8:51—Breeze is back to Milbury for the third time, looking for an additional $50,000. "No more curve-balls," Milbury says, his voice rising. "I hate nibbling. I thought we were all done." Breeze asks if Pilon is going to be traded. "I don't have anything in the bank for Richie except $6 million," Milbury says. Since Clarke has turned off his cell phone—the teams will go 18� hours between discussions—this is true. Milbury agrees to give Pilon the extra $50,000 in the last year of the contract.
9:30—Milbury clinches the deal by guaranteeing Pilon a single room on the road. Pilon snores. The numbers are 1.55, 1.7 and 1.9 million dollars—not bad for the Islanders, considering the $2-million-plus contracts of comparable defensemen Jeff Beukeboom and Luke Richardson and the $1.7 million Milbury had penciled in for Pilon in a mock 1998-99 budget.
6:52 a.m. New Jersey Devils G.M. Lou Lamoriello has seen the newspapers and is concerned that Pilon will wind up with rival Philadelphia. Milbury suggests he might be willing to trade Pilon for the Devils' Denis Pederson, a talented 22-year-old center with bite to his game. Lamoriello says no thanks.
8:18—"Welcome to the millionaires' club, Rich Pilon," Milbury booms into the phone. He invites the defenseman to his suite to sign the contract. Pilon doesn't show up for almost two hours.
8:50—Milbury calls Buffalo Sabres G.M. Darcy Regier, a former assistant whom he fired last season. "No," Milbury says, "no awkwardness in dealing with him." Regier sends Dawe to the Islanders for rookie defenseman Jason Holland and Kruse. Buffalo isn't a warm place.
10:00—Milbury walks onto his balcony to place a call. Clark tells a photographer, "Get him right as he's jumping."
10:07—Pilon arrives, accepting congratulations on his contract. "Do you want to read this?" Milbury asks. "Nah," Pilon says, signing.
10:29—Milbury calls his assistant, Joanne Holewa, in New York to pull Mark Janssens' contract because the center, another player unhappy with his minutes, has just been traded to the Phoenix Coyotes for a ninth-round draft pick. "Joanne," he jokes, "you're next."
10:37—Milbury phones San Jose Sharks G.M. Dean Lombardi. "I know you're making this last-minute push for the playoffs," Milbury says, "and I want to help you." Shockingly, Milbury mentions an Islanders core player. Lombardi promises he will call back within a half hour. "You got to make the sales calls," Milbury declares. "Like Harry [Sinden, the Boston Bruins president] says, "Sometimes you have to go fishing.' " Lombardi never calls back.