Is no news good news, bad news or no news at all concerning the ongoing Kris Letang contract negotiations? That's open to interpretation after NHL general managers, including the Penguins' Ray Shero, spent most of Monday delayed at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and not negotiating contracts.
The Penguins and Letang apparently are still working out the details of a long-term contract that would keep the defenseman in a Penguins uniform beyond the 2013-14 season. But the Penguins and Letang's agent, Kent Hughes, were mum on the subject Monday, one day after news broke that the two sides had agreed on the basic parameters of an eight-year contract that would pay Letang $7.25 million per season.
Shero did not speak with reporters the day after the draft because there was no news to report, according to a team spokesperson. This was partly due to the fact that Shero was delayed in his return to Pittsburgh because inclement weather wreaked havoc with air travel out of Newark.
Shero was not alone. Many other general managers and player agents met a similar fate as their Mondays turned into unproductive work days.
It was not a good time to be at the mercy of the airlines, especially for Shero, who faces a busy week. In addition to finalizing a deal with Letang, Shero has until Friday to work out deals with three players who will be unrestricted free agents by the end of the week
Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke and Craig Adams can test the free-agent market Friday if they are not signed to contracts before then.
Allan Walsh, agent for Pascal Dupuis, said talks are ongoing.
"Nothing new to report at this time," Walsh said.
It should be noted that under terms of the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement, free-agents-to-be such as Dupuis, Cooke and Adams can speak to prospective employers for two days (Wednesday and Thursday) before the free-agent signing period begins.
This new clause in the collective bargaining agreement allows teams to gauge the interest free agents have in signing with them and to get a sense of what it would cost to work out a contract. Players can get a feel for how much interest there will be for them on the open market and, perhaps, what clubs would be willing to pay for them.
This is the first time the NHL has had such an audition period for free agents. In the past, such contact between players and teams before the start of the signing period would have constituted tampering.
Dave Molinari contributed to this report. Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com, 412-263-1230 and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published July 2, 2013 4:00 AM