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Naslund, Blake find new teams; Jagr out of NY @NHLdotcom

It was 'C' you later time in the NHL from coast to coast.

On Day 3 of the league's free agency season, two team captains jumped ship while another lost his job basically due to indecision.

Markus Naslund, the longtime captain of the Vancouver Canucks, left the Pacific Northwest club he'd spent 12 seasons with and agreed to terms Thursday with the New York Rangers on a two-year, $8 million deal.

In making the announcement of the big deal, Rangers general manager Glen Sather also revealed that captain Jaromir Jagr probably wouldn't be back in New York. After waiting for serious negotiations to begin with Jagr's side, Sather grew impatient and went in another direction and landed Naslund.

"It's not an easy thing," the veteran winger said. "I've been in Vancouver for a long time, I've been a captain there for the past eight years. I have a lot of fond memories of playing there. It's definitely a big step but it's a step I'm excited to take."

He wasn't alone.

Rob Blake wrapped up his second stint with the Los Angeles Kings, turned in his 'C' and moved up the Pacific Coast to the San Jose Sharks - agreeing to a one-year-deal worth $5 million.

"San Jose is something I've always admired," said the 38-year-old Blake, who is a seven-time All-Star. "They have a ton of potential, and they're always right there every year. The excitement is in moving up the road a little and playing for a championship again."

Naslund, a five-time All-Star, will turn 35 later this month and cited the Rangers' Stanley Cup title chances as the main reason he topped his list of potential destinations once free agency bidding began Tuesday.

The Rangers have reached the playoffs each of the last three seasons - the past two with Jagr as captain - but haven't gotten past the second round.

After signing defensemen Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival, and adding forwards Nikolai Zherdev, Dan Fritsche, Aaron Voros and Patrick Rissmiller earlier this week, New York also agreed to terms Thursday with former Buffalo defenseman Dmitri Kalinin on a one-year contract.

"I believe the Rangers are going in the right direction and I'd like to be part of that," Naslund said on a conference call from Sweden. "I hope to be part of a Stanley Cup champion there for sure.

"Since July 1, my eyes have been set on the Rangers. It ended up taking a little bit longer but I'm very pleased that I'm a Ranger now."

An aging roster that struggled to score goals against the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins raised red flags to Sather, who has set out to change New York's style of play.

Those plans are moving ahead without Jagr.

"If you can't get by the first round it's time to make some changes," Sather said. "We felt that watching Pittsburgh and Detroit and some of these other teams that were being a little more offensive, a little more explosive, that we had to make some changes.

"We felt it was time to make some changes, and we made them."

The Rangers also said goodbye to veteran forward Martin Straka, who will play in Europe next season, but left open the possibility that Brendan Shanahan would be back for a third season in New York.

Sather hinted that Jagr might sign a lucrative deal to play in Russia next season. If not, he could make a return to the Pittsburgh Penguins - the team that he broke into the NHL with and became a star playing alongside Mario Lemieux.

Yet, there was no indication Thursday that Jagr is close to making any decisions about his next destination. The story is very similar to that of the other remaining prominent remaining free agent forward, Mats Sundin, who is pondering his future back home in Sweden.

"Glen and I had many discussions regarding Jaromir in the past month or so," Jagr's agent Pat Brisson said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "It wasn't a matter of he and or us coming up with the right proposal. Jaromir wants to get a deal done if, when, or where he sees fit. Time will tell."

If the Penguins are interested in a second act with their former captain Jagr, they aren't sitting around waiting for him to make up his mind, either. One day after losing Marian Hossa to the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh nabbed a pair of former New York Islanders - Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko.

Both agreed to one-year deals: Satan for $3.5 million and Fedotenko for $2.5 million. But the Penguins' biggest move of the day was locking up 23-year-old goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a seven-year, $35 million contract, the third long-term deal inked with one of their younger players in two days.

"That's where I want to be," said Fleury, who was eligible for arbitration. "I love this city, the organization, the guys on the team."

The Penguins came to terms Wednesday with star center Evgeni Malkin on a five-year extension, that will pay him an average of $8.7 million per season, and with hard-hitting defenseman Brooks Orpik on a six-year, $22.5 million deal.

"He is extremely gratified to be part of the Penguins core going forward," Fleury's agent, Allan Walsh, told The Associated Press. "The contract shows a lot of confidence the team is placing in him, and Marc is making a statement to all that Pittsburgh is where he wants to be playing."

In other moves Thursday:

-The Montreal Canadiens lured enforcer Georges Laraque away from the Penguins with a three-year, $4.5 million contract.

-Phoenix signed defenseman David Hale to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million and re-signed defenseman Matt Jones to a two-year contract.

-St. Louis re-signed forward Yan Stastny to a two-year contract.

-Minnesota agreed to a three-year deal with forward Antti Miettinen.

-The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist to a one-year contract.

-The Washington Capitals signed forward Keith Aucoin to a two-year deal.

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