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The Chicago Blackhawks signed right wing Tony Amonte, the team leader in seven offensive categories last season, to a five-year contract Tuesday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Chicago Tribune reported it was worth between $14.5 million and $16.5 million, including bonuses. He will earn $2.8 million a season the first four years and $3.2 million the fifth year, the newspaper said.

The only Blackhawks taking home more than Amonte next season are Chris Chelios ($3.5 million) and Alex Zhamnov ($3 million), the Tribune reported.

Amonte has been a restricted free agent since July 1. He joined the Blackhawks in 1994. Since coming to Chicago, he has 88 goals and 91 assists in 217 games.

Sales could be delayed

NEW YORK -- John Spano's failed purchase of the New York Islanders could delay sales of other NHL franchises because the league is evaluating how it reviews potential owners, the NHL said.

Spano was arrested last week by federal authorities who accuse him of fraudulently representing that he could buy the team and cable rights for $165 million, even though he only shows assets of around $1.15 million. The charges against Spano came five months after he went through what the NHL called "a thorough background check."

Arbitrator favors Devils

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- An arbitrator ruled the New Jersey Devils did not act in bad faith by inserting goaltender Mike Dunham into games for brief stints last season to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Dunham, 25, had filed a grievance through the NHL Players Association claiming the Devils violated the good faith clause in the collective bargaining agreement by playing him for as little as 2.6 seconds just so he would appear in 25 games last season.

Arbitrator John E. Sands held a nearly nine-hour hearing with both sides in Chicago last Wednesday.

Dunham now becomes a restricted free agent, meaning the Devils either can match any offer he receives or receive compensation if they don't match.

Cirella replaces Ruff with Panthers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers hired former defenseman Joe Cirella as an assistant coach.

Cirella, 34, replaces Lindy Ruff, who was named head coach of the Buffalo Sabres on July 21. He joins fellow assistants Duane Sutter and Billy Smith on head coach Doug MacLean's staff.

Cirella played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League, including two with the Panthers from 1993 through 1995.

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