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Daily Cupcakes - July 3, 2012

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Let's start off with the funnies as Calgary handed Jiri Hudler a familiar contract and a bunch of people around the NHL had a hearty chuckle. Also ESPN continues to pump out not terrible NHL material 0_o

He scored just 10 goals that first season back, less than half what he had tallied in his previous season in the NHL, and while he hit a career-high 25 goals last season for the Wings, it is telling that a team with loads of cap space that is looking for offensive help chose to let Hudler walk away to sign a four-year deal worth $16 million with the Calgary Flames on Monday

Big dawg Zach Parise continues to inch his way closer to breaking Minnesota's heart and allowing the rest of the league to get on with their business.

"I still don’t know," Parise said late Monday afternoon after leaving the offices of Wade Arnott of Newport Sports Management Inc., his representative in the talks with several NHL teams, in Mississauga, Ont. "The list is still there. We’re getting closer, that’s all I can say.

One of the biggest deals of free agency's second day was a restricted free agent re-signing with his current club as Montreal ace netminder Carey Price agrees to backstop the Canadiens to top 10 draft picks for the next 6 years.

"It kind of made sense to me," Price said on a conference call from Williams Lake, B.C. "It will take me to until I’m 30 years old and generally that’s about the peak of goaltenders, so I’m hoping by then to have a couple of Stanley Cups and have a good re-negotiation when I’m 30."

The hockey off-season is full of buzz and vitality but it won't be for long as the dog days of summer loom large on the horizon.

And this weekend we entered hockey’s equivalent of cabinet shuffles and new governments: the free-agency frenzy that, as of suppertime Monday, had amounted to a few backbenchers being shuffled about and a few very minor crossings of the floor.

It’s pretty hard to get excited, let alone care, where the likes of George Parros, Joe Corvo, David Moss, Adam Burish, Aaron Rome, et al. end up, but there were, nonetheless, a few changes worth noting – even if only by an arched eyebrow.

Aaaand we have the NHL easing up on Raffi Torres for some reason or another. Way to walk tall and carry a big stick, Gary.

After re-hearing the case against the Coyotes forward for Torres' illegal hit to the head of the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa during Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Monday that he is suspending Torres 21 games.

Allan Muir over at Sports Illustrated takes a stab at deciding the always premature "best and worst of free agency". Pretty much only linking this because he, like so many of us, approves of newly-acquired P.A. Parenteau in Denver.

The Avs are taking a lot of heat for signing P-A Parenteau to a four-year, $16 million deal, but I think it makes sense. He's hardly a safe bet -- he didn't become a full-time NHLer until age 27 -- but his recent success wasn't strictly a product of John Tavares' largesse. It's more a result of cashing in on his first real opportunity to play. He'll continue to get that in Denver, possibly with Matt Duchene saucing up the chances for him to finish. Not much of a drop off there.

Parenteau can definitely be an adventure -- he has a proclivity for coughing up the puck and his edginess can lead to some frustratingly ill-timed penalties -- but he's versatile (he can fill an obvious need on Colorado's port side), he can really fire it, and he has something to prove. This looks like a win.

Hope everyone has a great day!