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FREE AGENCY UPDATE: Farewell, Ryan and Blakey

by Chris Botta / New York Islanders
Negotiations continue with unrestricted free agents

Sunday, July 1, 11:35 pm

As Garth Snow and the rest of the Islanders' hockey operations staff continue to work the phones, here are a few notes we can share:

  • Snow received a call from Don Meehan, the agent for Ryan Smyth, at 10:45 tonight with the news Smyth was going to sign with the Colorado Avalanche. "It was obviously not what we wanted to hear, but I appreciated the call,” said Snow. "Don said we were right in it for Ryan's services until the very end and it was one of the hardest decisions he'd ever been a part of.
    "Ryan decided it was best for him and his family to sign with Colorado. The Avalanche are very fortunate to have him and we wish Ryan and his family the best. I said when I made the trade to acquire Ryan from Edmonton that it's a deal I'd do over and over again. My feelings on the move to bring Ryan Smyth to Long Island have not changed."

  • At least one offer is out at this time to a veteran all-star. At least one.

  • Smyth was not the only player the Islanders wanted that was signed by Colorado. Highly-regarded defenseman Scott Hannan was seriously courted by the Islanders before the former Shark opted to sign a four-year deal with the Avalanche. "We had a few conversations with Hannan and made him an offer right on par with what he signed for,” said Snow tonight. "From the beginning, Scott told us he was flattered by our interest and intrigued by the opportunity to play for Ted Nolan, but his first choice was to stay in the West. We weren't surprised when he went to the Avalanche. Tip your hat to them. He's a great addition for Colorado.”

  • Snow on Jason Blake going to Toronto on a five-year deal: "This organization has nothing but the utmost pride in Blakey and a deep appreciation for the player he became on Long Island. Except for when he's battling against us, we wish the best to Jason, Sara and their children.”

  • The night is far from over. In fact, it's likely to blend right into Tuesday morning. If the Islanders make any news, it might be too late for the newspapers, but we guess it's for nights like these why they invented the Internet.
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