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Schneider deal won't force Luongo trade, Canucks GM says

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VANCOUVER -- Even though Cory Schneider has signed a new contract, Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis says he's in no rush to trade veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Schneider displaced Luongo as Vancouver's starting goaltender in the first round of the playoffs as the Canucks were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings. After the season ended, Luongo said he would accept a trade if the team asked him to waive his no-movement clause.

"With respect to the possibility of trading Roberto, we're going to take our time," Gillis said Friday at Rogers Arena. "We're going to make sure we do the right thing for this organization."

Schneider's three-year deal worth US$12 million gives the Canucks two goaltenders earning No. 1 salaries. The 26-year-old will earn $3.5 million in 2012-13, $4 million in 2013-14 and $4.5 million in 2014-15.

Luongo still has 10 years to run on a 12-year, US$64-million contract that averages out to a cap hit of $5.3 million per season. But Gillis said finances will not force his hand when he considers whether or not to trade Luongo.

"When a player steps on the ice, the money doesn't matter," said Gillis. "I could care less about the money. I care about having the best team and the most competitive team."

Schneider, a native of Marblehead, Mass., was due to become a restricted free agent Sunday. By signing him this week, the Canucks prevented other teams from signing him to an offer sheet which Vancouver would have had the right to match.

Labour talks underway

NEW YORK -- The NHL and the players' union opened negotiations on a new labour deal Friday by meeting for about 21/2 hours.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly met with NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, union special counsel Steve Fehr and several player reps at the league's Manhattan offices.

"Members of our League Office staff and several of our owners met today with the NHLPA and various members of the players' negotiating committee at the League Office in New York," Daly said in a statement released after the meetings. "The meeting was very cordial and we hope it was constructive.

"Before breaking, the parties discussed follow-up steps and confirmed plans for future meetings. We have nothing further to report at this time."

Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis declined to comment as he left the building and hopped into a waiting car.

"Following today's meeting, we will review the NHL's initial presentation with the Players' committee before reconvening for further talks later next week," Donald Fehr said.

Moen stays with Habs

MONTREAL -- Forward Travis Moen has elected to remain a Montreal Canadien for another four seasons.

The 30-year-old potential free agent agreed to a US$7.4 million, four-year contract with the club on Friday. Moen will earn $1.85 million per season after getting $1.5 million in each of the last three campaigns in Montreal.

Stempniak, Sarich re-sign

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames have re-signed right-winger Lee Stempniak and defenceman Cory Sarich to a pair of two-year contract extensions.

Stempniak will earn US$5 million, while Sarich agreed to a deal worth $4 million.

Stempniak scored 14 goals for 28 points in 61 games for Calgary last season.

Murray back with Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers named Terry Murray coach of their AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, on Friday.

Murray, 61, was fired in December by the Los Angeles Kings, who went on to win the Stanley Cup under the direction of Darryl Sutter. Murray was coach of the Flyers from 1994-1997, leading Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup final in the latter.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 1, 2012 C6

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