The final salary for the Flyers'

Ben Eager

, when all his "B" bonuses kicked in, was $756,000 last season - not the $646,000 against the cap we reported earlier in the week. His new deal averages $600,000. Given his entry-level contract had him going from $456,000 to $550,000 to $650,000, Eager has progressively increased his earnings over three years. . . .

After his strong performance at the recent IIHF World Championships, the Washington Capitals signed center Nicklas Backstrom, the No. 4 overall pick from last year's draft, to a three-year entry-level contract. . . .

Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks signed Jonathan Toews, taken one spot ahead of Backstrom, to a three-year entry-level deal. Toews decided to leave the University of North Dakota. . . .

How about Anaheim's Ric Jackman? In his first NHL playoff game, on his first shot, he scored his first goal in Game 4 of the West Conference finals against Detroit. . . .

Versus has market penetration problems out west. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Ducks tried to get Time Warner to add Versus to more of its Los Angeles market via basic cable that would have reached 1.9 million subscribers. They failed, although Time Warner agreed to add the channel to its HD package for Games 3 against Detroit and the remainder of the series. Ducks senior vice president Bob Wagner said, "We're taking a very aggressive stance on working with Versus [to increase distribution in the market] because it helps our business plan to work with them to grow this long term." Versus is carried in just 50 percent of that market. Given how awful Anaheim played in Game 3 on home ice, the Ducks were fortunate so many people didn't see them play. They might not have ever tuned in again. . . .

So is Detroit going to stop calling itself "Hockeytown" now that there have been scores of empty seats throughout the Red Wings' playoff run? . . .

Elias Sports Bureau noted that Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom had two points in each of the first three games of the Western Conference finals. In the last 25 years, only one defenseman had four consecutive multiple-point games in one playoff year, and he did it twice: Paul Coffey for Edmonton in 1987 and Pittsburgh in 1989. . . .

There is some talk north of the border about whether Andy Murray should coach Team Canada for the 2010 Olympics after he added his third IIHF World Championship gold medal last week as Canada stunned Finland with a lineup that was lacking star power. "The only job I'm worried about now is trying to get the St. Louis Blues in the playoffs next year so that Team Canada has another coach [at the 2008 world championship]," Murray told the Canadian Press. "But I'll do anything that Hockey Canada asks me. If they want me to drive the bus or carry the sticks, I'm a proud Canadian, and I'll always be there if they ask me." . . .

The 1993 Montreal Canadiens were the last Canadian franchise to win the Stanley Cup. Could Ottawa be the next? Hmm? Scotiabank Place, the home of the Senators, has 11 Stanley Cup banners flying. Of course, they were all won by various Ottawa teams early in the 20th century. . . .

From the No Respect Department: Senators coach Bryan Murray couldn't get into a restaurant in Ottawa's Byward Market area after Game 3. Long lines, he said. Worse, no one recognized him. Next time, he promised, he would tell the hostess, "I know the players." . . .

Finally, loved this week's episode of Boston Legal when our hero, Denny Crane, dropped the Stanley Cup - which he had stolen to engrave his name on it - from his office ledge to the street below. Earlier in the day, he shot a duck in his office. "Shoot the duck, drop the grail. All in the same day," Crane lamented. Indeed.