New contract helps Sens avoid arbitration

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators re-signed star defenseman
Zdeno Chara to a two-year, $9.5-million contract Tuesday, avoiding salary arbitration.

Chara, who was paid $2.4 million last season, will make $4.6
million in 2004-05 and $4.9 million in 2005-06. An arbitration
hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday.

The 6-foot-9, 260-pound Chara was runner-up to the
Devils' Scott Niedermayer for the Norris Trophy last season after
scoring a career-high 16 goals and recording 41 points.

He was acquired from the Islanders before the 2001
season, with Bill Muckalt and the second overall draft pick, for
Alexei Yashin. He was the Islanders' third-round pick, 56th
overall, in the 1996 entry draft.

Chara will play for Slovakia in the World Cup of Hockey, Aug.
30-Sept. 14.