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Avalanche match Flames' offer sheet to O'Reilly

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DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche didn't need seven days to match the Calgary Flames' offer sheet to forward Ryan O'Reilly.

The Avalanche matched it just hours after Calgary announced Thursday it had signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet.

Colorado, which owned the 22-year-old centre's rights after his entry-level contract expired last summer, chose not to take Calgary's first- and third-round picks in the 2013 NHL draft as compensation if O'Reilly went to the Flames.

Multiple reports suggest the offer sheet carries an average annual value of $5 million. O'Reilly will make $1 million in base salary this season, with a signing bonus of $2.5 million. His 2013-14 salary will be $6.5 million.

That means that O'Reilly's next contract with the Avalanche will have to be worth at least $6.5 million annually to retain his rights.

Because Colorado matched the offer, O'Reilly cannot be traded for a calendar year.

The 33rd pick in the 2009 draft, O'Reilly has 39 goals and 68 assists in 236 games with Colorado since entering league.

He had 18 goals and 37 assists in 81 games last season.

DiPietro says he wasn't serious about suicide talk

NEW YORK Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro says comments he made about considering suicide in a recent interview were used for effect and were not meant to be taken literally.

The comments came to light Thursday when New York-based sports anchor Kevin Maher tweeted excerpts from an interview with DiPietro about being waived by the Islanders and sent down to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.

According to Maher's Twitter feed, DiPietro said the Islanders waiving him felt like "they ripped my heart out, stabbed it, set it on fire and flushed it down the toilet." Maher followed with a tweet saying DiPietro considered suicide as injuries, ineffective play and fan animosity took its toll.

After the comments predictably caught fire on Twitter, DiPietro later clarified to ESPN and the New York Post that he wasn't serious about the suicide comment and was attempting to show how his wife has helped him through "a trying last couple of years."

The Islanders said in a statement that DiPietro's comments will be dealt with internally.

DiPietro is in the seventh year of a 15-year, US$67.5 million deal, but has only played in 175 games over that period due to numerous injuries.

He was drafted by the Islanders first overall in the 2000 NHL draft.

DiPietro has a record of 130-136-8-28 in 318 career games to go along with a 2.87 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2013 C2

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