Latest on Ellis/Habs talks, Kovy, more

June, 30, 2010

Dan Ellis was still not signed by the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday evening as the clock ticked toward the start of free agency at noon ET on Thursday.

"We had an early conversation, but no real numbers yet. I think we're going to talk later today or tomorrow," Ellis told on the phone late Wednesday afternoon.

Ellis also wanted to clear up a report out of Montreal that had him stipulating his contract terms: $4 million over two years. To be clear, Ellis said, he was apparently asked by a reporter from Radio-Canada how $4 million over two years would sound to him.

"I said that would be something I might consider," Ellis said. "Guess that's my first taste of Montreal media. No worries, it's all good, but we'll see what happens."

• Of course, the biggest name on the market will be Ilya Kovalchuk. A few weeks ago, Leafs GM Brian Burke told he would not be involved in those sweepstakes and I take Burke's word on that. But "Hockey Night in Canada" reporter Elliotte Friedman, a good friend and a plugged-in hockey observer, wonders if that is the case in his blog Wednesday evening.

Some more updates Wednesday night:

• I reached out to Senators GM Bryan Murray at around 4 p.m. ET and asked him whether anything was happening on the Jason Spezza front. "Nothing," was the reply via text message. Spezza's $4 million bonus kicks in Thursday and Murray told last week he would not trade Spezza once that bonus was paid out.

• As per agent Allan Walsh of Octagon, negotiations with Phoenix regarding pending UFA blueliner Zbynek Michalek continued as of 8 p.m. ET. The Coyotes desperately want this guy back. He's 27 and would be one of the top defensemen on the market.

• As of 5:30 p.m. ET, Larry Kelly, the agent for both Antero Niittymaki and Kurtis Foster (both pending UFAs with the Tampa Bay Lightning) had "absolutely nothing" to report when I asked for an update. Unless there's an 11th-hour deal, which could certainly happen, both could be headed to market.

• As of 6 p.m. ET, there was no progress in talks between the Sabres and Henrik Tallinder. He's set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer




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