The San Jose Sharks announced Tuesday they had signed defenseman Brad Stuart to a three-year contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CSNBayArea reported last week that the deal would be worth $3.6 million per season.
The Sharks had acquired Stuart's rights June 10 from Detroit, in return for forward Andrew Murray a 2014 seventh-round draft pick.
Stuart, 32, would have been an unrestricted free agent had he not signed prior to July 1.
Originally drafted by the Sharks with the third pick of the 1998 draft, Stuart played his first six NHL seasons with San Jose. He's also played with Boston, Calgary, Los Angeles and Detroit.
He had six goals, 21 points and a plus-16 rating in 81 games with the Red Wings last season.
The Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday signed defenseman Shane O'Brien to a new three-year contract. Terms were not released, but the Denver Post reported the deal is worth a total of $6 million.
Had he not signed, O'Brien would have been an unrestricted free agent July 1.
"Having Shane under contract further solidifies our blue line," Avalanche general manager/executive vice president Greg Sherman said. "He brings energy to our lineup and we're pleased to have signed him to a multiyear deal."
O'Brien had 20 points and 105 penalty minutes in 76 games this past season. He also ranked in the top four on the team with 138 hits and 86 blocked shots.
Roughly 24 hours after winning their first Stanley Cup championship, the Los Angeles Kings will be showing off their trophy on two of the biggest shows on late-night television.
The fun gets under way when Kings captain Dustin Brown appears with hockey's Holy Grail on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35 p.m., NBC). Brown, 27, had eight goals and 12 assists in 20 postseason games.
Led by Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick, the Kings will also make a visit to "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on Tuesday night. That show begins at midnight and can be seen on ABC.
With predictions coming from every angle on who will win the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the Miss USA pageant saw a unique opportunity. On the eve of the Final, the organizers polled the 51 contestants in the 2012 edition of the contest to see who they favored to win the Cup.
Miss California, Natalie Pack, and Miss New Jersey, Michelle Leonardo, weren't shy about favoring their home-state teams, even posing for photos wearing their respective team's jersey.
One Los Angeles Kings fan is having an especially fun time watching the team's run to the Stanley Cup Final.
"It's been unreal what they've done and what they've accomplished so far," Wayne Gretzky told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. "It's been unreal for the organization and it's been great for hockey in California and L.A. We live in L.A., so we're seeing it first-hand how fans are rallying around the Kings and hoping that they bring home the Stanley Cup."
Gretzky was the Kings' marquee player in 1993, the only other time the Kings played for the Stanley Cup. He had two goals and five assists as the Kings lost in five games to the Montreal Canadiens.
Out of the game since leaving the Phoenix Coyotes organization in 2009, Gretzky is more than happy to watch games from the comfort of his home. He said he's been very impressed by the way Kings GM Dean Lombardi has built the team, both through the draft and via trades.
"Over the last five years they made some really good, quiet deals on the side as far as stockpiling draft picks and being patient with players," Gretzky said. "And when you're able to draft a guy like Anze Kopitar or Drew Doughty and you're able to trade a couple of really good, young players like Brayden Schenn and Jack Johnson to fill voids that you need on your hockey club."
He also said coach Darryl Sutter, hired to replace Terry Murray in December, was the perfect candidate to merge Murray's defensive philosophies with Sutter's high-intensity forechecking style.
"He played hard every game whether it was in October or whether it was in May and I think that's what he instilled in this hockey club," Gretzky said. "I think the previous coach, Terry Murray, did a tremendous job in establishing the team system and I think from my point of view that Darryl tweaked it a little bit and that he's much more aggressive and [emphasizes] much more forechecking and on the puck, a lot like the way he coached in Chicago and Calgary.
"He took nothing away from their team defense, which is as strong as any team in the National Hockey League, and yet they pursue the puck, and create turnovers offensively to give them more time in the offensive zone, which creates less time in the defensive zone."
Gretzky said watching this Kings team, it would be no contest if it had to face his 1993 team -- the 2012 model would win.
"We played with heart and grit and played a system that the coach established and we had a good goalie. We kind of got on a run," he said. "This team, they're a much better team than we were in '93, so I think their chances of winning the Final are a little bit better than ours were in the sense that we definitely lost to the better team. The better team won the Stanley Cup that year."
Gretzky, retired for 13 years, still showcased some of his elusiveness when asked who he would root for if the Kings' final opponent was the New York Rangers, the team he spent the final three seasons of his career with.
"Both are great cities and the good thing for me is I've got friends in both organizations. I loved playing in both cities and I just hope it's a great final and whoever wins, good for them," he said. "I have so much love and respect for how I was treated in both organizations that I want the best for both of them."
New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello informed local reporters on Wednesday that defenseman Marek Zidlicky is "day-to-day" with an unspecified injury he sustained in the second period of Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center.
According to The Star-Ledger, Lamoriello refused to reveal the nature of Zidlicky's injury but said he should be fine for the conference finals.
When asked if the injury should be a concern, Lamoriello said "No."
Zidlicky, acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 24, was shaken up 8:14 into the second period after taking a crunching hit from Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds in the left-wing corner. He did return to the game and played four more shifts, but sat out the entire third period.
Zidlicky has been a key cog along the Devils blue line in the playoffs, producing one goal, six points and a plus-3 rating in 12 games.
"Zid brings more mobility to our defense," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. "He's balanced our defense even more and that's why it was so important to pick up a guy like that, especially when you lose a guy like [Henrik Tallinder]. That created a hole that Zid was able to fill pretty good."
Kay Whitmore, NHL supervisor of officiating for Blues-Kings series, answered questions from a pool reporter on the hit by Kings' forward Dwight King on St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo in the second period. King was assessed a minor penalty on the play:
Q: What did the officials see on Dwight King's hit, and what went into the decision to give King a two-minute minor?
Whitmore: Their judgment of the degree of violence ... they deemed it a minor penalty and that's why they called it a minor. It's their judgment. They see the whole play unfold and they didn't deem in this instance obviously that King drove [Pietrangelo] into the boards. It was a hit, he was in a vulnerable position, but they didn't deem it violent enough to call a major."