Archive for Monday, October 9, 2006

NHL stars in new homes

Five teams bolster rosters with additions of key players

October 9, 2006

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A look at the big names in the NHL who have donned new jerseys this fall:

ROBERTO LUONGO to Vancouver

The Canucks figured they were a premier goalie from being a serious challenger in the West, and now they have one. Florida got frustrated in trying to sign Luongo to a long-term deal and made the blockbuster deal (for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld) on the eve of the NHL Draft. For Luongo, the franchise goalie goes to a market where hockey is taken very seriously. His low-pressure life of leisure in South Florida is hereby ended.

CHRIS PRONGER to Anaheim

Not long after the Oilers finished their incredible run to the Stanley Cup Finals (the first eighth seed to make the Finals took Carolina to an improbable seven games), Pronger demanded off the oil field. The tabloids were flush with rumor and innuendo, stuff Pronger angrily has denied and fought. Still, the Oilers' loss is the Mighty Ducks' gain. Anaheim is now poised to catapult the tough West and move to the Finals.

ZDENO CHARA to Boston

Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, left, makes a save as teammate Sami Salo, center, loses his footing and Detroit's Tomas Holstrom tries to secure the puck. The Canucks hope the addition of Luongo, acquired on the eve of the draft from Florida, will make them serious contenders in the West.

Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, left, makes a save as teammate Sami Salo, center, loses his footing and Detroit's Tomas Holstrom tries to secure the puck. The Canucks hope the addition of Luongo, acquired on the eve of the draft from Florida, will make them serious contenders in the West.

The Bruins still may be a few years away from being serious contenders, but being able to lure free agent Chara east from Ottawa is a nice start. Chara is one of the top defensive players in the game and can also chip in with some serious offense. Chara has scored 16 goals in each of the past two seasons and is prepared to help the Bruins matter in Boston once more.

BRENDAN SHANAHAN to Rangers

The Rangers are making sure last year's run to the playoffs (first trip since 1997) is no fluke. Adding a top-flight veteran leader such as Shanahan is a big step toward a repeat postseason appearance. Shanny has three Stanley Cup rings to his credit and had a near-career year with the Wings last year by tallying 40 goals - his most since getting 41 markers in 1999-2000.

ED JOVANOVSKI to Phoenix

The Coyotes are trying to make ice hockey work in the desert, and bringing a front-line defenseman like Jovanovski is one way for folks to take the game seriously. Jovanovski reportedly had been close to signing with the Panthers, but once the smoke cleared, the Coyotes generously outbid Florida.

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