Updated: August 7, 2003, 9:22 AM ETBy By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
St. Louis Blues: Barring any unexpected developments, the Blues will likely accept an arbitrator's ruling and sign center Pavol Demitra to a one-year, $6.5 million deal Thursday. St. Louis GM Larry Pleau will then have to reduce payroll before the season begins, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Don't feel sorry for Pleau and the Blues because Demitra's new contract, writes Mark Spector of the National Post. Previously overpaying for Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight helped fuel the salary escalation that allowed Demitra's near-record arbitration ruling. Pittsburgh Penguins: Pittsburgh is close to signing unrestricted free agent defenseman Drake Berehowsky, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The 31-year-old veteran is "very interested" in the Penguins, his agent said, and Berehowsky can be signed for a relatively small contract because he's already received an $800,000 buyout from the Coyotes.