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NHL Roundup: Panthers selling for $240 million

The SportsXchange

The Florida Panthers' operating lease with BB&T Center will be sold by Sunrise Sports & Entertainment to a group led by hedge fund manager Vincent Viola for $240 million, according to Forbes.

The selling price does not include 90 acres of land surrounding the arena owned by SS&E. The Panthers' lease with the BB&T Center runs through 2028.

A group headed by general partner Cliff Viner paid $200 million for the Panthers in 2009. Before that, Viner was a minority owner for seven years.

The team is scheduled to have a press conference Friday to announce the sale.

---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.

---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.

---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.
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