Wednesday notes: It's "Deal and No-Deal", NHL style with Gomez and Heatley

It's been a bizarre 24 hours in the hockey world, with a big deal getting struck, a surprise trade coming out of the blue, and another big deal signed, sealed, but then not delivered at the last second. All this, and free agency hasn't even started yet! As the late Badger Bob Johnson would say... "it's a great day for hockey." Check back later today for a Free Agency Open Thread, and I'll also conduct a Roll Call this morning to welcome all the new members who have signed up here lately.

Since it is July 1, the first thing you need to do is grab yourself a new wallpaper for that drab PC of yours! Kudos, as always, to smashville for the dynamite work. Happy Canada Day to all our friends north o' the border. Just go easy doing those shots of maple syrup, you don't want to pass out by the time the free agent festivities start at noon Eastern.

After the jump, we've got all the wackiness from last night, along with a look at who the Predators might lose today...

McKensie: Heatley Rejects Deal to Oilers - TSN

The hockey world was excited to hear about Dany Heatley headed in a trade to Edmonton for a package of three young NHL players, but apparently it was quashed at the last minute when Heatley failed to approve the trade. Bizarre stuff in Ottawa, where the petulant sniper "earns" a $4 million signing bonus from whichever team owns his rights at midnight tonight.

Canadiens acquire Gomez from Rangers - TSN

Perhaps the most bizarre move of the day saw the New York Rangers wriggle their way out of one of the worst contracts in the NHL, by trading center Scott Gomez to Montreal for winger Chris Higgins and some prospects. Gomez has a cap hit over $7 million, and tallied just 58 points last season.

Bouwmeester Agrees to 5-Year Deal With Flames - TSN

In Calgary, a new 5-year deal averaging $6.7 million per season locks up premier defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. Will the Flames boast an elite blueline along with Phaneuf and Regehr, or are there further moves coming to ease their salary cap situation?

Predators expect to lose players | The Tennessean

According to John Glennon, the Nashville Predators expect to lose Vern Fiddler and Greg Zanon. I'm not surprised at Zanon's departure as he should get a hefty raise, but Fiddler was a favorite of Barry Trotz. Lowetide in particular wouldn't mind seeing Vern play for the Oilers.

Nashville Predators - Features: Preds and United Way "Stuff the Bus"

The Predators helped with a local United Way initiative to bolster donation centers that provide school supplies to families in need in Middle Tennessee.

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