NHL ROUNDUP News and notes
Penguins: Sidney Crosby will skip the Canadian junior national team development camp next weekend to attend Pittsburgh's rookie orientation camp. Crosby, the No. 1 pick in last weekend's NHL entry draft, would have to miss part of the NHL season in December to play for the Canadian junior team, as the Penguins allowed 2003 No. 1 draft pick Marc-Andre Fleury to do. Hockey Canada replaced Crosby with Windsor Spitfires forward Steve Downie, the Philadelphia Flyers' first-round pick in the July 30 draft.
Canucks: Center Brendan Morrison, part of one of the NHL's top lines the last three seasons, signed a three-year contract Friday. Morrison, a 29-year-old restricted free agent, was Vancouver's second-leading scorer with 60 points during the 2003-04 season. He played on a line that also featured recently re-signed captain Markus Naslund and currently suspended forward Todd Bertuzzi.
Blackhawks: Stanley Cup-winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin signed a four-year, $27 million contract, leaving the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Khabibulin played in 55 regular season games for the Lightning during 2003-04, posting a 28-19-7 record with three shutouts, a 2.33 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. In the playoffs, he was 16-7 with an NHL-best five shutouts. His 1.71 goals-against average ranked second.
Oilers: Goaltender Jussi Markkanen and defenseman Igor Ulanov agreed to terms. Markkanen agreed to a two-year deal, while Ulanov received a one-year contract. Markkanen split the 2003-04 season between the Oilers and New York Rangers. He went 10-14-3 with a 2.38 GAA and two shutouts in 33 games. Ulanov will be playing in his 14th NHL season and fourth with Edmonton. The 35-year-old native of Krasnokamsk, Russia, was the Oilers' nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2003-04 when he recorded five goals and 13 assists in 42 games.
Avalanche: Former Vancouver forward Brad May signed a two-year deal. The 33-year-old rugged left winger had five goals, six assists and 137 penalty minutes in 70 games with the Canucks during the 2003-04 season.
Maple Leafs: Free agent forward Jason Allison to a one-year deal on Friday and Tie Domi agreed to a two-year, $2.5-million contract late Thursday. Domi, 35, is third on the league's career penalty minutes list with 3,406 in 14 seasons. He trails only Dave Williams (3,966) and Dale Hunter (3,565). Domi has scored 99 goals and assisted on 130 in 943 games. In his last full season in 2001-02, Allison topped the league with 32 power-play assists and was second with 55 overall assists.
Predators: Paul Kariya signed with Nashville, the left-winger's third team in three seasons. Kariya signed for two years and $9 million.
Stars: Free agent goaltender Johan Hedberg signed a one-year contract and will serve as backup to Marty Turco. The Stars also reached agreements with forward Junior Lessard and defenseman Mario Scalzo.
Coyotes: Phoenix re-signed defenseman Brad Ference to a one-year contract. Ference played 63 games for the Coyotes in 2003-04 and had five assists with 103 penalty minutes.