As his cellphone flooded with text messages and missed calls barely a few hours into Thursday in the Czech Republic, coveted free agent Radim Vrbata was fast asleep.
His wife, Petra, who was awake feeding the couple's newborn son, Oliver, finally nudged Vrbata out of bed once his agent, Rich Evans, called Petra to deliver the news.
A deal was done.
"Crazy couple days," Vrbata said with a laugh.
Since the free agent signing period didn't open until 6 p.m. local time in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, Vrbata was up late that day fielding interest from a host of NHL teams looking to add a perennial 20-goal scorer for the right side of their lineup. After not rushing to come to a decision that day, he listened to more options Wednesday and went to bed at 10 p.m. expecting to make a call the next morning.
ut the two-year offer worth $10 million posed by the Vancouver Canucks was too good to pass up, and that's why Vrbata accepted it ahead of schedule – and with sleep in his eyes.