Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche

Roundup: Colorado gets Zanon, Montreal inks Bouillon, Staubitz to Anaheim

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Our second gathering of today’s smaller-scale signings:

Ducks sign Staubitz: Anaheim added some toughness on Sunday by signing tough guy Brad Staubitz to a two-year, $1.3 million deal. The 27-year-old appeared in 62 games last year between Montreal and Minnesota and, interestingly enough, led both teams in fighting majors (as per player agent Allan Walsh.)

Ottawa inks Lundin: The Sens have agreed to terms with defenseman Mike Lundin — one year, $1.15 million. The 27-year-old spent the first four seasons of his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning, recording four goals and 29 assists in 224 games, before appearing in 17 contests for Minnesota last season.

Francis Bouillon signs with Montreal: The Canadiens brought back a familiar face in defenseman Francis Bouillon on a one-year, $1.5 million deal. Bouillon saw his game flourish in his first tour of duty in Montreal under then head coach Michel Therrien. Oh hey, look who the head coach is in Montreal again.

Greg Zanon signs with Colorado: The Avalanche added to their defensive depth by locking up defensive-defenseman Greg Zanon to a two-year, $4.5 million deal, according to Bob McKenzie. Zanon split time with the Wild and Bruins last year.

Blackhawks ink Sheldon Brookbank: Chicago got a bit tougher on defense landing former Ducks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank. Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports Brookbank signed a two-year contract — he should toughen up the ‘Hawks blueline. Brookbank had three goals, 11 assists and 72 penalty minutes last season.

Bickel re-ups with Rangers: New York  will keep forward/defenseman Stu Bickel around for two more years. Perhaps he can get it written in his contract not to be benched for extended periods of playoff OT games. Bickel had nine assists in 51 games last season.

Chad Johnson signs with Phoenix: The Coyotes added organizational depth in goal as they signed Chad Johnson to a one-year deal. Johnson spent the last few years in the Rangers organization, playing in five games two seasons ago.

Kris Newbury stays with Rangers: Depth forward Kris Newbury will stay with the Rangers for two more years, according to McKenzie. His deal is a two-year, two-way deal — meaning he’s destined to spend more time in the AHL.

Montreal spends large for Prust — four years, $10 million


There’s a reason it’s called the silly season.

The Montreal Canadiens have made one of the most eye-bulging moves of this young free agency period, signing New York Rangers forward Brandon Prust to a four-year, $10 million deal.

It’s an absolutely massive deal for Prust, who made $1 and $1.6 million on his last two contracts. The 28-year-old is coming off 5G-12A-17PTS in 2011-12, down from a stellar 2010-11 campaign that saw him register career highs in goals (13), assists (16), points (29) and average time on ice (13:49).

Habs GM Marc Bergevin might get lambasted for shelling $10 million for a guy with 24 career goals, but the signing does fit with his obvious goal over the last week — make the Canadiens tougher.

Bergevin re-signed Ryan White, Travis Moen, agreed to terms with Colby Armstrong and inked Prust, who has fought 38 times over the last two seasons.

Prust tied Boston’s Shawn Thornton with the most fighting majors (20) in the NHL last year.

Report: Canadiens allow Brad Staubitz to hit free agency

Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens
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On the heels of re-signing Travis Moen, adding J.J. Daigneault to the coaching staff and wrapping up some smaller deals, the Montreal Canadiens reportedly made another noteworthy decision today. Much like with Mathieu Darche, the Habs have decided to let forward Brad Staubitz hit the unrestricted free agent market (according to Renaud Lavoie).

Staubitz scored one goal and zero assists between his 19 games with Montreal and 43 contests with the Minnesota Wild last season. Obviously, scoring points isn’t a major part of his job description, though. According to Hockey Fights, Staubitz was one of the league leaders in fighting majors with 15 in 2011-12.

There probably won’t be a huge market for Staubitz, but he at least brings some versatility to the table. He’s played defense a bit in his career, so he might be at least a little more useful – and marketable – than your typical fighter.

Roundup: Sharks, Devils, and Canadiens ink players to two-way deals, Stars buyout Godard

Cam Janssen #25 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center on April 3, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Islanders 3-1.
(April 2, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
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Here’s a list of minor contracts to chew on:

— The San Jose Sharks have given Matt Irwin a two-way deal worth $650,000, according to Renaud Lavoie. Irwin had 11 goals and 42 points in 71 AHL contests in 2011-12. He’s 24 years old and hasn’t made his NHL debut yet.

Renaud Lavoie also reported that the Montreal Canadiens inked Brendon Nash to a two-way deal worth $575,000 and Petteri Nokelainen to a one-way, $575,000 contract. Nash has no points in two career NHL games.

Nokelainen has 20 goals and 21 assists in 245 career NHL contests. He had six points in 51 games in the 2011-12 campaign.

— The New Jersey Devils have signed Cam Janssen to a two-way deal worth $575,000 at the NHL level, according to The Bergen Record. He had an assist and 75 penalty minutes in 48 regular season contests, but he didn’t log a single minute of ice time in the playoffs.

— Finally, Mike Heika reported that the Dallas Stars have bought out Eric Godard. His two-year deal would have become one-way in 2012-13 with a salary of $700,000, but he will instead cost the Stars $231,000 in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Godard had a goal and no assists in 48 games with the AHL Texas Stars last season.

Turns out Ference intentionally flipped off the Montreal crowd after all

Ference Finger

In Apr. 2011, the Bruins and Canadiens played another in the long history of bitter rivalry games — Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, to be exact.

It was a heated affair, like most others, but the big difference this time was a particular goalscoring celebration from B’s defenseman Andrew Ference:

Unsurprisingly, the move set off a flurry of criticisms towards Ference, who responded to the allegations by claiming the act was “an equipment malfunction” and an “unintentional bird.”

Today, though, the keen eye of Joe Haggerty at CSNNE.com found Ference’s blog — The Good Man Project — and his first post, which is about responsibility and accountability:

I am guilty myself of trying to blame a middle-fingered celebration after a goal in Montreal on a glove malfunction. In round one of the playoffs between two of the fiercest rivals in our sport, I scored a tying goal in the enemy’s building, only to have my fist pump turn into a sign language that crosses all borders.

Facing the media and a possible suspension after the fact proved to be too much for my self-accountability. Self-preservation is a powerful thing… it is easier to place blame elsewhere and overlook your own responsibilities.

And so ends the legacy of the unintentional bird which, I have to say, never caught on like I thought it would. I guess it’s hard coming up with a meaningful catchphrase in today’s society, especially with golden material like “taking my talents to South Beach,” and “that’s a clown question, bro.”