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Ekman locked up for two years
SJ's second leading scorer in 2003-04
8/10/05 - by Mike Lee

Perhaps Sharks GM Doug Wilson is trying to relive some of the magic of the Sharks 2003-04 campaign in his efforts to field a team for the upcoming season. His 03-04 roster took a while to kick things into gear, but once they did, the team was a jugarnaut. Wilson's pen hasn't exactly been on fire this free agent signing period, although he did score a minor victory by inking forward Nils Ekman to a two year contract on Tuesday.

Ekman was one of many pleasant surprises for the Sharks during their Stanley Cup run the Spring before last. The Swedish left winger recorded career highs in goals (22), assists (33) and points (55), finishing second in scoring the San Jose.

Ekman played in his native Sweden last season during the lockout, scoring 18 goals and adding 27 assists for Djurgarden (SEL).

"We are pleased to have Nils back in the fold to build on the stellar play he showed in 2003-04," said Wilson. "His speed and skill set should allow him to flourish under the new rules and style of play the NHL."

NHL Signs Cable Deal with Comcast

The NHL announced a two year $100 million deal with Comcast, to have games telecast on the cable giant's Outdoor Life Network. Comcast scores a minor victory over competitors such as the Dish Network and Direct TV, because OLN is not available on those satellite TV providers.

Score a tick against Comcast in the Bay Area, because OLN is not offered as part of the basic subscription package on many Comcast affiliates. Subscribers need to pony up the extra dollars for Digital Cable service if they want to catch non-Shark games in the Bay Area.

ESPN, who broadcast NHL games since 1985, has the right to match the Comcast deal, but is not expected to given poor ratings and the advent of new programming, such as poker.

UFA Watch

Biggest signings of the day included goaltender Sean Burke and defenseman Dan Boyle agreeing to deals with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Simon Gagne re-upping with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers also signed defenseman Kim Johnsson for $2.2 million, which begs the question, what happened to the salary cap?

The Flyers have over $33 million committed to contracts for next season, including over $12 million committed to Peter Forsberg, Mike Rathje and Darrien Hatcher.

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