Words of assurance
Commissioner Gary Bettman issued an upbeat statement on the NHL's franchise situation.
"The market is not flooded" with teams for sale, he said Friday at Chicago's United Center, a day before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between Chicago and the Flyers.
He was responding to reports that several NHL clubs are unstable in this shaky economy.
Bettman said the league is "not now dealing with any franchise going out of business or moving," and he expressed hope that such speculation would soon stop.
Bettman said recent reports that owners of the New York Islanders and Los Angeles Kings are looking to unload their teams are untrue.
Predators sign two
Swiss defenseman Roman Josi and Finnish goaltender Atte Engren have signed entry-level contracts with the Nashville Predators.
Josi signed a three-year deal. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound defenseman was the 38th pick overall in the 2008 NHL draft. He led Swiss defensemen with three points and a plus-3 rating in seven games at the World Championships in May.
Engren signed a two-year deal. The 6-1, 184-pound goalie was the 204th pick overall in 2007. The 22-year-old went 7-1 with a 1.82 goals-against average in helping TPS Turku win the 2010 Finnish Elite title.
Bettman announced that the Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field on New Year's Day, the fourth installment of the Winter Classic.
Sidney Crosby's team played the Sabres in Buffalo in the first edition.
Also, Bettman said the Calgary Flames are expected to host the Montreal Canadiens at McMahon Stadium on Feb. 20.
Montreal played the Oilers in Edmonton in the 2003 Heritage Classic, the league's first outdoor regular-season game.
- Associated Press