Also intriguing is the amount of money St. Louis has locked into its defense.

The Blues are carrying Bouwmeester’s extension, Kevin Shattenkirk’s four-year, $17 million deal, Roman Polak’s five-year, $13.75 million deal, Barret Jackman’s three-year, $9.5 million deal and Jordan Leopold’s two-year, $4.5 million deal.

Add it all up, and the Blues are now spending $3.3 million per defenseman, according to CapGeek — the fourth-highest total in the NHL.

And that’s without Pietrangelo.

Another interesting wrinkle? Bouwmeester is taking a pay cut to stay with the Blues.

His current deal carries a $6.68 million cap hit (a five-year, $33.4 million contract originally signed with Calgary in 2009) whereas his new one comes in at $5.4 million annually.

With the extension, St. Louis has the 29-year-old rearguard under contract until 2018-19.

Bouwmeester was acquired by the Blues prior to last season’s trade deadline and appeared in 14 games for the club, scoring seven points.

He also made his playoff debut in St. Louis’ opening-round series loss to the Kings, averaging 25:08 TOI per game — second only to Pietrangelo.

This is the second five-plus-year deal Bouwmeester has signed over the course of his career. Combined with his first contracts in Florida, he projects to make $72.9 million in lifetime NHL earnings, also according to CapGeek.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.