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The Detroit Red Wings have called a 2 p.m. news conference to announce the signing of longtime Stars captain Derian Hatcher to a five-year deal for $30 million.

The signing ends two days of negotiations that had Hatcher bouncing back and forth between the Stars and Red Wings. The Red Wings kept upping their offer to try to pry Hatcher from Dallas, and the Stars kept trying to come in a little under the Red Wings' offer in hopes they could play on Hatcher's desire to stay in Texas.

"It was a very difficult decision for Derian," said his agent Pat Morris. "We have been at this very hard for the last 72 hours, so that tells you how important it was."

Hatcher played his entire 12-year NHL career with the Stars and served the last nine seasons as captain. He was a finalist for the Norris Trophy this season as one of the top three defensemen in the NHL. Hatcher made $4.2 million last season and was offered a five-year extension by the Stars at the end of the 2001-02 season. However, he turned it down, and the Stars then used some of that money to sign free agents Bill Guerin, Philippe Boucher and Scott Young. After doing that, they said they did not have the money to offer Hatcher a long-term deal.

Morris said the Stars tried valiantly to give Hatcher a decent counter-offer late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

Dallas, given their (financial) circumstances, put its best foot forward," Morris said. "In the end, they weren't willing to go the fifth year."

Detroit has several of its own financial problems, including having two goalies (Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph) under contract for $8 million next season. However, they are expected to shed the heavy contracts of Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios and Brett Hull after next season and will use that money for Hatcher.

There was more bad news for the Stars as their other most heated Western Conference rival, the Colorado Avalanche, are expected to announce today that they have signed free agents Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne.

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