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Reuters

Sept 26 (The Sports Xchange) - Alex Ovechkin considered carrying the Olympic torch an offer he could not refuse, and the Russian-born Washington Capitals star will be away from the team until Monday.

Ovechkin is scheduled to be in Greece for three days, complete his leg of the torch relay on Sunday and return to the Capitals' facility Monday.

He plans to play in the final game of the preseason for the Capitals on Friday before departing for Greece. Washington opens the NHL regular season Tuesday at Chicago.

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The Florida Panthers confirmed the signing of veteran goaltender Tim Thomas on Thursday to a one-year contract.

The team did not immediately disclose financial terms, but TSN reported earlier that the deal is in the $3 million to $4 million range.

The 39-year-old Thomas last played in the NHL for the Boston Bruins in an April 2012 playoff loss to the Washington Capitals before taking last year off.

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Restricted free agent Cody Franson signed a one-year, $2 million deal ending his contract standoff with the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday.

Franson had 25 assists and four goals last season.

The Maple Leafs were offering a two-year contract, but Franson reportedly wanted either a long-term deal or a one-year pact that will allow him to enter free agency in 2014. (Editing by Julian Linden)

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